We’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In particular we’ve been looking at how Christ was exalted by his resurrection. We’ve seen that Christ was exalted by moving from a dead state to a living state and by the fact that all three members of the Trinity raised him. We’ve also seen that Christ’s resurrection declared that he was the Son of God and the Lord of the living and the dead, and that he had satisfied divine justice and defeated death and Satan. This week I want to show that Jesus was exalted by his resurrection as it was a public event.
If you want to do something to exalt yourself then you need to do it publicly. You’re not going to get much praise if you are able to walk on fire in the privacy of your bedroom. If you wish to be exalted as the greatest fire walker ever, eventually you’re going to have to go public.
As we’ve seen previously, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead certainly exalts him. It is the most stupendous event of history. Pretty much everyone is interested in a way to defeat death. That’s why a billionaire like Peter Thiele has dedicated millions to extending life through anti-aging research.
But if Jesus did come back from the dead, it is not going to get him much credit if it was a private event that no one knows about. Yet, the Bible tells us repeatedly that Jesus’ resurrection was a public event. The apostle Paul gives a summary of Christ’s resurrection appearances in his letter to the Corinthians: ‘Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born’ (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Jesus’ resurrection was not a small affair. It was witnessed by many and the news spread like wildfire. Paul is able to claim the public knowledge of the resurrection to King Agrippa. He said: ‘What I am saying is true and reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner’ (Acts 26:25-26).
And as a result of the public nature of his resurrection people have exalted Christ ever since. They’ve also seen fit to trust in his death for them so that they will be raised from the dead too.
So do you exalt Christ because he was raised from the dead, publicly? Do you trust him so that you will be publicly raised too?