Chapter 36 The Glad Tidings Of Resurrection

The promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled … in that He hath raised up Jesus again (Acts 13:32, 33).

The resurrection of our Lord was the foundation upon which the Gospel of redeeming grace was built. To that our Lord Himself directed the disciples as the evidence of His Messiahship. There are ten recorded appearances of our Lord in His resurrection so that the disciples could testify with full assurance of it. And because Paul was not a disciple at that time and did not have that advantage, he was given ocular vision and demonstration so that he, too, as an apostle, might be its supreme witness.

The Resurrection As an Accomplishment of Prophecy

The promise quoted by the apostle is from Psalm 2. It declares the triumph of our Lord over all His enemies and demonstrates His consequent exaltation to the right hand of the Majesty on high. It was said that on that day He was “begotten”—because He was then formed anew, as it were, from the earth. The Old Testament prophets predicted this. The classic figure was that of Jonah who was delivered from the belly of the whale after three days and three nights. The living bird of Leviticus 14:51, 53 after having been dipped in blood was set free. It rose into the heavens having been slain, as it were, representing the Lord as ascending into the heavens with His own blood.

The Resurrection As Glad Tidings for Our Souls

To the disconsolate disciples the glad tidings of our Lord’s resurrection were exceedingly joyous. That event first ascertains the virtue of His sacrifice. Had He not risen from the dead then His death would have been in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, 18). We would have had no evidence our debt was discharged if our Surety had not been liberated from the prison of the grave. But His resurrection clearly proved that the Lord had satisfied all the demands of law and justice and this gives believers ground of an assured hope and fills them with triumphant exultation (Romans 4:25).

In the second place, it denotes His sufficiency for our help. If He were still dead it would be in vain to look to Him for help. But when He had raised up Himself, which He did according to His own word in John 10.17, 18, and had been exalted that He might be a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance and the remission of sins (Acts 5:31), what may we not expect at His hands? Surely He is declared thereby to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4)! O that we knew Him better, and O that we should strive the more to know Him in the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10), then nothing should be impossible to us (Mark 9:23).

The Resurrection As the Hope of Our Own Resurrection

Our hope of resurrection depends entirely upon His. If He had not risen neither could we. Because He was raised we shall rise also. Christ is the firstfruits which, sanctified and set apart, brought assurance that the whole harvest, yet in the fields, would also be taken up (1 Corinthians 15:20). He is our Forerunner who is gone into the heavens to prepare a place for us and will come again to raise us up to gain possession of it (John 14:2, 3). We therefore may consider death and the grave as vanquished, and look forward with confidence to the complete triumph we shall have over them. He lives and we shall live also (John 14:19). The promises of the Old Testament show how inspired they were. The Word of God is not of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20), as though it belonged to this or that nation, or this or that individual. Many Old Testament Scriptures doubtless had a peculiar reference to those to whom they were spoken at that time, but no promise of God has an exclusive reference. All the promises are “yea and Amen in Christ.” We can embrace the promises of God given in ancient times as you see by comparing Joshua 1:5 with Hebrews 13:5, 6. We may expect the fulfillment of all the promises of God to our own souls.

It is sad indeed that men are enemies to themselves by despising the glad tidings of the Gospel. Indeed, there are many who are ready with the demons to say, “[We] beseech Thee, torment [us] not” (Luke 8:28). They look upon faithful servants of God as Ahab did the prophets—troublers of Israel—(1 Kings 18:17). But the ministry given us is to declare good tidings—to proclaim a crucified, risen and exalted Saviour. Think of such an excellent sacrifice! Think of such a triumphant resurrection! See whether these great events do not afford us matter for eternal praise and rejoicing.

A near relation, too, subsists between believers of all ages. We are to sit down with the patriarchs and prophets of old in the kingdom of our God. While it appears that the Church of the New Testament is in a privileged position and a special relationship to the Lord Jesus as His Spouse, yet we can still look upon the saints of old as, in some precious way, united to the Lord Jesus Christ and realize that they will share the same eternal glory (Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:29).

Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone—for ever!
He who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bonds of death to sever.
He shall raise me with the just:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives and reigns supreme;
And, His kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with Him,
Ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised: be it must;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and death is now
But my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
Jesus is the Christian’s Trust.

—Christian F. Gellert
Tr. By Philip Schaff