The Apostles’ Creed (Part 15)

I made breakfast this morning and for a change I decided to do a recipe I saw on a Facebook clip. It’s not fancy but it is tasty and filling. I mixed four eggs together with some left over grated cheese, the last jam tomato and some green, yellow and red pepper pieces that were left over from a salad. After whipping it properly and having the pan we use for frying eggs, I added some butter before placing a piece of whole wheat bread with some of the center cut out, into the pan. Soon thereafter I added half of the mixture and let it cook until it was well settled.

Then I did the next one. Let’s call it a “bread omelet”. We enjoyed this breakfast that actually turned into a brunch. I could remove any one ingredient except one and it would still work. If the eggs were left out it would never form into a “bread omelet”. In thinking about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus I realized that like leaving the eggs out of the mixture there would be no “bread omelet” … so, leaving the Resurrection out of the Rescue Plan of God would mean there is no Gospel. That is how important Jesus’ rising from the dead on the third day is. Remember the Apostles Creed says … “The Third Day He Rose again from the Dead.”

1) Eye Witnesses are vital to prove cases. Although I am not a lawyer, I would suggest that an eye witness testimony would be the greatest means of proving a case for the Defense or the Prosecution. Similarly we have eye witnesses who saw Jesus after His Resurrection. Some of them spoke with Him, ate with Him, enjoyed His “fish braai” on the beach and enjoyed His additional teaching before leaving for His Eternal Home. I do this often but it is vitally important … the Bible is not man’s word or will or mind. It is the Word, Mind and Will of God. We don’t need anyone to prove it is God’s Word because it says itself that it is God out breathed and Holy Spirit inspired (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:19-21). Now, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul writes:

1Co 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

What a neat account of what happened.

(1) Jesus died v3;

(2) Jesus was buried v4;

(3) Jesus was raised v4 … and

(4) Jesus appeared v5-8.

The flow is like a readymade Gospel Sermon! Alto often we tend to leave the fourth element out when presenting and defending the Gospel. These eye witnesses are placed within God’s Word purposely to prevent speculation or doubt.

2) Rejecters of the Gospel list fanciful objections to any possible Resurrection. Here are a few …

(1) Jesus did not die. He just passed out through extreme exhaustion. The Muslim’s Koran teaches this … but then, the New Testament was completed long before Mohammed started Islam. The facts were there before the new religion and more to the point, it is offensive towards well trained, professional executers who were elite Roman Soldiers. They knew how to kill as we saw when they broke the legs of the other two on their crosses and pierced Jesus side, hitting His heart. Dead He was.

(2) Jesus’ body was stolen by His disciples. This theory says the Roman Guards fell asleep. Imagine that! They themselves would have been executed! The disciples are said to have lied about Jesus death and took Him and hid Him away from the authorities so that the pressure was off. If this was true, why did these disciples continue to lie for 40 years, face beating, stoning, whipping, prison and martyrdom for a lie? Jesus died.

(3) Jesus’ twin brother died in His place. The first thing that comes to mind is that the Biblical record says Mary gave birth to a baby … not to twins. Then she gave birth to Joseph’s children as recorded by name in the Bible. Even if a look-a-like died in Jesus’ place, how does one explain the empty tomb?

(4) Jesus disciples hallucinated about His resurrection. Either they were drugged, or exhausted, and fantasied that Jesus rose from the dead. A difficulty here is that Jesus revealed Himself to so many. He appeared to various people … and to Thomas He showed His wounded body! I prefer the Biblical text because apart from being Truth, it sounds more truthful to believe.

3) Why is the Resurrection so vital and important? Remember my opening illustration of the “bread omelet” compared to the Resurrection? The Resurrection holds the Gospel together and makes it God’s Rescue Plan. Although there are many benefits of the “Full Gospel”, consider …

(1) Propitiation. This means to “avert” the wrath of God by offering God a gift. The gift is the pure, prefect, sinless, holy blood of the Godman, Jesus Christ to turn God’s wrath away from man.

(2) Expiation. In our last year of Primary School we were taught to use a “Fountain Pen”. From a bottle of ink you would fill the pen. Being a messy boy I always split ink, but we had blotting paper. Press this paper over the desk where the ink spilt and it soak up the ink completely. When you consider the hopeless condition man is in, Total Depravity, expiation means “blotting out” or “removing” sin. Jesus blotted out your sin from the Father’s vision.

(3) Justification. In the New Testament this word means to move you from the state of sin to the state of grace.

(4) Acceptance. Now, being in a state of grace, with all sin and guilt blotted out and God’s wrath having been averted, the Father accepts you as His own.

(5) Reconciliation. Once God accepts you, the relationship that Adam and God once enjoy is restored. Now you have union with God without any barriers.

(6) Victory. Our Lord’s Resurrection, which completes and solidifies God’s Rescue Plan declares to the Father that the mission of God Incarnate was successful.

Ro 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Thank You Father, Son and Holy Spirit for such a great salvation. Amen.

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