THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross-Phil. 2:8"; "To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God-Acts 1:3."
During this season of the year, the religious world shifts into high gear with ritualistic thrusts on two "holidays" or so-called "Holy Days," that it calls "Good Friday" and "Easter." While giving lip service to two actions of Christ, nominal apostate Christianity overlooks the real Biblical significance of Christ's literal death and literal resurrection, factors which this writer will consider below.
(I)
The Death of Christ
A. The Death of Christ was a VOLUNTARY death. While it is true that from a human perspective, Christ's crucifixion was the result of a despicable plot by one of his supposed disciples (John 13:2) and the chief priests and Pharisees who hated Christ (John 18:3) and that Roman soldiers actually crucified him on a cross (John 19:16, 23), the inerrant Scriptures present a perspective that religious apostates deny and religious liturgists ignore.
In an O. T. prophetic passage, Christ himself factually states, centuries before his crucifixion in Isaiah 50:6, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my checks to them that pluck off the hair. I hid not my face from shame and spitting." (Cp: Mk. 14:65, 15:19) Isaiah 53:2 prophetically declares that "He poured out his soul unto death."
In Jn. 10:17, Christ said: "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down and I have power to take it again." After his arrest, Christ declared to Peter in Matt. 26:53-54: "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be." When the Scripture states in John 19:30 that Christ "bowed his head, and gave up the ghost," and in Matt. 27:50 that He "yielded up the ghost," it was the fulfillment of John 10:17.
B. The Death of Christ was a VITAL death. There are several great vital needs depraved humanity lacks, that only the death of Christ could provide. The death of Christ was
(a) Vital for the REMISSION of Sins: "Remission" is a term that deals with the dismissal, release and forgiveness of sins. Christ himself stated in Matt. 26:28, "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." In Heb. 9:22, referring to Christ's blood shed on the cross, the author of Hebrews writes that "without shedding of blood is no remission." Col. 1:14 emphasizes this wonderful truth of forgiveness when it says: "In whom [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins."
(b) Vital for the REMOVAL of Sins: Praise God, our sins have just not been forgiven, but they have been forgotten! John was right when he declared in John 1:29 about Christ: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." While Isaiah 44:21-22 is a passage that looks ahead to Israel's future forgiveness, it can aptly be applied today to repentant sinners: "I have blotted out as a thick cloud, thy transgressions." For the forgiven sinner (now saint), God states to believers in Ps. 103:12: "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."
(c) Vital for the RECONCILIATION of Sinners: Reconciliation deals with the re-uniting of sinners to God, who had been previously separated by sin-Rom 6:23 and spiritual death-Rom. 5:12. Eph. 2:13 speaks about this re-uniting: "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Col. 2:21 affirms this reconciliation: "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled."
C. The Death of Christ was a VICARIOUS death: The word vicarious means to assume the place of another, to take another's place, to become the substitute for; In his death Christ assumed the place that we deserved; He died as our substitute, taking our place on the cross, while also freely bestowing the benefits that result from that atoning substitutionary death.
The Scripture is replete with dozens of verses delineating and describing this vicarious action: In that great prophetic declaration in Isaiah 53: 6, the prophet states "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. II Cor. 5:21 says "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him., while I Peter 2:24 declares: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." In Titus 2:14 the infallible Word reiterates that Christ "gave himself for us."
This vicarious death was accomplished via the shedding of Christ's blood in death on our behalf. That shed blood was (1) Promised Blood-Lev. 17:11, (2) Pure Blood-I Pet. 1:18-19, (3) Propitiating Blood-Rom. 3:25, (4) Purchasing Blood-Acts 20:28 (5) Purging Blood-Heb. 9:14; (6) Prevailing Blood-Rev. 12:11 and (7) Preserved Blood-Heb. 12:22-25. The prime importance of that blood which was shed on our behalf in his death must never be minimized or ignored-I Cor. 2:2, Gal. 6:14.
(II)
The Resurrection of Christ
