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Lesson 4: God's Mighty Victory
In our last lesson we learned how Jesus Christ removed the great barrier of sin which stood between God and men. He did this by taking our place and paying the full penalty of our sins.
God showed His perfect and complete satisfaction with Christ's sacrifice of Himself on the cross by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at his right hand in glory. The "right hand of God" is the place of supreme honour and power. The apostle Peter said that Jesus Christ "is gone to heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him." (1 Peter 3:21-22)
Christ's Glorious Resurrection
Jesus died about three o'clock in the afternoon. A rich man, Joseph of Arimathaea, came to the Roman governor and boldly asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate granted Joseph's request.
Jesus was buried in a new tomb, carved out of solid rock. He lay in the tomb three days and three nights, but His body did not decay. The Bible says,
"You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption [decay]." (Psalm 16:10)
On the third day, before daylight, the Lord Jesus rose from the dead! He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, then He appeared to Peter. He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. That night Jesus appeared to ten of the disciples and ate fish and honeycomb with them. Thomas was not there.
When the disciples told Thomas that Jesus had risen and had appeared to them, Thomas did not believe them. He said,
"Except I shall see in His hands the prints of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe." (John 20:25)
Eight days later, on the first day of the week, the disciples were again in the same room. This time Thomas was with them. Again Jesus appeared to them and said, "Peace be unto you." Then He turned to Thomas and told him to touch His hands, to put his finger into the nail prints and thrust his hand into His side. Thomas did not doubt any longer. He worshipped the Lord Jesus saying,"My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
The Lord Jesus appeared on the earth for a period of forty days after He rose from the grave. He appeared to His disciples many times. On one occasion, over five hundred people saw the risen Christ. The Bible says,
"He [Christ] showed Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days…" Acts 1:3
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is God's great triumph over death, sin and Satan's power. Jesus' disciples were defeated and discouraged after seeing Him die on the cross, but His mighty resurrection filled them with joy and boldness. They went everywhere, preaching the resurrection of Christ. The Bible says,
"And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all." Acts 4:33
Christ is the Mighty Victor over Sin
When God's first man, Adam, was tempted, he sinned and brought sin and death into the world. When God's Second Man, Jesus Christ, was tempted, He triumphed. The Bible says that Christ "has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15 NET Bible)
At the beginning of His ministry, Christ triumphed over sin. Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness more than anyone has ever been tempted, but Christ was absolute Victor over sin and Satan.
Throughout His entire life, Christ triumphed over sin. The Bible says that He "committed no sin nor was deceit found in His mouth." (1 Peter 2:22 NET Bible) No one, not even His most bitter enemies, could point to any sin in His life.
Satan tried to find in Him something of "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes or the pride of life," but he found none of these things in the holy Son of God. Jesus said,
"The ruler of this world [Satan] is coming. He has no power over Me." (John 14:30 NET Bible)
By His death on the cross, Christ dealt with the whole matter of sin. He removed the great barrier of sin that stood between God and men. The Bible says,
"But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice." (Hebrews 9:26 NET Bible)
Christ is the Mighty Victor over Satan
When Satan succeeded in getting wicked men to put Jesus to death in such a shameful way, he thought that he had accomplished a mighty victory. But he was never more mistaken!
Actually, it was through death that the Lord Jesus destroyed Satan's power. The Bible says that the Son of God took upon Himself a body of flesh and blood that "through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Hebrews 2:14)
No doubt Satan and all the rulers of darkness used every power they had to keep Christ in the tomb. But Christ rose from the grave on the third day, victorious over Satan and all the powers of darkness.
Christ is the Mighty Victor over Death
Because of man's sin, Satan has the power of death over men. But God has greater power—the power of resurrection!
Christ went into the realm of death for us. The Bible says that He tasted death for every man. Before Christ's resurrection, death had held all its captives in its power. But Christ broke the power of death forever when He rose from the grave. The Bible says the Jesus Christ "has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!" (2 Timothy 1:10 NET Bible)
It is important to understand the spiritual significance of Christ's resurrection. It was there that all the power of Satan, sin and death were concentrated to keep Christ in the grave. But Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father. The resurrection of Christ involved the mightiest demonstration of God's power recorded anywhere in the Bible (see Ephesians 1:15-21).
God raised His Son from the dead and gave Him power over all His enemies. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is "declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead." (Romans 1:4)
Christ is "the Firstborn from the Dead"
Christ is called "the Firstborn from the dead" because He is the first person ever to have a resurrection body. Jesus Himself had raised three people from the dead, but these people were simply restored to life in their human bodies. In time, they had to die like everyone else.
When Christ rose from the grave, He had a glorious, new resurrection body, different from anything that had ever before been seen on earth. It was a body of flesh and bones, but without blood.
When Jesus appeared to His disciples, they thought that He was a ghost or a spirit. But Jesus said to them, "Look at my hands and my feet; it’s me! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones like you see I have.” (Luke 24:39 NET Bible)
In His mighty resurrection body, Jesus could go from one place to another instantly. He could pass through walls and closed doors. When the Lord Jesus comes for us, He will give us glorious, new resurrection bodies like His. Our new bodies will never be subject to sickness or death. Paul said that we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, "who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body…" (Philippians 3:21 NET Bible)
Christ Returned to Heaven in Triumph
The ancient Roman generals used to return from their victorious conquests to a hero's welcome in Rome. The whole city would turn out in a giant celebration in their honour. The victorious generals would ride triumphantly into the city with their defeated enemies chained to their chariots.
