- Grace B-P Contributor
I Serve A Risen Saviour
By Rev Tan Eng Boo
As Good Friday and Easter approaches, we want to be reminded that we serve a risen Saviour. Jesus Christ our Lord, “was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.” (The Apostles Creed)
William Sangster, the great British Methodist preacher, once wrote concerning Jesus’ death:
"If He was a man, it was murder; if He was God, it was an offering. If He was man, it was martyrdom; if He was God, it was sacrifice. If He was man, they took his life from Him; if He was God, He laid it down Himself. If He was man, we are called to admiration; if He was God, we are called to adoration. If He was man, we must stand up and take our hats off; if He was God, we must fall down and give Him our hearts."
Jesus Christ is God
Although some people may challenge the Christian as to whether Jesus is God, and where in the Bible Jesus makes this claim, the Bible is clear on this. We know that Jesus spoke to the Jews about Himself being God, and they understood what He said.
Mark 2:5-7 “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Can God die?
God cannot die. God is a Spirit (John 4:24). But God came and dwelled among us as told by the apostle John in his gospel in John 1:14. In the gospel of Matthew, we are told that Jesus is the Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.” And Paul said that “though he (Jesus) was in the form of God … he took the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men…. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8).
Jesus, being God, cannot die. But when He came into the world in the form of a man, He did die on the cross. Jesus said in Revelations 1: 17, 18,
“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
Jesus died once and for all, for our sins
Hebrews 7:27 says,
“He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.”
The apostle Peter declared that
“Christ died for sins, once for all.” (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus died only once. This doctrine has to be emphasised, because there are some people who believe that Jesus had to die again each time a certain ritual is performed. We also cannot be fooled by anyone who says that Jesus did not die on the cross. They say that He actually fainted and was revived again by His disciples. The Bible is explicitly clear that Jesus died (Revelations 1:17).
Jesus is the living God
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her” (John 20:18).
“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19-20).
These are powerful statements by the disciples of Jesus that He (Jesus) is risen from the dead.
Jesus lives within my heart
The songwriter, Alfred Ackley, echoed the words of those who were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Saviour, “I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today, I know that He is living whatever men may say… He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives; He lives within my heart.”
If Jesus is the living God, then the implication for us is enormous. It should impact everyone who is a Christian, just as how the disciples were impacted by it. Because they had seen the resurrected Saviour first-hand, they gave themselves and all they had to proclaim this message of truth and hope. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33 KJV).
“In the 1930’s, there was preacher named Alfred Ackley. During a time of evangelistic meetings he was holding, a young Jewish student asked the question, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?” Using the Scriptures to witness to him, Pastor Ackley began to explain to this young man how that Jesus was alive. “He Lives! I tell you; He is not dead, but lives here and now! Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before. I can prove it by my own experience, as well as the testimony of countless thousands.”
The thought of our resurrected Saviour was on his thoughts after that conversation. As he prepared for his Easter sermon, the thought became even more present. On that Resurrection Day as he rose early to prepare, Ackley turned on his radio. He was then shocked to hear a liberal preacher say something like this, “You know, it really doesn’t matter to me if Christ be risen or not. His body could have turned to dust long ago in some Palestinian tomb. But what’s important is that His truth goes marching on!” “It’s a lie,” Pastor Ackley yelled. He was worked up by what he had heard and it mixed with his continual thoughts of the Scripture. His wife told him it was time for him to do what he did best — write a song — and then he would feel better.
In his study, Ackley re-read the Resurrection account from Mark’s Gospel in the Bible, and soon the words began to pour from him. A few minutes later, he put music to the words, and answered the question, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?” “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!