Chapter 28 The Resurrection Side Of The Cross

He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things… and be killed, and be raised again the third day (Matthew 16:21).

The emphasis of the New Testament is upon the death of the Lord Jesus, since by His death He dealt with our sins and wrought out redemption for us. He took them quite away. But the Christ who died, and descended into the grave, rose again; and the Christ who rose again was the Christ who died. Life seemed to be extinct. The grave made fast its bars.

But every foe was foiled. Death and hell yielded. The tomb opened its portal. The mighty Conqueror strode forth alive. He was the first fruits from among the dead.

The Resurrection Demonstrates His Deity

“And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). When our Lord warned His disciples that He must die, they did not understand it. Was He really the Son of God? When at last He was arrested, tried, condemned, and crucified, the disciples must have wondered. Instead of reigning over a kingdom on earth, as they supposed He would, He had suffered the shame and ignominy of crucifixion. How could He be the Son of God and allow men to kill Him? Might it be that He was not the Messiah—the Redeemer? So they may have queried!

But, then, He arose; He lives; He comes forth again to God. And in His resurrection He was powerfully declared to be the Son of God. The resurrection proved it beyond a shadow of doubt.

A very important event in the Old Testament was the throwing up of Jonah by the big fish which had swallowed him. This was a pointer to our Lord’s resurrection—a type of it.

It was the resurrection which convinced Mary in the garden, which restored Peter’s confidence after his threefold denial, which made doubting Thomas cry, “My Lord and my God,” which revived the hopes of the two despondent disciples who were going to Emmaus, which brought new hope to the disciples who had gone back fishing and had caught nothing, and which convinced Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road.

The Resurrection Confirms the Efficacy of His Death

“We believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25). When the Lord Jesus died, anxious hearts may have inquired: He came, He died to save—but may He not have failed?

The Lord Himself had foretold not only His death but the purpose of it: “to give His life a ransom for many,” that His blood was to be shed for the remission of sins. But how do we know that for sure? May He not have failed? Oh, no! The resurrection proves that the purpose for which He died was accomplished. All claims were satisfied. All enemies were subdued. All the worst that hell could do against Him was now a broken reed. The resurrection was God’s proof and evidence that our Lord had not died in vain. Because that purpose had been accomplished, and full satisfaction for sins had been made, God raised Him from the dead for our justification.

The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:17-18,20, says, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished… . But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” So believers are no longer in their sins, but are justified from all things. Those who have died in the Lord are not perished, but are safe home with the Lord.

The Resurrection Completes the Redemptive Work of the Cross

“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5). The resurrection of our body is part of redemption’s fruit. Death, like the devil, is a conquered foe. It will come and extend its hand to take down our crumbling clay abode. It will consign the bodies of believers to a narrow cell, and worms will do their work. This body is sin-soiled and cannot be taken into God’s Heaven.

But death’s seeming triumph over the body is a real defeat. It wounds only to heal. It means that the body will rise in fresher beauty. Oh, how changed that body will be! It shall shine brighter than the noonday sun. It will be no longer fleshly but spiritual.

We can hardly conceive the glory of that resurrection body. But it is true and it is near. The trumpet will soon sound to call the bodies of believers to arise. The Lord of life is at the door. This is part of the blessed gospel, that we glory in resurrection hopes.

Then will the Lord display before the Father the many members who compose His spiritual body. He pleads that they may be gathered from the world. He offers them as consecrated for the Father’s use. What a sight that will be! To see the Saviour’s nail-marked hand present our fully-redeemed persons to God the Father!

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain,
One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected:
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He!

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore!

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
One day the skies with His glories will shine;
Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;
Glorious Saviour, this Jesus is mine!

J. Wilbur Chapman