Category: (6) Jesus the Resurrected Lord


  1 Peter 3:18-19 states, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison.” The phrase, “by the Spirit,” in verse 18 is exactly the same construction as the phrase, “in the flesh.” So it seems best to relate the word “spirit” to the same realm as the word “flesh.” The flesh and spirit are Christ’s flesh and spirit. The words “made alive by (in) the spirit” point to the fact that Christ’s sin-bearing and death brought about the separation of His human spirit from the Father (Matthew 27:46). The contrast is between flesh and spirit, as in Matthew 27:46 and Romans 1:3-4, and not between Christ’s flesh and the Holy Spirit. When Christ’s atonement for sin was completed, His spirit restored the fellowship which had been broken.

First Peter 3:18-22 describes a necessary link between Christ’s suffering (verse 18) and His glorification (verse 22). Only Peter gives specific information about what happened between these two events. The word “preached” in verse 19 is not the usual word in the New Testament to describe the preaching of the gospel. It literally means to herald a message. Jesus suffered and died on the Cross, His body being put to death, and His spirit died when He was made sin. But His spirit was made alive and He yielded it to the Father. According to Peter, sometime between His death and His resurrection Jesus made a special proclamation to “the spirits in prison.”

To begin with, Peter referred to people as “souls” and not “spirits” (3:20). In the New Testament, the word “spirits” is used to describe angels or demons, not human beings, and verse 22 seems to bear out this meaning. Also, nowhere in the Bible are we told that Jesus visited hell. Acts 2:31 says that He went to “Hades” (New American Standard Bible), but “Hades” is not hell. The word “Hades” refers to the realm of the dead, a temporary place where they await the resurrection. Revelation 20:11-15 in the NASB or the New International Version give a clear distinction between the two. Hell is the permanent and final place of judgment for the lost. Hades is a temporary place.

Our Lord yielded His spirit to the Father, died, and at some time between death and resurrection, visited the realm of the dead where He delivered a message to spirit beings (probably fallen angels; see Jude 6) who were somehow related to the period before the flood in Noah’s time. Verse 20 makes this clear. Peter did not tell us what He proclaimed to these imprisoned spirits, but it could not be a message of redemption since angels cannot be saved (Hebrews 2:16). It was probably a declaration of victory over Satan and his hosts (1 Peter 3:22; Colossians 2:15). Ephesians 4:8-10 also seems to indicate that Christ went to “paradise” (Luke 16:20; 23:43) and took to heaven all those who had believed in Him prior to His death. The passage doesn’t give a great amount of detail about what occurred, but most Bible scholars agree that this is what is meant by “led captivity captive.”

So, all that to say, the Bible isn’t entirely clear what exactly Christ did for the three days between His death and resurrection. It does seem, though, that He was preaching victory over the fallen angels and/or unbelievers. What we can know for sure is that Jesus was not giving people a second chance for salvation. The Bible tells us that we face judgment after death (Hebrews 9:27), not a second chance. There isn’t really any definitively clear answer for what Jesus was doing for the time between His death and resurrection. Perhaps this is one of the mysteries we will understand once we reach glory.

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The key is understanding that Jesus is already Lord of your life. We do not make Jesus Lord. Jesus is Lord. What we are supposed to do is submit to His lordship. Another word for our response to Jesus’ Lordship is “submission.” To submit is to yield to the will and control of another, and, with reference to Christians, it is yielding to the will and control of Jesus Christ. This means that when Scripture commands believers to love one another (John 15:17), that is what is to be done. It means that when Scripture says we are not to commit adultery or steal (Exodus 20:14-15), these things are not to be done. It should be understood that submission, or obedience to the commands of God, is related to Christian growth and maturity, and is not related to becoming a Christian. A person becomes a Christian by faith alone in Christ apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We should realize that complete obedience cannot be accomplished simply by willing it to be done or in the strength of one’s inner being. It will not happen simply because we “decide” to do it. This is because even believers are prone to sinful conduct and thoughts apart from the work and power of the Holy Spirit. In order to be obedient, we must rely on the power provided by the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). This in itself is an act of obedience, for we are commanded in Ephesians 5:18 to be filled with the Spirit. This doesn’t mean that a believer gets more of the Spirit, but rather that the Spirit gets more of the believer—which is the whole idea of submission. Being filled with the Spirit is yielding to the Spirit’s control. Practically speaking, this happens as a believer responds positively to the leading of the Holy Spirit. By this is not meant feeling that one is being lead into full-time Christian ministry and obeying that feeling, although this may be included. Rather, it refers to the day-to-day decisions we make, such as responding kindly to someone who has mistreated us (Romans 12:17); being truthful in our communication with others (Ephesians 4:25); being honest in our business dealings (Ephesians 4:28); spending time in prayer and studying God’s Word as we are commanded (2 Timothy 2:15). These are a just a few examples of daily decisions that demonstrate submissiveness to Christ.

