Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 37, PAGE 2,14a

The Likeness Of The Resurrection

Hoyt H. Houchen, Abilene, Texas

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave upon the first day of the week was more than a historical fact. It was a notable event. It was not enough that Christ die and be buried, but his resurrection proved himto be all that he claimed to be and it also gave to man the hope beyond the grave. (Job. 14:14; 2 Tim. 1:10)

While many sermons have been preached upon the significance of the resurrection, and certainly we must not lose sight of what it means, the world at large gives evidence that it does not give proper recognition to the one act that God has provided which is the likeness of the resurrection.

Before Christ could be raised, he had to first die. Only the cruel and hardened heart will not be mellowed by the pathos of Christ's death. The experience of our Lord at his crucifixion as he unselfishly gave his life for the sins of the world foments a sympathy within the heart of the humble that cannot be described by the most glib tongued orator or the most eloquent scribe.

Preceding Events

Precluding the world's darkest hour were ominous shadows. Fiendish Judas Iscariot received thirty pieces of silver, the paltry price for a common slave, to betray the Son of God. (Matt. 26:14-26) Then Jesus made preparation for the last passover supper with his disciples and while they were eating it Jesus predicted that one of them would betray him. It was on this same night that the Lord's supper was instituted. (Matt. 26:20-29) Later on this eventful night, Jesus took his disciples to the garden of Gethsemane. He asked them to remain and Peter, James, and John accompanied him to another part of the garden. Burdened with anguish our Lord went forward a little, fell upon his face and prayed. The utterance of the prophet Isaiah, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Isa. 53:4) was being fulfilled. About him were the billows of human sin and ahead of him were the pangs of the cross. The agonies of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-46) can never be fully realized by any mortal. Then heaped upon the grief of that night was the betrayal by Judas and the insulting arrest by the Roman soldiers. (Matt. 26:46-57) The injustices of the mock trial that followed (Matt. 26:57-68; Lk. 23:8-12; Matt. 27:11-26) and the three denials by Peter (Matt. 26:69-75) added more to the burden that already bore heavily upon the aching heart of the son of God.

The Death

Taken to the palace, the ruthless soldiers stripped Jesus, put upon him a scarlet robe, a crown of thorns upon his brow, and placed a reed in his right hand, mocked him, spat upon him, and struck him on the head. (Matt. 27:27-30) Here again we are made mindful of the words spoken by the prophet in the Old Testament, "He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away...." (Isa. 53:7, 8)

Wearied by the weight of his own cross (Jno. 19:17), he was led to the place of the skull (Golgotha), and there he was crucified. In the darkness of that hour ne cried with a loud voice, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46) The parched lips and the scorched throat of the thirsty man of sorrows were given no refreshment but instead vinegar mixed with gall. The heavy burdened soul and the broken heart of God's own dear Son were given no comfort by man whose sins he bore. When the spirit took its leave of that tortured and tormented body of the precious lamb of God, the earth quaked, and bodies were raised from the tomb. Upon seeing these things, the centurion and those with him "feared exceedingly saying, Truly this was the Son of God." (Matt. 27:48-54)

The Burial

In the night of that notable day, Joseph of Arimathea was granted the body of Jesus and it was carefully wrapped and laid in the tomb of that disciple. A great stone was rolled to the door and the lifeless body was laid at rest. (Matt. 27:57-61)

The Resurrection

Then from heaven ascended the angel and rolled away the stone and sat upon it, and in fright the watchers became as dead men. (Matt. 28:2, 3) The angel announced to Mary Magdalene and the mother Mary who had come to the sepulcher, "He is not here; for he is risen." When Jesus arose triumphantly from the grave, truly did he break the bonds of death and he gave to man the assurance that if he dies he will live again. (Jno. 11:25)

The Likeness

But while many are impressed by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and the events surrounding them, they refuse to properly regard the likeness of the death, burial, and resurrection. Only when we understand what is represented in baptism, can we understand what is accomplished by baptism.

Paul wrote in Rom. 6:3, 4, "Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might be raised to walk in newness of life." Christ died; we become dead to sin by baptism. "Our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away." (Rom. 6:6) Christ was buried; we are buried with him. (Rom. 6:4) Christ arose; we arise from the death of sin to a life of holiness. (Rom. 6:4, 5)

What are the results of baptism? We are united with Christ. (Rom. 6:5; Gal. 3:27) We become new creatures. (2 Cor. 5:17) We begin a new life. (Rom. 6:4) We are Saved. (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21) Our sins have been remitted, washed away by the blood of Christ. (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Matt. 26:28) Having arisen from the waters of baptism and living a life that is in conformity with the teaching of God, we have the hope of eternity with God. Christ ascended to God the Father after his resurrection. When we have been raised from baptism, we have the hope of someday being with God in the hereafter. (1 Pet. 1:9; 2 Pet. 1:10; 2 Tim. 4:7, 8) The reality of someday living in heaven forever is conditioned upon our living faithfully the life of a Christian. "When at last, in real death and resurrection, Christ actually unites us with himself, we shall indeed be dead to sin, and alive to righteousness; for there is no sin among the immortals, and there shall be no lack of perfection in those who have been changed into Christ's image." (Standard Bible Commentary, McGarvey and Pendleton, p. 344)

Be determined this day to die to sin, be united with Christ, and be raised to walk with him in newness of life.