The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

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The resurrection of the Lord

April is usually the month of the commemoration of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We would like therefore to devote this article to this event, mainly concentrating the attention on the book of Acts.

1. Acts 2:22-36

To start we will go to Acts 2. We are at the day of Pentecost, just after the pouring out of the holy spirit and its manifestation by speaking in tongues (Acts 2:1-12). This manifestation made people to amaze and wonder and Peter explained to them that this was but the fulfillment of the relative prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:14-21, Joel 2:28-29). Then he continued, turning his preaching to the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, starting from Acts 2:22 we read:

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."

God RAISED Jesus Christ from the dead! Though they crucified him, death was not possible to have permanent effects on him. And Peter continues confirming the fact of the resurrection from the Old Testament scriptures:

Acts 2:25-28
"For David says concerning him: I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will you allow your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in your presence."

This record comes from the book of Psalms (Psalms 16:8-11), and it is evident that Peter links it directly to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Really, his soul was not left in Hades nor he saw corruption. However, how was Peter able to know that this passage referred to the resurrection of the Lord? Similarly, how was he able to know that Joel/s prophecy to which he referred previously, was about what had happened that day? The answer is simple: THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT that he had just received and which enabled him to understand the Scriptures. Peter was not an educated theologian. He was not a Th.D/Ph.D. man. He was just a fisherman that was called by the Lord to follow him, and who, as Acts 4:13 tells us, was illiterate! Yet he was someone that had received the power from on high (Luke 24:49), the gift of the holy spirit, the comforter that would lead them to all truth as Jesus had promised them (John 16:13). It was this comforter that enabled him to understand the Scriptures and it is only through this comforter that a man can understand the spiritual things, part of which is also the written Word of God (I Corinthians 2:10-13). Continuing in Acts 2, let's read the explanation that God through His spirit gave to Peter, regarding David's prophecy. This is given in verses 29-36:

Acts 2:29-36
"Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foreseeing this, spoke CONCERNING THE RESURECTION OF THE CHRIST, that his soul was not left in Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. THIS JESUS GOD HAS RAISED UP, OF WHICH WE ARE ALL WITNESSES. THEREFORE BEING EXALTED TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD AND HAVING RECEIVED FROM THE FATHER THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, HE POURED OUT THIS WHICH YOU NOW SEE AND HEAR. For David did not ascend into heavens, but he says himself: The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

Jesus Christ was risen from the dead. It was he who, alive now, received from the Father the gift of the holy spirit and literally poured it out.

Reading further we will see that 3000 (Acts 2:41) people were added to the faith that day, after the outpouring of the holy spirit and the inspired preaching of Peter that followed it.

2. Acts 3

Soon after the above incidence, follows the one that we read in Acts 3. Peter and John, on their way to the temple, saw a lame man whom they healed. This again made people to amaze and verses 11-15 tells us what followed.

Acts 3:11-15
"Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon/s, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our father, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But you denied the holy one and the just and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the prince of peace, WHOM GOD RAISED FROM THE DEAD, OF WHICH WE ARE WITNESSES"

Once more, Peter confronts the people for what they had done. However, he did not do it to condemn them but to make them recognize their error and repent. As verses 19-20 tell us :

Acts 3:19-20, 25-26
"REPENT therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, "and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed." To you first, God, HAVING RAISED UP HIS SERVANT JESUS, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities"

God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and sent him to bless us! As Ephesians 1:3 characteristically tells us:

Ephesians 1:3

God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings IN CHRIST. Truly in him, our raised Lord, we have every spiritual blessing that we could possibly have! As Paul also says regarding the resurrection:

Acts 17:30-31
"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness BY THE MAN WHOM HE HAS ORDAINED AND HE HAS GIVEN ASSURANCE OF THIS TO ALL BY RAISING HIM FROM THE DEAD."

God will judge the world through Jesus and the proof of this is that HE RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD. As Romans 1:1-4 also say:

Romans 1:1-4
"Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle.........concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, AND DECLARED TO BE THE SON OF GOD WITH POWER ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT OF HOLINESS, BY THE RESURECTION FROM THE DEAD."

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the one through whom God will judge the world and the proof of these, "the assurance to all", is HIS RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.

Returning to Acts, chapter 4 gives us the results and the reaction to the preaching of Peter concerning Christ and the resurrection.

Acts 4:1-3
"Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and PREACHED IN JESUS THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening"

Sadducees were those guys that believed that "there is no resurrection and no angel or spirit" (Acts 23:8). Obviously therefore, when they heard about the resurrection were offended. However, they were not the only ones. Everyday we see this. You speak the Word of God and some are offended. But as verse 4 tells us:

Acts 4:4

Not all believed. In fact some were offended. Yet MANY, as the text says, believed and were saved. But let/s continue to see what happened to the apostles:

Acts 4:5-12
"And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name you have done this?" Then Peter, filled with the holy spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, THAT BY THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED, WHOM GOD RAISED FROM THE DEAD, BY HIM THIS MAN STANDS here before you whole. This is the "stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

The boldness of the apostles is really impressive. It was neither professors nor great educated theologians that made Christianity to live. It was only a handful of simple illiterate people, FULL OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD and committed to the mission given to them by the Lord, that put the foundations of the first century church. A handful of faithful men ready to give witness to their Lord and his resurrection, wherever God was calling them, even before their own persecutors.

