AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH October 7, 2007
A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST
AND BASE OF THE
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES …
HUMAN EXPORT-IMPORT and the
DIVINE DUTY SCHEDULE
Sermon Notes covering a series of texts in Mark 10
I SENSITIVE SPIRITUAL SUICIDE 10:17-22
The human is not the divine, but the divinity became human, not to lose His place and power, but to restore man to his. This is costly as a correction for man, and as a remedy from God. It has hidden costs for man, not in providing but in conforming! ‘Paying’ obedience with a cheerful heart without guile, is better than begrudging, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver (II Corinthians 9:7). Beyond that, spiritual life that does not have an undercurrent of joy whatever the anguish or the agony, is not living in the victory which Christ has attained. Even Christ, in the midst of His woes, for the JOY that was set before Him, "endured the cross, despising the shame."
Problems may probe; but power provides. Sorrows may teem; but spiritual salubrity abounds. Losses may mount, but Christ is the gain.
In our first aspect this morning, we see the famed rich, young ruler. He is not so young now... a sobering thought. It is imperative in youth to remember eternity; and while first flush need not blush, it must be rendered to the Lord. Not so with the young ruler, panting he comes, kneeling he seeks. For what ? Eternal life. What wisdom is there to be found! What is the use of having a high quality of material or prestigious or contented living if like England in 1939, it is suddenly under review for ravishment, and if unlike England, this is what occurs!
The commandments, Christ indicated, these are a way of life, this is what has to be done.
That part appears a mere trifle, to the ruler, or at least a gained result. Sin, sacrifice, relief, restoration, power and peace: at least to some degree, it seems, he had wrought with zeal from his youth, within the provisions of the Old Testament (cf. Psalm 32). Hearing and seeing this, Christ loved him! The young man however wanted something more.
It was not a mere progressive religious experience that he wanted; it was life eternal. His properties no doubt were well covered by various legal devices, and he sought their endurance; but his own life, this required not less but more, not mere serviceability, but the power of its source and the continuity of its lustre. How could it be obtained ? This really moved him with intensity. He MUST have it.
Christ saw at once the problem. It was that he trusted in his riches, as Mark 10:24 implies. It was not their presence, but his relationship to them that was astray. Where your treasure, there your heart abides. What was his treasure ? Was it God and truth, His mercy and life, or continuity of social place and earthly prosperity ? The issue was simple. It was in his case given a practical outcome, since according to the disease, so the cure. SELL your riches! That would show the situation. It did! He would not do so. He exported reliance on God, imported reliance on riches. The soul was the scene of the transaction.
Sensitive was he, for he went away sorrowing. He who had been on his knees, was now on his even keel, though sorrowing, for God was not his ultimate desire, and hence he could not have Him. Penultimate perhaps ? ultimate, however much desired, no! His problem was that God does not fit into place, but for Him, all place must be given. God is not a piece of furniture, but the furnishing of the heart; or else absent.
What then do we find here ? Not only does life call the young ruler, but he calls on life. He falls at Christ's feet, quivering to acquiesce. Then the ears of his heart turn to stone. His spirit laments his self-imposed sentence, so that he is the prototype for millions, an example but not an exemplar.
He has departed from the design, from the designations for glorious destiny, he has absented himself. The liberty to be lost he has fully achieved.
II THINGS THAT APTLY COINCIDE 10:23-31
Christ's comments on this type of case, disease, spiritual pathology. If it is hard for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of heaven, how very hard is it for those who trust in them!
Miniaturise a camel to get it through the eye of a needle ? It is POSSIBLE (v.27), with God for them to come. Dump the false reliance and puffed up purchases and it is easier to shrink. If however you take that as the Needle Gate at Jerusalem, where baggage might have to be removed to get your camel in, then the case is no different. Drop your load and live for Christ! It can be restored at HIS discretion, once you are inside; but that is for Him to decide! If you are not clinging to it, it is easier to detach, so that you may go in! YOU remain on the other side of the gate, but your transforming trust is new, and this, it reaches to GOD who being the object of reverence and the objective of faith, ACTS through it! (cf. Galatians 2:20). It is not the faith as such that does the job, it is GOD to whom it is directed, who acts through it.