It is also important to note that even when we fail to obey, God has made a provision for that so that we can remain in fellowship with Him. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Even this is part of submission and obedience—to confess our sins to God so that we can remain in fellowship with Him. It is important to note that when tough decisions arise, the first thing we should do is pray, asking the Lord to help us to make the right decision and/or be obedient to what we already know is right from the Word.

To sum up the idea of the Lordship of Christ, it does not consist of one act of obedience but rather is measured by the sum of our obedience, and it cannot be accomplished in our own strength or power, but by the power available to us by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are strongest when we are relying on Him (2 Corinthians 12:10).

The resurrection of Jesus is important for several reasons. First, it witnesses to the immense power of God Himself. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not a God worthy of our faith and worship. Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the hideousness that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting that is death and the victory that is the grave’s (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death.

Second, the resurrection of Jesus is a testimony to the resurrection of human beings, which is a basic tenet of the Christian faith. Unlike all other religions, Christianity alone possesses a founder who transcends death and who promises that His followers will do the same. All other religions were founded by men and prophets whose end was the grave. As Christians, we take comfort in the fact that our God became man, died for our sins, and was resurrected the third day. The grave could not hold Him. He lives, and He sits today at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul explains in detail the importance of the resurrection of Christ. Some in Corinth did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and in this chapter Paul gives six disastrous consequences if there were no resurrection: 1) preaching Christ would be senseless (v. 14); 2) faith in Christ would be useless (v. 14); 3) all the witnesses and preachers of the resurrection would be liars (v. 15); 4) no one would be redeemed from sin (v. 17); 5) all former believers would have perished (v.18); and 6) Christians would be the most pitiable people on the earth (v. 19). But Christ indeed has risen from the dead and “has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20), assuring that we will follow Him in resurrection.

The inspired Word of God guarantees the believer’s resurrection at the coming of Jesus Christ for His Body (the Church) at the Rapture. Such hope and assurance results in a great song of triumph as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

How do these concluding verses relate to the importance of the resurrection? Paul answers, “…you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (v. 58). He reminds us that because we know we will be resurrected to new life, we can suffer persecution and danger for Christ’s sake (vv. 29-31), just as He did. We can follow the example of the thousands of martyrs through history who gladly traded their earthly lives for everlasting life via the resurrection.

The resurrection is the triumphant and glorious victory for every believer. Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose the third day according to the Scripture. And, He is coming again! The dead in Christ will be raised up, and those who remain and are alive at His coming will be changed and receive new, glorified bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ important to salvation? It demonstrated that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It proves that God has the power to raise us from the dead. It guarantees that those who believe in Christ will not remain dead, but will be resurrected unto eternal life. That is our blessed hope!

 

Jesus is the wayRomans 11:33-36

Amid all the preparations, decorations, and celebrations of the Christmas season, we need to set aside some quiet time to reflect upon the divine gifts that forever changed the course of human destiny. When that tiny baby entered our world in Bethlehem, the first of a never-ending stream of blessings was unleashed from heaven.

We generally focus on the Father’s gift: He gave His Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). But all three members of the Trinity have a part in this divine display of generosity, which continues into eternity. Jesus came to offer His life as a ransom for many, and after His death and resurrection, He and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to live inside believers forever (Mark 10:45; John 14:16; 16:7) . The Spirit in turn gives spiritual gifts to all believers and produces His marvelous fruit in their lives (1 Cor. 12:7-11; Gal. 5:22-23).

The divine presents don’t end on earth. They continue in heaven when the Lord judges Christians and grants them rewards for good works that they could never have accomplished apart from His strength (1 Cor. 3:13-14; John 15:5). All the credit and glory belong to Him, and yet He graciously showers praise on His followers
(1 Cor. 4:5).

We serve a caring, generous God. Think about the nonstop outpouring of blessings from His throne, and ask, How will I respond today? He needs nothing from you, but He wants every part of you—not to ruthlessly control but to show you the “surpassing riches of His grace in kindness” (Eph. 2:4-7).

