Saturday, September 23, 2006

Thoughts on the Resurrection:


The professor was pretending to be a skeptic and asked, what makes Jesus unique? He points to me and says, you, what makes Jesus unique? I started to say something about prophecy and fulfillment from the OT, and he stopped me in mid-sentence. He said, You are talking about apologetics and proof from prophecy, but what really makes Jesus unique is his resurrection!

I realized that this should be the first thing on my lips when asked about what makes my Savior unique. He is alive. I do not serve just a savior, but a RISEN savior. No other leader, no other ruler, no other king can make this claim. Three days later every powerful leader in the history of the world still lay dead in a grave, body decaying, returning to the dust of the earth. Not Him. The grave could not hold Him. The dominion of darkness could not hold His radiating light. Death lost its sting, as a crucified and humbled king shook off its chains. No other King has ascended into heaven and been seated at God's right hand, exalted according to his matchless worth.

After thinking these thoughts, later that day I was reading Acts 17, where Paul is speaking to the Athenians. He engages them and they listen to him talk about the nature and character of God's deity. They even ask him to speak more on these issues. Paul then, as he always does, leads the discourse directly to Christ. They listen up till this point, but it is when Paul mentions the resurrection that most of them start to scoff and depart: "Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked...so Paul went out from their midst" (17:32). The resurrection is what makes the message of Christ unique, and offensive.

That night, as I was driving home from school, I was still pondering these things when the force of what I was thinking became strikingly real. This is incredible. He is alive! The Word that became flesh, dwelt among us, went to the cross, bore my punishment, substituted himself as the bearer of the wrath of God for my sins, suffered immeasurably has risen! My Redeemer lives!

In this state of wonderment, I got home and picked up my guitar. Providentially, I grabbed the first song sheet that was beside my desk and started singing it. The first three verses spoke of how coming to Jesus meant coming out of bondage, shame, and darkness. It was the last verse that brought everything that I had been thinking and God had been impressing together:

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus I come, Jesus I come.
Into the joy and light of your home,
Jesus I come to You.

Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of your sheltering fold,
Ever your glorious face to behold
Jesus I come to thee.

As I sang these words, I began to inwardly sob. I realized what the resurrection meant to me. Far from abstract and distant, it was the closest thing possible. It was in that moment exceedingly precious. I realized that my salvation rested on the power of the resurrection. I was dead in my transgressions. I was alienated from God. My flesh was in rapid decay, until He drew me to himself. Now, because he died, I too can die to my flesh. Because he was raised, I too can rise "out of the fear and dread of the tomb." By identification with Christ by grace through faith, I experience redemption.

Forcefully accompanying this revelation comes a unavoidable sense of awe. I don't deserve this. I deserve the "depths of ruin untold," not the "peace of your sheltering fold." I pray that I will never forget my rescue and redemption through his resurrection.

I pray that this will never cease to amaze me.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hopoe through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

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I also occasionally post annotations that I make as I read Cormac McCarthy at "Reading Cormac McCarthy."

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Says Simpleton is (c) Ched Spellman
2006-17

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