Summary: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. And He was buried and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” 1 Cor. 15:3-4.
Theme: He arose from the dead to fulfil the Scriptures
Text: 1 Cor. 15:3-4
The Scriptures contain God’s authoritative words and are therefore also known as the “Word of God”. Jesus relied on them totally and used them to overcome temptations and point to the truth. He often referred to them with the words “It is written”. When John the Baptist in captivity began to doubt the truth about Jesus being the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask Him whether He was the One or whether they should expect another. Jesus answered by pointing to the effects His ministry had on the people. “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor”. Jesus Christ, in effect, was referring John the Baptist directly to the scriptures. He of all people knew the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Messiah and all that Jesus was doing fulfilled that prophecy in its entirety. The good news was being preached and those held hostage by the devil were being set free. In celebrating Youth Sunday the chosen text should teach us to also pay attention to the testimony of the Scriptures. The message of this text is not only important but demands an urgent response from those who hear it as it decides our eternal destiny. This is the gospel message, the good news. It consists of three simple, definite facts: first, Christ died for our sins; second, He was buried; third, He rose again the third day. The first and most authoritative of all testimonies to the truth of these facts is not the testimony of the men and women who were eyewitnesses of Christ’s death and resurrection but the testimony of the Scriptures. They had prophetically foreshown hundreds of years before they actually took place how Jesus Christ would die, be buried and rise from the dead. He arose from the dead to fulfil the Scriptures.
The Scriptures reveal God’s purpose for creating man. He was created in the image and likeness of God to exercise authority and dominion on earth and absolutely nothing was left outside his rule. God also created man in His image and likeness to have fellowship with him. God is Spirit and man can only worship God in Spirit and in truth. Man’s authority and dominion on earth, however, was only possible when he maintained the image and likeness of God – when he remained spiritually alive. It was a necessary requirement. When Adam and Eve sinned it affected their whole person and they died spiritually. They were no longer the people they were supposed to be and therefore could no longer function the way they were supposed to function. God does not change His mind and did not change His mind about the authority and dominion He had given to man. This has always legally belonged to man and his descendants even though they could no longer exercise it because they were now spiritually dead. Satan, the one responsible for man’s sinful state, had entered the world illegally. As a thief he stole the authority that God had legally given to man and began to exercise it illegally. The good news, however, is that what Satan took illegally God has restored legally? To do this He had to send His Son Jesus Christ to earth as a man to legally exercise man’s God given authority. As a man Christ overcame Satan, paid the penalty for sin and restored to man what Satan had illegally stolen so that men and women could fulfil God’s divine will and purpose. This plan was fully and graphically described in Scripture and fulfilled to the smallest detail. It was clearly evident in the way the High Priest approached the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and in the Temple. As he entered the tabernacle’s outer court, he first offered a sacrifice at the brazen altar. He then cleansed himself at the laver before entering the Holy place and finally the Holy of Holies. The sacrifice and cleansing are the first steps to the presence of God and point to Christ and His work of atonement. The sacrifice of animals in the tabernacle could not take away sin and had to be repeated again and again but Jesus, as God, offered the perfect sacrifice – His own blood and then sat down at the right hand of the Father signifying that no other sacrifice ever needed to be made again. God, through Christ, has paid man’s penalty for sin and restored fallen man so that he could exercise his God given authority and fulfil God’s divine will and purpose. The price has been paid but to benefit from Christ’s provision we must accept His sacrifice on our behalf and confess Him as Saviour and Lord.