5m | Jan 2, 2024

In his excellent book, Truth on Fire, Adam Ramsey writes,

“If there was no resurrection, then the payment Jesus made as the sacrifice for our sins was rejected. If there was no resurrection, then the whole Bible was written by liars or lunatics. If there was no resurrection, then there is no hope.”

I’m so glad that the resurrection was real.

Is real.

Powerfully real.

Today, let us remind ourselves of its glorious truth.

Starting at Pentecost, the resurrection dominated the preaching of the Apostles: “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 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: 22 - 24).

In just a few words, Peter has said it all. “Jesus – the one from Nazareth, you know him! You know the miracles he did. Even though you put him to death, it was all part of God’s great plan to conquer death.”

Peter said the same thing to astonished witnesses of a lame man’s healing at the Temple Gate in the next chapter of Acts. “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead” (Acts 3:15) and then to the household of Cornelius: “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen” (Acts 10: 39 - 40).

News of the mighty miracle resounded throughout the ancient world as believers travelled far and wide, taking the news with them. The persecutor, Saul became the Paul, the loudest witness and proclaimer: “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead,” (Acts 13: 26 - 30)

And as Paul, and others, continued to share this stunning truth, the profound implications of it created a hope beyond their wildest dreams. The early writings exploded with celebration:

“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification”, wrote Paul to the Roman church in chapter 4: 25, and then to the Corinthian church: “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14).

Peter also marvels at the life to come: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1: 3 – 4).

Amen. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.

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