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The Resurrection of Christ

25Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He [g]expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

44Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:25-27; 44-47 (NKJ)

What might these Old Testament passages have been? We can easily speculate about many, but the Apostles’ preaching tips us off to what some of them must have been. But one thing is certain, this central feature of the Gospel, i.e., the work of Christ the Mediator – including His death and resurrection, is clearly held by Christ and the Apostles to be the central message of the Old Testament. That should impact the way we view, read, and handle the OT.

All of God's covenant promises to His people from Adam to Abraham to Moses to David are centered on and fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore Christ is the key to understanding Scripture. If we aren't interpreting Scripture on the grounds of redemptive history through the framework of God's covenant of grace with us in Christ, then we are mishandling Scripture.

After Jesus' resurrection, we told His disciples that He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament. Moreover, He included the Psalms - not just the prophetic portions of Scripture that we naturally associate with Christ.

It is therefore of utmost importance to remember that Scripture is God’s self-revelation. Since the Fall all revelation from God is of grace, which means that God’s self-revelation is mediated through the Redeemer. Hence, we should always bear in mind that Christ is the “star,” or “hero,” if you will, of the whole Bible. The human players and their circumstances are merely the backdrop for God’s revelation of Himself. Scripture then, must always be read as a direct communication of God’s covenant grace to s mediated through Christ. That’s why Christ can say what He does in Luke 24. Moreover, the Divine intention must always be uppermost in our minds as we read. If we reduce the meaning of Scripture to merely the human authorial intention – and treat it like we would “any other book or text”, we have already begun with a set of presuppositions that falsify the nature of Scripture itself. And it is not sufficient methodologically to say that we are studying it like a book, yet we know that it is more.

(1 Peter 1:10-12 slide) Notice that this text locates the inquiry of the prophets in terms of what the Spirit of Christ in them (pre-Pentecost) was indicating when He predicted the sufferings of Christ. This is as much as to say that it was Christ first and foremost who was predicted His own sufferings through His inspiration in the writings of the Old Testament prophets. It also informs us that God’s intention in the revelation of His grace superseded what the prophets may have immediately understood from their own historical vantage point and context, which is why they diligently inquired what Christ was revealing about Himself. This of what Peter says in Acts 2 about David. He says he (David) was (a) a prophet, and (b) he knew that God had promised him a Son who would rule God’s people forever.

We all know that many of the Psalms are Messianic; hence it is Christ who is speaking through the inspired prophetic utterance of David. Even when David is describing his own personal experience, the Psalm, though literally true of David, has a much fuller meaning and fulfillment in Christ.

Often, when God speaks in the Psalms to David, it is clear that God is actually addressing Christ as David’s greater Son, and by addressing Christ in this way, God reiterates His covenant of grace to David as the representative king over God’s people. Psalm 89 is a case of this. Several verses can only apply to Christ as King over God’s people, while others clearly apply to David. In fact, verses 36-38 contrast Christ’s everlasting Kingdom with David’s which would come to an end.

A prophecy that was used by the apostles when they first began proclaiming Christ's resurrection is found in Psalm 16 (note Acts 2:25-28; 13:35-37).

But then He prays: "Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:9-11). These verses speak poetically first of His burial, then His descent in the spirit into Hades, followed by His return into His body resting in the tomb before decay could begin, then His resurrection and ascension into heaven to be seated at the Father's right hand. This verse, incidentally, contains the first of 21 references in the Bible to His present position at the right hand of God the Father.

According to Peter (Ac 2:25 - For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken) and Paul (Ac 13:35 - Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’), this Psalm relates to Christ and expresses the feelings of His human nature, in view of His sufferings and victory over death and the grave, including His subsequent exaltation at the right hand of God. Some more recent expositors have held that the Psalm relates exclusively to David; but this view is plainly contradicted by the apostles. Others have held that the language of the Psalm is applicable to David as a type of Christ, and therefore capable of the higher sense assigned it in the New Testament. But again, the language of verse 10 can’t be used of David in any sense, for "he saw corruption."