What then, the living God or a bit of this world ? Which way ? Similar are these in place as the focus of the heart, whether one or the other; however in grace there is an infinite difference. It is God or grasping, the personal or the impersonal, peace or panting, self-provision or divine mercy. Mercy reaches repentance, but it does not replace it. This then is the export-import business. The way COINCIDES for both the export of sin and the import of Christ, or the export of desire and the import of whatever ELSE you may wish, IF you get it. It is then the CONTENT which differs. For the Christian, the content is Christ.
III THE DIVINE DUTY SCHEDULE ... Ransomed by Regicide
No bridges had to be built, nor did any back-breaking toil have to be provided by those who come to God by Christ: the only way, for which He paid handsomely. Salvation is His design, His doing and His deed. We like cars, need to cross the bridge which He has constructed. It is well designed; there is no freight too much for it, nor any other way to go, in bypassing it. Deity who made man, has made the method of import to Himself of sinners, exceedingly clear, utterly personal and fully paid up.
It is only ONE (John 14:6).
There is a reason for this. The divine duty schedule did it. Neither in creation nor in salvation is anything magical. You may or may not have to act, but SOMEONE does. Otherwise, nothing gets done. Matter cannot save you; nor can it make itself, delimit its laws or assign things their places in sequence and schedules. Mind cannot save you; nor can it devise the deity, who is who He is, not the butt of wit or the product of mere human imagination. Things do not arise from NOTHING! It does nothing. As in creation, so in salvation: the power, imagination, divine desire and apt action are required from Him who having been there from the first, has made His mercy free but confined to the Cross of prodigious payment, to the last.
In Mark 10:29-31 we find what that payment was; and it is especially impactive here because, as when pilots had to run the gauntlet of anti-aircraft fire when seeking to deliver Europe from Hitler, it is dramatic and heart-searching; for when the plane would take off into the darkness, the pilot knew full well what danger awaited. With Christ, the requirement was more furious. It was not the possibility of death or torture or horror, but the certainty to which He went. Love is like that.
God's love has neither barrier nor limit. It does however have purity, and it never mutates. He who made time is not bound to it. In holiness His love helps; in mere invasion it does not act. God is not like man, because man has strayed from God, and daily he pays for his folly in concentrations of corpses which prove nothing but that force can kill where faith is nil. Past thrill and kill is truth and mercy.
My kingdom said Christ, is not of this world. Otherwise, he declared, His servants would fight (John 18:36). There is also another difference. In His kingdom, give up parents or land or whatever is dear for His sake and that of the Gospel (10:29) and it is restored in this life a hundredfold (but in the kingdom mode), and eternal life ensues. However, many claimants will be disallowed (cf. Matthew 7:21, Acts 5:1ff.); for love does not reason out selfish gain, but allows loss in order to achieve life. There is no spiritual balance sheet in which you yield for greater gain in that coin; it is life with liberty in God or grasping with desire in the sanctuary of one's own self!
Christ’s fight was against sin, spurning it in Himself, cancelling its guilt and power in many others, while demonstrating the grace and glory, indeed the very face of God. His victory was to swallow it up into death (I Corinthians 15:54), which it exacted, and to spit it out in resurrection so that its power broken, its claim annulled, its force cancelled, freedom was freely obtainable (Romans 5:15,17).
That had to happen on the third day after His murder, in this like a laboratory experiment, for one reason. It was to show that it wasn’t mere experiment but divinely decided procedure! It had been foretold for centuries. This was God at work, fulfilling revealed symbolism and prophecy (Isaiah 26:19, Hosea 6:1ff., with Leviticus 23:4-11*1). HE was the invasion force; it was not Europe but sin, and not Hitler's domination but that of the devil that was in view. Look at the divine duty schedule as it is summed up by Christ. However all mankind in the world is not the recipient, but those who find in Him the unsearchable riches of Deity (Matthew 13:44, John 20:27-29), and give them absolute preference over the relative riches of bits of creation, whatever its future. As to that, in the end, it is null (II Peter 3), but the guilt of desiring it, is not!
“Behold, we are going up to
and the Son of Man will be betrayed
to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death
and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him,
and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
His schedule then, the divine one ? betrayal (never pleasant, for you wonder what kind of heart can beat like that!); betrayal to arch and hypocritical enemies (putting a sharper edge on what is already razor keen), followed by their condemnation, and His death, this even being set for the Gentile to snap at, by the treacherous Jew. This is the first part, except for the death, which has several preliminaries. He must be mocked, scourged and spat on, and only then killed.
