The Resurrection of Christ by Rembrandt, c. 1639

 

“And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus” (Acts 13:32-33).

Paul says that the resurrection of Jesus is the means by which God kept His promises made in the Old Testament. What are some of these promises?

 

  1. The forgiveness of sins.

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah…For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people…For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

2. The outpouring of the Spirit.

And it shall come to pass afterward,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit (Joel 2:28-29).

3. The end of death.

And he will swallow up on this mountain
    the covering that is cast over all peoples,
    the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken (Isaiah 25:7-8).

Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
    Shall I redeem them from Death?
O Death, where are your plagues?
    O Sheol, where is your sting?
    Compassion is hidden from my eyes (Hosea 13:14). 

4. The liberation from the enemy.

Can the prey be taken from the mighty,
    or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?
For thus says the Lord:
“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
    and the prey of the tyrant be rescued,
for I will contend with those who contend with you,
    and I will save your children” (Isaiah 49:24-25).

The death and resurrection of Jesus are the means by which God kept these promises.

  1. The forgiveness of sins.

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses (Acts 13:36-39).

 

2. The outpouring of the Spirit.

This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing (Acts 2:32-33).

3. The end of death.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:20-26).

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

4. The liberation from the enemy.

 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:14-15).

What a great encouragement to know that God keeps His word, that “all the promises of God find their Yes in [Christ]” (2 Corinthians 1:20), and that through our union with Christ by faith and in baptism these promises are ours to share!

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him (Romans 6:3-8).