21 APRIL 2019 THE RESURRECTION CHRIST CONQUERS DEATH The Christian religion is unique in its claim that it’s Author and Head is gloriously alive. In His short life on earth, in order to identify perfectly with those who would follow Him, our Lord was made subject to physical needs such as nourishment and rest. But giving His life was for Him a choice. “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” John 10:18. That He voluntarily died and then arose in order to completely meet human need will always remain a marvel to us and be a part of the mystery of the gospel. Life consists of a series of experiences including birth, growth, and reproduction; the conclusion of the process is death. Because of its mystery and finality, death is feared by many, and great efforts are made to camouflage or even deny some of the unpleasant aspects surrounding it. The deceased are made to look life-like, and a funeral is now strangely called a celebration of life. Death has been properly called the great intruder, and the Bible calls it an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). In most of life’s undertakings, whether in family, business, or social affairs, provision must be made for its possible interruption. The knowledge of its irrevocable nature should affect all our moral affairs and all our decisions. God warned our first parents in the Garden of Eden that death would be their lot if they disobeyed His command (Genesis 2:17). The implications of that warning were far-reaching. God’s way of breaking the power of death is not easily understood. By committing His Son to death and having Him arise victorious, He “abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” 2 Timothy 1:10. By nature, we fear death because of its hopeless finality. Christ going through the valley of death has robbed death of its terror because He resurrected and has promised the same to us. “Because I live, you shall live also” John 14:19. Through the power of Christ our sin nature must be put to death, and we must be raised a new nature, cleansed and forgiven in the sight of God. This cancels the power of sin and death in us (Revelation 20:6). We exult with the apostle Paul for Christ’s victory over our wretched nature and over death itself. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 7:24-25. Apart from the biblical record the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are well documented by secular history. Josephus, the Jewish historian of note, with a broad knowledge of Jewish law and custom, verifies the existence of Jesus Christ and His teachings, and that His disciples reported His resurrection. The sacred record of Jesus’ life and death is of such a nature that many men who set out to judge and discredit it have, upon careful, honest study, found that it convinces and judges them. Lew Wallace, one-time sceptic and agnostic, the author of Ben Hur, became a believer as he researched the material for his book. The thoughtless world around us, though mostly disregarding the moral precepts enjoined by the Christian faith, pays silent homage to its central figure. The world gives clear if unconscious assent to the Easter account, comparing the resurrection to the resurgence of life in the natural world in the springtime. While famous historical figures and their affairs of ages past remain little more than notations in history books, the life of Christ stands without parallel in the annals of earth- shaking events. The ever living Christ, who alone is the hope of the world, gives life and a promise of eternal life to those who trust in Him. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 Courtesy of Gospel Publishers, Moundridge Kansas
Conservative Australian Anabaptist Mennonites
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