It is like bombing with His own body, and absorbing the devastation Himself. Next comes the resurrection which is to show that the deal is done, that deity has indeed paid (Romans 1:4), and that His power to heal and raise the dead applies EVEN WHEN He Himself is the dead, and even, worse still, when vicariously borne sin is the cause of that death! Only ultimate and eternal purity could be raised with that burden, unblighted by justice, and having paid, having no more to resolve.
This list of the divine schedule in Mark 10:33-34 is simple in sound, but the cost is PROFOUND. It is crisp in sequence, cumulative, deadly, blunt, comprehensive and detailed.
As with your old manner of life, if a person becomes a Christian, the case is not mellow. It gets HANDLED; the results are not handsome. The old life, the ‘old man’ as Paul calls it (Colossians 3:-10), becomes too dead to congratulate itself (Romans 8:10, 3:23-27), for it congratulates the one who did it: Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:9,11,13). The motivation is not credit, power or new self-gain, but Christ, His kingdom, His favour, His company, felicity in God's fatherhood by faith, at whatever cost, loss or pain, knowing that He who is personal is your peace, wisdom and way, wealth and eternal resource. By faith you receive it so, in import; and to faith it is given so, a divine export!
On this, the beauty of Isaiah 48:18 speaks, for this life has been available BECAUSE of what Christ would do, for millenia, as the Bible has prescribed it (cf. Psalm 17, 32). THEN, says Isaiah, your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. The way is prepared, and the river winds along it; again, the waves cover continually and there is no hole. It is ... all covered with the very righteousness of God, the believer’s ransom (Matthew 20:28). It is eternal, it is glorious and it is a grant of God to faith in Him who purchased it for man (Romans 8:29ff., 5:1-11).
What WOULD have been for Israel is in this, what WILL BE for the Christian. Such is the very nature of that peace (Isaiah 26:1-4) which is self-checking, since IF you trust THEN it comes, and that for two reasons.
Firstly it is not then disturbed by the grounds of spiritual war with your Maker, since you are at peace with the ultimate, God Himself, on whom all depends and against whom nothing is able to prevail. Secondly, when you know God, then HIS peace is a vital, personal impartation. He GIVES it! The divine duty schedule was fully fulfilled, so that the grant is made on the basis of the work done in truth: BY CHRIST.
The export of the life of sin (Isaiah 53:6,10, I John 2:2, Romans 8:31-33) and the import of the life of Christ becomes like a little nation where oil is suddenly found, but with this difference. The oil is IMPORTED, suddenly found in Christ, and the need is exported, with the stark occasions that made it so great. With your sins buried in the depth of the sea (Micah 7), you are ready for the cleansed containers to receive the beauty of His holiness, the fragrance of His presence and for your own part, to receive Him without reservation.
The only reservation is of another kind, that of your eternal living place, and of your eternal temple (I Peter 1:1-8, II Corinthians 5:1ff.).
A WALK THROUGH CHRIST'S ARISING ON THE THIRD DAY
On the topic of the prediction of the rising of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, from the dead on the third day, there are His own statements and those in the Old Testament.
As to His own, these are numerous and various. They include such as those in Matthew 16:21, 17:22-23, Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:2-23; cf. Luke 9:44, 17:25; Luke 18:32-33. Bold, clear, concise and repeated as these were, in different contexts, this is not all. They were related to the Old Testament prophecies to the same effect. It was a part of His design that the very method of salvation should be surrounded with precision, performed in power, surging with strength, with that regal reality that divine majesty naturally provides, in this, that eternity is His, and in time there is no hurry for Him!
It is convenient here to provide an excerpt from Ch. 6 of SMR on this topic. It is also convenient here greatly to extend and apply it. This follows.
Christ's frequent and dire predictions about rising on the third day put an additional constraint on the resurrection. It would be quite hopeless if it were on the second or the fourth. Failure to rise at the predicted, the prophesied time would have meant that He was in fact not the Messiah. It was as simple as that; and to the disciples en route to Emmaus, it was beginning to appear that He was not the Messiah, because here it was the third day, and as yet no action. God is no laggard.
