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19. Good News for the Sick
B. The Meaning of Jesus the Messiah’s Death on the Cross and Resurrection

d) The Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah: God’s Victory and Our Assurance

We have already touched on the historicity of the Messiah’s resurrection from the dead. Yes, it is true that the Messiah rose bodily from the dead. It is not a figment of Christian imagination, a product of Christian wishful thinking. Its evidences are powerful, not least the empty tomb of the Messiah, the dramatic changes within Jesus’ disciples after His resurrection, the rapid spread of Christian faith throughout the Roman empire.

But what of the meaning of the Messiah’s resurrection? The resurrection of the Messiah from the dead is God’s seal of approval upon Jesus as the Messiah and upon His ministry in life on earth and in death upon the cross. It is also God’s key whereby He unlocks the mystery of Jesus’ coming into this world as the Messiah and His terrible suffering and His ignoble death upon the shameful cross. Through the Messiah and His cross, God proves that He loves the world; that He loves sinners and forgives them; that He restores friendship and peace between Himself and humanity in the place of the enmity and conflict which humanity created through sin; that He Himself accomplishes this through Jesus the Messiah; that through the costly sacrifice and death of the Messiah, He overcomes sin and death, the devil and all the powers of evil. He breaks their power. Life, not death, triumphs! The Messiah’s resurrection from the dead leaves us with no doubt that God has put death to death.

How eloquently the Psalms of David speak about God’s forgiveness of our sins and a cleansed heart!

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” (Psalm 32:1,2)

The resurrection of the Messiah is God’s decisive affirmation that He wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3,4)

Moreover, the resurrection conclusively reveals to us not only what Jesus the Messiah does but who He is. It is true the Messiah is a great teacher, a prophet, a messenger, and a guide. Yet before He became these, from eternity He is God’s eternal Word. He became a human being and servant to become God’s personal sacrifice on the cross for all people and for their sin. This is why Jesus is the Messiah. This, then, is why Jesus has said:

“ ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father.’ ” (John 14:9)

“ ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life.’ ” (John 11:25)

And this is why we, with Jesus’ apostle, can proclaim:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)

Christ is risen, Christ is living,
Dry your tears, be unafraid!
Death and darkness could not hold Him,
Nor the tomb in which He lay.
Do not look among the dead
For one who lives forever more.
Tell the world that Christ is risen,
Make it known He goes before.
the Lord had never risen,
We’d have nothing to believe;
But His promise can be trusted:
“You will live, because I live.”
As we share the death of Adam,
So in Christ we live again.
Death has lost its sting and terror,
Christ the Lord has come to reign.
Death has lost its old dominion,
Let the world rejoice and shout!
Christ, the first-born of the living,
Gives us life and leads us out.
Let us thank our God, who causes
Hope to spring up from the ground.
Christ is risen, Christ is giving
Life eternal, life profound.
(Hymnal Supplement 98, Concordia Publishing House, 1998)

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