Intro: Today millions of people from all over the world are acknowledging or in some way celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ – even some who think nothing about Him throughout the rest of the year. Our society calls this day “Easter”. Many consider this day (Easter) to be the “most holy” of all religious holidays. That may account for the fact that today is the only day of the year they attend a church service. (maybe Christmas)
a. The origin of the term “Easter” is uncertain. It is commonly thought to derive from Eastre, the name of a Teutonic spring goddess. The use of the English word “Easter,” in Acts 12:4 of the King James Version of the Bible is a mistranslation. The Greek word there is pascha, correctly rendered “Passover” in later translations. In fact, though pascha is found twenty-nine times in the Greek New Testament, it is only rendered “Easter” once, even in the KJV.
b. Christians in the first century did not have an annual observance of Jesus’ resurrection. “It is reasonably certain that the NT contains no reference to a yearly celebration of the resurrection of Christ” (ISBE). The annual observance is a human tradition, introduced in the second and third centuries.
c. Churches today who follow the New Testament pattern do not celebrate “Easter” as a religious holiday. We need to be content to abide in the apostles’ doctrine, and not be guided by the traditions and doctrines of men.
d. That being said and understood, I am personally glad that there is a time when our materialistic and humanistic society gives attention to the greatest event of all time. I am not ashamed to speak about the resurrection of Jesus on any day, or every day.
e. Our assembly here today is motivated and driven by our acknowledgment of the empty tomb of Jesus, but not because of a human tradition. The scriptures teach that the first century church assembled on the first day of every week (the day of the week Jesus was raised) to break bread in commemoration of His atoning death on the cross,” until He comes again.” Our anticipation of His return is proclaiming to the world that He did not stay in the grave. So, although we as a church do not offer any observance of Easter in response to a human tradition, if you have come to hear about the resurrection of Christ, we are glad you have come. If you join us regularly you will find that the resurrection of Christ will be in view at nearly every assembly and Bible class.
f. Let me mention this as well. In our study through the life of Jesus in our annual theme, The Lord of Glory” we will be devoting the entire month of October to the power of Jesus’ resurrection. Come back and hear more.
The Resurrection in the Mission of Jesus
I. “For this purpose I came to this hour” – The empty tomb of Jesus fits perfectly into our ongoing discussion of Jesus’ mission. Jesus himself defines His mission in the context of His voluntary death and subsequent resurrection. In what might be considered another mission statement of Jesus in John 12:27 He says… “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say?’Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. “This hour” points to His coming death .Jesus displayed enormous courage in the face of impending danger. He knew He was going to die. It was His mission.
A. But notice in this context Jesus asks God to glorify His name. (v. 28) He was praying (not for his own sake, but for those who were listening) for God, the Father to give His coming death spiritual worth by making it an avenue of God’s glory. God’s answer: I have and I will (v. 28) How and when would Jesus’ death bring glory to God?
II. “The ruler of this world is cast out” – The immediate answer in the context is found in Jesus’ statements in v. 31-32 – When the ruler of this world is cast out, and people are drawn to Christ. That points directly to the impact of the resurrection on the third day.
A. Jesus came to defeat Satan. It is important for us to see the battle behind the scenes in the life of Jesus. The immediate enemies of Jesus, the self-righteous Pharisees who tried to entrap Him, and the chief priests who conspired to put Him on the cross, were certainly humiliated by the resurrection of Jesus. But there was a war not visible to the human eye. Jesus’ resurrection was the defining moment of victory for Him in this battle.
1. God had prophesied in Gen. 3:15 that the Seed of woman would crush the head of the serpent who had lead her into sin, but that the serpent would bruise His heel in a great confrontation. One major purpose for the incarnation of Jesus was to set up a confrontation between God and Satan in order to bring Satan and his confederates to a crushing defeat. “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” – 1 John 3:8. He became a human being so “that through death he might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” – Heb 2:14.
2. Satan consistently attempted to disrupt Jesus’ ministry and purpose: Herod’s attempt to destroy Jesus at birth, the temptations in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11); the attempts of the Jewish leaders to discredit Him. Surely His enemies viewed Jesus’ death as their consummate victory. But the resurrection was the judgment of Satan.
3. But even in the many instances when Jesus cast demons out of others He was already beginning the process of evicting Satan from his usurped throne. When the 70 returned from their mission they exclaimed “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” Jesus responded, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (Luke 10: 17-18)
4. Jesus’ victory was overwhelming. He completely humiliated Satan. Colossians 2:14-15 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. When God rolled the stone away from that tomb He placed it squarely on the head of the serpent.