There are also a number of types in the Old Testament that speak of Christ's death and resurrection and were so applied by New Testament writers.

The story of Abraham and Isaac was thus referred to in Hebrews 11:17,19. "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac . . . his only begotten son. . . . Accounting that God was able to raise him. . . from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." In this passage, the writer is comparing Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac to the heavenly Father offering His Son, with Isaac's return comparable in type to Christ's resurrection.

With reference to Jonah, the Lord Jesus Himself made the analogy: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40).

There are others, both types and specific prophecies, but the ones discussed above seem the most directly applicable. Even these are often open to other interpretations. It is obviously easier to interpret most prophecies after their fulfillment than before. Even the Disciples of Christ seem to have been caught unawares by His resurrection, in spite of their obvious knowledge of the Scriptures.

Yet they could have and should have known what was coming. This fact is evident from the rebuke Christ gave to two disciples as they walked together on the road to Emmaus. "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:25-27).

Even if they were uncertain about the meaning of the Scriptures, however, they had many direct prophecies from Christ Himself. Just after Peter made his great confession of the deity of Christ (Matthew 16:16), we read that "from that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that He must . . . be killed, and be raised again the third day" (Matthew 16:21; see also John 2:19; Matthew 17:22, 23; 20:17-19; 26:32; John 10:17, 18; etc.).

But whatever reasons they may have been able to give for their own blindness, we today have no excuse at all if we reject Him and His victorious physical resurrection after His death for our sins. We have all the information they had, and far more, since we have the complete Bible, vindicated and verified by almost 2000 years of Christian history, and by all the internal and external evidences of its divine inspiration and authority.

In fact, the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are so important that they constitute the very heart of the saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-4).

The veracity of Christ’s resurrection from the dead is:

1st of all evident from the history of the resurrection recorded in Matt 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20.

2nd it is confirmed by the testimony (1) of the angels (Matt 28:117; Luke 24:7), (2) of the enemies who guarded the grave (Matt 28:11), and (3) of the apostles, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32); “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33); “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead” (2 Tim 2:8).

3rd: Multiple appearances to disciples

The resurrection of Christ is the meritorious cause of the saints’ resurrection. It completed His satisfaction, and finished His payment. That’s why our justification is properly assigned to it. (Romans 4:25 - who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification). “Our deliverance put into motion was in His death; but was finished in His resurrection. This is why our justification or absolution from debts is ascribed by Paul not to His death but resurrection.” - Maccovius

His resurrection attested to the acceptability of His atonement. 1 Corinthians 15 hangs the certainty of the Christian faith on the resurrection.

As it is the meritorious cause of our resurrection, so it is the efficient cause of it also. When the day comes that the saint shall rise, they will be raised by Christ, their Head, because He is their effective Principle of life. “Your life is hid with Christ in God,” says Col. 3:3. You’ll notice that Paul makes Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection interchangeable, reasoning forward, from Christ’s to ours; and back again from ours to his, 1 Cor. 15: 12, 13. This is also the sense of Romans 8: 10, 11. “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” i.e. Though you are really united to Christ by the Spirit, yet your bodies must die as well as other men’s; but your souls will instantly, upon your death, be swallowed up in life. And then it follows in verse 11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” i.e. though your bodies must die, yet they will live again in the resurrection; and this is by virtue of the Spirit of Christ that dwells in you, and is the bond of your union with Christ, your Head.

Christ’s resurrection is not only the meritorious and efficient cause, but it is also the exemplary cause or pattern of our resurrection. Phil. 3: 21. “Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” The conformity of our resurrection to Christ’s consists in the following:

His body was raised substantially the same; so will ours.

His body was raised first; so will ours be raised before the rest of the dead.

His body was wonderfully improved by the resurrection; so will ours.

His body was raised to be glorified; and so will ours.

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