Podcast-resurrectedX

I would like to invite you to listen to the only One who has a message worth listening to. He is declaring it late into the evening and very early every morning. It is a captivating message of passionate love, a tragic death and the mystery of eternal life.

 

 

In my lifetime I have seen some of the most unbelievable sunsets as well as breathtaking sunrises. Very early one summer morning, I watched, and listened, as the sun rose over the Indian Ocean off the cost of Mombassa. I’ll never forget the shades and hues of color thrown across the sky behind the Parthenon in Athens. I once lived in a house surrounded by corn fields in eastern Missouri. The sunset would literally call to me from our kitchen window to sit on the porch swing and soak. Sometimes I felt as if I would burst into tears. God is an amazing artist, and I have a pretty good feeling that he enjoys demanding our attention with such a  creative use of color. I am sure that he is communicating something amazing to us. Every night and every morning a story is being painted on the canvas of heaven.

 

I can’t tell which is more beautiful — the sunset, or the sunrise. The death of Christ, or the resurrection. If it were not for the wisdom of His death, there would be no need to celebrate the power of his resurrection. Yet, if it were not for His resurrection, it would be foolish to celebrate his death. There seems to me a more passionate use of color in the setting of the sun. And I can hear a majestic song of triumph as the sun, in strength and patience, breaks through the dark night.

 

I once heard a very eloquent preacher say, “We preach with words; God preaches in acts and deeds. If we would perceive it, creation and providence are two continual sermons, from the mouth of God.”

 

I would like to invite you to listen to the only One who has a message worth listening to. He is declaring it late into the evening and very early every morning. It is a captivating message of passionate love, a tragic death and the mystery of eternal life.

 

For the past four stanzas, Isaiah has been tenacious about revealing to us the mystery of the Gospel. The greatest mystery of all is that the servant, who is innocent and righteous, will take upon himself the sin of the world so that we may be made righteous through his suffering. However, Isaiah does not stop there. Not only does Isaiah explain to us the wisdom in Christ crucified as our substitute, he also explains the power of Christ resurrected as our victor. We can see the resurrection all through out this last stanza. We are told that God will prolong his days (10), that he will see his offspring (10), and that he will be a victor who divides the spoils of his victory (12). In these three phrases there are also three different types of resurrections. First, there is the victorious resurrection of Christ. Next we see that in his resurrection many will be raised with him into a new life of righteousness, through a spiritual resurrection. Finally, his children (or offspring) will experience a physical resurrection.

 

Christ’s Resurrection

Each and every morning that sun breaks through the darkness, and bursts with a glorious victory of light and color. It is a declaration of the believers hope and the foundation of our faith because, “When his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall prolong his days.” (53:10) Isaiah makes it clear that his resurrection is conditioned by his death. When there is an if there must always be a then and we are told that if his soul makes on offering for sin, then his days will be prolonged. If there is no guilt covering, sin atoning death, then there is no resurrection. Likewise, if there is no resurrection, then Christ’s death was not a soul offering for guilt. If Christ has not been raised, then our faith is futile and we are still in our sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17) His resurrection both proves the validity and the effect of his sacrifice. Because Christ is risen, we can be sure that his death was indeed a payment for sin.

 

As we read this song, there is a sense of joy and victory in the success of this servant. It is clear that he will live again. However, it is not merely a picture of survival after death, although that is an amazing miracle in itself, but an astonishing picture of something entirely new and mysterious. Christ does not just come back to life — he resurrects into a completely new being, with a strange new body. C. S. Lewis explains, “Something new had appeared in the Universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into “ghost” and “corpse.” A new mode of being has arisen.” Christ conquers sin, but he also defeats death. “The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open.”

 

Or to put it another way, his perishable body put on an imperishable one, and his mortal body, immortality. Now that Christ has conquered death and created this new kind of body, the disciples of Christ can sing this new song: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

(1 Corinthians 15:53–55)

 

Christ has risen from the dead! He has given his life to atone for sins, and he has conquered death. He has shaken the very structure of life as we know it. Death, has been defeated and Christ, in his new resurrected body proves it!

 

Our Spiritual Resurrection

But not only does his death and resurrection pay for our sin, which has been the good news of this entire chapter, it also produces a family of strong children. He will not suffer a young, childless, and tragic death but will instead enjoy eternal life and a multitude of children. The second testimony regarding his resurrection is obvious in the fact that he will see his offspring. One must be alive in order to see and one must be alive in order to have offspring.

