Resurrection Realities

Resurrection in the Old Testament—Our Lord shows that hope of resur­rection was known to Old Testament saints. When talking with the Sadducees, who denied that there ever would be a resurrection, He quotes what is found in Moses’ account of the burning bush where Jehovah is called “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Because “He is not the God of the dead,” and because these patriarchs are now dead, they must live again or Jehovah could not be called their God. “That the dead are raised, even Moses showed.” The Sadducees of that day erred, as men err now, “not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”

Resurrection Is Fundamental—There are two great facts every­where in evidence in the Scriptures: death and resurrection. Death entered into the world by the door opened when the one man, Adam, sinned. By the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one—through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners and, therefore, were doomed to death. The Lord from heaven, “died, the just for the unjust” and “grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life” in Him. Christ “was delivered” unto death “because of our trespasses, and was raised” from the dead because He had secured our justification. “If Christ hath not been raised your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins.”

Christ's Resurrection, a Vindication—Gradually, as Jesus mingled amongst men after His baptism, He unfolded the truth of His character and mission. He showed His supernatural power from changing water into wine, to raising men from the dead. He appealed to these “works” as proof that He was both the promised Messiah and the Son of God. The Jewish rulers condemned Him as an imposter for the former and as a blasphemer for the latter. Now, Jesus had foretold “that He must suffer many things  … and be killed, and the third day be raised up.” Peter, on the day of Pentecost, declares, “Him ye by the hand of men, without the Law, did crucify and slay; whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death.” On the basis of this fact he also declares: “God hath made this Jesus whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ”—that is, both the Son of God and the Messiah promised to the Jews. How did God make Him such? By raising Jesus from the dead. God, by this great manifesta­tion of His power, set His seal of ap­proval upon every claim which Christ made for Himself, upon every word He had uttered concerning man and God, and upon every work which He had completed. Man had done his worst to dishonor Jesus, God did His best to give Him glory—He was Messiah and Lord by God’s decree from which there was no appeal.

Christ's Resurrection and the Gospel—After the death of Judas, in selecting one to take his place as an apostle of Christ, it was agreed that he must be “one to become a witness of His resur­rection.” The vital point of the witness was the resurrection of the Lord. Ac­cordingly, on the day of Pentecost, Peter, after stating how the Lord had been crucified, said: “This same Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses.” After this, when facing those who de­nied any resurrection, the apostles “pro­claimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” They declared that the question had been decided forever in the resurrection of Jesus. This bold testi­mony led the Sadducees to put the apos­tles in prison, but as soon as they were released, they kept on preaching, and with great power the apostles gave their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Paul was called a “babbler” in Athens because he brought the good message in Jesus and the resurrection. With him the resurrection of Christ was part and parcel of the Gospel. Before the Council in Jerusalem and, after­wards, before Felix, Paul declared that he only taught what was in the Law and the Prophets and what was accepted by the Jews, “that there shall be a resur­rection of the just and the unjust.” He defied his accusers to bring any charge against him except “touching the resur­rection of the dead.” If any deny the resurrection or refuse to preach the res­urrection of Jesus from the dead, they are preaching another gospel which is not a gospel.

Resurrection and Christ—In some pulpits, and some professors’ chairs, the resurrection of Christ is de­nied. This shows both shallow thinking and antipathy to God. Two of Eng­land's greatest thinkers agreed to de­stroy the two great pillars of Christian­ity: the resurrection of Christ and the conversion of Saul. Seven years after­wards they met at one of Queen Vic­toria's “At Homes.” Lord Blank said to Sir Charles Blank, “How have you made out with the resurrection of Jesus?” “O, I have found that it can­not be destroyed—it is imbedded into the whole structure of humanity—it is true, and I have become a humble believer in Jesus as my Saviour and Lord.” But this noble knight urged “What have you done with Paul’s conversion?” “I have left it where Luke put in the Acts— it, too, cannot be denied, for the Chris­tianity of today cannot be explained un­less Paul’s conversion is accepted as a fact. I, too, have become a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord of glory, who appeared to Saul on his way to Damascus.” It is not deep thinking that makes infidels, but irreverent and shal­low prejudice that makes infidelity pos­sible. No fact in history is so well au­thenticated as the resurrection of our Lord.

—Adapted from a series of editorials in the April 1913 issue of Grace and Truth.