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Friday, April 1, 2011

Easter Lesson 6: Part E. The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ

E. The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ

Before we continue with our narrative, we need to understand the absolute awesomeness of our Lord’s resurrection.  His resurrection is the pivot around which human and angelic history revolves.  Though our Lord told His disciples about it, they still did not understand that the Father and Spirit would resurrect Him from physical death.  Even Jewish religious leaders highly debated the entire concept of a life after death.  Though so much of this presentation has emphasized the work our Lord accomplished on the Cross, no other fact in human history has greater significance or impact as our Lord’s resurrection from the dead.  That God raised Jesus from the dead is the core message we have to spread to the lost and dying world.  Jesus Christ physically defeated death, the very termini of the unbeliever’s life.  Because Jesus Christ defeated death, human beings no longer need be subject to death.  What fantastic news!  So many churches emphasize, though icons, our Lord’s death upon the cross, yet the most significant news we have to share with the world is His resurrection.  By His resurrection, He proved once again, that He was and continues to be True Deity.  His resurrection also confirmed, beyond His miracles, that everything He taught was completely true.  Also, as Paul repeatedly taught, His resurrection confirms our salvation and future resurrection.

1. Narrative

Let us turn to the Scripture for the narration of this wonderful event.
ü     After the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them.  And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Matthew 28:1-10

2. Credibility of our Lord’s Resurrection

Despite the debate down through the ages, we have assurance that both the Holy Spirit and the Father resurrected Jesus Christ three days after His crucifixion.  Many simple statements of Scripture provide assurance enough!  The Scripture presents four categories of written evidence of our Lord’s resurrection.  First, as we noted in the above narrative, the Scripture clearly describes it. Secondly, both prophets and He, Himself, foretold of this pivotal historical event.  Thirdly, eyewitnesses of our Lord confirmed that His resurrection.  Finally, Scriptural writers, subsequent to His resurrection, inspired by the Holy Spirit, built doctrines upon this Scriptural reality. 
a. Prophecy
      Jesus’ Prophecy
ü     Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me shall live even if He dies.”  John 11:25 
In this passage, Jesus is not foretelling His resurrection but imparting to Martha the reality of His deity.  Jesus is, in effect saying to Martha that, to quote Robert Jamison, ““The whole power to restore, impart, and maintain life, resides in Me.”[1]
ü     And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  Mark
ü     For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” Mark
ü      “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again. Mark 10:33-34
His disciples did not fully understand the necessity of His spiritual, physical deaths and subsequent resurrection until He appeared to them in resurrection body.

      Ancient Prophets
ü     For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.  Psalm
ü     But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me. Selah.  Psalm 49:15
ü     And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today i have begotten You.’ “As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ “Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.’” Acts 13:32-35
This passage is a quote from Paul’s message to the Athenians.  In it, he quotes King David and Isaiah who prophesied concerning Jesus’ resurrection.  If you doubt that these quotations speak of our Lord’s resurrection, remember that Paul, while empowered by the Spirit, said so!
ü     As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Job
A better translation of this verse reads this way: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lies, and as The Last He (our Lord) will arise above the dust (earth).”  Whether or not Job understood his words is debatable.  Often the Spirit inspired words that the writers themselves did not thoroughly understand. 
b. Eyewitnesses to His Resurrection
ü     And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.  Matthew 28:9
Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary” just before dawn on the day of His resurrection.  They recognized Him and immediately began to worship Him.
ü     So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  John 20:19
Later that same day, He appeared to His disciples, in an unconventional way.  He supernaturally walked through the door, surprising His fearful disciples.  He, then, showed them the wounds He received at His crucifixion.  
ü     While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.  Luke 24:15-16
Jesus also appeared to two of His disciples as they were walking away from Jerusalem.  He opened their eyes to the Scripture.
ü     After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way.  John 21:1
This entire chapter details our Lord’s appearance to His disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.  He miraculously caused them to harvest an extremely large catch.  He also interrogated Peter concerning his for his Lord. Peter had, after all, betrayed Him only days earlier. 
c. Subsequent Witnesses
ü     But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.     1 Corinthians 15:20
By this verse, Paul concludes a debate against those who do not believer in resurrection yet believe in Jesus’ resurrection.  The point for our discussion here is that Paul, being inspired by the Spirit, wrote that Jesus was resurrected. Paul did this many times because of the centrality and importance of our Lord’s resurrection. Both Paul and Peter, by their presentation of the Resurrection communicate the very significance of it.  The verses I have noted here are not an exhaustive list.
ü     He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.  Romans 4:25
ü     …Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.  Romans 8:34
ü     that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;  Philippians 3:10
ü     having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.  Colossians  
ü     Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord…  Hebrews 13:20
ü     …who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.  1 Peter 1:21
Peter also based his faith upon the fact of our Lord’s resurrection.