 

Ephesians 1:3-9

Imagine an elderly couple living in a dilapidated farmhouse. They can barely afford the few groceries and medicines that they need. There isn’t even enough money to keep the heat on all the time.

Then a short while after they both have died, a huge deposit of oil is discovered on the old homestead. All their years of poverty were lived out sitting on top of untapped wealth.

Sadly, many Christians go through life like that elderly couple. Such believers have distilled Christianity down to its most basic elements: God saved me and someday I’ll go to heaven. Though Jesus offers an abundant life now (John 10:10), they aren’t living it. Spiritually poor believers fail to tap into the reservoir of God’s grace. Eternity begins the moment we are saved; there is no reason to wait until heaven to enjoy the Lord’s riches.

God has lavished His grace upon believers. We receive righteousness, freedom from legalism, and an unbreakable union with our Father. In return, He desires that we invest time and energy in our relationship with Him. As we open ourselves to the Father, everything He has to offer pours freely into our lives. Our connection with Him makes it possible for us to live joyful, contented lives overflowing with blessing.

True wealth isn’t measured by your bank account or automobile. As fellow heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17), believers have access to God’s riches, which include unspeakable joy, unconditional love, and peace beyond understanding. Invest in your spiritual life, and enjoy these blessings of grace.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Look up “comfort” in dictionary.com or another reference, and you will read a definition like this: “Something that promotes a state of ease or provides freedom from pain and anxiety.” But God’s Word has a different solution when consolation is needed: the indwelling Holy Spirit. In Greek, He is called parakletos, which means “he who stands at one’s side; he who comes to one’s aid.” Believers don’t have to seek outward remedies or distractions to ease their mind, because help is available within.

Even before the Spirit was sent to indwell believers (John 14:26; Eph. 3:16), scripture identified God as the one who comforts His people (Isaiah 40:1; 49:13). The Lord personally provides consolation and reassurance because no one knows our hurts the way He does.

I like this anonymous quotation: “When we have gone into the furnace of affliction, His hand is on the thermostat and His eye is on the clock.” God lets us pass through hardship to make us stronger believers, wiser servants, and more humble people. But He stays right by our side through the entire experience, sustaining us and limiting the intensity and duration of our distress. The Holy Spirit’s reassuring whisper to our heart gives more comfort than the solace of family or the encouragement of friends.

People who fail to understand the true source of comfort try to escape their pain. They seek out pleasures, material wealth, or drugs and alcohol to soothe their heart. Only God can offer lasting relief from the crushing pressure of heartache. He even brings joy into periods of mourning.

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John 8:1-11

We expect a loving heavenly Father to care for His children when they are hurt, persecuted, or misunderstood. But you might be surprised to realize that God comforts believers even when they have sinned.

Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save anyone who believes in Him (John 3:17). Consider His response to the woman whom the Pharisees dragged from an adulterous liaison and dropped at His feet. Her accusers wanted the offender stoned to death. But instead of taking up a rock, Jesus offered her forgiveness. The Lord did not defend her actions or completely erase all consequences of her choices. However, He did offer her compassion and an opportunity to turn her life around: “Go. From now on sin no more” (John 8:11).

God understands our human frailty. And even before we do wrong, He knows the poisonous harvest that we will reap from sin. We certainly want a lot of comfort when we are suffering from our own foolishness. A loving God does not abandon His children at their hour of great need—His Spirit wades into the mess we have made. He offers to guide us out of the pit, soothes our broken heart, and provides reassurance that He is always close by.

Sinning against the Lord makes us feel unworthy of His care and solace. Yet God’s forgiveness is based on His great mercy rather than our conduct. If Jesus Christ sacrificed His life to save you from your sins, then He certainly will love and comfort you, no matter what.

Before Jesus’ death, He prophesied, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31).

Yesterday, we learned that Jesus fulfilled the first part of His prophecy by dying on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for believing sinners. But did Jesus rise from the dead, as He prophesied? The resurrection is the only way we can know whether God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, appeasing His wrath against sinners and admitting those who trust Jesus into paradise. If Jesus were still dead, we would have no hope. If He is alive, He is the way to heaven!

Let’s read the Scripture to see whether Jesus fulfilled the prophecies that He would rise from the dead.

Burial
“Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.

“The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid.

“Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:50-56).

Empty tomb
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.’

