Volume. XX, No. 42
Sunday, 16 April 2006

From the Pastors Heart: Resurrection Truth

The four Gospels have the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Matthew 12, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21).  All these accounts recollect that Jesus was crucified and laid in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea.  On the third day after His death, some women went to balm His body, but they found the tomb empty.  The risen Lord met some disciples on the road to Emmaus.  He, then, appeared to the disciples.  Thomas was not in the upper room and did not believe until Jesus invited him to put his finger into the holes in His nailed hands and side (John 20:24-29).  Jesus made His appearances to discouraged disciples at the Sea of Galilee.  He spent forty days after the resurrection till He ascended into heaven.  The key apostles such as Peter and Paul argued in the book of Acts that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the cornerstone of Christian faith.  It was not thinkable for them to preach about Jesus Christ without mentioning and emphasizing on His resurrection.  The story of the resurrection is not only mentioned in the Bible but also in the writings of Church Fathers.  Ignatius (50-115 AD), Polycarp (69-155 AD), Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), and Tertullian (160-220 AD) are only a few examples.  All the major creeds from early Christian churches mention of the resurrection including the Nicene Creed (325 AD).  There were also non-Christian witnesses of the resurrection.  A famous Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus wrote in his book, Antiquities of the Jews, that Jesus appeared to His disciples alive again.  Tacitus, Suetonius and Thallus all alluded the name of Christ in their writings. 

Despite all these claims and witnesses, the resurrection record has been challenged by many unbelieving people.  Some say that the disciple stole the body of Christ from the tomb and made up a story (stolen body theory).  The Jews like this story.  Some have argued that Jesus did not die on the cross but got fainted and was later revived (swoon theory).  Some have said that it was a hallucination, not real resurrection (vision theory).  Some have suggested that it was not Jesus but someone else who died on the cross.  Someone died in His place (Qur’an).  There is even a story that Judas died in His place (Gospel of Barnabas).  A man called, Nicolai Notovitch claimed that he was resuscitated and lived the remainder of his life in Kashmir.  Some blasphemous writings in our days have claimed that Jesus married and moved to the south of France or Glastonbury, England.  What I have been writing here is not just a hoax made by unbelievers.  It is not unusual to find churches’ claims today that cast doubts on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Before I would bring you all to the Scriptures, let me introduce you to a man, Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853).  He was the famous Royal Professor of Law at Harvard.  Chief Justice Fuller of the United States Supreme Court described Greenleaf by saying, "He is the highest authority in our courts."  - Irwin H. Linton, A Lawyer Examines the Bible: A Defense of the Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977, 36).  He wrote the following in correspondence with the American Bible Society, on the 6th of November, 1852: “Of the Divine character of the Bible, I think, no man who deals honestly with his own mind and heart can entertain a reasonable doubt.  For myself, I must say, that having for many years made the evidences of Christianity the subject of close study, the result has been a firm and increasing conviction of the authenticity and plenary inspiration of the Bible.  It is indeed the Word of God” (Stephen Abbott Northrop, A Cloud of Witnesses, Portland, Oregon: American Heritage Ministries, 1987, 198).  As an unbeliever, he was determined to prove that the Bible was wrong and Jesus was a hoax.  However, he later wrote a book entitled, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice.  In which he came to a completely different conclusion and emphatically stated: “It was impossible that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not Jesus Christ actually risen from the dead . . ." (Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, p.29).  Greenleaf concluded that according to the jurisdiction of legal evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of history!  And not only that, Dr. Greenleaf was so convinced by the overwhelming evidence, he committed his life to Jesus Christ!

The first reason that people do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is because they regard themselves as good and righteous.  They may not say it, but their denial of the resurrection of Jesus does imply it.  Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”  What Jesus did on the cross was to receive the curse of the law of God against our sinfulness.  It implies a truth that Jesus is the Saviour of sinners.  People who do not regard themselves as sinners do not have a Saviour, and in fact, they do not need one!  They ought to be their own Saviour.  They surely hope that their own goodness and righteousness should be able to save them.  If a man does not regard himself as good and righteous, but without a Saviour, his whole life is on the shaky ground.  He has neither his goodness nor the Saviour of sinners.  If a man feels good himself and does not regard his quilt and sin before God, then he has to be his own god.  However, the believers of Christ are the ones calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus.  The reason that they call upon His name is to let Him save them from their sins and guilt. 

The second reason that people do not believe in Jesus is because they do not see the evidence in the lives of people.  Mark 14:50 says, “And they all forsook him, and fled.”  Even Peter who assured Jesus that he would die with Him fled on that night.  He even cursed and swore to deny his relationship to Jesus.  He said three times, “I know not this man.”  This man and other apostles were changed so dramatically even to preach His name again despite persecutions.  Peter boldly preached in Acts 2:22-24, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”  Keep in mind that it was not just Peter, but all apostles were changed.  Why?  It was because Jesus rose again and everyone of them was an eyewitness.  2 Peter 1:16, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”  Professor Thomas Arnold, for 14 years a headmaster of Rugby, author of the famous, History of Rome, and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford, was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. This great scholar said: "I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God bath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead."

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the centre of Christian faith.  Without His resurrection, there will be no resurrection for us.  Without our resurrection, there is no eternal life.  The resurrection is the power to destroy the power of death that has ruled over mankind.  If Jesus did not rise again from the dead, He did not deliver Himself from the power of graves.  Then, He could not be our Saviour.  Faith in Jesus Christ is in His resurrection.  Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  Praise the Lord for His resurrection!

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 41: Where is the moral law summarily comprehended? The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments. 

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, John Tann, & Kevin Tye; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe (Hampstead), Sally Teng, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Auntie Oei and others afflicted with illness. "Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord heal me; for my bones are vexed” (Ps 6: 2).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions: Rev & Mrs Luke Kim (Veal Renh); b) Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam; c) Pakistan Missions - protection of pastors & believers; d) Journey Mercies - Rev & Mrs Colin Wong, Mr & Mrs Laurence Tan (S’pore), Mr Checkie Mah & Sis Amber Mah (NZ), Miss Tracy Ho (Melb); campers travelling to Adelaide tomorrow; all those travelling during the school & uni semester vacation; e) Ministry of Bro Hai Seng Lim in Thailand; f) God’s guidance & blessing on our Family Bible Camp meetings & activities; g) B-P Churches & Pastors all over the world; h) Believers under persecution in Islamic (eg. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan) & Communist (eg. China, North Korea, Vietnam) countries.

Praise and Thank God for – a) Session Meeting, BSAG Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; b) Journey mercies - Rev & Mrs Colin Wong, Mr & Laurence Tan (S’pore); & campers (Victor Harbour/Adl); c) God’s blessings & guidance on our Family Bible Camp; d) Hopefuls’ Contributions to the Pakistan Missions. Targets for wheelchair & Keyboard have been met.

Special Warm Welcome to Rev & Mrs Colin Wong. Special thanks to Life B-P Church, S’pore, for allowing Rev Colin Wong to be speaker for our Family Bible camp this year.

Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $16,885.00 for Pastor’s car.

Looking Ahead: 20th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service on 4 June.



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