Sunday, March 27, 2016

"I lay down My life, that I might take it again."



Matthew 28:1-6

"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen..."
We remember the narrative of John, the Evangelist, referred to as the parable of The Good Shepherd.  His life is offered for them, it is a sacrifice for them, because they are themselves the sheep of God.

Christ dies as One who is the Master of the return of life; His death is not a demise; on the contrary, it is the perfect accomplishment of the Good Shepherd: For I do not depart from life, except to resume it, and I have the full power to do so.
 
It requires a man of great heart to give his life for just one; but Christ was telling His listeners about dying for mankind; laying His life with the great assurance of taking it up again; this is the work of One who has the very power of God.
 
On the preceding days, Christ made it known to the Jews that He was going to die; they had understood it to be a violent death.

The disciples more than once listened to announcements from their Master; never more penetrating as this.

Through the manner in which Christ was speaking, the disciples were able to comprehend that His death was a reality of capital importance.  

However, they did not fully comprehend, perhaps not even believe, as John confessed, 
until His Resurrection became the reality.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Disciples_running_by_EB.jpg
 
John 20:1-10
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 

So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 

Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
Calvin illuminates in his study of John 20:

"For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. They had often heard from the mouth of Christ what they now saw with their eyes, but this flowed from their hearts. Being now warned by the sight of a strange spectacle, they begin to think of Christ as having something Divine, though they are still far from having a clear and accurate knowledge of him.

John, therefore, accuses himself, when he acknowledges that the first time that he believed was, when he beheld the proofs of Christ’s resurrection.

Besides, he represents more strongly his own guilt and that of his brethren, by adding, that they not only had forgotten the words of Christ, but that they did not believe the Scriptures; for to this ignorance he ascribes the deficiency of their faith. Hence, too, we may draw a useful instruction, that we ought, to ascribe it to our carelessness, when we are ignorant of what we ought to know about Christ, because we have not profited as we ought to have done by the Scriptures, which clearly reveal the excellence of Christ.

Not to go farther for an instance of this, it may be thought that the resurrection of Christ is taught in them obscurely, and only under figures; but the attentive reader will find abundantly clear testimonies. Paul proves (Acts 13:34) that Christ must have risen from the dead, because God declares by the prophet Isaiah, (Isaiah 55:3) that, under his reign, the mercy promised to David would be sure. An unskillful person might imagine that what Paul quotes is not at all to the purpose;

but they who believe the principles of faith, and are well acquainted with the Scriptures, have no difficulty in perceiving the force of this argument;

for, in order that Christ may secure to us for ever the grace of God, Christ himself; must live forever."

"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."     

John 10:17


 

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