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Sunday, April 20, 2014

God raised Jesus Christ from the dead!

"Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead." (Acts 13:26-30)

The message that Almighty God had raised Jesus Christ from the dead was preached over and over again by the apostles. Indeed, this message was a central part of the sermon that Peter was inspired to deliver at the founding of the Church on the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection.

Peter said: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." (Acts 2:22-24) After quoting the Sixteenth Psalm where David prophesied that God would not abandon his body to the grave, he continued: "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne: he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses." (Acts 2:29-32)

The fact that God was the One who had raised Christ from the dead was emphasized by these "witnesses" in all of their preaching. Indeed, all of the following Scriptures reference this phenomenon (the fact that God resurrected Christ) as central to the message being delivered:
Acts 3:15, 26
Acts 4:10
Acts 5:30
Acts 10:40
Acts 13:34, 37
Acts 17:31
Romans 10:9
I Corinthians 15:15
Galatians 1:1
Ephesians 1:20
Colossians 2:12
I Thessalonians 1:10
I Peter 1:21

Why is the fact that Almighty God raised Christ from the dead so important to the Gospel message?

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Romans 5:10) Jesus Christ is now seated at the right hand of God where he acts as our Advocate with the Father. (Romans 8:34, et al)

Moreover, if we remain in Christ and allow him to be our Advocate, then God will do the same thing for us someday!

In this connection, please note the following Scriptures:

"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Romans 8:11)

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Corinthians 15:20-22)

"Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you." (II Corinthians 4:14)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have this hope because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead!

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