5. Christ’s life, death, and resurrection are symbolically described in Rev 12:7-9 as a “war in heaven,” in which Satan as “the great dragon” and all his angels (the demons) were soundly defeated. The victorious Lamb then conquers the great dragon in Revelation is pictured as standing as a lamb that had been slain. (Rev. 5:6) The risen Christ declares, “I am . . . the living One; and 1 was dead, and behold, 1 am alive forevermore, and 1 have the keys of death and of Hades” (Rev 1:17-18). This shows his complete power over death, since “Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him” (Rom 6:9) Paul says that Jesus has appeared, “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Tim 1:10) Paul declares that when Christ arose He “ascended on high, and He led captive a host of captives” (Eph 4:8). These captives are his enemies for whom the final devastation was Christ’s glorious resurrection.
B. How did all of this affect you and me? Jesus not only binds the devil through His resurrection, but He also enters into his stronghold and carries off his property. Matthew 12:29 – Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.
- Paul says that He delivers us “from the power of Satan” in Acts 26:18
- John tells us in 1 John 4:4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
- Thus he enables us to experience in our present lives “the power of His resurrection” Philippians 3:10 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
- My heavenly hope is firmly based on the power exhibited on that first day of the week. 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
III. Mission Accomplished: The resurrection of Christ pointed to the fulfillment of Jesus’ mission in many ways. The apostle Paul uses this reasoning to show the essential reality of resurrection in 1 Cor. 15. If Jesus did not raise from the dead, then His life and death accomplished nothing for us. 1 Cor 15:14-19 – … if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
A. But positively speaking, Jesus’ resurrection is evidence of our final victory over sin and death, as the consequence of sin. Speaking the future resurrection of the righteous Paul writes… 1 Cor 15:53-57 – For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Speaking of God accounting righteousness to those who are sinners (us), Paul says in Romans 4:24-25 But also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness — for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (NIV) Jesus was raised from the dead for our justification. We noticed in our Bible class this morning the justifying effect of Jesus’ death – He paid the penalty for sin through His blood – propitiation. But how is His resurrection “for our justification“? The word “for (dia) means “as marking the purpose or object of an action”
1. When God raised Jesus from the dead He witnessed to all that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough. No one can accuse us before God because Jesus is alive… Rom 8:34 – Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
- The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus’ High Priesthood was not based upon a fleshly commandment, but the power of an endless life (Heb. 7:16). When he resurrected He affirmed His work as our High Priest. Heb 7:23-25 – Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
- Rom 5:10 – For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. The best understanding of this last phrase is not any imputed personal righteousness of Jesus to us, but that we can be justified because Jesus is alive, ready to make intercession for us.
Conclusion: What does it mean to you and me? It is a matter of life or death. Our salvation is a resurrection to a new life in Christ.
- “- made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” (Eph 2:5-6).
- The key phrase here is “with Him“. Jesus was resurrected from the dead. If we would share in that victory over Satan, we must be raised up with Him. How does this happen?
- Romans 6:3-9 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. Paul is certainly describing the impact of Jesus’ resurrection in the life of one who has been justified.
- When a sinner is buried in the waters of baptism, he encounters the saving power of Jesus’ death; and when he arises from the waters of baptism, he has within him the power of Jesus’ resurrection, enabling him to “walk in newness of life.”
- This connection between baptism, Christ’s resurrection, and our own spiritual resurrection is also seen also in Col 2:12-13, which says we have “been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.” In the act of baptism there is nothing less than a resurrection from the dead, a work of new creation. This redemptive work of God takes place “through faith in the working of God,” i.e., through faith that God is doing something here to save us from our sins as he has promised (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
- We do not trust the water or the one baptizing us; our trust is completely in the power of God. We believe that just as surely as we are being buried into and raised up out of the water, so also is God raising our soul up out of that grave of spiritual death.
- Why should we believe that God can and will do this for us? Because he is the same God “who raised Him from the dead.”
- Those who have experienced this spiritual resurrection constitute the collective body called the church.
- One author writes…The church itself forms an island of life in the midst of a sea of death. Because it is built upon the risen Christ, the “gates of Hades,” i.e., the “forces of death” (NEB) will never over-power it (Matt 16:18).