All praise to God, Christ's body did not remain permanently in the tomb. After three days, Christ's spirit and body were reunited in a glorious triumph over death. "He is not here," He "is risen" were the exhilarating words the angel spake to Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James on that great resurrection morning-Luke 24:1-10.
A. The Resurrection of Christ was a VITAL Resurrection: Christ's resurrection was an imperative and necessary resurrection. The entire chapter of I Corinthians 15 is devoted to the theme of resurrection, and in particular to Christ's resurrection. Note the following truths about Christ's resurrection:
(1) Christ's Resurrection was Vital to our FAITH: Using solid reasoning, in I Cor. 15:14 the Apostle Paul says "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain."
(2) Christ's Resurrection was Vital to our FORGIVENESS: I Cor. 15:17 states "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins." A saviour who is permanently dead has no power to act in granting forgiveness of sins. Rev. 1:5 says that this living Saviour has "washed us from our sins in his own precious blood." Just a few verses later, John directly quotes the living Christ who emphatically declares in Rev. 1:18, "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death."
(3) Christ's Resurrection was Vital to our FUTURE: I Cor. 15:19-22 states: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." As the living Saviour, Christ has entered heaven as our forerunner, becoming the guarantor of our future entrance there-Heb. 6:18-20.
B. The Resurrection of Christ was a VERIFIABLE Resurrection: Acts 1:3 states that "he [Christ] shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proof, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of things pertaining to the kingdom of God." We do not know exactly how many post-resurrection appearance Christ made in those 40 days, but from the Scripture in John chapter 20:1-18 and I Cor. 15:5-8, we know there were at least 514 witness, including a special appearance to Paul when, as Saul of Tarsus, he was traveling on the road to Damascus-Acts 9:1-18.
According to John chapters 20-21, Christ's body was a real body-John 20:20, a recognizable body-John 20:27 and a remarkable body-John 20:19, not being subject to the limitation of time and space-John 20:26.
There are least seven Scriptural verifications of Christ's resurrection.
(l) The Testimony of the TOMBS: The first and most empty important tomb was Christ's empty tomb: Luke 24:3 says that when Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James came to Christ's tomb that historic resurrection morning, they "found not the body of the Lord Jesus." Why? Because, as the angel stated: "He is not here, but is risen." The second testimonial here involves the empty tombs of saints who appeared in the city of Jerusalem after his resurrection: Matt. 27:52-53 declares that "the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city [Jerusalem] and appeared unto many."
(2) The Testimony of the TRAVELERS: On that first resurrection day, two of Christ's adherents were traveling from Jerusalem to the little village called Emmaus. The Scripture records in Luke 24:13-35 that Jesus appeared to these distraught disciples. Their eyes were originally "holden" so that they did "know him." However, after he unfolded the O. T. Scriptures about himself and prayed with them before a meal, "their eyes were opened" and the Scriptures states that "they knew him."
(3) The Testimony of the TANGIBLE: The Jehovah's Witnesses falsely allege that only Christ the spirit arose, and that Jesus the man is still dead. Luke 24:36-48 records the events of that first resurrection evening when Jesus appeared to eleven disciples and some other fearful believers. The disciples and some adherents were literally frightened and terrified when Christ suddenly appeared in their midst and "supposed they had seen a spirit." Christ, however, reassured them by saying, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bone, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet."
Seven days later when Thomas, who missed Christ's first appearance and doubted his literal bodily resurrection (John 20:24-25) was present with the other disciples. Christ appeared again and personally invited Thomas to behold his literal hands and thrust his hand into Christ's side. Accepting Christ's invitation, Thomas immediately responded with the affirmative words: "My Lord and my God."
(4) The Testimony of the TEXT: The O. T. text infallibly predicted Christ's resurrection in Ps. 16:10. When this verse is compared to Acts 2:22-31, particularly Acts 2:31, the fulfillment of Christ's bodily resurrection is plainly clear. The N. T. text makes it very plain about Christ's resurrection: In that great set of salvation verses in Romans chapter 10, the Apostle Paul says: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved-Rom. 10:9."
