Why Did Christ Die and Live Again?

Ayear1142ec“The transformed attitude to death (cf. Heb. 2:14, 15) springs not from any change in the character of death but from the faith of what Christ has done to death and from the living hope of what he will do in the consummation of his conquest. It is the res­urrection of Christ, the hope of resurrection after the pat­tern of his, and the re­moval of sin which is the sting of death that transform the re­lation of the believer to death.” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, pp. 181–182).

“The Lordship of Christ is never suspended. The believer is never in a situation that is neu­tral or indifferent and so he must ever live in the recognition of Christ’s lordship and act in the intelligent and fully-per­suaded consciousness of devo­tion to him.” (“The Weak and the Strong” in Collected Writ­ings of John Murray, Vol. 4, p. 156).

Why Was Christ Buried?

tomb“Those who bury Jesus. . . do not understand Him as He wants to be understood. . . . Never had Christ been so concealed as now, never had divinity receded so far as now, never had He become so completely unknown to the sons of His mother as now. The discrepancy between the majesty of God and the body of the man Jesus was never as great as now.” (K. Schilder, “Christ Buried,” in Christ Crucified, p. 555).
“[T]he burial of Christ represents the beginning of his glorification. . . . God shows us that the grave is but an intermediary state, and that and that heaven is busy preparing for the time when this ‘intermediary’ condition will no longer be necessary. Christ receives, He accepts, the new grave in which never yet man lay. . . . He who enters the grave here is none other than the Kurios, the Lord.” (K. Schilder, “Christ Buried,” in Christ Crucified, pages 558–559).

“And this, too, was brought about by the secret providence of God, rather than by the premeditated design of men, that a new sepulcher, in which no man had ever yet been laid, as obtained by our Lord, who is the first-born from the dead, (Colossians 1:18) and the first-fruits of them that rise, (1 Corinthians 15:20). God intended, therefore, by this mark to distinguish his Son from the remainder of the human race, and to point out by the sepulcher itself his newness of life.” (John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Gospels).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.

Burial with Christ

Rm0604Christ’s burial means that the old you is dead. As Paul shows how incompatible continuing in sin is for those who trust in Christ, he reminds you in Romans 6:1–4, not only that you died with Christ, but you were buried with him as well. Just as the humiliation of Christ has come to an end, and it is inconceivable that he should again be subject to suffering or to the power of death, so the enslaving power of sin has been broken for you who have been baptized into Christ, and who by faith are raised with him.

Preaching on the burial of Jesus on Sunday, March 25, 2018, at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the 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

A Fallen Star and a Voice from Heaven

Locust-Swarm-Irish-Examiner“As the visions beginning in ch. 9 are unveiled the readers are given am ever expanding definition of the extent of God and the Lamb’s sovereignty. God and the Lamb are in ultimate control of Satan’s realm. And the saints are to remember this when the forces of evil direct their wrath against them or self-destructively against their own allies, the followers of the the Antichrist. There is a grand purpose which God is working through it all, which is a basis for hope and encouragement for beleaguered Christians.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 463).

“As the sixth seal provided a preview of the traumas that will characterize the dissolution of the first heavens and earth, so the sixth trumpet previews an increase of satanic deception that precipitates growing violence, death, and despair. Such a crumbling of law, order, and safety should shake idolaters confidence in ‘the works of their hands’ and cure their desire to ‘worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk’ (Rev. 9:20).” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 152).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC.

Your Wake-up Call

Ayear0701ecIn Romans 13:11-14 Paul calls you to wake up, to walk properly, as in the daytime, and to put on Christ.

“[I]n the Old Testament the bond between God and Is­rael, as his covenant people, is expressed in a variety of ways, but perhaps most evocatively in the descrip­tion of God himself as ‘the portion’ of his people (Pss. 73:26; 119:57; Jer. 10:16). Reciprocally, they are ‘the Lord’s portion’ (Deut. 32:9)…. The climactic real­ization of this covenant bond, this reciprocal posses­sion between the triune God and his people, the church, is centered for Paul in union with Christ.” (Richard B. Gaf­fin, Jr., By Faith, Not by Sight, pp. 40, 41).

This Friday evening the 101 Bible Study meets in Astoria to look at that passage of Scripture.

Prayer and Plagues

Rv0806“Silence is creation’s expectant response to the Lord’s impending arrival in judgment. ‘Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for he is aroused from his holy habitation. (Zech. 2:13)…. This silence is the calm before the storm. For God’s enemies on earth it is a silence of dread, but for those who dwell in heaven it is the silence of eager expectation.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 136).

“Indeed, prayer is one of the important military tactics used by the soldiers of Christ….” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 463).

“The bloodying of the sea and the death of its creatures parallel the the bloodying of the Nile in the time of Moses. The worldly powers that oppress God’s true Israel are to be shaken at the source of their confidence.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 145).

(Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC)