The resurrection of Jesus Christ along with his crucifixion is unique among the countless events of human history. The Lord who left the garden tomb empty is personally present in our time just as he has been personally present in every generation since he “died for our sins according to the scriptures, … was buried, and … rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3, 4). The Resurrection is essential historical fact. Among the things that set it apart from every other miracle is its day by day, continuing reality. And it is significant of its abiding power that of all the great Christian festivals, the Resurrection has had not one but fifty-two yearly observances ever since the infant Church began to meet for worship on the first, or Lord’s Day, instead of on the Jewish Sabbath.
The biography of R. W. Dale, the English theologian, tells how well on in his public ministry he “made the discovery that Jesus was alive,” and it transformed everything for him. To know the living Lord is for the ongoing Christian life indispensable. When the risen Saviour appeared to the eleven in the locked room that first Easter night and spoke of his death and resurrection, he said to them, “You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48). Likewise we who “have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29) are also witnesses of his death and resurrection.
“But how,” it may be asked, “is it possible in 1964 to be a witness of that which took place nearly two thousand years ago?” The answer lies in the New Testament teaching about the identification of the Christian with his Lord.
Nowhere is this truth more explicitly stated than in Paul’s epistles. Like a golden thread, it runs through his exposition of the Christian life ...1
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