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Catechism Class: The Reasons for Christ’s Resurrection


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

The Reasons for the Resurrection

We are still examining the important doctrine, that is the historic resurrection of Jesus Christ, and now, we will look at the underlying reasons, and ask, WHY did Christ rise from the dead? Here’s five good reasons why Jesus rose from the dead. Ursinus’ commentary is not easy reading, so I’ve done my best to make these five reasons as easy to understand as possible.  Here they are:-

1. Jesus Rose from the Dead to Glorify God!

All of our salvation, from beginning to end is for God’s glory alone.  Salvation is of the Lord.  It was God who planned it and God who brought it about. Ephesians 2:8-9 It is all of the Lord, so that no glory goes to us, but to God. In Christ’s rising from the dead God is glorified!      Of course, we have learned about the Trinity, and that Jesus is God, incarnate in the flesh, so there is complete unity.  God glorifies His Son, so that His Son glorifies the Father! John 17:1  

2. Jesus Rose from the Dead to Vindicate the Messianic Prophecies.

The Old Testament contains prophecies of a Messiah, a deliverer of Israel whom God would send to rescue His people.  Here’s some examples: Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:27, Isaiah 53:10-11, Matthew 12:39 cf John 20:9. 

The prophesied Messiah would be a mighty conqueror, one who would lead his people into victory.  Of course the Jews of that day expected a military leader, who would free them from the shackles of Rome, not a deliverer from sin.  Not a suffering saviour who would die on a cross, like the OT prophesied.  Jesus WAS victorious.  He conquered death, defeated it in his resurrection, for us, and he leads us on to eternal victory.  1 Corinthians 15:51-57 Jesus’s resurrection perfectly completes and fulfils the promises given by God to Israel through the Old Testament scriptures.

3. Jesus Rose from the Dead because of Who He Is.

Think for a moment about what we have already learned about the person and nature of Jesus Christ.  Think of:-

  • His Dignity.  He is GOD’s only begotten Son.  He is the true God, “very God of very God.”  It was not possible that death could hold him in the tomb, for as God, he is the author and the giver of life!  It was HE who ‘invented life’ – he designed it when he designed creation, and he breathed that life into our first parents.  He IS LIFE.  John 11:25-26   In him IS life!
  • His Power. Death is very powerful. The Christian message is that JESUS IS STRONGER THAN DEATH!  When he rose, he demonstrated that power.  In Christ death is defeated.  Here’s that passage from 1st Corinthians 15:56  
  • His Righteousness. Remember that Jesus is God’s sinless son.  We die, because the wages of sin is death.  We deserve to die.  Jesus perfectly fulfilled the law, he did NOT deserve to die. He died in our place, he died our death. But because he had no sin, death had no hold on him.  Romans 6:9-10 

So, Jesus could not be held by death for he was God, with all the dignity of God’s person, power of God and righteousness of Christ.

4. Jesus Rose from the Dead in Order to Carry On His Work as Mediator.

There is such a huge gap, a gaping chasm between God and us that we can never bridge and never cross by ourselves.  Job 9:33 That mediator is Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5. But a dead mediator would be a worthless mediator.  There has been a desire among some Roman Catholics to declare that Mary is a co-mediatrix – along with her Son Jesus.  BUT MARY IS DEAD!  Mary died and she did not rise from the dead, and a dead mediator is no mediator at all.  Jesus is alive.  He rose from the dead, so the Hebrew author wrote (or maybe said) in Hebrews 7:25 Jesus lives, and stands between God and man as Saviour, Mediator and Intercessor.  READ Psalm 110:4 and Romans 8:34  

5. Jesus Rose from the Dead for Our Salvation.

Jesus died for me, and he rose from the dead for me; and for you too, if you are a repentant sinner who is trusting him as Saviour and Lord.   Ursinus identifies three aspects of this personal application of the resurrection of Christ:-

  • He rose for our Justification. Romans 4:25  In that simple statement Paul teaches us that the saving work which Jesus achieved at the cross for us is applied to us by the living Christ, who entered into the presence of the Father, having completed his saving work, granting to us his own righteousness, so that clothed in that righteousness he makes us acceptable unto God.  
  • He rose for our Regeneration.  In regeneration he gives us New Life.  What do we mean by, ‘New life?’  SR Fisher in his ‘Exercises on the Heidelberg Catechism’ defines New Life as “the state of reconciliation with God, in which the Christian lives to his glory, and to which he is introduced by repentance and faith.” Justification before God, a new legal standing with God, into which the Christian has been placed – requires a new life in us in order that we might work out that status practically in this life and forever. John 10:28  
  • He rose for our Resurrection.  And of course, our ultimate glorification.  Because He rose, we shall rise also. 1 Corinthians 15:21  Jesus is the ‘firstfruits’ of that great harvest of souls.  1 Corinthians 15:20   1 Corinthians 15:23 

So, if Jesus was to give us five good reasons why  He rose from the dead, these five might just be good enough.  He rose in order that God would be glorified, so that the Old Testament prophesies that point to him would be fulfilled and vindicated.  He rose to verify the integrity of his person as God’s only begotten Son, the divine Creator and giver of life, his dignity, power and righteousness.  He rose to continue his work as the only mediator, the only way for a sinner to come to God, and he rose for our salvation.  In our next lesson, we shall look at the wonderful blessings and benefits which we, personally gain from Christ’s resurrection.

© Bob McEvoy January 2022

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