Clearly the message had got through. Nor was it alone, that Christ had said it; He also had constraints, something of which He was as Messiah entirely aware. Matthew 26:53-56 shows that He expressly rejected any thought of asking for supernatural aid against the arrest party that led on to the crucifixion in due course. The reason is vital:
HOW THEN COULD THE SCRIPTURES BE FULFILLED, THAT IT MUST HAPPEN THUS ? ... BUT ALL THIS WAS DONE THAT THE SCRIPTURES OF THE PROPHETS MIGHT BE FULFILLED.
Paul in I Corinthians 15:1 ff. also incorporates the third day as a basic datum.
In view of all this, it is clear the prophecy is from the identity kit of prophecy concerning the Messiah in the Old Testament. In fact, there is reference to Hosea 6:1-3 (cf. Chapter 9, Section 1C infra). This is the book which in 13:14 speaks of God redeeming His people from death, by becoming the plagues of death, and becoming likewise the destruction of the grave. In Chapter 6, then, we see an exhortation to return to the Lord, in tender tones. It speaks of being stricken and raised up on the third day. Isaiah 26:19 also speaks of the people being raised, but in these terms: my dead body, shall they arise. In full:
"Your dead shall live. My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing you who dwell in the dust." That is the literal translation.
In Isaiah therefore, we find a resurrection (cf. Daniel 12:1 ff.), in which the resurrection of the children of God is tied to, incorporated in and effected through the resurrection of the speaker. In this passage, that is the one who refers to them as "My people", and being the One with omnipotent power over death, He is God. It is HE who declares, "My dead body shall they arise." The Messiah is comprehensive of His people in the power and import and impact as also in the implication of His resurrection. Thus, in HIS rising, THEY arise. Hence, "MY dead body shall THEY arise!" That is the prediction.
WHEN is this event of such transparent power and decisive impact to occur ? AFTER the slaughter and the ruin of sin (Hosea 5), there is this CALL by God for their return to Him, but it is no ordinary return,
"Come, and let us return..." comes the exhortation, as He speaks through His prophet. "After two days," (Hosea 6:2), "He will revive us." How is this to be done ? Why through the Messiah's resurrection, who dying for their sin (Isaiah 52-53), in arising arises equally for them, thus RAISES US UP (Hosea 6:2), so that "we shall we live in His sight."
Just as in Isaiah 26:19 there is the resurrection of His people implied in the arising of the Lord's OWN dead body (cf. Hosea 13:14 making the same clear death to deity as Messiah forecast and promise), so here in this raising up, by just such means of His people, there is the spiritual aspect. "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning..."
The spiritual brightness transfigures just as the rotting denied the body of the Lord figures.
God then (as in Psalm 49:7,15), who alone can redeem from death, and who will do so, will execute this phase of the mission by raising His own dead body, and this will imply the resurrection guarantee of His people.
Now on the third day, God will raise up His people, says Hosea, so that they may escape the corruption otherwise their lot. As He was torn for them, so they were torn by their sins (Hosea 6:1); and as He died for them, so by their sin they "died" as Paul puts it in Romans 7:11, II Corinthians 5:14, Galatians 2:20). Indeed, the whole book of Hosea is one of redemption, payment, restoration through payment, and it ends in Hosea 13:14 with God's own promise that He Himself will do for the people this very same redemption which the prophet depicted, as he paid to get back his straying wife. Indeed, Hosea was instructed to marry the woman in the first place, a fallen woman, as a way of depicting the facts through his own life!
It is in this context then, that we find that the God who is be the ransom from the power of the grave, paying Himself personally (as He would come Himself personally, Ezekiel 34) for their sin, so destroying the grave by in His Messiah inhabiting it penally for them, the right price for their deliverance, who on the third day "will raise us up." It is then that they can walk in His presence and come freely to His side.
Thus in Psalm 16 we similarly find that the Messiah will have a body not to be corrupted (*7) (vv. 9-10). The implications of His resurrection are to carry over to His people, guaranteeing theirs, and the third day is absolutely crucial to the (necessarily) stringent constraints on the prophets. (They were to ensure their prophesies were genuinely of God, and hence worked, were fulfilled, if prediction was made: or die - effectively blasphemers - Deuteronomy 18:20-22.)
No other day is in view for this epochal resurrection, guaranteeing action whereby God will act to ensure the resurrection of His people: that is, in the body He has prepared for Himself (Psalm 40:1-6).