3. Mechanics of His Resurrection

We noted earlier in this study that Jesus died a unique physical death by undergoing a trichotomous separation.  His human spirit went to the Third Heaven to the Father while His human soul went to Hades for the triumphal proclamation.  His body remained in the grave.  His resurrection involved the return of both His human soul and spirit as well as the conversion of His temporal body to a resurrection body.
a. God the Father returned His human spirit from the Third Heaven to His body.
ü     …having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12
ü     …who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.  1 Peter 1:21
ü     Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord…  Hebrews 13:20
b. God the Holy Spirit returned His soul from Hades to His body.
ü     But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.  Acts
 We know that God here refers to the Holy Spirit by virtue of the context.  The passage speaks of God who worked miracles through Him and later and that His soul would not be abandoned to Sheol.  Both speak of the Holy Spirit.
ü     But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.  Romans 8:11
ü     For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the spirit…  1 Peter 3:18
ü     …who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord…  Romans 1:4

4. Results of Resurrection

By our Lord’s salvation work and resurrection, He provided eternal salvation for the entire human race.  Every human being can appropriate His gift of eternal life by faith alone in Him alone.  The same mechanics, faith alone in Christ alone, has applied to every generation in human history.  His resurrection completed His salvation work. 
By His resurrection, Jesus Christ defeated Satan who previously possessed the power of death.  Our Lord, then, achieved the strategic victory of the angelic conflict.  This resurrection fulfilled the first presentation of the Gospel to Adam and Eve in the Garden.
ü     Therefore, since children [of Adam] partake of blood and flesh, He Himself [Jesus Christ] likewise also partook of the same that through death [spiritual death] He might render powerless him [Satan] who had the power of death.  Hebrews 2:14
John elaborated this victory over death.  Just as the death of the believer is the Lord's victory, so also is the resurrection of the believer our Lord's victory.
ü     Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me shall live even if He dies.  John 11:25
Our Lord’s resurrection is the greatest monument to God’s grace. Because the Father and Spirit resurrected Him, they will resurrect every believer.
By our Lord’s work on the Cross He strategically won, once and for all, the angelic conflict Satan fomented before human history.  Because He achieved that strategic victory, the Father awarded Him His third category or patent of royalty.  The first two royal patents include His Deity; He is the second person of the Trinity, and His human royalty related to Israel; His is the Son of David.  Because the Father awarded Him with this Third Royal Patent, He sits at the right hand of the Father. 
His Third Royal patent is the basis for the existence of the Church Age.  The Son has a family that relates to or fulfills each category of His royalty.  The Father and Son serve as His family related to his Deity.  Regenerate Israel fulfills His second patent of royalty.  The Father interrupted the dispensation of Israel to insert the dispensation of the Church to call out a royal family to fulfill the Third Royal Patent.  That family, the Royal Family of God, includes ever Church Age believer.  Paul wrote about this royal patent, calling it His royal title:
ü     God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets [in the Old Testament] in many portions and in many ways, at the end of these days, He has spoken to us by means of His Son whom He appointed heir of all things [Heir because He achieved the strategic victory of the angelic conflict] through whom He manufactured the dispensations; who being the flashing forth of His glory and the exact image of His essence [deity of Jesus Christ], and He [omnipotence of Jesus Christ] upholds all things by the word of His power.  When He had made a purification of our sins, then He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become so much better [even as a human being] than angels as He has inherited a more excellent title [His third royal patent] than they.  Hebrews 1:1-4
God the Father also perpetuated certain unique provisional aspects that He provided our Lord during His walk on earth into this Age of Ages, the Church Age.  Bob Thieme referred to the thirty-three years our Lord walked the earth as the Great Power Experiment of the Hypostatic Union.  An experiment in this context is a demonstration, a demonstration of a known truth, the demonstration of the power of Bible doctrine and the total availability of the Spirit’s power to our Lord as a human on earth. Our Lord was the first human being to be filled with God the Holy Spirit.  By means of this divine power, which, by the way, was never available in human history to a member of the human race, was provided the power of the Spirit to support Him, to enlighten Him and to give Him the power to fulfill the Father’s plan for Him. He took and used His power to its human limits.  The Father has made that same power available to every Church Age believer.  We live in the unique age where the Father demonstrates the Spirit’s power through every spiritual Church Age believer.  That plan involved the imputation and judgment of every sin in human history upon His body, His resurrection, ascension and session, His being awarded His third royal title, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” This is the most incredible and awesome power that God has ever demonstrated by means of a human being to Satan and his fallen angels.  Now, God demonstrates all of this power through you.  God is perpetuating this experiment or power demonstration into this age, the Church Age.
What has God provided us through His power? For the execution of His plan for each of us, from His omnipotence, He has provided us with our very own portfolio of invisible assets. By means of the Spirit’s omnipotence, He enables us to understand and apply Biblical truths.  Armed with this doctrine every Church Age believer can fulfill His plan for us.  The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit, through His baptism, creates through us a new spiritual species.  Also through this baptism, He provides us mechanics for the function of the royal family.  At the Rapture of the Church, the Father raises the dead in Christ while the Spirit gives a resurrection body to those who are alive in Christ.
ü     Therefore, we have been buried with Him [Jesus Christ] through baptism into death [baptism of the Holy Spirit] in order that, as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  Romans 6:4
The power that raised Christ from the dead makes it possible for us to walk in newness of life.  For the omnipotence of God the Father provided our portfolio of invisible assets, and the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit provides the power in divine dynasphere to execute the protocol plan of God.

