The Book of Matthew

Thursday: The Resurrection

Matthew 7:28-29 In this week’s lessons, we conclude our study of the Sermon on the Mount by focusing on Jesus’ authority, seen in both His words and works.
Theme
The Resurrection

Look at the miracles any way you will. The miracles in the Gospels will stand the test of your scrutiny, if you are honest about them. Let any candid man read the life of Jesus with genuine attention and care, and he will soon acknowledge that the life presented there cannot have been imagined but must really have happened, that the teachings are real teachings, that the miracles are real miracles, and that the teachings set forth in the Gospels and the miracles that accompany them are inextricably interwoven. And, what is more, both of these reinforce Christ’s authority. On this point Reuben A. Torrey once wrote, “If Jesus lived and walked substantially as the Gospels record, cleansing the lepers, opening the eyes of the blind, raising the dead, stilling the tempest with His word, feeding the 5000 with the five small loaves and the two small fishes, then He bears unmistakable credentials as a Teacher sent and endorsed by God.”1

These two things, the words of Christ and the works of Christ, are joined by Jesus Himself in a comment in John’s Gospel upon those who had both seen and heard Him and who yet had not believed: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin… If I had not done among them the works which no other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father” (John 15:22, 24).

The final and in many ways the conclusive bulwark of the authority of Jesus Christ is His resurrection from the dead. At the time of the preaching of this Sermon, of course, Jesus had not yet died, let alone been raised from the dead. But we remember that He was ending His Sermon with an encouragement for His hearers to keep on as His disciples until they came to that point. And, whatever the case may have been for them, for us the resurrection is paramount. Did Jesus rise from the dead? If He did, then His authority is established. His teaching is established. His deity is established. And Christianity rests upon an impregnable foundation.

Did Jesus rise from the dead? It is an assertion demanding a Yes from every true believer and every honest historian. There are literally volumes of evidence for it. In the first place, there is the evidence of the sepulchre. This was found empty. The fact that it was empty is best proved by all lack of evidence that it was not. If it had not been empty, the Pharisees would have been quick to have shown the body in order to have refuted the early preaching of the apostles. The same is true also for the Roman authorities, for had they been in a position to have produced the body, they too would have done so. If the disciples had stolen it, which was the first explanation of the Jewish authorities, they would have hardly been willing to die (as they later did) for what they knew to be a fraud. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it is only a sober act of small faith to accept the biblical explanation.

1Reuben A. Torrey, The Bible and Its Christ (New York, NY: Revell, 1906), 12.

Study Questions
  1. What work provides the greatest foundation piece of Jesus’ authority? What does this work establish?
  2. What is the first piece of evidence for Jesus’ resurrection?
Application

Application: What are the implications for the Christian faith, the character of God, and believers, if the miracles recorded in the Bible are not true?

Key Point: Did Jesus rise from the dead? If He did, then His authority is established. His teaching is established. His deity is established. And Christianity rests upon an impregnable foundation.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to Philip Ryken’s message, “All Authority and Power.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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