Easter Devotions: Promise, Proof, and Praise of the Resurrection. Part 1 - The Promise
Devotions of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
(Webster’s Dictionary) Resurrection - the rising again from death to life
The resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian belief. If Christ had not risen, Christianity would’ve been the same as all the other “religious” ideas.
“If you have no share in the living Lord may God have mercy upon you! If you have no share in Christ's rising from the dead, then you will not be raised up in the likeness of His glorified body. If you do not attain to that resurrection from among the dead, then you must abide in death.” – Charles Spurgeon
However, HE IS RISEN! And because of this fact, Christianity separates itself from any other “religious” idea. Christianity proves itself not to be a religion at all, but THE ONLY way to everlasting life. His resurrection confirms that He is “…the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”. John 14:6 (NASB) Through this devotion we will look at three aspects of His resurrection:
1. The Prophecy (Promise)
2. The Proof
3. The Praise
Anyone who does an exhaustive study of the scriptures will understand that all of Scripture points to the Deity of Christ, the Messiah. There is no “Old” and “New” Testaments, but they are truly the “First” and “Second” Testament. The Testaments each teach of God’s love for His chosen people, the Jews, and their assured salvation. There was never going to be a time where they would ever escape His love. The First Testament teaches of His choosing and the Second Testament teaches of their Salvation and return to their “…first love” (Revelation 2). It is in through this Salvation that the Gentiles are “…grafted…” into His promise of Salvation. (Romans 11:11-31)
One of the greatest examples of the prophecy and picture of His resurrection is in the story of Jonah. As in all prophesies, there are definitely differences than the “actual” resurrection of Christ. None of the prophets would carry the perfection of Christ, therefore the way God must bring them to the place where He can use them as His prophet sometimes takes a little persuasion.
This was the case with Jonah. God called Jonah to get up and go to Nineveh and to “cry out” against their wickedness. As the story goes, Jonah feared God’s demand for Him because of the danger that existed in Nineveh, so he chose to go against God and board a boat and go to Tarshish. It is in his sin that, as the story goes, God caused a storm to come. As a result of this storm danger would come that would threaten the boat to sink. The only way for the storm to calm would be for Jonah to be tossed from the boat. As Jonah is tossed, he is swallowed by a “great fish”. Although Jonah sinned, God chose to use him for His glory. That alone should cause all of us to shout!
Jonah would pray for three days and three nights for God to forgive him and for the opportunity to be used to preach to Nineveh. God extended forgiveness and caused the fish spit Jonah onto dry land. Jonah went to Nineveh, preached God’s demand for repentance, and forgave their sin.
The symbolism of Jonah in the belly of the fish, as well as the story of the response of the Ninevites to his preaching is quite moving, but too much to include in this devotion (I am told that I can be longwinded). I recommend you to read the book of Jonah for the full story. It is easy reading, only four chapters, and will be a blessing to you.
Jesus used this story while teaching the Pharisees. This story can be found in Matthew 12. The Pharisees were constantly trying to trip up Christ to prove that He was a fraud. Jesus would counter by using the stories of the Prophets in His response, in return creating more proof of who He is. They asked Christ for a sign to prove Himself to be the Messiah. Christ uses the story of Jonah being in the belly of the fish three days and three nights to bring salvation to Nineveh, yet there is One greater (Christ) that would be in the center of the earth for three days and three nights, only for the Jews to reject Him. The Ninevites listened to the preaching of Jonah, cried for forgiveness, and turned to God. God heared their prayer and forgive them of their sin. Christ taught that the Jews would hear Him teach, yet still reject Him. “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” Matthew 12:41 It will not be until after the seven year tribulation before the children of Israel will forever turn to God.
This prophecy gives the symbolism of Jonah’s “resurrection” as God’s way to repentance and salvation for the Ninevites. It is the resurrection of Christ that “…is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
- Keith Arp