Read 2 Timothy 2.1-8.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised form the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, (2 Timothy 2.8 NIV)
Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. (2 Timothy 2.8 NLT)
Paul was trying to tell his son, Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus, the one he charged to come out of timidity, do battle for the Lord, and raise others who could also pass on the faith. He told him to remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead and that was the Good News he, Paul, preached. Jesus Christ a descendant of David was raised from the dead.
He was trying to tell him that knowledge of the fact of the resurrection was the foundation of ministry. The cause of effective ministry, the anchor of the believer, is the gospel we preach; take it out and Christianity has no value. It is easy to preach on an Easter day because on Easter every verse in the Bible can be preached. If you are not careful, even on a Christmas day, you will preach an Easter message. You can take from Nebuchadnezzar and preach. It is what defines us. It is the resurrection that brings the difference between Jesus Christ and Buddha; Christ and Confucius; and a vast difference between Jesus and Mohammed. We are not talking about light and sound but a descendant of David—something real. Remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. This is the message we preach.
His resurrection makes Christianity an exclusive religion. Our Jesus is for all but it is an exclusive religion. We don’t believe in a cause but a person. To those of us who are born again, always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. God raised him from the dead because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Read 1 Corinthians 15.1-4.
Verses 12-14 say,
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (1 Corinthians 15.12-14 NIV)
If Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless but Christ has been raised from the dead and we don’t want to think that we have believed for nothing.
What is all this resurrection about? How important is it? If there is no resurrection, there is no Christianity.
Read Isaiah 11.1-5, 10-11.
The Bible says he had a name no one knew. He is described as the Lord of lords and the King of kings.
This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: (Matthew 1.1 NIV)
From the root of Jesse, from the root of David, a new branch shot. Jumping to verse 17 of Matthew 1,
Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. (NIV)
Verse 2 of Isaiah 11 says,
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge of the fear of the Lord— (NIV)
Luke 4.17-18 says,
and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of the sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, (NIV)
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. (Isaiah 11.3-5 NIV)
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. (Isaiah 11.10-11 NIV)
It says in the day when the desire of the people comes, God will stretch forth his hand a second time. When was the first time?
Read Exodus 3.16-22.
The purpose of the Lord stretching forth his hand is to bring the people of Israel to himself. God was going to stretch a mighty hand in Egypt to compel the king of Egypt to let his people go. According to Paul, when they were crossing the Read Sea, it was a baptism. Got stretched forth his hand and delivered one nation out of the lot even though the whole world is his.
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. (Isaiah 11.11 NIV)
All these nations were descendants of Noah because the flood destroyed everything. God is saving all kinds of people to himself. When he was born because of who he was and what he was doing crowds followed him. Let’s examine what happened in John 12.
When Lazarus was sick, Jesus was informed about it but he intentionally delayed. When he finally decided to go to Bethany, Martha met him and said if he had been around her brother would not have died. Jesus decided to go to the tomb but they tried to hold him back as Lazarus had been dead for four days and his body had already started decaying, according to their theory. They didn’t know that this was a strategic death. It was for a purpose, to show that the dead could be resurrected. No one had ever heard that a person or a Jew had died and had been raised on the fourth day because their theory was that by that time he should have been rotten.
When Jesus shouted, “It is finished,” many graves opened. This time when he got to the grave he called out, “Lazarus,” and he came out from the dead. By that performance his fame spread and everyone wanted to see him.
Compare John 12.17-19 where the crowds came to Jesus and spread his fame abroad to Isaiah 11.10 where it says the nations will rally to him. These included the Pharisees, the very enemies of Christ. They saw him as developing a new sect and they didn’t like him.
The Bible says God will stretch forth his hand a second time.
Now there were some Greeks among his disciples. When Jesus sent them out to preach he was emphatic, “Don’t go to the Gentiles” for the Gentiles were to come to him. The Gentiles came to Philip and said they wanted to see him. These were people who were not accepted by the Jews because even when they became proselytes and joined the synagogue they had to sit at the back. After closing they had to leave quickly so the holy Jews could also leave.
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12.24 NIV)
The mistake the devil made was to plant Jesus, a single seed. He was the fullness of God but, somehow, the devil wanting to get rid of him took the seed of God and planted it in the belly of the earth. When you plant a viable see and it dies it will germinate. Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. Without this Christianity is of no use. He was raised from the dead. This is what Peter said in Acts 2.23-24:
This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of dead, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. (NIV)
Peter would not have said it was impossible. Many things went into keeping Jesus in the grave, to the extent that Paul said it was by God’s power he was resurrected. If God had to exert power then the resurrection was something else. If God had to exert power to bring Jesus out of the grave then the resurrection was something else. That is why Paul said I want to know him and the power that raised him from the dead.
