The Gift of Living Hope

KEY VERSE: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” —I Peter 1:3


JESUS DID NOT raise himself from the dead, as many suppose. In death he was helpless, as all are helpless. It required the exercise of divine power by his Heavenly Father, the Creator and source of all life, to raise him from the dead.—Acts 2:24; Eph. 1:19-23

Jesus had said to his disciples that he would give his flesh, his humanity, for the life of the world. (John 6:51) He took the sinner’s place in death, his perfect humanity being a substitute for the perfect life of Adam which had been forfeited through transgression of the divine law. The divine penalty for sin was not only dying, but death, so the sacrifice of Jesus’ humanity was permanent. Thus the Scriptures tell us that when he was raised from the dead he was highly exalted, above angels, principalities, and powers.—Heb. 1:4; Eph. 1:21

We read of the occasion when Jesus appeared to two of his disciples as a stranger. They did not recognize him by his appearance. (Luke 24:35) To Mary at the tomb he appeared as a gardener. (John 20:15) One time Jesus appeared to his disciples in a form which they recognized, and they were afraid, because this was not his usual way of appearing to them. John said that this appearance was a “sign” (John 20:30) demanded by Thomas.

The disciples did not see Jesus as, he really is since his resurrection—a spirit being of the highest order, the divine. This great joy is experienced by his faithful followers only when they are made like him, and can see him “as he is.”—I John 3:2

The Prophet Isaiah foretold that Jesus would pour out his soul unto death. (Isa. 53:12) In this same text, Isaiah foretold that Jesus would be given a “portion with the great.” This is a prophecy of his resurrection, his exaltation to the divine nature, and to a position at the right hand of the throne of God.

Psalm 16:10,11 is also a prophecy of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is a prophecy which was quoted by the Apostle Peter in his Pentecostal sermon. “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,” Jesus is quoted as saying to his Heavenly Father, through the words recorded by the psalmist David. The Hebrew word here translated “hell” is sheol. It is the only Hebrew word in the Old Testament that is translated hell. It describes the state, or condition, of death. Since Jesus poured out his soul unto death, his soul, being, was in the Bible hell.

But the prophecy assures us that Jesus’ soul was not left in hell, because his Heavenly Father raised him from the dead. “Thou [the Heavenly Father] wilt show me the path of life,” Jesus is prophetically indicated as saying, “In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Jesus had confidence not only that his Heavenly Father would raise him from the dead, but also that he would highly exalt him to his right hand. Thus did the Old Testament point forward to the “sufferings of Christ,” and to the glory to follow.—I Pet. 1:10,11

Paul, in his sermon to the Athenians on Mars’ Hill, said that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is an assurance unto all men. (Acts 17:31) In I Corinthians 15:20 Paul wrote that in being raised from the dead, Christ became the “firstfruits of them that slept” in death. Thus Jesus’ resurrection is the basis of hope that all the dead will be awakened from the sleep of death. How truly comforting is the fact of Jesus’ resurrection!

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |