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There had to be a Resurrection

By James K. Bridges

Peter shocked the nation of Israel when he preached the first Pentecostal message on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). After reminding them they were responsible for putting Jesus of Nazareth to death, Peter announced that Jesus was no longer dead. He shocked them further by saying their God raised Jesus to life “because it was not possible that He should be held by it [death]” (Acts 2:24, NKJV).

Jesus could not be held in the grip of death and the grave like all the other members of Adam’s race. It was possible to put Jesus to death by nailing Him to a cross, but it was impossible to hold Him in the clutches of death. Peter pointed out a paradox: Israel had “killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead” (Acts 3:15).

The plan of the Father required it.
Peter said all this happened to Jesus “by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). The Father’s plan of redemption from the foundation of the world included Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, miraculous ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, exaltation, eventual return to the earth and enthronement.

The apostle reminded his audience of God’s promise to their great patriarch King David — from his lineage the Christ would be raised up to sit on David’s throne. Peter quickly made the identification that “he … spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ” and further added, “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:31,32).

The person of the Son required it.
The unique personhood of Jesus required that He be raised from the dead. Peter revealed something of this uniqueness: “His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:31). Death could not hold Him, because death had nothing to take hold of.

Corruption results from sin. Sin was not found in Jesus. Had He been guilty of personal sin, death would have had a way to fasten itself to Him. But, where there is no sin, there is no sinner to have to reap the wages of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23).

Hebrews assures us “we have a great High Priest who … was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (4:14,15). John writes, “He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5).

This unique Jesus was a sin bearer and a sin offering fulfilling the Old Testament picture of the Atonement, which required a slain goat and a scapegoat. By His resurrection He appeared in heaven with the offering of His own blood to secure eternal redemption for all who trust Him.

The prophecies inspired by the Holy Spirit required it.
Both the apostles Peter and Paul used the prophecies of David to support their claims regarding the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:25; 13:33).

Peter’s message leaves no question that the prophecy of Psalm 16:8-11 had been fulfilled in Jerusalem just a few weeks before. The offerings and feasts of Judaism were to teach truths, but the nation had not listened. On the Feast of Passover God had provided a Lamb to be slain for the sins of the world. On the third day God raised the slain Lamb from the dead, which was depicted in the Feast of Firstfruits. Seven weeks later came the outpouring of the Holy Spirit celebrated in the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). The Feast of Trumpets is next to be fulfilled — Jesus is coming again.

Peter said what they were observing there in Jerusalem was the result of Jesus’ resurrection: “Being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). Jesus was alive.

And, because He lives, we too shall live (John 14:19). Because He arose, we shall arise.

There had to be a Resurrection.

James K. Bridges is general treasurer of the Assemblies of God.

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