The Resurrection
 Various Passages
By Paul Robison

 First affirmation: “Christianity does not hold the resurrection to be one among many [doctrines] of belief.  Without faith in the resurrection, there would be no Christianity at all.  Jesus' followers would have fizzled out like damp firecrackers with His execution” (Green in McDowell).

Second affirmation: “The empty tomb of Jesus became the cradle of the church” (Nicoll in McDowell).

Third affirmation: “The resurrection is God's “Amen” to Jesus' “It is finished” (Johnson in Swindoll).
 
Four affirmation: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 15:20).
Jesus' resurrection is the guarantee of all mankind's future resurrection!
 
Let's look a series of passages now. They go from those which are more fuzzy to those which are clearer.  The first is Isaiah 53:12. After Isaiah describes a Servant of God who will sacrifice Himself for others, he then declares in 750 B. C.: “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”  Of course, Jesus fits this description.  Notice, that the first part of this verse says that Jesus will be associated with the great and the strong after His suffering. He will also divide the spoil, which is what a general did with his soldiers after they defeated a foe.  Now this passage does not mention the resurrection specifically, but the allusion to victory, greatness, and strength after pouring out his soul unto death is unmistakable!  Now look at Colossians 2:14-15: “And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”  After the cross, Jesus disarmed Satan's allies, wicked angels and demons.  Then Paul refers to a Roman custom.  When the Roman army was victorious, the general and his soldiers would parade their captives through the streets of Rome for all to see.  What better event do we see Jesus' power over the forces of evil than in His resurrection?  Satan and his allies thought they had defeated Jesus at the cross, but Jesus completely turns the tables and triumphs over them in His resurrection!  Now look at Psalm 49:15, where we find this affirmation: “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me.”  It seems here that the writer of this psalm is showing great faith in God because his soul will not be conquered by death, but God will rescue it through resurrection and receive it once again. Now look at 1 Timothy 3:16 where Paul affirms many centuries later the following about Jesus: “God was manifested in the flesh, justified by the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.”  Jesus was received up in glory after His resurrection and ascension! Now look at Psalm 16:9-10, which is a psalm of David, which asserts: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”  Sheol was the place of the dead to the Hebrew mind.  David affirms that God would not allow His Holy One to see corruption in the place of the dead.  In other words, a resurrection would take place.  Paul, a thousand years later, applies this passage to Jesus in Acts 13:34-35: “And that He [God] raised Him [Jesus] from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: 'I will give you the sure mercies of David.' Therefore, He also says in another Psalm: 'You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.'”  This is a clear reference to Jesus' resurrection, as it had been previously foretold by David. Resurrection is not mentioned very often in the Old Testament, but these three passages point toward it, even if they do not mention it specifically.  Centuries before it occurred in Jesus' life, God was already hinting at the greatest miracle that mankind would ever see!  “But now Christ is risen from the dead ...”
 
Let's look at another series of passages.  The first are the inspired words of Peter as he was preaching to the first Gentile audience in Acts 10:39-42: “And we are witnesses of all the things which He [Jesus] did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.  And He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead.”  Peter affirms that he was an eye-witness to Jesus' life.  He was killed on the cross, but God raised Him and showed Him alive to those who had been His followers.  Notice that Peter not only affirms that they ate and drank with risen Jesus (which means that Jesus was no ghost) but also he declares that God has ordained Jesus to be the final Judge to whom all will be accountable.  What tremendous truths were heard in this preaching!  Now look at Acts 13:29-31 where Paul declares the following to a Jewish audience: “Now when they [fellow Jews in Jerusalem] had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree [or cross] and laid Him in a tomb.  But God raised Him from the dead.  He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are witnesses to the people.”  What do we learn here?  Jesus indeed died and was buried.  But God stepped in and raised up Jesus from the dead!  And this risen Jesus was seen by others who were His disciples for many days, and those who saw Him are now witnessing to others and sharing the hope that His resurrection brings!  Now look at one more passage written by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 where he states specifically who were some of those disciples that saw the risen Jesus: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received [notice that Paul says that what he about to teach is not original with him, but a tradition that he been passed on to him]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas [or Peter], then by the twelve.  After that, He was seen by over 500 brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.  Then last of all He was seen by me also, as one born out of due time.”  About the only people Paul has left out who saw Jesus after His resurrection were the women who first discovered that the stone had been rolled away and Jesus was no longer in the tomb.  The risen Jesus was seen by hundreds of Jews over a 40 day period before His ascension back to heaven. Hundreds of witnesses make for a very strong case that Jesus' resurrection was not mythical nor was it a hallucination! “But now Christ is risen from the dead ...”
 
Another series of passages now adds some more depth to Jesus' resurrection.  Look now at Mark 16:1-2: “Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.  Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.”  From this passage, we learn that the resurrection took place on Sunday.  Remember that for thousands of years, the Jews had assembled to worship God on the Sabbath or Saturday.  Now notice these words in Acts 20:7: “Now one the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”  This passage shows us that Jesus' disciples came together to worship Jesus on Sunday, the day of resurrection.  Notice also that during this worship assembly they broke bread, a clear reference to the Lord's Supper.  A brother makes this assertion: “The Lord left us a memorial feast which we call the Lord's Supper.  He also left for us a memorial day, the Lord's Day, or the first day of the week.  I believe that He intended for us to observe the two memorials together. ... Either memorial loses its significance when divorced from the other. … The conclusion seems to be, then, that we should always observe the Lord's Supper in memory of His death when we gather to rejoice in memory of His resurrection.  Further, that we should not attempt to observe the memorial of His death except in the presence of the memorial of His resurrection.  Otherwise, both become meaningless” (Osborn).  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:26: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.”  Doesn't this passage show us that as we partake of the Lord's Supper, we remember Jesus' death, burial, resurrection, and promise to return again?  How is it, that in our prayers during the Lord's Supper, we often look backward, but we rarely do we look forward?  Our worship is not only a time of memorial but also should be a time of jubilation at the great expectation which our Lord's resurrection provides us!  Now look at Romans 6:3-4: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  Death, burial, and resurrection are seen in the act of baptism.  A brother comments on this with these insights: “In connection with the resurrection ..., however, I think it is significant to note the connection it has with the act of Christian baptism.  When one becomes a child of God, the old man dies and is buried.  Almost all agree to this and agree that baptism is a sign of this burial of the old man of sin.  However, for the burial to be meaningful, there must also be a resurrection. No form of baptism, other than immersion, carries with it the symbol of the resurrected, new creature.  The forms of sprinkling and pouring might be deemed a kind of burial, but only immersion can have a subsequent resurrection.  This seems to argue strongly for a continuation of the New Testament form of immersion for baptism.  Otherwise, we divorce it from the most significant event in history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (Osburn).  In other words, immersion, and only immersion, illustrates perfectly the reality of resurrection in our lives as well.  People are “raised up” from a watery grave with all their past sins washed away to then begin living Jesus' new and abundant life!  Why not be raised spiritually today at your baptism?  “But now Christ is risen from the dead ...”
 
