IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: EVEN SOMETHING AS FINAL AS DEATH COULDN’T HOLD HIM DOWN
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” Acts 2:24.
This is how Peter explained it to his transfixed audience: “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24). This is the first public statement by any Christian regarding what happened that first Sunday morning when the women found the empty tomb.
“God raised him from the dead.” A simple statement of fact.
“Freeing him from the agony of death.” What the resurrection meant for Christ.
“It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” The reason Jesus had to rise from the dead.
Looking back, it now seems inevitable to Peter. Only 50 days ago, he and the other disciples were cowering behind closed doors, overcome by grief and fear. After the horrific events of Good Friday, the last thing they expected was a resurrection. Even the women who came to the tomb were coming to anoint a dead body. They had no thought of finding the tomb empty. And when they found it empty, they assumed someone had taken the body away.
What a difference a day makes! Having seen Jesus up close and personal, Peter knew that he had risen from the dead. The impossible had happened. A dead man had come back to life. The Son of God had broken the power of death. The grave had been defeated. And now everything was clear in his mind. He had to rise. It was inevitable. Amazing that he had not seen it sooner. The only word for it was “impossible.” Not “Impossible for Jesus to rise” but “Impossible for Jesus not to rise.”
The dignity of His Person rendered it impossible that He should be held by the cords of death, apart from the consent of His own will, for, though Jesus Christ was truly Human—and let that blessed fact never be forgotten—yet His Humanity was in so close an alliance with the Godhead that, though we do not say that the Humanity did really become Divine, yet, “Jesus Christ Himself is altogether Divine and is to be worshipped and adored in the completeness of His blessed Person. And, therefore, that flesh, which He took upon Himself for our sake, was lifted up, exalted, ennobled, by being taken into mysterious unity with His Deity. It could not be that a body in which dwelt the fullness of the Godhead could be held by thin bonds of death—He who slept in Joseph’s tomb was the Son of God! It was He who is without beginning of days or end of years. It is He with whom Jehovah took counsel when He laid the foundations of the heavens and built all worlds, for “without Him was not anything made that was made.” It was not, therefore, possible that He should be held by the bonds of death.
Only imagine what would have been the consequences to us if that assurance had not been ours. There would have been no evidence of our justification. I might have said, “Yes, Christ took my debt, but how do I know that He paid it? Christ bore my sins, but how do I know that He put them away?” So, if He had never risen from the dead, we would have had no proof that we were justified.
Then, too, if He had never risen and gone up to Heaven in His human body, we would not have had anyone to take possession of Heaven on our behalf. Now we have “a Man in possession.” We have a wondrous Representative before the Throne of God who has taken possession and grip of the Divine estates. What a joy it is to us to know that He is there to represent us before God!
Further, if Christ’s body had remained in the grave, there could have been no reign of Christ, and no sitting down at the right hand of God as there now is. He would have been in Heaven in the same respect as He is here as God.
“Our religion is not based upon opinions, but upon facts. We hear persons sometimes saying, ‘Those are your views, and these are ours.’ Whatever your ‘views’ may be, is a small matter; what are the facts of the case?”
Christ died: The death of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, is the center of the gospel. Though the idea of glorying in the death of a Savior seems foolishness to the world, it is salvation to those who will believe.
For our sins: Our sins were responsible for the death of Jesus. He did not die for a political cause, or as an enemy of the state, or for someone’s envy. Jesus died for our sins. Jesus did not die as a mere martyr for a cause.
Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus is not some “add on” to a “more important” work on the cross. If the cross is the payment for our sins, the empty tomb is the receipt, showing that the perfect Son of God made perfect payment for our sins. The payment itself is of little good without the receipt! This is why the resurrection of Jesus was such a prominent theme in the evangelistic preaching of the early church (Acts 2:24, Acts 3:15, Acts 4:10, Acts 13:30-39).
The Bible makes it clear how Jesus avoids decay; how his death is real, but so is his resurrection; how he escapes decay and throws off the cold, clinging grip of death. Our bodies, like the earth itself, will deteriorate and eventually decay. But through Jesus, we can be revived, reclothed, restored and resurrected. Whatever the state of these bodies before and after death, Jesus promises to raise us to life and perfection.
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