Resurrection Reflections

Jesus claimed to be the resurrection and the life prior to his own resurrection (Matt. 16:21, 17:9, 27:63 [even his enemies knew it], Luke 18:33, 24:7, John 2:19). This wasn’t just a stand-alone event that was later reinterpreted. A striking thing about the resurrection of Jesus is that it was foreshadowed, verbally claimed, accomplished, and has resonating effects.

“You will not allow your Holy One to undergo decay” (Ps. 16”10). This idiom for death is quite possibly the clearest Old Testament prediction of the Messiah’s resurrection. Jonah was a sign of the resurrection (Matt 12:40). Even the burning bush event gave Moses hints at the resurrection. God spoke out of the bush, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”[1] Jesus explained that, therefore “He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”[2]

No man has ever caused himself to come to life prior to Jesus; and no man has done it since. After all, what capability does a dead man have? Absolutely none. Yet, Jesus, as a dead man, had ability. Where did this ability come from? While the earthly man was dead, the earthly man was not his only nature (thus, the necessity of the virgin birth). Jesus was also the fully God. As such, it was impossible that death would keep him. He could have risen right away, or even have been healed while on the cross. It did not take him three days to get better or to finish more of the atonement. The time was intentional to fulfill the sign of Jonah and the sign of the 7 days in Genesis 1. On the 6th day God created the man that would end up killing the Creator Son. Recall that God did no work on the 7th day; He rested. The eighth day is a new beginning, another day one. All things become new (Rev. 21:5). Light is once again separated from darkness.

During his earthly ministry, Jesus gave hints in support of the fact that he was not limited by death. Jesus raised many people from the dead—certainly more than the ones that have reported. Jesus, giving indicators of his messianic ministry said, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up”[3]. His close follower, John, emphasized the fact that Jesus did much more that what had been recorded (John 20:30). We can only speculate how many dead people physically came to life during his earthly ministry.

Today, we can see the signs that Jesus still brings the dead to life. Since God is necessarily life, anyone that He claims will necessarily live. God claims by the Holy Spirit, and couldn’t claim anyone if He couldn’t claim the Son. Not only is the Trinity essential to the resurrection of Jesus, the He (they?) is essential to bringing the dead people that we are to life. The Father calls, the Son provides, and the Holy Spirit seals the deal. “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.”[4]

Anyone that has been born again can testify that the life that they lived before was as a life of a walking dead man (Col. 2:13). Life is not “a little better with Christ.” It is not about “giving Jesus a try.” It is about transferring from death to life. When Jesus was severely beaten beyond recognition, he was showing us the horror of our own condition. Part of the beauty of the resurrection is the horrid state that preceded it. Yeah, our little sin really is THAT bad.

[A brief apologetics-related diversion: Some antagonists toward Christianity say, “If Jesus knew that he would rise from the dead, then it was not much of a punishment anyway.” First of all, people hate enduring an instant of pain, especially when it’s underserved; Jesus endured 6 hours of it! Second, pain increases as awareness increases. I would argue that Jesus was the most aware person to ever grace the planet; therefore he could hurt much worse. Third, there is much more to suffering than physical pain. An incidental slap in a crowd of active people hurts much less than an intentional slap from a spouse. In this regard, Jesus suffered to an unmatched extent. Fourth, God, as an eternal being, does not separate Himself from the horror and pain of the crucifixion. God is the eternal now, and in such a way always has in mind the suffering. Jesus’ suffering was much greater by virtue of who he is, not less.]

The most detailed and familiar dead-raising miracle that Jesus performed (prior to his own) was raising his beloved friend Lazarus (John 11). He says something very interesting early on: “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”[5] This speaks something to our own condition. We are by nature sick, and by all appearances dead. Yet Jesus would say to us that this doesn’t have to be our destined end. When Jesus says to us, “Get out of your tomb and come to me,” even something that had been dead and rotting will awaken. Isn’t it awesome to know that some people are only dead and rotting now so that later they can become a testament to God’s glory and life giving power!

Do we want the resurrection that Jesus by nature claimed and, because of his relentless love, earned on our behalf? Then we are to count our lives of sin as dead with him on the cross. “He has taken [sin] out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”[6] “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”[7]… “If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”[8]

The resurrection is the most significant event in human history. It is the inheritance of any and all people that hear Jesus say, “Arise, Come to me,” and walk to him through faith. Now the sickness of our feeble existence doesn’t have to end in the death that we deserve—and we get to thank him forever for it!

[1] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ex 3:6). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[2] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 22:32). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[3] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 11:4–5). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[4] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ro 8:11). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[5] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Jn 11:4). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[6] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Col 2:14). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[7] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ro 6:4). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[8] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ro 6:8). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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