Wade's Weekly Word

Acts 2:22-24, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know - Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”

Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day) ended the bloodiest war of human history with an estimated 65 million deaths. V-J Day would officially be celebrated in the United States on the day formal surrender documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, on September 2, 1945.

However, 2,000 years earlier another V-J Day had occurred that had cosmic implications. The bodily resurrection of Jesus on that first Easter Sunday morning was the true and ultimate V-J Day, or Victory of Jesus over all the forces of darkness, and has, and will ultimately result in the liberation of all the people of God from their bondage to sin, Satan, and the godless world system, and continues to reverse the curse on creation.

The resurrection of Jesus changes everything. I believe that it is the most important truth in the world as far as God’s purposes are concerned. Resurrection vindicates, validates, and verifies the claims of Jesus the Christ. Vindication by resurrection clears Him of the accusations His death makes against His claims.

The Resurrection Demonstrated the Virtue of Christ’s Life

In Acts 2:24, Peter declares that it was not possible for death to hold Jesus because it had no legal claims upon him. The sentence passed on Jesus by an earthly court and executed by Roman soldiers has been reversed, Peter asserts, by a higher court. They put him to death, but God raised him up and “loosed the pains of death.” The phrase “pains of death is actually the word for “birth pains.” In this sense, the tomb was a womb for Jesus! It was not possible that the chosen one of God should remain in the grip of death; “the abyss can no more hold the Redeemer than a pregnant woman can hold the child in her body.” If his suffering and death were ordained by the determinate counsel of God, so were his resurrection and glory.

“Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:27): Because Jesus bore our sin without becoming a sinner, He remained the Holy One, even in His death. Since it is incomprehensible that God’s Holy One should be bound by death, the resurrection was absolutely inevitable.

Instead of being punished for His glorious work on the cross, Jesus was rewarded, as prophetically described in Psalm 16: You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.

When Jesus entered those dark cavernous jaws of death, the only claims or authority that death had, the guilt produced by sin, had been rendered invalid in that the penalty for sin had been paid. Thus, with the sins of His covenant people no longer upon Him, death no longer had any claims upon Him. When He was raised from the grave the third day, Almighty God was attesting to the fact that there was absolute virtue in His life, absolute sinlessness in His being, or else he would have never been raised from the grave.

The Resurrection Demonstrated the Value of Christ’s Death

It proved that Jesus Christ was for real, that He was not a myth, nor a mirage, but the miraculous God-man, that He was everything He claimed to be. When asked for credentials to prove His identity, He gave only one. He said as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, even so must the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the earth and then come forth.

The resurrection was His one credential. Everything else hinged upon the fact that if He were not raised from the dead, then His credentials were false, and He was a counterfeit.

John Piper corrects our perception of the ultimate value demonstrated by the crucifixion and resurrection of King Jesus as he declares, “The cross and resurrection is the pinnacle of God’s love for sinners, not because it demonstrates the value of sinners, but because it vindicates the value of God for sinners to enjoy. God’s love for man does not consist in making man central, but in making himself central for man. The cross does not direct man’s attention to his own vindicated worth, but to God’s vindicated righteousness.

“This is love, because the only eternal happiness for man is happiness focused on the riches of God’s glory. “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). God’s self-exaltation is loving, because it preserves for us and offers to us the only all-satisfying Object of desire in the universe - the all-glorious, all-righteous God.”

The Resurrection Demonstrated the Victory of Christ Over Sin, Satan, and Death

“Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great. He shall divide the spoil with the strong” (Isaiah 53:12). The penalty for sin has been paid. That which was premeditated murder on the part of the Romans was predestined salvation for God’s ruined people. At Calvary, Divine justice laid hold of and arrested and exacted the penalty upon the Son of God for the crimes of becoming the surety, substitute, and sin-bearer for His people. The cords of eternal retribution bound Him in the prison house of death and the pangs of hell got hold of Him. However, three days later, the Judge of the Supreme Court of the Universe ratified the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ by issuing a universal decree and deputizing an angel to go down and open the seal, defying the strongest government in the world. Then having flung aside the stone, he must have said something like this to Jesus: “The Father has sent this word - it is finished!”

A mighty lion of the forest entered a cave to take a nap. A spider, seeing the lion enter the cave, decided to capture him within and hold him for his own use. So, he built a web of several thicknesses across the mouth of the cave, confident he could imprison the lion within. But after several hours of sleep, the lion awoke, yawned, and stretched. Then, oblivious to the web of the spider, he walked right out of the “prison” and right out through the “chains.” Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, the Mighty Lion of God, lay down in the deep sleep of death. Satan was overjoyed as he participated in His death. “He is dead,” Satan said as His body was placed in the prison-tomb. But God the Father whispered on the third day:

“Son, it’s time to get up!

Arise my Love, the grave no longer has a hold on you. Arise my love, Arise!

“And up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes, He arose a victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!”

Jesus deliberately, and in a dignified manner, mar­ched out triumphantly in the presence of all principalities and powers --all the forces of hell - demonstrating that His leaving of the grave was by the authority of the law of God and not as a felon breaking out of prison. What a glorious truth! The door of death has been flung away.

By His resurrection, He has loosed all believers from Satan’s bondage, broken down all the barriers that separated them from God, destroyed the power of the devil, dis­solved the claims of the broken law, and detoxified the sting of death!

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

O victory in Jesus, my Savior forever! Hallelujah!

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