The Doctrine of Resurrection
Text: Matthew 28 : 1 - 20
The doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus was something that few comprehended despite the fact that it was brought up a number of times. Let us look at how Jesus sought to teach His disciples and the multitudes this subject!
1. Demonstration of Jesus’ Power to Raise the Dead
Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Cf. Matthew 9:23-26)! Luke also recorded the fact that He raised the only son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-16). John in his gospel noted that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-45). On at least three occasions, Jesus demonstrated tremendous power! The dead were raised up! These miracles were not done in a corner either. These miracles had a wide circulation! What lasting impact had these miracles on anyone?
2. The Graves Were Opened
Matthew particularly recorded an unusual act of God at the death of Jesus.
“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints
who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves
after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and
appeared to many.”
Little was explained apart from noting that God could and did raise the dead! Resurrection was no idle doctrine. The resurrection of Jesus was an important doctrine that the disciples must comprehend in depth and great faith! Nothing less would do!
3. As a Special Sign
Jesus made His resurrection as the sign of signs! Many clamoured for “a sign” from Jesus as if His miracles were not sufficient to explain many things. He promised His doubters a special sign – His resurrection as the ultimate proof!
“But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous
Generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it
Except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the
great fish, so will the Son of Man
be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
If the scribes and Pharisees (Cf. Matthew 12:38) did not believe in the doctrine of the resurrection, it would only be because they belonged to that “evil and adulterous generation” that insisted on signs. Their asking for a guard from Pilate to guard the tomb of Jesus further indicated that they did not believe that He would be resurrected.
4. Direct references Concerning Jesus’ Resurrection Foretold
Jesus had taken great care to teach His disciples about His resurrection. Let us look at the number of times Jesus made note of His suffering and His resurrection!
“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must
go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests
and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
“Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them,
saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen
from the dead.”
“Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them,
‘The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men,
and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.’
and they were exceedingly sorrowful.”
“Behold, we are going to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man
will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes;
and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him
to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify.
and the third day He will rise again.”
These were some of the direct statements Jesus made concerning His own resurrection! Yet, it would appear that these words fell on deaf ears! The significance of these words just did not register in the heart of anyone!
5. Parables concerning the Day of Judgment
Jesus spoke many parables concerning the kingdom of God. One of the aspects of that Kingdom featured the Day of Judgment. The key Person in that Day of Judgment was none other than Jesus Himself. Of course He could not remain dead if He were to be the King and Judge. He had to be raised from the dead! Only one parable needs to be cited (Cf. Parable of the Sheep and Goats – Matthew 25:31-46)
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels
with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate
them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”
The doctrine of the Resurrection was well taught, but it was not well learnt.