Jesus alone Has Returned from the Dead

Over the past few months we have looked at three reasons why the Lordship of Christ is essential for the Christian life.

First, submission to Jesus as Lord connects us to him in a personal relationship.
Second, submission to Jesus as Lord provides us with an adequate motive for living.
Third, submission to Jesus as Lord makes us his cherished possession.

Let’s shift now to the last reason

Submission to Christ’s Lordship establishes our ultimate security. 

This is based upon Romans 14:9—For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

ApostleThomas-58a248693df78c4758c58146

“The Incredulity of Saint Thomas” by Caravaggio, 1603. Public domain

Jesus alone has had a unique world-altering experience—resurrection from the dead.

Jesus lived on this earth as the God-man. He was and is God and man. The Westminster Shorter Catechism states it the best I’ve ever read.

Q. 21. Who is the Redeemer…?

Ans. The only Redeemer…is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man and so was, and continues to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever. (See “WSC” below.)

Beyond this we cannot go in explaining the God-man Jesus Christ. But we know he was truly God and truly man.

Woodcuts of Widow of Nain’s son and Jairus’s daughter raised

He went from the realm of the living to that of the dead.

The point is he was alive. Then, “he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died, was buried, he descended to Hades,” as the creed states so clearly.

The Westminster Larger Catechism question 50 explains the descent as clearly as I have ever read. (see “WLC” below.)

Q. 50. Wherein consisted Christ’s humiliation after his death?

Ans. Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried, and continuing in the state of the dead, and under the power of death till the third day; which hath been otherwise expressed in these words, He descended into hell.

Someone might protest, several in the New Testament were raised from the dead,

Lazarus-raised-Gustav-Dore-public-domain

Woodcut of Lazarus raised

weren’t they? Yes. But it was more a resuscitation from death than a resurrection.

C. S. Lewis says this about the death of his wife, Joy—

I want to have [Joy] back as an ingredient in the restoration of my past. Could I have wished her anything worse? Having got once through death, to come back and then, at some later date, have all her dying to do all over again? They call Stephen the first martyr. Hadn’t Lazarus the rawer deal? (see “C. S. Lewis” below.)

Jesus’s raising people from the dead during his earthly life demonstrates he has the power to do so.

We will see in the next post the uniqueness of Jesus’s resurrection experience and what this means for us.

Notes

Lewis, C. S. (1961). A Grief Observed. From WikiQuote on C. S. Lewis accessed 17 July 2018 from https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/C._S._Lewis

WLC. (1648). Accessed 17 July 2018 from https://reformed.org/documents/wlc_w_proofs/index.html

WSC. (1646-1647). Accessed 17 July 2018 from http://www.shortercatechism.com/
N. B. The question and answer for 21 include the word “God’s elect.” As a Reformed pastor, I have no objection to the terminology. I omit it for the benefit of those who do, so they can read the truth I wish to emphasize and not stumble over the other which I may emphasize at a later time. 

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

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