He Is Risen BODILY
by Larry Lilly
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Matthew 28:6 “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
That Christ is raised from the dead has been the mainstay of the Christian faith from the beginning. We base our insistence on the resurrection based on the testimony of the four gospel writers, the further testimony of the Apostle Paul as one born out of due time, on the testimony of the rest of the Apostles, and on the overall testimony of the Bible and Christ’s prophecy’s concerning His resurrection from the dead after His impending crucifixion. Paul lists as fact that over 500 witnesses saw Him after His resurrection. This is pretty good evidence in about any court, except those courts that already decided against the historic record.
A few years ago my son was working on his Masters and then the Ph.D. He went through volumes, thick, boring and in some cases heretical volumes in required studies, during this time he said to me; “Dad, you know if you can’t believe the Bible, why would you believe these books. The only real evidence we have is in fact the Word of God.” Considering his mother is blonde, this is good reasoning. It really doesn’t matter a snap of our fingers if every book on earth denies the resurrection as long as the scripture affirms the truth of the resurrection of Christ from the Dead.
Some Hollywood types are now claiming they have found the bones of Jesus and his so called family in an old tomb in Jerusalem. Not hardly and the current hullabaloo is nothing more than a rehash of the DaVinci scuttlebutt of last year. You will not find the bones of Jesus anywhere on earth. Why; Because, He took His bones to heaven with Him when He ascended to heaven visibly, and bodily as recorded in Acts 1:6-11.
You may ask, “What about the concept that Christ arose in the spiritual sense and that He is with us in the spiritual sense much as we cherish the memories of departed loved ones?” That Christ rose from the dead bodily, by bodily I mean with the same body He took from the cross to the tomb and brought forth from the tomb, the body that formed in the Virgin’s womb, the body that traveled with His parents, the body that grew into manhood, the body that thirsted, and hungered, and the body that bled and died on Calvary, that same body is the body that reigns in Glory.
Luke’s gospel deals with this in a graphic way Luke 24:39:
“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
The power of this verse against occultism is mind boggling in that Christ is demonstrating that He is the conqueror of death, hell and the grave! In the nature of things, it would be no great thing for a spirit to walk through material, no great thing for a spirit to appear and disappear at will, but for flesh and bones to do so is unheard of in the history such things! He IS alive, bodily.
The scripture is clear that as Christ is risen from the dead, bodily, so every human will be raised bodily from the dead, some to life and the rest to everlasting destruction from the presence of God. The picture for baptism in Colossians 2:12 states:
“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Romans teaches those who believe are to follow Christ in baptism as an act of dramatic obedience, thus acting out what Christ has done for us and is doing as He enables us to walk in newness of life. PTL. Technically, we died with Him on the cross, we were buried with Him in the tomb, and we are risen with Him. The Bible clearly teaches this, though I know of no one who admits to fully understanding the full meaning. I do know that by God’s grace the day I met Christ, something eternally wonderful happened.
Paul states the case clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:14-17:
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
As a regular reader you know that I use verse 17 very much, for it helps folks to get rid of the baggage of the old life. New creatures do not have baggage and to carry it along is to play into Satan’s tricks devised to destroy your peace and productivity in the Kingdom of Christ.
The reason to put away the bumper stickers that loudly proclaim, “It’s all about me” is because we are not to live for ourselves, but Christ, which life Christ taught us is lived out by caring for others in His name.
If an attempt to remove the resurrection of Jesus from the dead from our faith were to succeed, it must be acknowledged that there would be no divine reason to cease living for self, nor would there be the power necessary to do so.
Each aspect of the plan of redemption is absolutely essential to the life of faith. That’s why it is so devastating for a pastor, church or individual to get out of doctrinal balance.
The faith entrance into the Christian family is given in several places, the most used being Romans 10:9-10, 13 which reads:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
That the ‘overly’ emotional and the cold ‘contract’ no feeling concepts of belief are repudiated in this passage is undeniable. There must be an understanding of the asserted facts, though this belief is not expected to be so technical as to pass the seminary test, and while no one can accurately state the necessary state of feeling, there must be a trust that what God has said about Christ is true, with reliance upon those stated facts. The fact is that when a person hears with the ears of faith, the Spirit of God convicts that person and some form of cry is uttered to the effect of calling upon the name of the Lord. You will notice that a belief, assertion of the fact, confessing that Christ is raised from the dead, a trusting at the heart level is part and parcel of the salvation experience.
Coming forward as though you were taking out a loan at the local bank or joining the civic club and shaking the preacher’s hand, is not, ‘believing with thy heart.’
When Jesus walked out of the tomb, He left the grave clothes. The disciples were commanded to remove the grave clothes of Lazarus. You have no need to continue wearing the garments of the old life. The work of a true disciple is to “loose you and set you free” rather than using sins of the past, or some other way of ‘binding’ you to who you were. You are NOW a new creature, empowered by the powerful Spirit, (Holy) who brought again Jesus our Lord from the dead. Romans 4:24 “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
It is my prayer and the prayer of the faithful who work with me that during this season when the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is put on display that you follow the admonition in Romans 10 mentioned in this article and truly trust Christ. You have no guarantee of tomorrow.
If Christ be not raised from the dead, then we of all men are most miserable. Maranatha!!! LML
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I really enjoyed this article. I especially like the points made against the "lost tomb" nonsense that was recently aired on the Discovery Channel. Keep up the good work.