3. Acts 5:14-32

The above case of persecution against people who stood for God is not the only one. In fact, the book of Acts is full of similar incidences one of which is given in Acts 5. There, verses 14-21 tell us:

Acts 5:14-21
"And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and led them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed. Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. BUT at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, "Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught"

The evil the apostles did and which caused their imprisonment was that through the power of God healed the people! Nevertheless, they did not stay much in the prison: God sent an angel who not only delivered them, but he also told them to continue doing exactly what offended the authorities i.e. to preach "all the words of this life", the Word of God! Verses 25-32 tell us:

Acts 5:21-32
"And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, saying, "Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, WE FOUND NO ONE INSIDE!" Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. So one came and told them, saying, "Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!" Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intent to bring this man/s blood on us!" BUT Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers RAISED UP Jesus whom YOU murdered by hanging on a tree. him god has exalted to his right hand to be prince and saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. and we are his witnesses to these things and so also is the holy spirit whom god has given to those who obey him."

God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and he appointed him to be prince and saviour. The witnesses to this are not only the apostles and the Bible but also the holy spirit that our raised Lord literally poured out in the day of Pentecost. Every time therefore we operate this spirit we witness that Jesus is alive. As he also said in Mark 16:17-20:

Mark 16:17-20
"And these SIGNS will follow those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen"

The holy spirit is not a dead theoretical entity. It is the power of God, Christ in us, that is also MANIFESTED in the nine ways stated in I Corinthians 12 and into which the above signs also fall. Every time therefore we operate these manifestations we really witness that Jesus Christ is alive, and not only that but also that he is very very close to us: IN US (Galatians 4:6, II Corinthians 13:15, Colossians 1:27).

4. Acts 10

And since we speak about the holy spirit, let's also go to Acts 10. There we find Kornelious who was commanded by God to send to Joppa and invite Peter to come and speak the Word to him. Peter did that and verses 38-46 tell us what he said to them:

Acts 10:38-46
"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. HIM GOD RAISED UP ON THE THIRD DAY, AND SHOWED HIM OPENLY, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with him after he was risen from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets witness that through his name, whoever believes in him will receive remission of sins."

Acts 11:14 tells us that God told Cornelius to send for Peter to speak to him words able to save him and all his household. What were these words? Do not imagine books upon books. We have just given the most part of what Peter told them! Thus, he spoke about Jesus, his walk with God, his resurrection and its significance. These were the words they needed to hear and believe in order to be saved. Words less than ten verses that in fact in Romans 10:9 are summed up to only one verse!

Romans 10:9

Salvation is not our job. It is the job of Jesus Christ our SAVIOR, who gave his life for us, so that by simply confessing him as Lord and believing that God raised him from the dead, we are saved! Returning to Acts, verses 44-46 give us very lively, the result that the Word of God had on those people:

Acts 10:44-46
"While Peter was still speaking these words, the holy spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the holy spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God."

Not only these people believed, but they also manifested the holy spirit they received by speaking in tongues, thus magnifying God, and making clear that Christ, that poured the holy spirit out, is ALIVE, in the right hand of God and in the hearts of those who believe in him.

5. Acts 13: 23-39

Finally, the last passage we are going to consider from the book of Acts is in Acts 13. There we find Paul preaching in Antioch and evangelizing Jesus Christ to them. We will start reading his preaching from verse 23:

Acts 13:23 - 39
"From this man's [David's] seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior - Jesus - after John had first preached, before his coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his course, he said, "Who do you think I am? I am nothe. But behold, there comes one after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose." Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know him, nor even the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemninghim. And though they found no cause for death in him, they asked Pilate that he should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. BUT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD. HE WAS SEEN FOR MANY DAYS BY THOSE WHO CAME UP WITH HIM FROM GALILEE TO JERUSALEM, WHO ARE HIS WITNESSES TO THE PEOPLE. And we declare to you glad tidings - that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, IN THAT HE HAS RAISED UP JESUS. As it is also written in the second Psalm: You are my son, today I have begotten you. AND THAT HE RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, NO MORE TO RETURN TO CORRUPTION, HE HAS SPOKEN THUS: I WILL GIVE YOU THE SURE MERCIES OF DAVID. THEREFORE HE ALSO SAYS IN ANOTHER PSALM: YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO SEE CORRUPTION." For David after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers and saw corruption; BUT HE WHOM GOD RAISED UP SAW NO CORRUPTION. Therefore let it be known to you brethren , that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses."

Christ did not appear just for a moment. He did not even appear only for a little time. In contrast, he appeared for MANY DAYS, making clear that he is ALIVE AND INCORRUPTIBLE. It is through the resurrection that God certified that Jesus is the one through whom He will judge the world. It is the resurrection that proves beyond anything else that Jesus is the Son of God. It is believing in the resurrection that gives salvation and it is the name of the raised Christ the most powerful name, the only name that has been given by God to be saved and have fellowship with Him.

Anastasios Kioulachoglou