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Catechism Class: LD17C, Q45 The Manner of Christ’s Resurrection.

01/03/2022

Catechism Class. Lord’s Day 17C, Q.45. 

The Manner of the Resurrection

We are still dealing with the seriously important doctrine of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4  Our catechist deals with it in Q17, when he is dealing with the Apostle’s Creed, and he asks, in Q17 .How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us? A. First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, so that he could make us share  in the righteousness which he had obtained for us by his death.  Second, by his power we too are raised up to a new life.  Third, Christ’s resurrection is to us a sure pledge of our glorious resurrection.  In his practical application of doctrine, the catechist demonstrates how Christ’s resurrection benefits and blesses us, but there’s a couple more issues we must grapple with, before we get around to that practical application in the catechism, and one of those is the MANNER of his resurrection.  We need to ask some questions about HOW Christ rose from the grave.

1. He Rose, Body and Soul Reunited.  

When we die, our body and our soul are separated.  Our body goes into the ground, and it rots away, it returns to the dust, from where it originally came.  Genesis 2:7, Psalm 103:14  The soul lives on, – the soul of the believer goes immediately into God’s care, – with Him in heaven. Ecclesiastes 12:7  To the repentant thief on the cross, Jesus promised,  Luke 23:43 Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.  Our bodies remain in the ground, and our DNA never perishes, until resurrection day, when the Lord returns and we shall be reunited, body and soul together, – and we shall be raised, our bodies made ready to dwell throughout eternity in a new heaven and earth.  Philippians 3:20-21  

How do we know that such a reunion of body and soul after death is possible?  Because Christ has already done it!  When he died, body and soul were separated. Luke 23:46  At his resurrection from the grave, Jesus’ soul and body were reunited, to give us confidence that such a reunion would be our portion too.  

2. He Rose as the Same Person.

Jesus was both fully God and fully man.  When he died on the cross, he was still fully God and fully man.  When he rose from the dead, Jesus was fully God and fully man.  He still had:

  • A human body.  It would be easy to think of the risen Christ as some kind of ghost, or spectre, and some have fallen into that error, perhaps because of those passages that tell us that he visited the disciples in a room with closed doors. John 20:19   John 20:26  But when you read on, further down that same chapter, you discover that not only did the disciples see and recognise Jesus, – his physical appearance, but Thomas was able to touch him. John 20:27-28    It’s even more obvious in Luke 24:39  
  • A human nature.  When Jesus came into this world, he became one of us, like us in every respect but without sin, became, like us, a little lower than the angels. Hebrews 2:9,17  When he rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, he took our humanity right into the presence of God. He was still a man!  1 Timothy 2:5, There is a man in the glory!  This is important, for because he has taken our humanity into heaven, so we too can bring our humanity right into God’s eternal kingdom.  1 Corinthians 15:22-23   We too will rise, as he did.  But be aware that in Christ’s resurrection we do not become ‘gods’ as he is God!  When he arose, and ascended, Christ’s humanity was not deified, it was glorified!   

So, wait.  If Jesus rose as fully God and fully man, how can a human body dwell eternally in heaven for ever and ever?  Human bodies change and grow old and weary and die and decay.  Paul helps us with this.  Our bodies, at the resurrection day, will be raised incorruptible!   1 Corinthians 15:50-55  In this sense these resurrection bodies will be like the resurrection body of Jesus.  1 John 3:2   

3. Christ Raised Himself!

Jesus had the power to raise himself from the dead, and because of that, he has the power to raise us from the dead also.  Now when we say that, we are of course, doing so in the understanding that the Trinity always acts in concert – in complete unity of purpose and action.  John 5:19-21.  John 5:21  I only warn of this because we may say that God the Father raised Christ.  Romans 8:11   Just as God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit worked together at creation, the Father raised the Son, through the agency and power of the Son Himself.  John 10:18. So we can say that Christ himself vanquished and defeated death, when he rose.   John 2:19-21  

4. Why did He Rise on the Third Day.

The Apostle’s Creed emphasises this.  “He descended into the grave, and on the THIRD DAY he rose again from the dead…”. But why?

  • That Old Testament prophecy would be fulfilled.  Luke 18:31-33  I wonder had Jesus been referring to the story of Jonah, a type of Christ, who to all intents and purposes, had ‘died’ and was in he tomb, – the belly of the great fish, for three days, and on the third day, in the sovereignty of God, was restored to life.  Matthew 12:39-40  
  • Because his body could not see corruption.  Again, this was an OT prophecy, Psalm 16:10   Three days was, in God’s design and plan, the correct time lag, for Christ’s entombment.  Any shorter, and people could have perhaps disputed his actual death.  Any longer and decay would have begun.

This THIRD DAY resurrection was the sign, to the disciples, to the Jews and to us, that Jesus is the promised Messiah, God’s suffering servant, our Saviour from our sins.  In Christ, all God’s wonderful promises have been fulfilled.  

So, we have seen something of the manner of Christ’s resurrection.  In our next lesson, we shall persevere with our instructor’s commentary, and consider the purpose of Christ’s resurrection.  Why did he rise?

© Bob McEvoy, December 2021

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