From Death to Life

KEY VERSE: “The Lord is risen indeed, and path appeared to Simon.” —Luke 24:34


JESUS DID NOT raise himself from the dead as some may suppose from this text. It is expressly stated by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:32, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses.” In death he was helpless, as all are helpless in death. 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) Jesus took the sinner’s place in death, his perfect humanity being a substitute for the perfect life of Adam which he 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, even above angels, principalities, and powers.—Heb. 1:4; Eph. 1:21

Very possibly the ‘appearing’ referred to in our Key Verse took place on the road to Emmaus, and Simon Peter was one of the two disciples who witnessed the event. Luke relates the occasion, and how he was known to them “in breaking of bread.” (Acts 2:35) The details of this experience are narrated, beginning with verse 13 of the chapter. Jesus appeared to the two disciples as a stranger. They did not recognize him by his appearance, but by what he said and did, and especially by his customary way of breaking bread.

The disciples could 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 3:1-3

Jesus explained to his disciples that his death and resurrection were in fulfillment of what had been written “in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms.” (Acts 2:44) The sacrifice of the bullock on Israel’s typical Day of Atonement pointed forward to the death of Jesus. The passing of the High Priest into the Most Holy of the Tabernacle, carrying the blood of the bullock and sprinkling it on the Mercy Seat, pointed forward to the resurrection of Jesus, our High Priest, and of his appearing in the presence of God for us.

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, or 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 [Jehovah] wilt show me the path of life,” Jesus is prophetically indicated as saying. “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Jesus had confidence not only that God 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 on Mars’ Hill, brought out that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is an assurance unto all men that they too will be resurrected. (Acts 17:31) In I Corinthians 15:2 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
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