Summary: A classic sermon by A. B. Simpson outlining the messages Christ delivered to the world in the resurrection.
According to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead" (Eph. 1:19-20).
The first message of the resurrection is that Christ is the Son of God and Christianity is Divine. He was "Declared to be the Son of God with power ... by the resurrection from the dead." The one test which He always offered in proof of His lofty claims was that He should die and rise again. His sign was the sign of the prophet Jonah, or as He put it at another time in another figure, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." So well did His enemies understand this challenge that they took every precaution to guard His tomb and prevent any possible stratagem on the part of His disciples to steal Him away. There was an ample guard, a great stone at the mouth of the tomb with the seal of Rome upon it, which it was treason for any man to break. But in spite of all, that Easter morning saw the sepulcher empty, the stone rolled away and the Lord of life again among His disciples. And "after his passion by many infallible proofs, (he was) seen of them." For forty days He repeated the evidence of His resurrection on various occasions and to different witnesses, until even Thomas, the most incredulous of all, was compelled to confess, "My Lord and my God." Still later Saul of Tarsus, the bitter enemy of Christianity, beheld in a vision the actual form of the risen Christ, and added his testimony and the testimony of his life of sacrifice and suffer to the witnesses of the resurrection. So complete is the proof of this transcendent event that we have seen a gifted lawyer completely convinced after a life of skepticism by simply following the line of evidence which Horace Bushnell has laid out in his volume, Nature and the Supernatural. And this gentleman has afterwards frankly admitted that the proof of Christ’s resurrection, by the ordinary rules of evidence, is sufficient to bring conviction to any unprejudiced judge or jury.
Dear friends, if you have ever been troubled, or if you have friends who are troubled with skeptical questionings about the Bible and Christianity, let all the other issues go; drop the questions of Moses, Isaiah and Jonah, and settle the whole issue upon this supreme question, Did Jesus of Nazareth really die, and did He really rise again? And if you are fair and candid, you will be compelled to conclude, or to bring conviction to your doubting friend, that these are indeed "infallible proofs" and that the whole fabric of Christianity rests upon one supreme foundation, one rock of ages, "For if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain ... But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept" (1 Cor. 15:14, 20).
The second voice of the resurrection is that the sacrifice of Calvary is accepted, the atonement is complete and the great redemption is accomplished. That great Sufferer went down to the grave a prisoner of the law which man had broken, bearing the penalty of the whole guilt of the human race. Had He remained immured in the tomb, it would have been apparent that the debt was not discharged and the price was not sufficient, that He had sunk beneath His heroic but futile effort and had tried in vain to save our ruined race. But when we see Him come forth on the resurrection morning, with the approval of His Father, the presence of the angels of glory, and the portents of nature in the rending earthquake and the opening tombs around, and afterwards ascend in supernatural power to the right hand of God and send down the Holy Ghost as the seal of His complete acceptance and ours, we know that His great task has been completed, that He has finished transgression and made an end of sin, and that
The great redemption is complete
And Satan’s power o’erthrown.
When the high priest of old on the great Day of Atonement passed in behind the curtains of the Tabernacle to bear the sins of the people and make reconciliation by blood and incense in the Holy of Holies, the people outside, in solemn suspense, waited for the tinkling of the bells that hung from the skirts of his priestly garments, that they might be assured that the lightnings of divine judgment had not stricken him down for their sins, but that his offering was accepted and their guilt was covered by the sprinkled blood. And when as last he came forth through the parting curtains and raised his hands to pronounce the Levitical benediction upon their heads they raised a great shout and fell upon their faces, for they knew that his offering was accepted, that his atonement sufficed, and that for one year more the presence of Jehovah should lead them, and the light of His countenance continue to rest upon them.