Summary: The message of Easter is that Jeus has won the victory over sin and death and His victory can be ours as well.
Since by Man Came Death
Writing in The Christian Reader, Laura Conklin shares a family story. “My husband and I home school our two children, Seth and Glenna. One day, the lesson was on opposites.
“Glenna, who was six at the time, was being quizzed. I would say a word and she would give its opposite.
“When I said, ‘good,’ Glenna quickly said, ‘bad.’
“‘Cold!’ she squealed.
“It was time for something a little more difficult. ‘How about dead?’ I asked.
“Expecting the answer to be alive, I was delighted when Glenna, without hesitation, replied, ‘RISEN!’” [SOURCE:--Laura Conklin, Christian Reader, Vol. 36, no. 2.]
My junior year in high school for our Christmas concert our high school choir presented the traditional performance of Handel’s MESSIAH. Although I love every single solo and chorus in this my favorite piece of music, from the first time I heard it I have always appreciated the chorus “Since by Man Came Death” that Shirley and I shared as the offertory a few minutes ago. When Shirely asked me what we could play this Easter Sunday, I told her I wanted to preach from this passage of Scripture and suggested we might incorporate Handel’s chorus into our service as well.
As I Corinthians 13 is the great love chapter of the Bible, so chapter 15 is the supreme resurrection chapter. The Bible is full of testimonies of resurrections from the dead. In the Old Testament Elijah restored life to the Widow of Zarephath’s son. Elisha did the same for the Shunammite woman’s son, and a dead man that was thrown into Elisha’s grave received new life.
It was my privilege as a student at Asbury College to hear the great Methodist missionary to India E. Stanley Jones speak in a chapel service. In his autobiography entitled A SONG OF ASCENTS Dr. Jones tells the story “about a layman, a newspaperman, a mutual friend, who was called upon to conduct a funeral service. Being an exact man, he wanted to do it properly and in the best Christian tradition. So he turned to the New Testament as the original source and example of how Jesus conducted a funeral. And he found that Jesus didn’t conduct funerals at all. All He dealt with were resurrections.” [SOURCE: E. Stanley Jones, A Song of Ascents].
Before His own Resurrection, Jesus resurrected Jarius’ daughter, the widow of Nain’s son, and Lazarus. In Acts 9 we have the story of Peter bringing Dorcus back to life and a similar story of Paul resurrecting Eutychus in Acts. 20. Jesus is all about Resurrection. Not only is He risen indeed; He is The Resurrection. Remember the conversation Jesus had with Martha in John 11 after the death of her brother Lazarus:
“Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give You whatever You ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, ‘I AM the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’” [JOHN 11:21-27] The message of Easter is the eternal celebration that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
The New Testament word for Resurrection comes from two Greek words that mean “again” and “to stand.” Literally resurrection means “to cause to stand up one one’s feet again.” Resurrection is restoration to life, a rising from the dead. We praise God today that “since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”
Resurrection rhythm excites me and is my divine call to worship to cry out in praise and thanksgiving to my Lord and my God. The rhythm in Hebrew poetry is measured differently than the rhythm of Western music. We measure the metre in our music by the number of beats in each measure of the composition.
The metre of Hebrew poetry is called parallelism. Two lines of poetry repeat an identical thought using similar vocabulary. If the two lines are a contrast, we have antithetic parallelism. We have two examples of this in our text:
Since by man came death,
By man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die,
Even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Resurrection stands in contrast to death. Adam brings us death. Jesus gives us life.
The message of Easter is that Jesus has won the victory over sin and death and His victory can be ours as well. Death was not God’s original plan for humanity. He created us for life, not death; he created us to live forever, but God made it clear to Adam in Genesis 2:16-17, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” The instant Adam disobeyed God, humanity died.