In Phil. 3:10, the Apostle Paul reaffirms Christ's resurrection in that aspiration verse: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." One Bible teacher has aptly stated that "in the Gospels, Christ's resurrection is declared, in the Acts, Christ's resurrection is demonstrated, and in the Epistles, Christ's resurrection is defined."
(5) The Testimony of the TITLE: Before his ascension Christ is called by his earthly name Jesus 608 times, but only 62 times is he given this designation after his resurrection and ascension. Never once, before Christ's ascension does the Scripture give His complete title: "Lord Jesus Christ," but 81 times after his ascension to glory, you will discover that title in the Scriptures. One of the Scriptural keys that explains the power of the early churches in book of Acts is the fact that the term "Lord" occurs 117 times in that apostolic book.
(6) The Testimony of the TRINITY: The Triune God, three distinct persons, but one divine being, all individually testify to Christ's resurrection.
(a) God the Father AUTHENTICATES Christ's resurrection: Acts 2:24 "Whom God [the Father] hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it, while Acts 10:40 says, "Him God [the Father] raised up the third day, and shewed him openly."
(b) God the Son AFFIRMS his own resurrection: In Luke 24:39, Christ himself said: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
(c) God the Holy Spirit ACTUALIZED Christ's resurrection: Rom. 8:11 states: "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
(7) The Testimony of the TRANSFORMED: All you need to do is to compare the difference in the attitudes of some of Christ's disciples in Acts 24:17 before they learned about His resurrection with the dramatic change that occurred after this great fact become personally known-Acts 24:51-52. Acts 24:17 says: And he [Christ] said unto them [the two disciples on the Emmaus road],What manner of communication are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk and are sad."
Upon his final parting from his disciples after His resurrection, the Scripture states: "And It came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. The great distinction between "sad" and "joy" was the intimate knowledge of Christ's resurrection!
C. The Resurrection of Christ was a VICTORIOUS resurrection: In His resurrection,
(1) Christ was victorious first and foremost over Satan: I John 3:8b says: "…For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." In the death and resurrection of Christ, Satan's doom was sealed. For Satan, it is only a matter of time before the risen Christ seizes the complete reigns of divine power and sends the devil hurling to his eternal doom in the lake of fire-Rev. 20:10.
(2) Christ was victorious over the Sepuchre: In Eph. 4:8-10, the Scripture states when Christ arose from the dead and ascended on high that he "led captivity captive." This doctrinally rich phrase simply means that when Christ arose from the dead" and ascended to heaven, that he emptied the upper compartment of Sheol-Hades where the spirits of O. T. saints had been resting in a place of temporary comfort.(Luke 16:26-31) but not sleeping, and took them to glory with Him. Since that time, when saints die their soul and spirit no longer go downward to a place of comfort, but takes an immediate flight upwards at death to the presence of Christ-II Cor. 5:1 & 5:8.
(3) Christ was victorious over this Sinful World: While in his birth and life, Christ was both immaculate [born without sin] and impeccable [incapable of sin, lived without sin], in His resurrection and ascension, Christ attained new spiritual heights never before received: a change of seating arrangement in glory.
Because of His victories, Christ is no longer seated at the Father's left hand-Ps. 16:8-but at His right hand-Heb. 1:3 & 10:12. Because of Christ's victories in his death and resurrection, God the Father has given His Son, the place of highest honors in Heaven. As the eternal High Priest, He ever lives "to make intercession for them" that "come unto God by him"-Heb. 7:25.
Christ's death and resurrection should always remain a central focus of the believer's attention-I Cor. 15:1-4. D. J.

A biographical profile of Dr. Jasmin

Also in this issue:

THE BIBLE TEXT ISSUE

AN AVOWED ATHEIST EMBARASSES NON-WITNESSING CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS

PROPHETIC FORESHADOWS

Editorial - APRIL - MAY 2012 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.
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