From Patmos Isle we hear these words spoken by the resurrected, glorified Lord to the beloved disciple, John, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Rev. 1:17-18).
Having risen from the dead, possessing the keys of death and Hades, what is the further meaning of Christ’s supernatural resurrection?
1. Satan has been defeated. In Genesis 3:15 we have prophecy of the serpent’s bruising the heel of the seed of woman (Christ), and Christ crushing the head of the serpent. We read in the Hebrew epistle that Christ took “part of the same”, became flesh and blood that He might destroy the one who had the power of death, Satan, and deliver those who through the fear of death were all their lifetime “subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14). The Son of God was manifested to destroy “the works of the devil” (1John 1:8).
2. Death has given way to the resurrection from the dead. We are told in John 5:28, 29 that all that are in the tombs shall hear the voice of the Son of God and arise. At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus declared that He Himself was the resurrection and the life (John 11:25, 26). Then He raised Lazarus to prove it. 1Corinthians 15:15,20-28, is the replete account of Christ in His own resurrection, and ours to come. Death has been conquered and the captives set free.
3. Baptism is graced with meaning. Romans 6:3,4 is pure gold. We die to sin in repentance, and we bury the past life of sin in the water of baptism. In the likeness of Christ’s death, we are buried with Him in death: our eyes are closed and one displays all the characteristics of being physically dead, but for the beating of his heart. Arising from the grave, the first breath one takes is in the kingdom of God! Dead to the world of folly and sin, alive to righteousness in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior (Galatians 3:27; 1Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:1-10).
One has died to sin in repentance (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 17:30), and buried the past life of sin in the grave of baptism. Baptism is immersion, and neither the original Greek nor English translations will render it as sprinkling or pouring. One rises from the waters of cleansing (Acts 16:22), and pledges complete obedience to Christ, his Lord and Master, becoming a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:1-11), born of water and the spirit (John 3:3-5; 1Corinthians 12:13). His name is now written in the Book of Life (Acts 2:41,47; Hebrews 12:23: Philippians 4:3b: Revelation 20:15). In water baptism, the precious Holy Spirit takes up residence in the new convert’s heart (Acts 2:38,39; 1Corinthians 3:16, 17; 6:19,20), where the Father and the son both make their abode through the Spirit (John14:21-23; Ephesians 2:22). Joy “unspeakable and full of glory” are the experience of being born anew (1Peter 1:8-9); “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells od salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground; I will poor my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Isaiah 44:3). What a joy to find Jesus and keep His commandments! (John 14:21; Revelation 14:13)!
4. The power of God is manifest. “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
5. Life takes on genuine meaning.
6. A personal nearness to God otherwise unobtainable.
7. He wants to bless our lives. “But unto everyone of us is given grace according to the gift of Christ” (Ephesians 4:7). Ascending up on high, he “led captive” and gave gifts to men. Having ascended, what is it but that He first descended (the tomb), and has ascended up “far above all heavens that he might fill all things” (Ephesians 4:10).
8. Risen and ascended; He is coming again! “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me to give to every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). John concludes, “He which testifieth these things saith, surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20). What does the resurrection of Christ mean to you? It means all the fore-going to me and far, far more. God hasten the day when incomprehensible glory shall burst in the skies and our precious Lord and Savior shall come with an innumerable company of angels, to gather His people to that eternal inheritance with Him! ...By Stanley E. Sayers.