It was desirable to continue teaching the ongoing series: “Come, For All Things Are Now Ready”, but it is imperative to know on this occasion that without the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, NOTHING is ready. This simple word preached by the hospices of the Holy Spirit, and read by you, will become a standard for measurement of what people believe about the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ.[Luke 24:1-12 – Refer to Luke 23:50-56] Joseph of Arimathea had offered his tomb for the laying of the body of Jesus Christ, who could not be buried underground in fulfilment of God’s word [Psalms 16:10; Acts 13:35]. While the men were in hiding, the women arose to attend to the body of Christ. However, if the Councilman, Joseph of Arimathea, had not had the political muscle to approach Pontius Pilate to demand the body of Christ, there wouldn’t be a body to perfume. The women did not go to raise Him from the dead, but to tend to His lifeless body. “WHY DO YOU SEEK THE LIVING AMONGST THE DEAD” (v.5)?
[Philippians 3:1-16] This is Paul’s testimony based on a revelational encounter with Jesus Christ. Paul did not refer to Christ as a person but as the Anointed One and His Anointing (v.7). Jesus Christ was given the name JESUS at birth because He came to save the world. He became CHRIST as a result of His obedience to the Father, submission to parental instructions from childhood on earth and His baptism in the River Jordan at the age of thirty, having been prepared for a ministry He was to carry out for just three and half years (His preparation is an example to us all to submit ourselves to preparatory processes, and not be in a hurry). Subsequently, after His successful endurance of temptation, He was endowed with power for exploits [Mark 1:9-15]. Jesus later became our LORD after He saved us through His sacrifice on the cross, and conquering death. He humbled Himself and was given the name above every other name [Philippians 2:5-11].Like Paul, we should count all our real or perceived achievements, upbringing and accumulated accolades nothing, so that we may press on to the goal of gaining Jesus Christ (the Anointed One and His Anointing) v.7-8. Paul, having spent years in the ministry of grace God called him into, did not dwell on past achievements, but considered himself as one who was still pressing on to attain perfection in Christ [v.8-14]. Paul understood ONE THING: that to get to your desired destination you must forget what is in the past. This was also the understanding that made Joseph fruitful in Egypt; he had to forget the labour and the pain from his father’s house to prison [Genesis 41:51]. History has its place in one’s life, but if one dwells on it, one will soon become a commemorator, living on past glories.
You must rise. The power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ will raise you above every shackle in Jesus name.
3 Categories of Believers
- The Celebrators – These are Christians that attend church services only on celebratory occasions such as Easter and Christmas. They are neither seen nor active in spiritual matters in-between, and do not connect with God beyond “celebrating Jesus”. They jump and prance about with more energy than others during Praise Singing, yet are stuck in their spiritual growth – children in the spirit, though they look like adults.
- The Historians – These are also commemorators, who have been in the church long enough to tell all kinds of stories of how the church was, and the exploits they partook in. They know the origin and past of the church, but lack any revelational knowledge (vision)of God’s desired future for the church. They do not uphold the standards that have kept the vision of the church going, thinking they have done enough.
- The Anticipators – These have gone far ahead of the present condition of the church, to press into various future ecclesiastical and secular roles, ministries and offices God has prepared for His people. They see themselves beyond the walls of the church, as men and women God has prepared to take over ordinances, control and destinies of nations. Like Paul, these ones do not dwell on past battles and conquests.
God is often referred to as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is not just a historical incident, but a continuing one. God is not the God of the dead, and if those men only lived and died on this earth, and did not transcend into eternity, God would not be called their God [v.31-32].
It is important to note that the word “resurrection” was mentioned 41 times in the New Testament, but not once in the Old Testament. This is not because the dead were not raised in the Old Testament, but because the resurrection power had not been released. Some men had the power to raise the dead, but the Resurrection had not come yet. Religious men misconstrue resurrection for an event, but it is actually the person of Jesus Christ [John 11:25].
It is clear in v.30 that there is no marriage in eternal life. However, the reference of scriptures to the Church as the “bride” [Ephesians 5: 22-27] is a metaphor used to describe the unquestionable fidelity between husband and wife, that must exist between Jesus Christ and his followers.
3 Categories of Response to the Story of Jesus’ Resurrection:
- Those who believe the story – These are mostly those over time, who were not present to witness the event, but were told and yet, having the witness in their spirits, believed it, but cannot prove it. They are mostly found in churches. Likewise, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection.
- Those who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and hold on to the view that all life starts and ends on earth. The Sadducees, Muslims and some other religions belong to this group.
- Those who say the resurrection has come and gone. This is the most dangerous group, who overthrow the faith of believers [2 Timothy 2:1-18]. Those who listen to doctrinal error as argued by the likes of Hymenaeus and Philetus [v.17-18] can easily have their faith overthrown.
- A Son
- A Servant
- A Soldier
- A Steward
- A Seed
- A Star
3 Major Reasons Why Jesus’ Resurrection is Unbelievable:
We as children of God, wear different caps and must know what cap we wear at any time. Sympathising with those who do not believe the incredible, yet true, story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, these are some plausible reasons:
- The disposition of the disciples and apostles of Jesus to His resurrection. They collectively did not understand the reason for the death of Jesus on the cross, and found it difficult to believe, despite having foretold His death to them (Matthew 16:13-23; Matthew 17:22–23; Matthew 20:17-23; Matthew 26:1-25; Mark 8:31–37; Mark 9:30–32; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 9:22–27). If His own disciples reacted in disbelief to His prophecies on His own resurrection, why blame others who find it hard to believe?
- The preoccupation of the core of Jesus’ disciples was totally different from the Lord’s. The passion and atoning sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary was (and still is) a mystery. Their gross misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission was understandable. They preferred natural to the supernatural, they wanted certainty instead of uncertainty, and the kingdom they could see instead of the invisible one. This is evident in the fact that the disciples were only interested in the time Jesus would restore the Jewish Kingdom. Judas was already a militant in the struggle against the Roman occupation and had hoped to use Jesus to carry out a successful campaign. The disciples met the news of Jesus’ resurrection with disbelief [Matthew 28:17; Luke 24: 11] because things did not go as they expected.
- The disciples and followers of Jesus that ought to know better, given His several predictions, reacted variously to the news and event of the resurrection of Jesus. Reactions ranged from fear and great joy to doubts [Matthew 28:5-8, 16-17]. In this case, fear stopped them from telling others about Jesus’ resurrection [Mark 16:4-8, 9-11]. It had to take the testimony of two angels to make them recall all that Jesus had foretold about the resurrection [Luke 24: 4-8]. It took the exposition of Old Testament truth by Jesus Himself to open the eyes of the disciples on the road to Emmaus [Luke 24: 13-35]. In the strength of the revelation of the resurrection of Jesus, they went back seven miles to proclaim His resurrection. He appeared to the disciples and spent time with them [Luke 24: 36-43] and they were frightened. Thomas also doubted, when he was told about the risen Jesus [John 20: 24-29]. Jesus also showed Himself to some of the disciples at the river of Tiberias [John 21: 1-25]. The seven fishermen opted to return to their vocation, while the others were excluded. Jesus showed Simon and others again the futility of their labour outside God. Jesus testified to Simon’s death to self by which he would glorify Jesus (v.8-19). And once again, Jesus called Simon to follow Him [v.19 and Matthew 4:19]. You become whatever you follow. If you follow worthless idols, you will become worthless; if you follow the Son of God, you will become like Him. In like manner, if you believe in His resurrection you will operate in His resurrection power
- Just as we have proof that He was crucified, we have a written record that Jesus actually ascended; and if He did not rise from the dead, He could not have bodily ascended into heaven [John 16: 7-11]. Just as Jesus promised the disciples, the Holy Spirit descended as proof that He arrived safely in the throne-room of heaven [Acts 2: 32-34]. Jesus is alive and we are the proof.
- [Matthew 16: 18] Before Jesus foretold of His impending sacrifice at Calvary, He declared that He would build His Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. If no other proof is evident, the fact of the present existence of the Church of God all over the world, despite centuries of persecution and upheavals, is enough proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Church is getting bigger and extending God’s Kingdom on the face of the earth.
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