Tag Archives: divinity of Christ

Alistair Begg – Raised from the Dead

 

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:20

The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that “Christ has been raised from the dead;” for “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (verse 13).

The divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in His resurrection, since He was “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.”1 It would not be unreasonable to doubt His Deity if He had not risen. Furthermore, Christ’s sovereignty depends upon His resurrection: “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”2 Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ’s triumphant victory over death and the grave, for He “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”3

More than this, our very regeneration is connected with His resurrection, for we are “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”4 And most certainly our ultimate resurrection rests here, for “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”5 If Christ is not risen, then we will not rise; but if He is risen, then those who are asleep in Christ have not perished but in their flesh shall surely see God. In this way the silver thread of resurrection runs through all the believer’s blessings, from his regeneration onward to his eternal glory, and ties them all together. How important for believers is this glorious fact, and how they rejoice that beyond a doubt it is established, that “in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.”

The promise is fulfill’d,

Redemption’s work is done,

Justice with mercy’s reconciled,

For God has raised His Son.

1) Romans 1:4   2) Romans 14:9   3) Romans 4:25   4) 1 Peter 1:3   5) Romans 8:11

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The New Gospel

 

Some of the earliest Christian writings that have survived from antiquity were written around 170 by a bishop in Asia Minor. Melito of Sardis was a prominent figure of second-century Christianity known for his prolific defense of Christ against the claims of Christian heresies and opposing worldviews. He was a man of brilliant mind and deep conviction, one who seems to have truly felt the horror of humanity’s rejection of God. Tertullian speaks of Melito as a man of eloquent genius. Eusebius makes note of many of his writings, quoting three of these works at length.

Until somewhat recently, much of Melito’s extensive work existed primarily in fragments or in quotations preserved by authors after him. In 1930 a discovery was made in a Coptic graveyard of a large number of papyri, and among these works was a Greek manuscript identified as a homily of Melito of Sardis. Known as “On Pascha” (On the Passover), it is a homily that recounts the history of Israel and the exodus from Egypt in light of the events of Jesus of Nazareth and the Cross of Christ. It is a stirring apologetic that gives reasons for the Incarnation and demonstrates Jesus Christ as the true Paschal lamb:

The sacrifice of the sheep, and the sending of the lamb to slaughter, and the writing of the law—each led to and issued in Christ, for whose sake everything happened in the ancient law, and even more so in the new gospel…. For the one who was born as Son, and led to slaughter as a lamb, and sacrificed as a sheep, and buried as a man, rose up from the dead as God, since he is by nature both God and man.

“On Pascha” is a poetic homily that has shed further light on second-century Christianity, and for this reason alone its discovery is celebrated. But the discovery of this early sermon also demonstrates the illuminative placement of a previously unknown document within a known context. Melito’s sermon further explicates the praises of Tertullian and Eusebius; as we read, we discover for ourselves the eloquence of a brilliant writer. Likewise, the sermon offers further evidence of the emerging recognition of “old” and “new” testaments in second-century Christianity, as well as further evidence of early belief in the divinity of Christ. Yet oddly, this text didn’t seem to make many headlines.

One of the things I find most troubling about the current fascination with “long lost” writings is that we seem to be looking for something new (and something disassociated from its historical context). There seems among us a desire to uncover a new secret, a hidden truth that changes everything. But is a lone document suddenly out of hiding and historically unrelated to anything else really a document to trust? The oft-fashionable suggestion that pre-Nicene Christianity (before 350) did not adhere to the divinity of Christ is not supported by any reliable historical document that wasn’t previously rejected for inconsistency in the tradition from which it arose. Likewise, the Gospel of Judas, another “new” text uncovered in recent times, was denounced by Irenaeus of Lyons in 180, when copies of the Gospel of Judas were still around. It seems there is nothing new under the sun however dramatically we attempt to abduct it from its context.

On the contrary, evidence of a belief in Jesus’s divinity can be traced throughout the writings of antiquity and into the very pages of the New Testament. Something clearly happened in Jerusalem, and the preservation of the story throughout history is compelling. The most logical explanation is that Jesus actually was the Son of God, the lamb foreseen on the altars of Israel and brought to fruition in Christ on the Cross. In the words of Melito of Sardis:

This one is the Passover of our salvation. This is the one who patiently endured many things in many people: This is the one who was murdered in Abel, and bound as a sacrifice in Isaac, and exiled in Jacob, and sold in Joseph, and exposed in Moses, and sacrificed in the lamb, and hunted down in David, and dishonored in the prophets. This is the one who became human in a virgin, who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from among the dead, and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven.

This is the lamb who was slain, and now stands. This is the ancient Christ of the new gospel, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.