Almost 2,000 years ago, our Lord Jesus Christ died, rose again from the grave after the third day and ascended to heaven where he is even now. No one can be a Christian without a firm belief in these miraculous events.
John the apostle, who was an eye witness of this event, narrated how Jesus died:
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”John 19:28-30
29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.
30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ prophesied in the Old Testament
The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is not just a New Testament. It was actually foretold by the Jewish prophets of old and the holy ones looked forward to the appearance of the messiah, his death and his resurrection. Up till today, many Jews still look forward to the messiah (who they call the son of Joseph) that would appear and later die in the land of Israel.
Let us examine some of the numerous passages that spoke of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ even before it happened:
7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;Psalm 22:7-18
8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.
12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
Then Isaiah spoke of this event in the spirit:
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.Isaiah 53: 3-7
4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.Zechariah 12:10
Interestingly, these verses speak of not just the death of our Lord Jesus Christ but also of the manner he would die. They speak of the piercing or crucifixion of the messiah. There are several other passages in the Bible that prove that the messiah would die.
Why is the Old Testament proof of the death of Jesus Christ? Many other religions including Judaism and Islam do not accept the New Testament as scripture but they accept the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament as inspired word of God. These religions do not believe that Jesus was the messiah that would die. It’s important to note that even the Jewish prophets saw in the spirit that Jesus would die and rise up again.
For a full narration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, please read Matthew 27 & 28.
Why did Jesus Christ die and resurrect from the dead?
Simply put, Jesus died so in other to bring as many that believe in him to God.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,1 Peter 3:18
I know that you want to know God, you want to have a personal relationship with God and you want to be saved. But no one can be saved without having faith in Jesus Christ and in his death and resurrection.
But how is it possible that the death of one man would bring salvation to many?
Firstly, the divine principle God showed right from the garden of Eden and in the Law of Moses is that the consequences of sin is death. The almighty God is his omniscient also made us to know that without the shedding of blood, there can not be a forgiveness of sin. This is reiterated in Hebrews:
22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.Hebrew 9:22
In the Law of Moses, God allowed those that sinned to offer sacrifices of animals for their sins. But the almighty God, who knows everything, still made us to understand that the blood of animals could not possibly take away the sins of the people. He only allowed it to teach us that someone must die in other to take away the sins of the world.
So we read:
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?
3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.Hebrews 10:1-4
God is teaching us that the true sacrifice that would take away our sins must be the sacrificial death of a man who never sinned. Since all men had sinned in one way or the other, it is said that no man could die for the sin of the other. God had to specially prepare someone, His son, who would die for us.
That son is our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was fully a man or flesh like any one of us, God conceived him in a special way without the intervention of a man. He was born by virgin known as Mary.
Since Jesus was a mere flesh, he could have sinned but he never sinned. He lived a perfect life of obedience till the end and God was with him.
He was falsely accused and crucified by the Jews and the Romans. Since he was the only man that never sinned, the grave could not hold him. he rose again from the grave the third day as it is written:
23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.Acts 2:23-28
24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
Halleluiah! To the glory of God, the tomb was empty after the third. Our Lord Jesus Christ rose again. His death became a perfect sacrifice that any one, no matter where you may be from – that look up to Jesus in faith, believing in his death and resurrection and confess with his mouth that Jesus is his Lord, will be saved!
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,John 3:14-21
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
What are you supposed to do?
You have to believe in your heart that the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again. You must believe that by his death, you have been redeemed and your sins forgiven, halleluia!
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ means that if you believe and are baptised, even if you died at any time, just like Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, you too will be raised at the last day! Glory be to God.
Jesus is coming again!
And if you are raised from the dead, and you are judged to be a worthy servant, you will reign with the Lord when he comes to establish the kingdom of God here on earth as god promised to Abraham, David and spoke through the prophets and the apostles! You will live forever and ever!!! Act now! Believe and be baptised for the remission of your sins!
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.1 Corinthian 15:20-26
21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
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