Category Archives: resurrection

The Church of the Risen Savior

What is the significance of the resurrection for Jesus, himself? What does it matter to the church and to those who believe in him? When is your resurrection? This week’s reflection deals with those questions.

“The resurrection of Jesus is just as thoroughly messianic and adamic as are his sufferings and death. His resurrection is as equally representative and vicarious as his death. Believers no longer live to themselves but to the Christ, ‘who for their sake died and was raised’ II Cor. 5:15.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., The Centrality of the Resurrection, p. 66).

“The death of Christ is not an end in itself. It is subordinate to a great purpose that can be achieved only through resurrection. . . . To be a Saviour, Christ had to pass through resurrection. It was an integral part of the experience and task assigned to him in the economy of redemption. The resurrection power exercised by the Father in the raising of Jesus, and the resurrection power with which, in virtue of that fact, Jesus is endowed are necessary facts in the plan of salvation. But if so, there needed to be death. For without death resurrection has neither existence nor meaning.” (Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. 4, p. 88).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Be God’s Faithful Witness

ezekiel_17098c“In Revelation 11 the measuring connotes God’s presence, which is guaranteed to be with the temple community living on earth before the consummation. The faith of his people will be upheld by his presence, since without faith there can be no divine presence. No aberrant theological or ethical influences will be able to spoil or contaminate their true faith or worship.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 559).

“Since we have already seen the church portrayed as priests who reign (Rev. 5:10), we may suspect that these two witnesses symbolize the whole church in its role as witnesses to God’s truth and against the world’s lies and wickedness.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 171).

“The scroll containing God’s plan for history, for the victory of his witness church through suffering, has been opened by the Lamb and delivered to the prophet John to be announced for the comfort and warning of the churches. Despite the rage of its enemies, the church is secure in the presence of its holy champion. Despite its spiritual security as a measured sanctuary, the church is vulnerable to the violent aggression of those who hate its testimony about Jesus and seek to silence its call to repentance. Yet the last word concerning the church’s paradox-filled experience in this time between the Lamb’s comings is the voice of the seventh trumpet, announcing at history’s end: ‘The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever’ (Rev. 11:15).” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 176).


Quotes used in the Reflection for a message on Revelation 11:1–14 at Trinity OPC.

The Truth and the Triumph of the Resurrection

risen3cIn Christ’s resurrection the end-time resurrec­tion-harvest becomes visible, a visible reality.”

In Paul there is no more important conclusion about the Christian life, nothing about its struc­ture that is more basic than this: the Christian life in its entirety is to be subsumed under the category of resurrection. Pointedly, the Christian life is resurrection-life.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation, pp. 60 and 68).


Jesus says, ‘I lay down my life, in order that I may take it again’. Here we are apprised of a relationship that exists between His death and resurrection that too often escapes our attention. It is that the laying down of His life was to the end that He might take it again, that His death was to the end of His resur­rection. . . . The death of Christ is not an end in itself. It is subordinate to a great purpose that can be achieved only through resurrection.” (John Murray, “Who Raised Up Je­sus?” The Westmin­ster Theological Journal, May 1941, pp. 119-120).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC

What If?

tombc_2278“You’re saying that someone who died and was buried actually came back to life?” Had you been able to speak with the Apostle Paul as he wrote to residents of the Greek city of Corinth nearly 2000 years ago, that might have been your skeptical question.

Your question would not have surprised Paul—he was writing to people who had thought of the resurrection of the body as something foolish. They might have expected some part of a person, his or her spirit, to achieve immortality. But the resurrection of the body? No, that just didn’t fit with Greek thinking.

As Paul writes the letter we know as 1 Corinthians, he summarizes the core of his message: “For what I received, I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (15:3–4 NIV). Then he identifies by name several to whom Jesus Christ appeared after his resurrection and mentions a group of more than 500 who saw him. He reminds his readers that Christ had appeared to Paul himself some time later. That encounter had transformed Paul from a violent persecutor of followers of Christ to someone who risked his own life to tell people about Jesus. Continue reading

I was dead, and behold, I am alive

Rv0118Geerhardus Vos on Matthew 16:18-20: “The underlying idea would be that Jesus through His resurrection will so fill His Church with unconquerable life infusing it into Her by the Spirit, that death will be wholly conquered by the Church (Rev. 1:18).” (Biblical Theology, pp. 427-428).

The Sunday morning message at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC focuses on the mighty Son of Man who reveals himself in Revelation 1:9-20.

Breakfast on the Beach with Jesus

boats_14010ac“Why does Jesus, who has fish for the meal on the fire, tell the disciples to bring fish from those they have caught? . . . Only as the disciples bring fish that have just been caught does the meal prepared by Jesus achieve its full significance. Jesus makes the usual meal of bread and fish, which the disciples have so often shared with him, into a resurrection meal, not only by sitting down with them as the Risen One, but also by involving them in it as those who share in his resurrection power and as those who will continue his work on earth.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary, p. 662).

Tonight’s Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC, focuses on John 21.

Suffering in Hope

Rm0821“The call into fellowship with Christ (1 Cor. 1:9) is also a call into the fellowship of his Spir­it-baptized body (12:13). The bodies of believers are, individu­ally, temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19; cf. 1 Thess. 4:6, 8), while the church itself, as a whole, is God’s temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17). Further, that is so in the context of the entire creation ‘anxiously longing’ for the future (open) ‘revelation of the sons of God,’ when it will be ‘set free from the bondage of corruption’ (Rom. 8:19, 21). To polarize personal and corpo­rate, or personal and cosmic, con­cerns in matters of the gospel is simply foreign to Paul.” (Richard B. Gaffin, By Faith Not by Sight, p. 48).

(for this evening’s 101 Bible Study in Astoria)