Friday, August 16, 2013

The Apostles Creed -- The Third Day He Rose Again From the Dead

For our 2013 Hymn of the Month we will be exploring the Apostles Creed.
With each post we'll look at one of the statements in the creed,
consider its significance, and share an appropriate hymn.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth: 
And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirt, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hades; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. 
The third day He rose again from the dead! This is the core of the Christian gospel. It is the truth upon which our faith is built. Without this, the immense love of God the Father, the sinless example of Jesus the Son, and the ministering presence of the Holy Spirit would be hollow. Indeed, they would be void! This is the culmination of God's plan to redeem a fallen world. "God's redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened Paradise, Alleluia!" (Christ the Lord is Risen Today,verse 3)

In Matthew 28:6 the angel told the women at the tomb, "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said." They were not the only ones who had misunderstood Jesus' promise that he would rise from the dead. "Destroy this temple," Jesus is quoted in John 2:19, "and I will raise it again in three days." "I am the resurrection and the life," he told Martha (John 11:25). Mark is direct in his narrative: "He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this..." (8:31-32). Yet despite Jesus' openness in talking about his death and resurrection, his followers did not understand and were not prepared when they met the risen Lord in person.

In his sermon on the day of Pentecost, Peter told the astonished Jews that they were the ones, who "with the help of wicked men" put Christ to death. "But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him (Acts 2:23-24). The power of God is stronger than the power of death. In Christ, death, the last enemy, has been defeated!

We see further that this was God's eternal plan. As early as Genesis 3 God promises redemption (3:15) Paul tells us that "this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:9). In Revelation 13:8 we read that Jesus is "the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world."

It has been said that in all other religions, the emphasis is on "DO." In Christianity alone, the emphasis is on "DONE!" Through his suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has DONE what we can never do on our own; he has bought us with his own blood and has presented us to God, made us righteous by his righteousness!

As the Gettys remind us in their hymn, In Christ Alone, "this is the power of Christ in me!"

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