“He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee” (Luke 24:6).
This was the angelic declaration on the day of Christ’s resurrection. Thus they announced the grand truth of Christ’s resurrection to the women who went to His tomb on the third day of His burial.
The angels indisputably announced, “He is not here, He is risen!” Though He is not there, He assuredly was once there in the tomb, for He was crucified, dead, and buried. These women had been there at His tomb when He was buried (Luke 23:55-56; Matthew 27:61; Mark 15:47). They were the last to leave His tomb after His burial, and the first to arrive at the risen Christ’s empty tomb. What great delight it must have been for these godly women to be instructed of their beloved Master’s resurrection! May our hearts also rejoice in His risen glory.
Christ Jesus the Lord, who died for our sins, is risen for our justification. With His great resurrection miracle, His work of our redemption was triumphantly consummated! By springing up from the grave to life, Jesus became our Great Saviour. Oh, what a glorious victory He has achieved for us by His resurrection! Sin and death no longer have power over our souls.
We also notice a gentle reproof in the words of the angels to those pious women. It was apparent that they lacked conviction about Jesus’ prediction that He would resurrect on the third day. Though it was the third day, they arrived at the tomb with spices to embalm His body. They appeared to have disregarded the fact that He would rise on that day. Thus, the angels reprovingly reminded those holy women, “remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee”. It was indeed a vain effort to search for the living Christ in the abode of the dead!
May we live in the joy and blessings of our Lord’s resurrection. Let us not conduct ourselves as though our blessed Master is not alive. He is certainly not among the dead. He lives! So let us live to know Him who is risen and lives today. Let us follow our Risen Saviour to know the power of His resurrection. May the empty tomb of Christ drive away all our gloom and anxieties. He is risen, and He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. The Lord is risen! He now lives and prepares a place for us in heaven. He is coming soon again for us. Oh, let us rejoice for our Lord Jesus Christ lives today. He is not among the dead. Hallelujah!
He Arose to Affirm His Lordship!
In Romans 14:9, the apostle Paul declared, “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”
There is, of course, a sense in which Jesus has always been Lord, for He is the Creator, Governor and Provider of all things. By virtue of His divine nature, He is indeed Lord of all. But Paul is not talking about that. He is referring to His Lordship in view of the atoning work that He accomplished through His death and resurrection. Some theologians correctly call it “the lordship of redemptive relationship”. In a very special sense, Christ is Lord of those to whom He brought salvation through His death and resurrection. Christ secured the indisputable right to exercise Lordship over both of those believers who have already died and those who are still alive on earth. By means of His substitutionary death, followed by His intercessory life in heaven (Hebrews 7:25), Christ as their Lord sees to it that whatever He has merited for His people is bestowed on them, whether dead or still alive.
The connection between the Lordship of Christ and His death and resurrection is emphasised here. He is no doubt Lord over all mankind, but what is asserted here is a Lordship which only true believers acknowledge. Paul depicts both the dead and the living as under this Lordship of Christ. Christ died and rose again as a representative character of all His people, both dead and alive. As the Mediator between God and men, He had gathered up all the interests of all His people. Dying and rising again, He stands before all His people as their Lord.
Let us consider the implications of the Lordship of Christ over His own people who are now dead. As One who died and rose again, He gives to all His people who are now dead the assurance of victory over the sting of death. In due time, their mortal bodies shall be fashioned like unto His own glorious resurrected body. He would lead them to the many mansions of His Father’s house, and there He shall live with His people as their Lord and King forever and ever. Now unto all His people who are alive, He is their Lord. They should submit their lives to Him to do His will. Self-surrender to His Lordship is expected of all His people while they live and serve Him here on earth. It is a most wonderful blessing for all His people (both the living and the dead) to have Him as their Lord. It is a source of confidence and joy to the living and the dead in Christ alike.
Testimonies from the 16th Bible Witness Retreat at Kerala, India
I thank and praise God for the wonderful time of learning God’s Word, sweet fellowship in Christ, and the chance to meet with like-minded brethren from Kerala, India. Indeed, it was an eye-opening moment for me. Comparing my life in Singapore to India, I have to be very grateful to God our heavenly Father for what we have in terms of transportation and housing. Their lifestyle is simple, yet I could see the joy in their faces. What struck me was: truly the harvest is plenteous – may we pray therefore the Lord will raise up faithful men to serve Him. If the LORD tarries, I would love to go to India again.
Thank God for this retreat’s emphasis on the importance of prayer, and the reviving messages preached by Pastor Koshy. To God be the glory. May Gethsemane Church be a prayerful church. I learnt that passion leads us to pray, and prayer leads us to wait upon God. The true voice of the church of God is not singing, but the preaching of God’s Word – by the will of God, through the preaching of God’s Word, souls are added to the church. That was what we learnt from the book of Acts of the Apostles. Though believers of the early church were being persecuted, yet instead of decreasing, we see more souls added! “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers … And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:41-47).
Food for thought: is the Christianity of our time out of the Book of Acts or out of our own mind? Are we prepared to suffer and die for the Gospel if it is for His glory? We ought to pray for our leaders, that the Lord will strengthen them, that they will be prayerful leaders. Especially in times of troubles and difficult circumstances, may they stand firm in the Truth of God’s Word, that they may be a godly example for us to emulate. Lastly, as the body of believers, it is our duty to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of Christ.
Praise the Lord that I could attend this Bible Witness retreat. I signed up the minute I knew the theme was on “A Study of Prayers in the Acts of the Apostles”. I have been praying that God would give me understanding on this vital spiritual aspect and teach me how to pray. I need help!
In this retreat, I learned about prayers through various examples of faithful men in the Bible. Jesus Himself never ceases to pray! Prayer is about praising God, as well as faithful waiting according to God’s promises. Not only did I learn about the format of prayer in Acts, I also learned that it is God’s decree that we pray, and so we must carry out this command. Furthermore, the Bible teaches us the importance of praying for our church leaders, as seen in the example of Paul in Romans 15:30. May the Lord help me to understand and apply what I have learned. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3). I am so grateful that God has given me greater understanding in this area.
I thank God for the fellowship with like-minded brethren. I am particularly touched by the hospitality extended by Pastor Koshy’s parents and relatives in Kerala. (Incidentally, it was there that we got to see “teh-tarik” in action!) Thank God for all the brethren who have laboured in organising this retreat. May the Lord greatly bless each of them with strength and wisdom to continually serve Him with a joyful heart!
I thank God for the recent 16th BW Retreat in Kerala on with the theme, “Church – A People in Prayer”, which is essentially a study of prayers in the Acts of the Apostles. Following are some thought-provoking pointers learnt:
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). Pastor Koshy emphasised that the preaching of the Word and prayer are God’s instruments of blessings, both of which, like the 2 wings of a bird, are vital to the apostles in God’s kingdom. They shake a man’s heart out of sin and draw his heart towards God. They also set his affections on things above and not on the materialism and carnality of this earth. Therefore the apostles gave themselves “continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (cf. Acts 6:4).
“Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:3). Gethsemane needs deacons as it grows. Pastor encourages us to start praying for deacons of such calibre. Prayer acknowledges our dependence on God.
“But he (Stephen) being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, … And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:55, 59). Stephen was empowered by the Holy Spirit; he had no fear in preaching Christ. And he died a martyr’s death. “Do we dare to stand alone like Stephen?” was the challenge posed to us.