And when Jesus had cried out again in aloud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matthew 27.50 NIV)
So Jesus died. Don’t let anyone tell you that he didn’t die. He died.
Matthew 27.57-60, 62-64 show that he was buried but he resurrected though some wanted to bury the story. They said the last deception (that Jesus actually resurrected from the dead, rather than his body being stolen) will be worse than the first but, for us, the last glory is greater than the first.
The Pharisees and the chief priest heard what he said and secured the tomb but a mighty earthquake broke it open. (Matthew 28.1-6) At another place it says that you don’t look for the living among the dead—don’t come to the graveyard for the man is not there. But there was a conspiracy. That is very serious. They bribed guards to say his disciples came to steal the body while they slept. To this very day people are still circulating falsehoods about the resurrection but they won’t succeed.
In AD 165 Justin Martyr wrote to the Jews of his day, “…you have sent chosen and ordained men throughout all the world to proclaim that a godless and lawless heresy had sprung from one Jesus, a Galilean deceiver, whom we crucified, but His disciples stole Him by night from the tomb, where He was laid when unfastened from the cross, and now deceive men by asserting that He has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven.”
And today many people say that Jesus never died; that he just fell unconscious and was put in a cool tomb and resuscitated. Some say the disciples had hallucinations he was alive. Some are saying the resurrection is not a real thing but happens in a man’s heart by faith. Those of use who are born again according to 1 John 5.10, have the testimony of the resurrection in our hearts.
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (1 John 5.10 KJV)
As at now people are saying he didn’t rise but the Bible says anyone who believes has the testimony in himself. But the resurrection is a life-giving event so we are testimonies to that fact. It is not just a story and it cannot be relegated to history. The resurrection is the beginning of a new creation—an army of God created to be like God to reveal the manifold wisdom of God
Romans 8 says as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. Romans 8.17 says we are heirs of God’s glory. There is something n our spirit that joins with his spirit to show that we are the children of God. The power of the resurrection and the resurrected Christ is not in the grave. It is in you. As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, which Paul says to always remember, the power of the resurrection is in you. This is a mystery. It is God’s hope of glory that through you he will reconcile the world back to himself.
When the resurrection power was in him they sought him and he gave them life. When it is in you what kind of person ought you to be? There is no need for us to sit and annually declare his resurrection. He is looking up to us to use the resurrection power to cause change. It is not just for casting out demons and healing the sick but also for transforming the nations. He took the world and we can take nations. That is why in the OT he said, “I will make you a god unto Pharaoh.” In the NT we have been made gods unto our nations because of the resurrection power in us. If the Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he shall quicken your mortal bodies.
By the resurrection power we have been given power to make disciples. No force will be able to stand against us. By the resurrection he has given us the authority and the power to do it. Sometimes you can come as the pastor of the church with the authority of the leadership of the church but you need power to deliver. You need both to be effective but in the resurrection both have been given to us.
You can’t sit down unconcerned about corruption in your workplace. How can you be unconcerned about the lost? I went to a big church on a gospel Sunday and when I did the altar call only two people came because only two people invited someone. I saw the church as dead. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation. By the resurrection power we have been called unto holy living. It has made us new creations called unto holy living. You can’t behave anyhow and sing about Christ.
Lastly by the resurrection power we will rise again. At the sound of the trumpet we will rise again. Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the message we preach. Remember it at home, at the office, and when you are on the bus. These days—the prosperity message has done so much damage to Christianity—in those days some would leave their cars and take passenger cars so they could preach. They were not ashamed of Christ.
We need to roll up our sleeves. We have to work. There is no need to sing about the resurrection when we are not willing to use the power he has already given us. Let us go out there and possess the nations. Let us change the mentality of people. Let us petition for the poor. Let the lawyers among as put themselves together and change the judiciary otherwise Christianity is of no use. We make too much noise. I am praying that people will put themselves together and change their spheres. Let us put ourselves together. Don’t you know you are pastors? What ministry do you have? I want some of us to form NGOs and change situations.
I pray that all of us will go out and change or spaces. The best of teachers in Ghana are in the public schools but we don’t see the effect on the pupils. We need to go back there and change our world otherwise Christianity will be of no value. Let not the politicians tell lies like the chief priests. The kinds of secrets politicians have died with, only God knows but I want some of us to go to that arena and change things.
Don’t hide your light. You are saved because of someone. Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead and the power of the resurrection is in you.
2 Timothy 2.1-8, 1 Corinthians 15.1-4, Isaiah 11.1-5, 10-11, Matthew 1.1, 17, John 12.17-24