God Conquers Sin and Death

MEMORY VERSE: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” —I Corinthians 15:20

MATTHEW 28:1-10, 16-20

IF THE title of the lesson implies that God raised Jesus from the dead, it is correct, for Jesus did not restore his own life. On the day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter said, “This Jesus bath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” (Acts 2:32) The Apostle Paul, speaking of the mighty power of the Heavenly Father, wrote, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.”—Eph. 1:20,21

In our memory verse the Apostle Paul explains that in his resurrection Jesus became the firstfruits “of them that slept.” The Revised Standard Version translates Ephesians 4:8 to read, “When he [Jesus] ascended on high he led a host of captives.”

All the dead are referred to in the Scriptures as being captives, or prisoners of death; and in the plan of God, Jesus is the one destined to lead forth this mighty host of captives to life. His own footstep followers are the first to be led forth when the “gates of hell” are opened for them. These are highly exalted to the divine nature to live and reign with Christ in his millennial kingdom.

Then there are other groups which will follow. There is the “great multitude” of Revelation 7:14-17. These will be exalted to the spirit nature, but not to its highest form, the divine.

There will also be that group mentioned by Paul who will be brought forth in a “better resurrection.” These are the ancient servants of God, often referred to as the Ancient Worthies. These will be the human representatives of the invisible Christ during the kingdom reign. They will be restored to human perfection.—Heb. 11:35

And finally there will be the whole world of mankind, who will be awakened from death brought forth as prisoners from death—to be the subjects of the messianic kingdom. These, upon conditions of obedience, will be restored to perfection as humans and will live on the earth forever. Truly, Jesus was the “firstfruits” of the resurrection!

How startling must have been the message of the angel to the women who went early to Jesus’ tomb that memorable first day of the week nearly two thousand years ago, “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead.”

In the Bible, revelations of great truths are often followed by a commission to “go quickly and tell,” and so it was with these women whose hearts must have been made glad by the assurance given to them by the angel that Jesus had been raised from the dead. They were not to keep this information to themselves, but go quickly and tell his disciples, and to inform them that the risen Lord would go before them into Galilee, and that there they would see him.

The women joyfully obeyed this commission, “and did run to bring his disciples word.” As they hurried to obey the commission of the angel, “Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.” Jesus repeated the commission of the angels to go and tell the disciples, and to say that he would meet them in Galilee.

Jesus met the disciples in Galilee as promised, and he said to them, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and each all nations.” The women had been commissioned to tell the disciples the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, and now Jesus commissioned his disciples to go and “teach all nations” not only the fact of his resurrection, but the entire Gospel message of which his death and resurrection was the central theme.


Explain the extent to Jesus is the “firstfruits” resurrection.

What important commission did the angel give to the women who went early to Jesus’ tomb?

What commission did the resurrected Jesus give to his disciples?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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