God’s Word for You
Jesus’ resurrection and yours
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, May 27, 2020
30 But God raised him from the dead.
Here is the heart of the gospel message. The fullest account of this truth in the Scriptures is surely Paul’s great exposition in 1 Corinthians 15, brilliantly making his point through thesis (“Christ has indeed been raised from the dead,” 15:20), antithesis (“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins,” 15:17), and synthesis (“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ will all be made alive,” 15:21-22).
Here, Paul makes his point with a simple statement of fact, since the form of the Greek word egeiren (ἤγειρεν, aorist) emphasizes the simple truth of the matter. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and the leaders of the Jews were the ones who condemned him, but in a striking contrast to their verdict, God personally reversed their decision. Normally we would think of death as being a thing that was irreversible, but with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).
In Medieval and Renaissance times it was generally believed that swallows that fly south in the winter land in the sea or pools of water and die there in the water, but come back to life in the spring, returning to their previous homes. This was sometimes used as a proof of the resurrection (LW Volume 1, p. 52). This belief was not a flaw in the church, but in science, since science had arrived at an erroneous conclusion based on limited evidence. The church simply tried to make an application.
What the Bible teaches is that Christ’s resurrection from the dead is an established fact corroborated by many witnesses (Mark 16:9-19; John 20:15-16; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8). Because of his resurrection, we, too, will rise—all who have put our faith in him. Those who have not believed or who have rejected their faith will rise to eternal punishment. Those who have believed will rise to eternal delight and joy. With the original innocence of Adam, we will live a perfectly godly life in heaven. It will be a life without trouble, without sin, without temptation, without any mistakes, without any discord. It will be a life of rejoicing in God and in his word, of praising him for his creation, for our salvation, and for each of the many gifts he gives. It will be an eternity of praise to God, not only for the blessings of the first article of the creed, or the third, but especially for the blessings of the second article, the blessings that came to us only through faith in Jesus Christ, for those are the blessings that will have brought us home to heaven. Those are the blessings of Jesus’ incarnation as a man, his perfect life lived in our place, his innocent suffering and death, his holy burial and entombment for three days, his resurrection, and the prayers he offered to the Father during our short lifetimes, praying on our behalf for his grace and forgiveness on his account. This is the Savior Jesus who has rescued us, and who will bring us home at last.
Pastor Timothy Smith