The Victorious Christ
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept" (I Cor.15:20).
We are living in a great day of power. Amazing strides have been made by man in his attempt to conquer the complex world about him. Medical science has almost completely eradicated once dreaded diseases. Mighty ocean-going vessels, harnessed by man's ingenuity, divide the waters of the seas with record speed. Giant airplanes, the product of man's inventive skill, zoom through the skies at a faster-than-sound clip, making trips to far-distant cities in only a few hours. Rockets with millions of pounds have lifted man to the moon and back, thus fulfilling a long-standing dream. Putting man on Mars is within sight.
There is, however, a greater power than the greatest ability of man; namely, God's power demonstrated in the resurrection of our Lord. The sealed sepulcher could not hold our dear Savior. Divine decree with flawless efficiency loosed the Lord Jesus from the clutching hands of death.
Christ's resurrection is a tremendous theme, thrilling our hearts with serene joy. It is a glorious proclamation, strengthening our souls spiritually. The empty tomb announces that Christ is risen! Through the centuries these words--"Triumph!" "Victory!" "Good news!"--ring out in clear tones of hope.
The resurrection of Christ refreshes our spirits with renewed courage. It surely registered a mighty impact upon the disciples as they were suddenly transformed from men crippled by fear into a band of bold spokesmen for the Lord.
The words "is risen" come from "egeiro," which means "to raise up or cause to appear.” The perfect tense verb structure sets forth the certain, indisputable fact of Christ's resurrection. The word "resurrection” comes from the Greek word “anastasis” and means "a raising up from the dead," emphasizing the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus.
The resurrection of our Lord out from among the dead, was brought about by the omnipotent power of God. The Apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesian saints might know something of that kind of power. A portion of his prayer is as follows: "That you may know...what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:18--20).
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus exalted Him from the dust of the darkened tomb to the lofty heights of glory at the Father's right hand (Phil. 2:9; Heb. 1:3), causing all Heaven and earth to rejoice in the Truth that Christ "Has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (II Tim. 1:10).
Let us remember once and for all that the Resurrection was not the rising up of a ghost, phantom or spirit, but rather the coming forth of a Person who conquered death. That Person is our Lord Who is always wonderful, blessed, holy, righteous and lives forever.
He spoke tender words of comfort to the Apostle John who had been banished to Patmos, a tiny, rugged, rocky island in the Aegean Sea, saying, "I am he that lives and was dead: and, behold I am alive for evermore. Amen. And have the keys of hell and death" (Rev. 1:18).
Our Lord's words of comfort and assurance jump over the mountain peaks of history to land in our hearts with sweet application, as the Master speaks to us in our day, "Because I live, you shall live also" (John 14:19).
We need to remind ourselves that the resurrection of our Lord is a cardinal tenet of the Christian faith, the potent power of "our" faith.
The divine triumph wrought in Christ's coming forth from the land of death to life and light, honors His matchless Name, demonstrates His supernatural power, vindicates God's righteous throne, strikes death a devastating blow, and kindles new hope in our hearts. It causes our lips to praise the Lord for His grace, manifest mercy and redeeming love. Moreover, Christ's resurrection puts His foes to flight, and assures us victory over the enemy in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Christ's resurrection is not a hidden secret to be sought, not a myth needing shameful apology, but a fact of faith, demanding and worthy of fullest acceptance. A fact clothed in miraculous might, supernatural glory and blessed power.
All the modernist's apostasy, all the atheist's unbelief, all the infidel's disregard for the Word of God, all the agnostic's ignorance, cannot ever mitigate against the fact of Christ's resurrection.
Arrogant denials or blasphemous rejection cannot invalidate the overwhelming certainty of Christ's resurrection. No one can blot out the fact of Christ's resurrection, anchored securely in the annals of history. It cannot succumb to destruction since it is fortified in every detail by historical accuracy and grounded in the unimpeachable integrity of God's Word.
Let us then go forth to present the glorious gospel of our living Savior to a dying world that is lost in the wretchedness of sin.
The Philippian Jailor asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" "And they said, Believe at once, once and for all on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:30-31).