When Christ returned to heaven, He returned as the mighty Victor over Satan and all the powers of darkness. He made a display of defeated enemies. The Bible says,
"Disarming the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:15 NET Bible)
Christ was Exalted to the Throne of Heaven
The Father welcomed His beloved Son home to glory and gave Him the place of greatest honour and power. Throughout His life on earth, Jesus had glorified His Father. Just before He went to the cross, He prayed to His Father, "I have glorified You on the earth…now, O Father, glorify Me." (John 17:4-5)
The Father answered this prayer by giving Christ the highest place in the universe.
The Man, Jesus Christ, is now seated on the very throne of God. The Bible says,
"…He [God] raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that [world] which is to come." (Ephesians 1:20-21)
The position given to Jesus Christ is far above that of any person, angel, or spiritual power in the universe. The Bible says that God has put "all things under His feet." This means that everything in the universe is under His authority. The Bible says,
"Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)
Christians are in on a secret that the world knows nothing about. It is this: Christ has been rejected in this world, but He has been exalted in heaven.
If we could be lifted out of this world and taken to heaven, the thing that would impress us most is that Jesus Christ has the place of supreme honour and authority in heaven. He has the highest place in God's universe.
All the Christ did, He did as a Man, on our Behalf
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, entered the human race as a tiny baby. He lived here as a man. He died on the cross as a man. When He rose from the dead with His glorious resurrection body, He was still a man. He had the print of the nails in His hands and the print of the spear in His side.
He went back to heaven as a glorified Man. He has been exalted as a Man. The Man, Christ Jesus, is now on the throne of heaven. Why did He do all this? He did it for the glory of God and on our behalf. He did it for us!
Christ laid aside His glory as God and came into this world on our behalf. Jesus said,
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45 NET Bible)
Christ suffered and died on our behalf. We were the ones who had broken God's laws. We were the ones who were under the sentence of death. But Christ took our place on the cross and died on our behalf.
Christ was raised from the dead on our behalf. The Bible says that He was "given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification." (Romans 4:25 NET Bible)
Christ has gone to the right hand of God on our behalf. He is there as a glorified Man, crowned with glory and honour. He is there on our behalf. The Bible says,
"For Christ…[has entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." (Hebrews 9:24)
We need Spiritual Vision
God wants us to know Christ as he is today, exalted to the right hand of God. It is Christ on the throne, who is the source of all our blessings.
Nothing is more wonderful than being able to see what God has done. When Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul was blinded by His glory. Paul was converted and filled with the Holy Spirit. Not only was his physical sight restored, but he also received spiritual vision. Ananias said to Paul,
"The God of our fathers has chosen you, that you should know His will, and see that Just One [Christ], and should hear the voice of His mouth. For you shall be His witness unto all men of what you have seen and heard." (Acts 22:14-15)
There is no greater blessing than being able to see God's unseen wonders in the spiritual realm connected with the glorified Christ. Spiritual vision comes from the Holy Spirit. The Bible says,
"'Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.' God has revealed these to us by the Spirit." (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NET Bible)
Being able to "see" spiritually is a great blessing from God. Many of God's people have faith in Jesus as the One who died for their sins and rose again from the dead, but they have never "seen" His exaltation. By God's Word and by His Spirit we can "see" Christ as He is now, crowned with glory and honour. The Bible says,
"You have put all things in subjection under His feet…But now we see not yet all things put under Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour." (Hebrews 2:8-9)
Christ on the Throne is for His Believers
The Man, Jesus Christ, is now on the throne of heaven, and He is for His believers here on earth. The Bible says that Christ has entered "into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." (Hebrews 9:24)
We know that one day Christ will come and take us to be with Him forever, but do we realise how completely Christ is for us now? All that Christ did, He did on our behalf. He is our new Head—our Victorious Leader—and He loves us with the same wondrous love with which the Father loves Him. Jesus said,
"Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain in my love." (John 15:9 NET Bible)
* Jesus Christ has been rejected in this world but He has been exalted in the next world.
* He is now on the throne of God, and He is for His people.
Our salvation rests on two great facts:
Christ died for our sins.
Christ rose from the dead.
Let us consider these two great facts.
CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS.
Our salvation rests on the person and the work of the Lord Jesus. Who is He? He is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. What did He do? He died for our sins.
Did He die for part of our sins or all of our sins? He died for all of our sins—all of the sins of mankind. The Bible says,
"The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity [sin] of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)
If He died for all of our sins, did He pay for all of them or part of them? He paid for all of them.
Was Christ's payment for our sins fully accepted by God? Yes, it was. How do we know? We know this by the resurrection of Christ.
CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD.
In the resurrection of Christ we see the proof that He is the Son of God and all that He said is true.
If you are ever troubled with doubts about your salvation or if you have friends who have doubts about the Bible, put all your doubts aside and settle the whole matter on this question: Did Jesus Christ really die, and did He really rise again?
Yes, Jesus Christ really did die, and He really did rise again. Therefore we know that He is the Son of God and that all He said is true. We can put our complete confidence and trust in Him. The Bible says that Jesus Christ was "declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead." (Romans 1:3-4)