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The Testimony Of Jesus Christ

Chapter Eight

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The dark night of death had passed and the bright morning sun had risen upon the empty tomb. An angel said, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:6). Long ago the Psalmist of Israel said, “...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalms 30:5). What a wonderful prospect! Tears of sorrow may give way to tears of joy and gladness. We will now move from the sadness of His crucifixion and death to the joy and blessings of the resurrection of Christ.

It is interesting to note that when the Apostle Paul wrote about the death of Christ, he often hastened to mention His resurrection. It is easy to observe this progression of thought as we read Romans 4:25. Paul said of Christ: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Paul made reference to the fact that Christ was “delivered” to the violent mob and crucified, that He might die for our “offences” against God and His holy laws. Then Paul hastened to remind us that Christ was raised again for our “justification.” The ancient concept of justification seems to suggest that offenders of the law would be treated as if they were innocent. Christ died for our sins and now our heavenly Father treats us as if we never sinned. After all, Christ paid our sin debt; thus, we are justified!

Let us consider another passage which follows the same path of reason. In 1 Corinthians 15:3, Paul mentioned the death of Christ and in the very next verse he dealt with His resurrection. He reminds us “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). So the essential connection between the redemptive death of Christ and His resurrection is again acknowledged. Though both teachings are necessary to the Christian faith, his final focus is on the resurrection of Christ.

What makes the resurrection of Christ so significant? No single answer would be complete enough to adequately answer the question. It is clearly evident that there are many important aspects of His resurrection. Perhaps the most unusual and interesting fact about the resurrection of Christ is that it was actually predicted before it occurred. The Old Testament book of Psalms records a prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus centuries before it actually happened. Psalm 16:10 says, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” But how do we know that the Psalmist was not speaking of his own resurrection? The answer is found in the New Testament. On the Day of Pentecost, there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. By His power, the Apostle Peter preached Jesus and among the many truths he proclaimed was the fact of Christ’s resurrection. He said of Jesus: “ Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24). In the very next verse, he calls attention to the writings of David and goes on to cite the passage quoted earlier. Compare Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27. All doubt is removed; the resurrection of Christ was prophesied long before it transpired.

There was another resurrection prophecy which came directly from Christ. He spoke of His resurrection before the betrayal and crucifixion. The Bible says, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). The “temple” of which He spoke was not the Temple proper in Jerusalem which was the hub of Jewish worship. Instead, Christ spoke of the temple of His body, destroyed and raised again. Paul used the same analogy, declaring that our body is the temple of God, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). So Jesus was saying that His body or temple would die, but it would be resurrected to live again. They did crucify Him, but on the third day He rose from the dead. So even before He died and was buried in the tomb, Christ proclaimed His resurrection.

Thus far, we have examined scriptures which foretold the bodily resurrection of Christ. Now, we will consider two passages that confirmed it after the fact. One such scripture is Acts 4:33. It states, “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” By God’s grace the Apostles preached the resurrection of Christ; as witnesses they proclaimed it with power and conviction. One of those Apostles who so powerfully proclaimed the resurrection of Christ was Peter. In 1 Peter 1:3 he wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Of course, the resurrection of Christ had already occurred when he penned those words. But as he looked back on that momentous event, his heart was filled with hope. He called it a “lively” or living hope. That hope lives on today in the souls of those who believe that Christ was resurrected and is alive forevermore.

From our perspective, we now look back on the resurrection of Christ as an historical event of great significance, well documented in the Bible. But the resurrection also teaches some very important truths about Christ. The resurrection speaks more profoundly and persuasively than volumes which men may compose. It shouts loudly, throughout the ages, that Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of God. He must be Divine, for no mere man could lay down his life only to reach out and take it again. In Romans 1:4 we read: “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Therefore, the resurrection of Christ declares His Sonship and power. They are inseparable Biblical truths which support and validate each other.

While the doctrine of the resurrection declares a great deal about Christ, it has something to say about us, too. Because Christ was resurrected, He will also raise us from the dead. We must not ignore the fact of our resurrection. Unless Jesus comes again first, all of us will die. To some people that is an unpleasant fact. But when we die, like the loved ones who preceded us in death, we, too, will be laid to rest and wait. Wait? On what? On the resurrection of our mortal bodies. The grave will not be able to keep us, for Christ was resurrected and gained the victory over death. Our hope of life after death must be anchored firmly to His resurrection. Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20). His hope in Christ rested solidly upon the resurrection of our Lord. What a wonderful affirmation of faith in Christ. He is risen and because He is the “firstfruits,” we shall also be resurrected to live eternally.


Obviously, the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ is central to the Christian faith. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him” (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Millions deeply believe these truths and hope to live again after death. Thank God for the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

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This page last updated on November 1, 2015