In the typical format of Leviticus, that is, the symbolic presentation of sacrificial and allied doctrine, there is further reference to the third day. Thus the passover is here given a date. The passover ? This refers to the 'lamb', led as to the slaughter, in its antitype. It is thus a preliminary expression for God's 'lamb' (of Isaiah 53), to be slaughtered for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:3-6,10). What then is the date laid down, for this annual ceremony ? This is the fourteenth day of Nisan (March, April). This was the day commemorating in the Mosaic sacrificial system, that mighty act of God in delivering those who had the blood of a lamb on their doors, among the Jews, during the confrontation with Pharaoh in ancient Egypt.
This blood, it was said, would be the ground on which the angel of death would deliver the household so covered. Thus was instituted a perpetual feast, and they ate of the lamb whose blood was their 'protection', through its death giving them life. The "blood makes an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11).
Others (namely certain Egyptians) were slain; but where the blood was, there was God's life-permit for sinners.
Leviticus 23:4 notes the date for it, the symbol of the deliverance from death of the Jewish people. Leviticus 23:6 institutes a 'sabbath', a special day of rest, to follow - that is, on the fifteenth of that month, and thus the second day of the series commencing with the Passover itself.
23:11 institutes an operation for the following day, that after this rest day, and this by the inclusive Jewish counting, becomes the third day, paralleling Christ's third day, on which He so often and profoundly declared He would rise from the dead. Thus would the destroyed 'temple' be raised, in the face of His priestly accusers and murderers (cf. John 2:18-23).
It was an astonishing prediction for any but God to make: Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up! HE was the temple, He the sacrifice, He the priest who offered not an animal, but HIMSELF, and in three days, He declared, even if they destroyed this temple, He would raise it up (John 2:21-22). This was the point: it was HIMSELF to which objection was made. It was HE who was the one in question, the One they plotted from an early stage to destroy (cf. Mark 3:6).
Cryptic to a degree, it was yet ironic and penetrating precisely for that reason among the blood-thirsty prelates. The ACTUAL stone temple was not about to be destroyed (least of all, by those, His persecutors, who gloried in it), but HE was in the target area of their envious and vying sights, and thus to the point of His entire Messianic program He referred, the thing which was foretold to be destroyed, the body which would require indeed resurrection from the dead (as foretold in Psalm 16, implied in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 26:19).
Small wonder then that after His resurrection, the disciples remembered His forecast on this point!
Where then did the prophetic scriptures relay this third day before even Christ announced it as an impactive part of His divine program. It is symbolic in the Passover (14th First Month), Rest Day plus feast of unleavened bread (15th. First Month) series (cf. Deuteronomy 16:2-10, Lev. 23:4-15.)
It is the next day that counts here. Thus we turn from Leviticus 23:4-6, to 23:10-11. The day after the Rest Day, that is now the third day in the symbolic series, was the waving of the sheaf of grain, indicative of the harvest, the springing up to life, following the passover and rest. It represented a display and a dedication of the harvest which was to come, buyt this offering of a token first sheaf! A burnt offering of thanksgiving would accompany this. The sequence then for the three day series is this: redemption, rest, life, day one, two and three...
This is merely the typical or symbolic indication of what elsewhere is given.
Day one is the Messiah Passover, the Lamb to come (Isaiah 53). Here is the antitype of the all significant Lamb of the Passover, of the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, and from the separating sin which would otherwise exclude them from God. Day two is the rest, what follows this centre of operation. On it, there is a feast of unleavened bread, that of simplicity signifying no additives to this salvation. Day three then is the attestation of vitality, of life, of harvest, of all that is to come. Would then the Messiah be raised ?
That is precisely what the Psalms had been repeatedly showing. Yes, but would He be raised on the third day, having made emphatically and repeatedly clear by His own speech on earth, that this was part of His mandate. If He had NOT fulfilled His own prediction which was based in turn on His earlier prophetic predictions (cf. I Peter 1:11-12), then that in one simple, single stroke would remove His authenticity as Messiah. When it is God, error has no place. it is as it should be, a CONSTANT VERIFICATION in all things. So it was to be; so it was. Like a vast ocean liner, it moves to its due dock, fulfilment of the voyage of prophecy at the pier of truth, and wharf of history.
