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The Adventure Link: Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? Session Twenty-One
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister, Covenant Community Church on Mar 29, 2004, 13:32

The Adventure Link

Will Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

Session 21

 

In the days ahead we will be looking at the Passion of the Christ. That series starts this week. But as we end our current series we end with a quick look at the day that Jesus stood back up...we look not at His death but at His return to life.

 

The resurrection of Jesus is radical in the original sense of the word. Without it Christianity becomes just another religion designed to titillate our moral senses with platitudes of human wisdom. The apostle Paul spelled out the clear and irrefutable consequences of a “resurrectionless” Christianity. If Christ is not raised, he reasoned, we are left with the following list of conclusions:

l. Our preaching is futile.

2. Our faith is in vain.

3. We have misrepresented God.

4. We are still in our sins.

5. Our loved ones who have died have perished.

6. If all we have is hope, we are of all men most to be pitied.

 

These six consequences sharply reveal the inner connection of the Resurrection to the substance of Christianity. Take away the Resurrection and you take away Christianity.

 

The biblical writers do not base their claim of resurrection on the basis of its internal consistency to the whole of faith, however. It is not simply a logical deduction drawn from other doctrines of faith. It is not a matter that we must affirm the Resurrection because the options to it are grim. Resurrection is not affirmed because life would be hopeless or intolerable without it. The claim is based not on speculation but on empirical data.

 

They saw the risen Christ.

 

They spoke with him and ate with him.

 

 

The death of Jesus was a public spectacle and a matter of public record. His resurrection was witnessed by more than five hundred people at one time. The Bible presents history on this matter.

 

The strongest objection raised against the biblical account of Jesus’ resurrection is the same objection raised against other biblical miracles, namely that such an event is impossible. It is ironic that the New Testament approaches the question of Christ’s resurrection from exactly the opposite direction. In Peter’s speech on Pentecost he declared: “But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24).

 

To set forth the principle stated here I must indulge myself with the use of a double negative. It was impossible for Christ not to have been raised. For death to have held Christ would have required the supreme and unthinkable violation of the laws of death. It is viewed by modern man as an inexorable law of nature that what dies, stays dead. But that law is a law of fallen nature. In the Judeo-Christian view of nature, death enters the world as a judgment upon sin. The Creator decreed that sin was a capital offense. The soul that sins shall die. “In the day that you eat of it you shall die” (Genesis 2:14), was the original warning. God granted an extension of life beyond the day of sin, but not indefinitely.

 

Jesus was free from sin, both original and actual. Death had no legitimate claim on him in himself. He was punished for the sin imputed to him, but once the price was paid and the imputation was lifted from his back, death lost its power.

 

In death an atonement was made; in resurrection the perfect sinlessness of Jesus was vindicated. He was, as the Scriptures assert, raised for our justification as well as his own vindication.

 

For God to allow Jesus to be forever bound by death would have been for God to violate his own righteous character. It would have been an injustice, an act that is supremely impossible for God to commit. The surprise is not that Jesus rose, but that he stayed in the tomb as long as he did. Perhaps it was God’s condescension to human weakness of unbelief that inclined him to keep Christ captive, to ensure that there would be no doubt he was dead and the Resurrection would not be mistaken for a resuscitation.

 

He arose!

What great news to start the week with!

The adventure continues...






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