DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, AUGUST 28, 1870,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
– 1 Peter 1:3-5
We cannot tarry, but must notice, in the fourth place, another delightful possession which ought effectually to chase away from all of us the glooms of this life, and that is A RISEN SAVIOR. “He has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Our best friend is not dead, our great patron and helper, our omnipotent Savior, is not lying in the tomb today. He lives, He ever lives. No sound of greater gladness can be heard in the Christian church than this, “The Lord is risen, the Lord is risen indeed!”
Now, brethren, observe the connection between a risen Savior and our living hope. Jesus Christ died, not in appearance, but in reality, in proof whereof, His heart was pierced by the soldier’s spear. He was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, truly a corpse. Not a spark of life remained. The only difference between His dead body and the dead body of any other was that still the preserving power hovered over Him, and as His body had been defiled by no sin, so His flesh could not see corruption, as it would have
done had it been the body of a sinful man.
Then, at the end of the appointed time, the same Savior who was laid in the tomb rose from the dead, not in secrecy, but before the Roman guards who watched the sepulcher. They fled in terror. He met His disciples—sometimes one by one, sometimes two at a time, on other occasions, four hundred at once saw Him, credible witnesses, persons who had no reason for forging a falsehood, persons who so believed that they saw Him that many of them died for their belief the most painful deaths.
He rose, not in fantasy and figure, but in reality, for one of the witnesses put his finger into the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into His side, and in the presence of His assembled disciples, the risen one ate a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb. He really and literally rose from the dead—the selfsame Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, and afterwards ascended into heaven. That fact is as well proved as any fact in human history. There never, perhaps, was any incident of human history more fully verified than the rising of Jesus of Nazareth from the tomb.
Now, note you well the comfort which arises out of this fact, since it proves that we possess a living advocate, mediator, and high priest, who has passed into the heavens. Moreover, since all believers being partakers of the incorruptible life of God are one with Jesus Christ, that which happens to Him virtually happens to them. They died in His death, they live in His life, they reign in His glory. As in Adam all die who were in Adam, so in Christ shall all be made alive who are in Christ, the two Adams head up their dispensations, whatsoever happens to either of the Adams, happens to those represented by him.
So, then, the resurrection of Jesus is virtually my resurrection. Were He dead still, then might I fear, ay, know, that I, dying, should die, but He, having died, arose again in due season and lives, therefore I, dying, shall also rise and live, for as Jesus is so must I be. If I have within me the new life, I have the same life in me that is in Christ, and the same thing happens to me as happens to Christ, if His life dies, mine, being the same, dies also, but, as He has said, “Because I live, you shall live also,” my life is secure. Here, then, is the top and bottom of the Christian’s hope, “We are begotten again into a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” As we see Him alive, we rejoice that He lives, because He lives for us, and we live in Him.
Let me give you an illustration. When Joseph was in Egypt, he was highly exalted and placed upon the throne. Now, while his brethren did not know him, they were grievously afraid to go down into Egypt, they thought him to be an Egyptian, a haughty ruler of the land, and that he treated them roughly, but when once they and their father were persuaded that Joseph their brother was alive and on the throne, then they cheerfully joined with the old man when he said, “Joseph my son is yet alive; I will go and see him before I die.”
Now, into the unknown land our Elder Brother has gone—where is He and what? Why, He is King of the country, He sits on a throne. O brethren, with what comfort do we now go down into that Egypt! With what consolation will we enter the unknown country, which some think to be shrouded in darkness, but which, now that Jesus reigns on its throne, is full of light to us.
Or take another image. When the children of Israel went through the Jordan, they were told that the Jordan would divide before them, but they were still more fully assured when the priests went forward with the ark, for as soon as the feet of the priests touched the margin of the river, the waters began to divide. As the people saw their priests march through the bed of the stream, and come up on the other side, all doubts about the security of the passage must have vanished at once, for the priests were the
representatives of the people before God, and where they passed safely all Israel might go. See you then, my brethren, the “Great High Priest of our profession” has led the van, the ark of the eternal covenant has gone before, death is dried up, so that we can say, “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” And you and I may with perfect confidence, full of a lively hope, march onwards into the glory land, for Jesus Christ has safely passed the flood, and even so shall we. Here, then, is reason for joy. We will not fear the present, we will not dread the future, for Christ is risen indeed, and our lively hope is fixed on Him.
Thus we have set before you four out of the seven precious things.
To be continued in Part 6