Our Old Testament references give a basis for the prophecy; but the crucial point here is simply this: Christ Himself also made this prediction, and He did so in terms of existing constraints indeed.
Buttressed not only by the resurrection, the meeting, the eating, the walking, the talking, the chef work with the fish, the fishing directions, (John 21:1-14), the laboratory style availability of the body of Christ for 'testing purposes only' for Thomas - 'the man for the facts' (John 20:24-29) - they had also this act, this arithmetic insistence.
It was so typical of the precision of God (who after all made precision as well as art and its abilities). The resurrection happened precisely on schedule as to day, as indeed did the death as an item in the sweep of history, as to date (see pp. 886-899 infra, Highway of Holiness Ch. 4). It gave them yet more zest to them in following Him thereafter with a fearless assurance, knowing His entire and detailed dependability; which this vindicated. The date of death and the three day sequence from death to arising, both these temporal constraints operated, as if it were some scientific procedure. It is necessary to be frank. So often the undoubted power of God to make everything work and fluent, is taken for granted to such a degree that when some staggering coup such as this forecast from over 600 years before the events in question, is fulfilled, some seem scarcely to notice it.
Not so those whose eyes are opened on the spot. The disciples were greatly enthused, declaring rightly to the hostile clerics and priestly resisters that they could not but speak the things that they had heard and seen, WHATEVER mere authority sought to make its feeble hands oppose it (Acts 4:19-20, 5:27ff.), yet though death should be the result.
You see it unfolding. As John 19:14 puts it, it on the day of the preparation of the Passover that Christ is brought to Pilate. The Passover week flowed on, with the fifteenth day, that after the Passover, the commencement of the 7 day Feast of Unleavened Bread of the Lord. The Friday was the preparation day for this especially holy Sabbath (in fact that Saturday, the term in Greek even meaning 'Friday' (cf. Gleason Archer, Bible Difficulties, pp. 375-376).
Would the priests and most holy murderers want to defile their super-religious righteousness by entering the Gentile court of Rome's Governor, Pilate, to seek the extermination of the Messiah, on such a day as this ?
Of course not (John 18:28). Murder is one thing, ignoring the evidence and blaming the guiltless is one area; but soiling your sacramental purity for religious ceremony, this is out of the question. Thus Pilate had to come OUT to them, and only after the judgment was made, was Christ then brought into the Praetorium, the hall where He could be further worked on by the tormentors of the Gentiles, to whom He was provided as if a ball for the dog to toss about. They did not fail to do this...
Thus in the twilight of the 14th. the Passover, was the Lamb to be eaten, as Christ performed it also, this becoming because of their mode of night-day procedure, the very beginning of the 14th.. Murder on this day ? of course, you cannot have Messiahs who fulfil EVERYTHING in word, date and power being allowed to live, or soil your hands in the meantime when you have serious religious business to do, in the feast! What a thought!
So is Christ killed on this same 14th, around 9-3 p.m., the feast and the fact technically, all on the 14th as prescribed. The symbols were fulfilled ? Yes, but perfectly. They saw it, heard it, surveyed it, digested it, the entire program of deity unveiled into history before their eyes. When the spark of spiritual illumination shone in their sorrow, they realised the entirety of this glorious but grisly performance. It was told to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who ... realised, as they were taught of the scriptural background and made to realise the significance of it all (Luke 24:13-35). Later they were all given the exposition - or nearly all ... (Luke 24:36-49).
Did not the Christ have to suffer and then enter His glory! It was expounded before their eyes in the present of the best of lecturers, the ONE WHO had just fulfilled it in Person, first in power to save and heal, to raise the dead, and then to be raised after being sacrificially USED by those who did not even realise that it was the Lord of glory whom they abused. Thus was sin atoned; but not for the impenitent. Small wonder Christ had CONTINUED praying during the crucifixion, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do! (Luke 23:34). So far from being vindictive, He sought as in His mission (John 3:17) to save ANY, even those who made of Him the sacrifice through which, in the profundity of the love of God, by which alone they could be FORGIVEN. Love is like that: deep and wonderful, the very love of God, the sole source of love in mankind!
That is part of His image in us, however, alas which is frequently disported but not performed, announced but not realised! In Him, it was all. Those who reject the cover andt he invitation by this to recover and so know God, it is not love they have failed to he shown at the outset, but truth they have refused to receive (John 3:19). Therefore what COST Christ so much then costs THEM so much, for they are still uncovered, like someone without sunscreen, who REFUSES in a trek through the Sahara, to wear a hat!
