Jesus said, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:18)
This builds on a previous post. You can read Christ Is Everything: I Need Him
Our Historical Foundation
Remember what we believe: God the Son became human through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth. The Eternal Son added on full humanity, united in one Person forever, becoming Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross an atoning sacrifice for our sins and on the third day He arose bodily from the dead according to the Scriptures. Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus ascended into Heaven where He now reigns and rules at God’s right hand. From that place of victory, Christ continues helping us as our Mediator and Deliverer. Because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede and intervene for us.1
In those forty days between His resurrection and ascension, Jesus’ appeared to His first followers many times.2 They saw and touched Him. They heard, learned from, and rejoiced with Christ face to face and their hearts were burning with love for Jesus. They were not hallucinating.3 Christ’s followers wrote down His resurrection appearances and God the Holy Spirit has convinced believers ever since that these accounts are true, factual, and historically accurate.
Turning the World Right Side up
Christ’s first followers were convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was an ever-living Savior, not a martyred teacher or philosopher. And they were so strongly convinced that they were willing to suffer torture and death rather than renounce their eyewitness accounts. The “resurrection reality” electrified their ministry, and they spread Christ’s good news throughout the Roman Empire, turning the world “upside down” which was really right side up and back to God.4
The Holy Spirit can use us to do the same in our time and place, as we point people to the resurrected Lord Jesus. We don’t want to focus primarily on ethical issues, religious rituals, or theological creeds, as good as these may be. We really don’t want to get embroiled in politics. We want to point people to the living God-man who alone can save us and them. If we want to turn our world (family, workplace, community, nation) right side up today: we need to exalt the Savior; know, trust, and obey the Scriptures; and engage the skeptics.
Jesus said, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” So let us look up Christ ourselves and point others to Him in these evil days.
Committed Not Confused
Henry G. Bosch (1914-1995) told of a proud and ungodly college professor taunting a student who was committed to following the Lord. The prof said, “My dear girl, you don’t know whom you believe in. There have been many christs. Which one of them do you believe in?” The student answered, “I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Eternal Son who rose from the dead! He is the Man at the center of the whole Bible and the Man at the center of all human history.”5
What has God accomplished in raising Jesus from the dead? Here are some (not all) of Scripture’s answers.
Because of Christ’s Resurrection, He Will Never Die Again
Romans 6:9-10 Since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God.
Comment: We love, serve, pray to, and follow a living Lord, not a dead hero. The Gaither’s song is right: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future; And life is worth the living just because He lives.
Because of Christ’s Resurrection, He Intercedes for Us in Heaven Before God
Hebrews 4:15-16 We have a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet without sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Comment: We desperately need the prayers of our Christian brothers and sisters. Even more, we need Jesus’ praying for us, upholding us, keeping us firm to the end, so that we will be blameless on the day of His return.6
Jesus’ Resurrection Was the Beginning and Guarantee of Our Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man (Adam), the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man (Jesus). For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him.
Comment: Jesus laid down His life for us on the cross and He literally took it up again the third day. And Christ’s resurrection is so powerful, beloved, that He drags us along with Him. I remember sitting at the airport one time watching a little jeep pull a 747 plane. One little guy in the jeep was pulling a plane with almost 700 passengers. That reminds us that Christ’s one resurrection pulls along and guarantees resurrection from the grave for all Jesus’ followers. Hallelujah!
We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land, Climb the steeps and cross the waves;
Onward!—’tis our Lord’s command; Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
To be continued. You can read
Notes (various translations): 1 Heb 7:24-25. 2 See my list of Resurrection Appearances. 3 See also Real Encounter: 13 Reasons Jesus’ Disciples Did Not Hallucinate by Dr. Peter Kreeft. 4 Acts 17:6. 5 See also The Final Word: Revelation Simply Explained by Steve Wilmshurst. 6 1 Cor 1:8.