Another series of passages reveals some important truths. Romans 1:4 affirms: “And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”  The resurrection proves that Jesus is God's Son!  No other founder of any religious group, from Confucius to Ron Hubbard has survived the tomb.  After Jesus' resurrection, He proclaimed that He was given all authority in heaven and on earth as the King of kings (Matthew 28:18)!  Jesus' resurrection shows that God has given His stamp of approval to all that Jesus taught and practiced.  Now look at Romans 4:24-25: “It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him, who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”  A commentator gives this interesting insight: “Since Paul sees Christians as united with Christ in His death and resurrection, God's approval of Christ at the resurrection results in God's approval also of all who are united to Christ, and in this way results in their 'justification' [or being made righteous in God's sight]” (ESV Study Bible notes).  We preach much about Jesus dying for our sins, but why do fail to preach much about Jesus' living again for our living under God's favor and no longer under God's wrath?  He was raised because of our justification; what a wonderful truth! Now look at 1 Peter 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead ...”  In the last 4 months, we've had many funerals: Bennie, Flossie, Lynda, Richard, Viola, and Mary.  What gets us through such tough times?  Isn't it the living hope that we have in our living Lord?  “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  The firstfruits of the harvest meant that more fruits to be harvested would be followed.  Similarly, Christ's being brought back to life is the initial resurrection of a greater harvest when all human beings will be resurrected.  This is our living hope when we stand beside the graves of our faithful brothers and sisters.  Because of Jesus' resurrection, Christians look forward to their resurrection, their reunion, and their reward!  God wants all human beings to have this living hope.  Friend, if you are not a Christians, you have no living hope in the face of death.  Jesus has conquered death and wants to share His victory with you.  Won't you make Him your Lord, so that you too can enjoy this living hope?  Now look at Philippians 3:20-21: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”  This passage describes Jesus' body as a glorious body. Jesus' resurrected body was recognizable, was touchable, and was scarred.  Yet, this body was also able to vanish, to appear in a locked room, and to live on forever.  This passage let's us know that our lowly bodies will be transformed to conform to Jesus' resurrected body!  Paul says that this transformation will take place at the resurrection of all mankind at the Judgment Day (1 Corinthians 15:50-53)! “But now Christ is risen from the dead ...”
 
“If I were to ask you to describe [the Sunday Jesus' arose] without using any words, you could use only punctuation marks, which punctuation mark would you choose … for yourself?  Maybe this [Sunday] is a comma for you.  It makes you stop, think, and listen, but that's about it.  [Maybe it’s a dash.  You’ve thought about your relationship to God, and you’ll continue to think about it all day today.  You know that you need to change some things.  Maybe this Sunday is a dash for you.]  Perhaps today is a downer, a big bold period.  You thought you'd feel excited, but instead it seems to be more like [an] empty ritual. ... It was a day when life felt like a period for Jesus' disciples.  He was dead [period].  He was buried [period].  And end to [all their] expectations of the Messiah [period].  But wait―news of an empty tomb ... the period is no longer a period, it's [now] a question mark.  That's worse than a period.  Now they're beginning to doubt.  Where is He?  They're perplexed.  The guards are gone, the stone is rolled away.  He is not there.  And if not there, then where?  An angel speaks: 'Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He is risen.  Remember how He spoke to you while He was in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and how He must be crucified, and the third day He must rise again.'  Of course, [now] they remembered!  The periods are gone.  The question marks are removed.  There is one massive exclamation point!  That's what [Resurrection Sunday] is all about ... and exclamation of gratitude and of praise for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and for the salvation His victory over death brought to us” (LoMusio in Swindoll)!  In this sermon, we've seen the prophecies of resurrection and how they were fulfilled in Jesus' resurrection. Then we heard the proclamations of resurrections as Peter, Paul, and sound teaching all confirm that Jesus was alive for 40 days and seen by hundreds of people.  Next, we noticed the reminders of resurrection: the special day called Sunday, the special meal called the Lord's Supper, and the special act called baptism by immersion.  Of course, the special people called the church could also be added to these reminders since the empty tomb really was the cradle of the church.  Lastly, we discovered the wonderful results of resurrection: it proved Jesus was God's Son; it made us righteous in God's sight; it provides us a living hope; and it guarantees that one day our bodies will be transformed into an immortal body like that of Jesus!  If the resurrection is not a massive exclamation point in your life, why not show your gratitude, praise, and joy by becoming a Christian right now!  Let this be your resurrection Sunday as you bury the old life in a watery grave and then are resurrected to live a life according to Jesus' teachings. Let Jesus give you a living hope!