Apr 12 16

The Promise of the Resurrection

vmsmith

I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. (Psalms 40:1-2)

In last Sunday morning’s message, we had the opportunity to study Psalm 110 in which David declared Jesus to be the sovereign Lord. In the Gospel of John, chapter 5 Jesus gave a wonderful exposition of the resurrection, and then He said there are witnesses that testify to the truthfulness of His words. John the Baptist was one of those witnesses. He was a truly remarkable prophet that had the unique privilege of announcing Jesus as the Lamb of God. Jesus also said the Father bears witness of Him, but that witness is only received by those whom the Father will reveal the Son. A third witness in that passage is the scriptures. Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (5:39).

With the command to search, we would expect to be able to go to the Old Testament and find Christ. This is why Jesus took the Jews to Psalm 110 where David bore testimony to His Lordship. Our congregational reading today takes us to another place where Jesus is found in the Old Testament psalms. The entire 40th Psalm is about Christ, but verses 1 and 2 are the particular focus of my article today. These verses speak of the resurrection with verse 2 being a personal favorite: “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” These are words of praise as Jesus acknowledged the Father’s promise. In the eternal covenant of redemption between the Father and the Son, the Father promised to bring safely home all those for whom Christ would die. The first fruit of this promise is that Christ would be resurrected—a critical event without which the promise fails. The resurrection of Christ was the Father’s stamp of approval on the redemptive work of the Son. When this promise was fulfilled, heaven must have thundered with praise because at this point redemption was forever sealed.

However, there was never any doubt this would happen. Heaven was already populated with the souls of the patriarchs and the prophets and all the people of God that died prior to the resurrection. Because God is timeless, a promise made in eternity past is as certain as if it had already happened. When you read scriptures like Psalm 40, you can see yourself. If you are a believer, you know you are as safe for heaven as if you were already there.

Many people wonder how Christians face bad days with a smile. They wonder why peace fills our heart when they struggle with so many things that burden them to despair. The interesting irony is that we face the same life struggles they face. We have job issues, financial concerns, family disappointments—and yet these things do not rule us. Our happiness is not determined by how well a stock portfolio is doing or whether Junior got accepted to Harvard. We have already risen with Christ and we know that when He shall appear we shall also appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1, 4).

Contemplating the certainty of the resurrection will keep our thinking straight when the cares of life start to become too heavy. Christ was in the horrible pit, but the promise kept Him waiting patiently. There was a time limit on the grave—three days. There is also a time limit for you. Wait patiently for it. Redemption is nigh.

Pastor V. Mark Smith