I am starting a new series called WHY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS? The first blog in this series is called Resurrection Was Not New.
The Church has just celebrated the most important day of the year ~ Resurrection Day. The world just celebrated a poor substitute ~ Easter. Many in the Church celebrate Easter for Resurrection which is an anomaly. An anomaly is something that has deviated from what is standard, normal or expected. It comes from the Latin ‘An’ = not and ‘Homalos’ = even.
“Not even” can mean off-center, not level or it can be interpreted by the phrase “not even close”. Easter is not even close to resurrection. I will focus in this series on the Biblical doctrine of resurrection.
Unlike Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ has far more important significance for the world and it has far-reaching results for those who take the time to be challenged and transformed by its truths.
Resurrection was a part of the normal understanding in the Jewish religious culture. By the time Jesus came to earth the Jewish people had ample examples in their history to give credence to Jesus’ claims that He would be raised from the dead.
Abraham is a very important figure in Judaism and Christianity. He is known as a father of nations and the father of the faith, or faithful. He believed God and his trust in God was credited to him by God as righteousness. He passed numerous tests but one of the biggest was when God required him to sacrifice his son Isaac.
We find the story in Genesis 22. In this chapter we have the story where Abraham receives instructions to take his son Isaac, the son of promise, to a specific place to kill him as a sacrifice to God. This sacrifice is a prophetic type of God sacrificing His Son, Jesus Christ. To the Jewish community a promised Son was expected. He is called by our Jewish friends the son of David.
Abraham takes Isaac, along with some servants and all the necessary things to construct an altar to the specified place. We pick up the story in verse five, “Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”
First I cannot help but mention the connection between Abraham’s core value for the worship of God and his expectation of the miraculous intervention of God. Abraham said he and Isaac would go worship and then return to the servants so they all could return home. In this statement he declared his belief that God would raise Isaac from the dead.
We must remember that Abraham had a direct word from God, “Sacrifice Isaac.” He did not know that God would provide a substitute until he got to the place God chose and constructed the altar. The writer of Hebrews tells us this in chapter eleven, verses 17-19,
|By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED.” He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.|
Abraham obeyed God because he believed God would raise Isaac from the dead. God provided a ram so he did not actually have to kill Isaac and the writer of Hebrews tells us this was a type. A type of what? A type of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead.
The Old Testament is replete with examples of people being raised from the dead. So why the consternation over Jesus’ claim that He would be raised from the dead? Jealousy has to be one, if not the only reason for the absolute assault on His character.
Let’s look at some of the references in the OT concerning resurrection.
1 Kings 17:17 – 24 ~~
Is a story where the prophet Elijah raises a widow’s son back from the dead. It is interesting the widow said the raising of her son from the dead was proof to her that Elijah was indeed a man [minister] of God. There is a rabbit trail I could run down right there but I will refrain.
There is another one I will simply mention. The widow’s understanding was that somehow her sin had caused the death of her son. Even the man of God attributed his death to the Lord’s judgment. That perverse theology still survives to this day.
2 Kings 3:32 – 37 ~~
Is a story where the prophet Elisha raised a young boy from the dead.
2 Kings 13:20 – 21 ~~
I just love this story. Elisha died and was buried. the Moabites raided the land during a funeral service. The people burying the man were afraid so they tossed the dead man in Elisha’s grave and when the dead body hit the bones of the dead prophet the dead man came back to life and stood on his feet.
You know that it is a great day when you toss a body into a hole to escape danger and you hit the only hole that could create a miracle.
This encourages me to live a life so filled with faith that if I die the miraculous will still happen when people come in contact with my bones [the inner structure that gave me stability – my core values].
Psalms 17:15 ~~
The joyful expectation that we will be just like Christ when we wake up from physical death.
I hope you gain the perspective that resurrection was an established theological certainty when Jesus came on the scene.
As we go deeper into this series we will see all of the reasons why Jesus was raised from the dead.
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury