The Bible foretells that in the last days there shall be a falling away from the faith. That apostasy can be seen today in the increasing attacks upon the cardinal doctrines of Christianity. Two areas are central to the devil’s strategy, namely, the deity of Christ and His bodily resurrection.
What a gloomy proposition is the denial of Christ’s resurrection! It would mean that all Christian preaching is vain and a waste of time. Even worse, it would be an exposition of falsehood. The faith of believing people would be empty and groundless, sin unforgiven, and our buried loved ones eternally perished. Salvation at best could be only for this present life. What a dark prospect!
However, the resurrection of Christ is one of the best-attested facts in history. There were over five hundred eyewitnesses whose testimony must be overthrown to deny the fact. It was prophesied by Christ. It was recorded in the Gospels.
The lives of the disciples, so depressed and discouraged by the crucifixion, were suddenly transformed by their Master. They went forth as fearless heralds of Jesus and His Gospel. A faked resurrection could not account for that transformation. The changed lives of millions of Christians attest to the veracity of Paul’s statement, “Now is Christ risen from the dead” [1 Corinthians 15:20].
Three philosophers – Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin – have had a marked but debilitating effect upon modern society. Thankfully, the Christian does not follow the mutable theories of dead philosophers, but the life-giving Gospel of a living Redeemer. His resurrection is the capstone of all Christian doctrine. May we rejoice in “the power of His resurrection” today [Philippians 3:10].
A PICTURE OF THE RESURRECTION
The Bible is God’s picture book. Granted there are no photographs or paintings in the modern sense of the word, but the Bible is full of word pictures. The well-known story of Daniel in the den of lions is a wonderful Old Testament picture of the resurrection of Jesus.
Compare Daniel in the den of lions [Daniel 6:15] with Jesus in the tomb. Daniel’s den was sealed [v17] and the tomb of Jesus was sealed [Matthew 27:66]. Death was defeated in Daniel’s case when God shut the mouths of the lions. [Daniel 6:22]. Death was likewise defeated in the case of Jesus [Corinthians 15:55].
Then Daniel came “up out of the den” alive [Daniel 6:23]. And Jesus Christ, in glorious resurrection victory, “up from the grave He arose.” Do not miss the Old Testament word pictures. They foretell the details of the life of Jesus, proving Him to be the Messiah.
HE SHALL CHANGE OUR VILE BODY
Often when we are racked with pain, and unable to think or worship, we feel that this indeed is “the body of our humiliation.” Our bodies humble us.
But our Saviour, the Lord Jesus, shall change all this. He shall “change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body” [Philippians 3:21]. This will take place in all who believe. By faith their souls have been transformed, and their bodies will undertake such a renewal as shall fit them for their regenerated spirits.
How soon this grand transformation will happen we cannot tell; but the thought of it should help us to bear the trials of today, and all the woes of the flesh.
In a little while we shall be as Jesus now is. No more aching brows, no more swollen limbs, no more dim eyes, no more fainting hearts. The old man shall be no more a bundle of infirmities, nor the sick a mass of agony.
“Like unto His glorious body.” What an expression! Even our flesh shall rest in hope of such a resurrection. [From C.H. Spurgeon].
IS THE RESURRECTION CREDIBLE?
Paul posed the question to King Agrippa [Acts 26:8]. There are those who hold the view that because they have never seen a resurrected person the idea of resurrection is incredible. But enormous evidence backs the resurrection.
Paul asked Agrippa, “Believest thou the prophets?” [v27[. They foretold it. E.g. Job [19:25]. David [Psalm 16:9]. Isaiah [26:19]. Daniel [12:2,3]. Hosea [13:14]. Jesus [John 5:28, 29]. Holy Spirit [Romans 8:11].
Jesus demonstrated the fulfillment of these and other prophesies in the mighty miracle of His resurrection from the dead, which is recorded in all four Gospels.
A list of eyewitnesses is given [1 Corinthians 15:5ff]. They saw the risen Christ! The bottom line? Admit God’s Sovereignty. If He can make us from dust, He can raise us from dust.