[Jesus Christ’s Finished Work on the Cross: Substitution and Identification]
[“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” – Eph. 2:4-7.]
Accordingly, upon the third day after the body of Jesus had been placed in the tomb, the stone was found rolled away. Christ had arisen. Oh, the glorious Resurrection Morn! What does it mean to us? It would be helpful to read and compare the various passages recording this event.
- The first appearance of Christ after His Resurrection was to Mary Magdalene. (See John 20:14-18.)
- The second is mentioned in Matthew 28:9, and the other appearances are given in their order:
- third, Luke 24:15-32;
- fourth, Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5;
- fifth, Luke 24:36-43;
- sixth, John 20:19-25;
- seventh, John 20:26-29;
- eighth, John 21;
- ninth, Matthew 26:32; 28:16;
- tenth, 1 Corinthians 15:6;
- eleventh, 1 Corinthians 15:7[a];
- twelfth, 1 Corinthians 15:7[b];
- thirteenth, Acts 1:9-11;
- fourteenth, 1 Corinthians 15:8.
Study each reference and note the numbers and classes of persons who were witnesses. Also carefully notice what Christ says about His glorified body. Note wherein it differed from His body before the Crucifixion.
The Resurrection is said to be the best attested fact of the Gospel Record and this indicates its importance, for without the Resurrection, there would be no positive proof of the efficacy of His death. (See Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:12-21.)
In the Resurrected Christ we behold the same Personality that walked and taught in Galilee. Those tender, searching eyes beam as of old, yet with a new luster. Those nail-scarred hands are the same that ministered in blessing to the sick and needy, yet their earthiness has disappeared. The disciples gaze upon their glorified Lord in amazement and awe, yet He convinces them that He is the “very same Jesus.” He permits them to handle Him; to examine the scars in His hands and the healed spear wound in His side (John 20:19-29). He eats before them (Luke 24:41-43); He enters into their daily needs and prepares their morning meal (John 21:1-14).
Can we understand this Resurrection power? No, for it belongs to God; but we shall experience it [Rom. 8:11]. The glorified body of our Lord shows us what our glorified bodies are to be [Phil. 3:20,21]. Not an atom is to be lost but changed. Now [referring to the lesson graphics] we remove the black circle surrounding the star, and place over the white circles symbolizing spirit, soul and body, a gilt disc bearing similar circles and words. The star, denoting the Deity of the God-Man, is now seen over the gilt disc that symbolizes His glorified humanity. (See Fig. 7.)
Note the fact that Christ remained forty days upon earth in His Resurrection body; then, after promising to send the “Comforter,” His Other Self, to them, He ascended to heaven, from which He told them that He would return in visible form, and requested them to watch for His appearing. (See Acts 1:9-11.)
Up through the realm of the defeated enemy–Satan, the usurper–the God-Man passed in triumph, having shaken off from Himself the hostile princes and rulers whom He “boldly displayed as His conquests, when by the Cross He triumphed over them” (Col. 2:15, Weymouth).
Up to “heaven itself,” the third heaven, went the God-Man, and having fully executed God’s Plan of Redemption, “He sat down at the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting, till His enemies be made His footstool” (Heb. 10:12-13).
God has corroborated the statement of Jesus upon the Cross– “It is finished,” by the display of His Resurrection and Ascension Power. God’s Plan of Redemption for the human race has been fully executed. Not a single thing remains to be done. Eternal Life and everlasting sonship are ready for any human being who chooses to accept the same [Rev. 22:17].
There is not a being that’s under the sun,
Nor above it, nor anywhere in the wide earth
…Nor in the whole heaven
…Not God nor Christ even;
Not all these combined can do aught, for ’tis Done!
…Done thoroughly, gloriously,
…As God’s Self would have it,
…Done! there we may leave it;
Christ’s work on the Cross is of infinite worth
…Meeting sin in its root
…And through all its fruit;
And God rests; and Christ rests; and the man who believes
May rest as secure and established as They
And as happy, though heaven and earth pass away;
May rejoice to the full in the Life he receives.
– Malachi Taylor
Part 2 of 2
An excerpt from Mary E. McDonough’s study, God’s Plan of Redemption (1922).
Bracketed Scripture added. Some phrases were edited from addressing a class teacher to addressing the reader directly.
Jennifer Kennedy Dean writes, “I’m excited about my newest release, SEEK: 28 Days of Extraordinary Prayer. I pull from my 35 plus years of writing on prayer to synthesize what I call the four pillars of prayer. Surrender, Extol, Examine, Knock. I wanted to make each day’s material manageable for our busy lives, but still provide content that will move us forward in our praying lives. See www.prayinglife.org/products/seek-28-days-of-extraordinary-prayer/