 

We are his offspring. We have been made like him in his death and resurrection. Once we were dead, but now we have been made alive in Christ. Once we were stuck on sin, but now we stuck on righteousness. The old is gone and the new has come. We have died and become resurrected with Christ and he makes his children to be righteous.

 

Literally, Isaiah says that they will be accounted righteous. The word “accounted” is a legal term. It means that we will be credited as righteous, even though we are in-fact sinners. The truth of the matter is that we are still sinners, for instance — I can prove that I sinned just last month. However, now we have the privilege of being called righteous. Because we have been adopted as sons his righteousness becomes ours, and we are now called by that righteousness. We don’t deserve it, we didn’t earn it, it is given by nature of our being made offspring.

 

Now, despite the fact that these are legal terms, it is important to note this is not simply a judicial agreement for Christ. He is not just exonerating a worthless criminal but he is adopting the criminal as his own child. We have not just been pardoned in a cold, emotionless legal sense, but adopted as children. There is affection here. This is love. He redeems us who were once under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:5) because in love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:5)

 

Jesus explained this process as a rebirth, specifically that we must be born again. (John 3:7) Not even adoption is viewed simply in the legal sense. Christ exhibits his great love in that he wants us to be made actual children, through a rebirth.  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

 

Resurrection was indeed a past event for Christ, but it is a present reality for believers today. Presently, death and resurrection are being communicated to us each morning and every night and with each new day, hundreds are dying and resurrecting to new life in Christ. As children of God we get to experience a chrysalis on this side of heaven. Have you? Have you died to your self and been raised in Christ? Have you experienced the metamorphosis from death in sin to life in Christ? I pray that you will. It is a wonderful thing to be a child of the risen Christ.

 

Our Physical Resurrection

The third testimony regarding his resurrection is that he will divide the spoil.  With the use of this military metaphor, the very last stanza of Isaiah 53 resounds like a victory song. “The picture is of a victory parade with the Servant, of all people, marching in the role of conqueror, bring home the spoils of conquest.”

It in no accident that Isaiah saved this scene as the very last line of this song.

 

As a reward for pouring out his soul to death he will be given the spoil. Christ will redeem many and make them righteous. They will become his adopted children, dying and rising to new life in him. And if that were not enough, we are now told that he will divide the spoil with them. What is the spoil?

 

We arrive at the most mysterious part of this story. Just as the sun sets each and every night bringing darkness, we can be certain that it will rise early the very next morning. And — just as Christ died and was buried on that dark hour, an hour devoid of the sun, we can be certain that he did rise early on that Easter morn. But now — just as you will die, and be buried into the darkness of the earth, you can be just as certain (just as certain as the sun rise, just as certain as Easter) that you will rise again!

 

This is a glorious mystery. Despite the fact that your flesh will rot and decay and your bones become a home for worms, you will rise and your flesh and blood will see life again. Christians believe in the resurrection of the dead. We believe in immortality. Not just spiritual immortality, but physical. This body that we have been given, is God’s. We are his children, and we will rise!

 

When Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees concerning the resurrection he answered, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:29–32) And again he tells us, “When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:13–14) He also said, “An hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28–29) Finally, just before Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, he told Martha, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha then said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” (John 11:23–25) 

 

I cant explain it, I cant even imagine it — but I know that it is true. We have been made for more than this life. There is still much more to come. Jesus describes it as a future kingdom in which we will reign as heirs and rule over cities. Daniel says that we will shine like stars. Paul says, “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:50–52)

 

Rise

There are three resurrections. First, Christ is resurrected, second, we are resurrected with Christ and born again, and third, we will rise again with a new heavenly body as heirs in his kingdom. I would like to invite you to the resurrection. Not just to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, but to be resurrected with him. It is time to die and be born again! Christ says, “Come to me everyone who is carrying a heavy load. I will set that right. Your sins, all of them, are wiped out, I can do that. I am Rebirth. I am Life. Eat me, drink me, I am your Food. And finally, do not be afraid, I have overcome the whole Universe.”

 

You have been invited to a new life, a resurrected life, a victorious life, today. Wont you come? But even still there is more. Not only can you have a new life today, but you have been given immortality. You will live forever, and your body will be raised when Jesus returns. Like Lazarus, you will hear his voice, “Come forth!” and you will rise!

 

What an unbelievable story this is! Isaiah has missed nothing in declaring for us this theologically complex yet clearly simple gospel. In a short, five stanza song, written more than 700 years before Christ, we have been given the gospel according to Isaiah. Christ the Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!