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Christ is Alive

E W Rogers

Christ is alive! This is not only the basic item of the Christian faith; it is the essential factor for proper Christian living. As a tenet it is well known and acknowledged: as a vital force, has it full sway with us?

The proofs of His resurrection

Christ is alive! The Holy Spirit’s presence on earth attests His presence in heaven. The grave is empty. Hades no longer holds Him. The Spirit of Christ indwells every believer, linking each effectually by a living bond, even while on earth, to the Risen Head in heaven. His risen life is imparted to all who believe. Because He lives, we live also. He is much more than Hero and Exemplar. He is Head.

His continuing interest in His people

Christ is alive! Therefore, His interest in us did not cease when He died: it is continued now, it is operative although in another sphere. His resurrection opened up the way for the full accomplishment of all the foreshadowings of God concerning His Son. His promises too, which seemed doomed to failure by His death, are now assured. His resurrection proved once and for all that the bonds of death which appeared to be unbreakable could be torn away. It furnishes comfort to the bereaved, and hope to the dying saint. It promises peace and blessing to the war-stricken earth. All nations are to benefit under the righteous rule of the Risen King. Creation itself will be delivered from its bondage of corruption. The ruin of the fall is undone by the resurrection-triumph of the Cross. The removal of sin and the complete justification of the believing sinner are guaranteed by it. It affects everything.

His resurrection appearances

It is incontrovertibly true. Christ is risen! His Apostles saw Him. His voice was heard. His scars were seen. At morning, noon, and night He appeared to His own, either singly or in small companies, or to a throng of some hundreds. Audible, visible, tangible (1 Jn 1.1). The same as He was hitherto known, yet manifesting Himself in ways not hitherto employed. It is surpassing strange that any should doubt.

Over five hundred saw Him on earth after He was raised: three men, Stephen, Paul, and John, saw Him in heavenly glory, and left on record in inspired Writ what they saw. Could evidence be stronger? He who wrought physical miracles when here below, is the same who after His death and from above wrought similar miracles on earth through His Apostles. Christ is alive!

Those who doubted

Yet in Paul’s day there were such, for which cause he devotes a long chapter to discussing the general topic of resurrection. The resurrection of Christ out from among the dead is his basic case: its evidences, its implications, and its glorious final result (1 Cor 15). Scientists may read that chapter and find food for thought. Doubters may read it and find a basis for their faith. The bereaved may read it and find balm for their wounds. All may read it and find hope despite the hopelessness of all else. The manifestation of this Risen Man converted Paul. His appearances emboldened the erstwhile timid Peter. It made the fearful band of eleven men a mighty host for God.

The fear of His possible resurrection disturbed the religious leaders of His day. Vainly, however, did they employ the means proposed to keep Him in the grave. Seal the tomb they may: His resurrection ensures that He will later seal the devil himself under eternal doom. His resurrection turned the tables. It was God’s reversal of man’s decision. It was God’s approval of Him whom men "disapproved" and "rejected".

The rulers may try to spread a false explanation of the unusual phenomenon, but their credulity must have been immense. Did they really suppose they would get away with that incriminating statement? If the disciples actually stole the body they were indeed extraordinary men. Some strange emboldenment must have come over those who, a very little time before, were fleeing for fear. Why not have the matter settled once and for all if their theory were true? Make them produce the body if they had stolen it. The authorities alleged they knew who were the thieves. Then make them forfeit the body. Why did they not insist on their so doing, unless it be they knew the falsity of the "explanation". Yet to this day men do not believe that Christ is alive! Some still believe the false report. How easy it is to foist a lie on a gullible and unbelieving public!

The impact on Scripture

The evangelists all record it, the early preachers without exception preached it, the inspired Apostles erect their doctrinal structures upon it, the Seer in his unveiling begins with it (Rev 1.5-7). It is central, basic, essential.

The resurrection of Christ made a new book of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. It reconciled otherwise unreconcilable passages. It bridged gaps which seemed to be unbridgeable. It explained statements which manifestly were not true of the actual speaker, but were true of Him that was to come (e.g. Ps 16). It shed its light on the meaning of ancient Jewish history. Such events as the sparing of Abraham’s son (Gen 22) receive new significance. The strains of the prophets, which made misled interpreters to postulate two Messiahs, by the resurrection, are all seen to refer to One.

A new era

By His resurrection the darkness of the night had passed: the dawn of a new era synchronised with the dawn of a new day. Old covenant things had passed away. An era of new covenant blessings commenced with the commencement of the new week. Many solitary souls, like Mary, have, since her, heard His voice calling them by name. Many gathered companies of the saints, besides the first band of fearful disciples, have realised His presence in the midst. To Israel will yet be given the manifestation of His wounds, calling from them, as from Thomas of old, the exclamation of reverent worship.

He still feeds His people with sweet and nourishing dainties (Jn 21). He still entrusts to His special friends the care of His sheep. He still walks with His own. He opens the Scriptures even now, and He warms the believing heart of the traveller on life’s chilly road. All His bygone activities on earth He continues now from heaven.

The promise of salvation is contingent on belief of the fact that Christ is risen! God hath raised Him from the dead (Rom 10.9). Unbelief is the despairing admission of the eternal triumph of sin and death. By His resurrection His claim to deity was justified. By it He was inaugurated into the office of High Priest on behalf of His people. By it He was made Head over all things on behalf of the Church.

The necessity of His resurrection

Christ is risen! This was one of a series of necessities. He must die: He did. He must be raised: He was. The heavens must receive Him: they have. He must reign: without doubt He will. Heaven would be empty and earth would be hopeless had He not been raised. Death would have triumphed. His prophetic claim would have been falsified. His promises would have been void. In a word, all would have failed had death conquered Him. But this Good Shepherd of the sheep, who laid down His life in their interests, took it again. For that He had His Father’s authority. His Father, whom He had ever pleased (never more than in His earthly life and death) signified His pleasure by raising Him from the dead.

And what shall I more say? Space forbids a more elaborate statement. Human thought cannot fully apprehend all the bearings of this wondrous event. Not until we are in the presence of the Risen Lord shall we be able fully to apprehend the heights and depths, the breadth and length of the wrought-out scheme which seemed to be thwarted by His death, but was given an irresistible impetus by His resurrection.

Opposers may argue, dispute, and deny. The evidence of history and Scripture may be rejected, but personal experience is undeniable. Millions there are who have such an experience: their lives manifest it.

"You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart".



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