5. The Power of His Resurrection

The same power, the omnipotence of both Father and the Holy Spirit, that raised Christ from the dead is the same power by which we as Church Age believers fulfill the unique plan God has for us.  However, if we are going to use this power, we have to know that exists, we have to know that it is available, and we have to know the mechanics of its utilization.  The Apostle Peter discussed this issue.
ü     Blessed be the God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who, according to His great mercy, has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; to an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are guarded by the power of God through faith for a deliverance ready to be revealed at the last time.  1 Peter 1:3-5
What is this “living hope?”  It is the fact that your power, abilities, and strengths contribute nothing to your spiritual life.  God has provided the only power, the ability, and the only strength through regeneration, by which we fulfill our spiritual lives.  This power is available to us because the Father and Spirit resurrected Jesus.  God has made this power available to us only through the unique plan He has for believers in this Church Age.  What is this inheritance “which is imperishable and undefiled?”  It is an inheritance based on divine power rather than human power, on God’s grace rather than any human accomplishment.  It will not fade away because God’s power cannot fade.  The power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same power that guards you and provides eternal security for every believer, whether you fulfill your spiritual life or not.  The “deliverance” refers to the resurrection of the Church, brought about by the omnipotence of both the Father and Spirit.
The power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power by which we have eternal security.  God’s plan, will, and purpose can only be fulfilled by the omnipotence of God the Father related to our portfolio of invisible assets and the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit related to the divine dynasphere.  In other words, the Father provides us with the plan while the Spirit provides the power.
ü     Now if the Spirit [Holy Spirit] from Him [God the Father] who raised Jesus from the dead indwells you [and He does], He who raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also give spiritual life to your mortal bodies by means of His Spirit who indwells you.” Romans 8:11
You cannot have a spiritual life apart from the Holy Spirit’s omnipotence,  You access His power through residing in, living in, and having momentum inside His unique power system.  No one matures spiritually apart from the omnipotence of God the Father and the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit; it cannot be accomplished in the energy of the flesh. That is why Paul wrote these words:
ü     …that I may come to know Him and the power of His resurrection.  Philippians 3:10
The same omnipotence of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that has been provided for us in grace to execute God’s plan. 
The great power that the Father and Spirit provided Jesus during His walk on earth turned history around, because now in this Church Age the same omnipotence of God the Father and omnipotence of the Holy Spirit is available to you in the mechanics of the protocol plan of God, and in the promises and guarantees in our portfolio of invisible assets.  Never before in history has so much divine omnipotence been available to so many believers for the glorification of God through the execution of His will, His plan, and His purpose.  You have available to you the greatest power!  The dispensation of the Church is the greatest power experiment in human history, the greatest opportunity for the ordinary believer to make maximum use of divine power, to glorify God, to have a marvelous life on earth, and to receive the fantastic escrow blessings from the omnipotence of God the Father.  This is the challenge of the omnipotence of God.

6. Challenge and Application of Resurrection

ü     Therefore, my beloved brethren, become stabilized, not distracted, and excel in association with the work of the Lord at all times, because your labor for the Lord is not empty.  1 Corinthians 15:58
The Greek word GINOMAI means to become something you were not before.  Though we have no control over our death, burial, and resurrection, we do have control over our lives now.  We have the opportunity to use our free will to execute God’s plan for each of us.  God has provided unlimited divine assets, the portfolio of invisible assets, by which we execute this plan.
To “become stabilized” means you have the right to use your own volition to execute and fulfill the plan of God.  You have the right to learn Bible doctrine, to utilize your portfolio of invisible assets, to use the omnipotence of God - all to the glory of God.  You can only glorify God by executing the protocol plan of God.  When you do this, and only when you do this are you in a stabilized condition.
The apposition, “not distracted,” more clearly defines what it means to become stabilized.  Distractions are anything you put before Bible doctrine.
To “excel” means to be spiritually outstanding, become a mature believer with impact upon human history.  Most likely this impact will be invisible to those around, yet because of your spiritual life you have personal impact, national impact, international impact, and angelic impact.
This spiritual life is called “your labor” because you use your volition during this time on earth.  Your volition determines your control or lack of control over your life.  “Your labor for the Lord” are the decisions you make; not your Christian service.  It is your positive decisions daily, your evaluation of what is important in your life, the importance of Bible doctrine, the daily perception of Bible doctrine, your spiritual growth.

[1]Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments. On spine: Critical and explanatory commentary. (Jn 11:25). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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