Monday, April 17, 2006

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

This is my personal summary of the Easter preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on 16th April 2006

Scriptures: 1 Cor.15:20-28, 53-58

Is Jesus Christ really the central figure of history? What status of significance does His resurrection have in the history of mankind?

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the culmination of all the promises in the Old Testament and the direction of all past history before that. It is also the fundamental point for all the history to come after as His resurrection moves mankind's history to its climax and sets the future direction for the history to come.

The cross of Jesus Christ cannot be eradicated from history. His suffering is a prelude to His glory. Through His death, He showed the truth of resurrection. Through His sufferings, He showed His glory. Jesus Christ's purpose to come to earth is to die and through His death He showed us that He could not die. John Owen made a profound statement regarding the death of Christ, “The death of Christ puts all deaths to death.”

The Scriptures prophesied and recorded Christ's birth, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension and second coming as “kairos” that have been set by God in eternity. Kairos refers to the moments of history that have significant connection with the eternal will of God. They are unrepeatable moments that surpass mechanical process of time.

Jesus' death obtained forgiveness from our sin, and in His resurrection we are made righteous. So Jesus' death and resurrection are the two pillars which summarized the essence of the gospel, which is the Good News of God's forgiving grace to sinners.

Paul said, “But Christ has INDEED risen from the dead, the firstfruits of all those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor.15:20)

This statement sets Christianity apart from all other faiths. Christ alone has resurrected from the dead. No other founders of religion could claim that.

There have been two instances of resurrection in the Old Testament by prophet Elia and Elisha. There are also three instances of resurrection in the New Testament by Jesus Christ Himself. But all these resurrections are of a different nature from the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is truly the firstfruits of all who have fallen asleep. The others who had been resurrected had to die again at later part of their lives but Jesus Christ never died anymore after His resurrection. In Revelation 1:18 He said, “I am the Living One. I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever.”

What is the significance of Christ being the firstfruits of all those who have fallen asleep? It means that there are more fruits to come. Who then will be the next fruits of those who have fallen asleep? You and me. All of us. This is the foundation of our eternal hope.

Since Christ's resurrection is true as the Scriptures testified, as Jesus Himself has testified, it means everything He said must be true and would come to pass. Apart from all the prophecies that have indeed been fulfilled, what else have He spoken to us?

We now need to pay attention to all other things He ever said. The Scriptures speak of creation, of Word-Incarnate, of Christ's crucifixion, of His resurrection, of the promise of the Holy Spirit, of the birth and growth of the Church, of the Last Days. So all the important themes have been consolidated one by one and we have our systematic theology on all those topics.

There are things that have been fulfilled up to Christ's resurrection. There are also things that have been fulfilled since Christ's resurrection. And there are things that are being fulfilled and still awaiting fulfillment right now. The whole history of mankind is directed towards a certain destination and the resurrection of Jesus Christ that becomes the foundation of hope for all the promises that are yet to be fulfilled.

If Christ was not raised from the dead, there is no justice and no hope in the world. But because He has risen we have sure foundation of hope to fight in this dark world until the end of times.


At 2:41 AM, Blogger Benjamin Ho said...

Amen to today's message. Keep up the good transcribing work!


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