“And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened” (Luke 24:1-12).

Appearance to travelers
“That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

“And he said to them, ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?’ And they stood still, looking sad.

“Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ And he said to them, ‘What things?’

“And they said to him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.

“And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

“So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them.

“When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

“They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’

“And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread” (Luke 24:13-35).

Appearance to disciples
“As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you!’ But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’

“And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

“Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem’” (Luke 24:36-47).

Jesus is alive! God showed His acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice by raising Him from the dead. His sacrifice is sufficient for “all nations,” to those who turn—turn from their sin and own efforts and turn to faith alone in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Raising Jesus from the dead showed that God will judge the world by His Son Jesus (Acts 17:30-31).

Jesus said, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:21-24).

Tomorrow on our last day of this Bible study, learn how the Son may give you eternal life!

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies’” (John 11:25).

“God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 4:24b-5:1; see also John 11:25; 1 Peter 1:3-5).

Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, the promise of a Messiah is clearly given. These messianic prophecies were made hundreds, sometimes thousands of years before Jesus Christ was born, and clearly Jesus Christ is the only person who has ever walked this earth to fulfill them. In fact, from Genesis to Malachi, there are over 300 specific prophecies detailing the coming of this Anointed One. In addition to prophecies detailing His virgin birth, His birth in Bethlehem, His birth from the tribe of Judah, His lineage from King David, His sinless life, and His atoning work for the sins of His people,the death and resurrection of the Jewish Messiah was, likewise, well documented in the Hebrew prophetic Scriptures long before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred in history.

Of the best-known prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the death of Messiah, Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 certainly stand out. Psalm 22 is especially amazing since it predicted numerous separate elements about Jesus’ crucifixion a thousand years before Jesus was crucified. Here are some examples. Messiah will have His hands and His feet “pierced” through (Psalm 22:16; John 20:25). The Messiah’s bones will not be broken (a person’s legs were usually broken after being crucified to speed up their death) (Psalm 22:17; John 19:33). Men will cast lots for Messiah’s clothing (Psalm 22:18; Matthew 27:35).

Isaiah 53, the classic messianic prophecy known as the “Suffering Servant” prophecy, also details the death of Messiah for the sins of His people. More than 700 years before Jesus was even born, Isaiah provides details of His life and death. The Messiah will be rejected (Isaiah 53:3; Luke 13:34). The Messiah will be killed as a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:5–9; 2 Corinthians 5:21). The Messiah will be silent in front of His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 2:23). The Messiah will be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57–60). The Messiah will be with criminals in His death (Isaiah 53:12; Mark 15:27).

In addition to the death of the Jewish Messiah, His resurrection from the dead is also foretold. The clearest and best known of the resurrection prophecies is the one penned by Israel’s King David in Psalm 16:10, also written a millennium before the birth of Jesus: “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.”

On the Jewish feast day of Shavuot (Weeks or Pentecost), when Peter preached the first gospel sermon, he boldly asserted that God had raised Jesus the Jewish Messiah from the dead (Acts 2:24). He then explained that God had performed this miraculous deed in fulfillment of David’s prophecy in Psalm 16. In fact, Peter quoted the words of David in detail as contained in Psalm 16:8–11. Some years later, Paul did the same thing when he spoke to the Jewish community in Antioch. Like Peter, Paul declared that God had raised Messiah Jesus from the dead in fulfillment of Psalm 16:10 (Acts 13:33–35).

The resurrection of the Messiah is strongly implied in another Davidic psalm. Again, this is Psalm 22. In verses 19–21, the suffering Savior prays for deliverance “from the lion’s mouth” (a metaphor for Satan). This desperate prayer is then followed immediately in verses 22–24 by a hymn of praise in which the Messiah thanks God for hearing His prayer and delivering Him. The resurrection of the Messiah is clearly implied between the ending of the prayer in verse 21 and the beginning of the praise song in verse 22.

And back again to Isaiah 53, after prophesying that the Suffering Servant of God would suffer for the sins of His people, He would then be “cut off out of the land of the living.” But Isaiah then states that He (Messiah) “will see His offspring” and that God the Father will “prolong His days” (Isaiah 53:5, 8, 10). Isaiah proceeds to reaffirm the promise of the resurrection in different words: “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see light and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).

Every aspect of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah had been prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures long before the events ever unfolded in the timeline of human history. No wonder that Jesus the Messiah would say to the Jewish religious leaders of His day, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).