But the disciples were not those who do this, but those who realised their redemption with delight, and found their Saviour with relief, and in His life found that eternal life which death can no more threaten.
From such a base you might expect the intense rapture and power with impact, of the Christian faith, at once; and the FACT that this occurred is even further verification of its stated basis.
What then ? The right date for the Messiah, as we see there, was clearly predicted, and death in any other region of the first century, or any other century would have been as 'out of the question' as resurrection not on the third day. It would not have met the standards of checking which God has given to Thomases of other times - (John 14:11) 'believe... for the works' sake', if need be.
So here, the right day for the resurrection places a scientific premium on the rigour of the test.
That is, then, another element in the scope of prophecy, both from Christ and (less obviously but yet definitely) in the Old Testament. Christ, by declaring the matter so clearly, removed any question of difficulty. He said it loud and clear; and so had to do it. That, as we saw, is expected of the prophet of the Lord; how much more of 'that prophet', the Messiah, the great One (of Deuteronomy 18, the One to supersede Moses! and who would Himself become the sacrifice - Isaiah 53:10, Zechariah 3:8-10, 6:12-13).
Thus this genial feat is an added evidence of the superb and majestic ease with which the Messiah conquered death: He gave every opportunity for proving Him wrong, even as to the day; and to His enemies He gave advance notice of his D-day, His invasion: His invasion of life from the dead (cf. Psalm 2:1-7). Since they were obviously most motivated to prevent any such unmitigated 'disaster', this advance notice of plans was an amazing 'gift' to His oppressors. (Compare the Pharisees' concern: Matthew 27:62-63.) It also constituted an awe-inspiring exhibition of the unlimited power of God, used in conjunction with His word, and expressed to man on earth, concerning what He would do there.
The grace and ease of the victory (cf. Isaiah 25:8, Hosea 13:14), in this sense of meeting yet more stringent specifications, attests something. (We are not here referring to what it took to gain it, merely to the power involved: obviously it was agony.) It is the supreme power of the unique God, who alone rules.
To attest this power and majesty, amid compassion and appeal: this is one of God's major stated purposes in Isaiah 41:17-26 and on to 42:18, in 43:5-14, and in 48:3-14 moving on to 49:9. He indicates that He is so forecasting and has so forecasted and acted to fulfil, that He is leaving no predictive-performace competition around, so that His people, in their ruthless follies, might be warned the better, and helped the more to faith in Him, despite their unruly rebellions from what had been so obvious for so long, since Moses.
Such a level and standard of prediction points with power to the majesty of the Person who provides it. After all, not only did God do the work of exhibiting His power and His precision, His involvement and His knowledge through such mighty acts of historical function, actually performing at that majestic, sovereign level (as is His prerogative and power): He said in advance that He would do so, and then He did it exactly as He said, amid the milling, multitudinous, multi-faceted world of events. In fact, it is in the first and the last of these two references, just made, in Isaiah, that God proceeds to provide that focus for faith that is crucial, the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 41:28-42:6 and 49:1-6, and see Chapters 8 and 9, infra on prophecy).
A cardinal instance is the resurrection prediction concerning Him, and the detail of its timing. This is a matter of style, of that ease of champions who overcome with facility; and where nothing can prevent, it is the style of the champion of champions, the lord of lords, the king of kings, the conductor of history.
One exhibition, then, of this style of the matter is our mathematical contribution to the resurrection in the phase of prophecy concerning the Messiah; and for good measure we add it. After all, He did so; and we are examining the fulfilments in the area of fact.
This had to be done, met, fulfilled. As in similar cases (the Emmaus road case showing it well enough), the Old Testament setting, together with the specific emphasis of Jesus Christ on the point meant this: Any failure here to meet the prediction would have been all that it would have taken, to unseat the Christian faith. (It works with real rigour conversely; and so it did in prospect, on the way to Emmaus!)
Thus, instead, this datum, the third day, as a matter of fact, is vigorously, constantly stressed, as are so many of the things seen and heard, at the very core of the religion. This was done as it crusaded amid those who were there at the time, the scriptures, as we see, being in place: circulating, in large measure, in living memory of the events. This is the contemporary fact.