He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.…
Our Redeemer's work lacks completeness until his soul triumph of trust and submission has manifestly, in some open way, gained the acknowledgment and acceptance of God. And this is precisely what we have in the Resurrection. In Gethsemane a soul triumph of obedience and trust was won. That soul triumph was tested by the physical woes of Calvary. That soul triumph was seen to have gained Divine acceptance on the morning of the Resurrection. And the acceptance of the perfect Son involves the acceptance of that humanity of which he was the Head and Representative. Our Lord's humanity was headship. By natural generation all men are in Adam; by spiritual regeneration all men are in Christ, or may be in Christ. Examine this relation carefully.
I. THINK OF GETHSEMANE. There is the conflict between flesh and spirit, between the shrinking from duty which involved suffering, and the obedience and trust of the Son. Just the kind of struggle carried on in our souls many a time since then. We may say, "That conflict was undertaken for me. It was a necessary part of the working out of salvation for me which the Lord Jesus undertook." But we may also say, "That conflict was mine. The fight between flesh and spirit was always ending in the mastery of the flesh, while I managed it myself. But I watch that great soul fight of Gethsemane with the holiest and intensest feeling, because it is mine. In Christ its Champion, humanity won liberty from the bondage of self, won the trust and the obedience of the Son.
II. THINK OF CALVARY. There the conflict was renewed. The first victory, which had been altogether one of the soul, of feeling, must be yet again proved in a conflict whose main clement should be bodily, physical suffering. Shame, weariness, pain, death agony, all tested the reality of the triumph that had been gained in Gethsemane. And here too we can see the representative character of our Redeemer's work. We have often thought that we had won a right state of mind and feeling; but we have gone forth to actual life and relations, and found that our soul victory failed to stand the actual testings of life. We may say, Jesus died on Calvary for me; a Sacrifice and Propitiation for my sins." We may also say, "That death on Calvary was mine. I could not make my soul victory stand the test of the worries and pains and trials of life. Jesus took up the matter for me, and on Calvary I see myself in him; my burden on him; my fight fought by him; and his victory is victory for me, - it is my victory."
III. THINK OF THE RESURRECTION. It may be said, "But Jesus died." It may seem as if his conflict ended in defeat. At Calvary we have no decided sign of victory. The disciples went away in hopelessness and tears. Can a word be spoken that shall relieve the darkness? We may find it in our text. Look at the burial place, and hear the angel say, "He is not here: for he is risen." And we may say, "That resurrection was mine. It is the seal of my triumph. I stand now in all the joy and strength of a victor. In Christ my foot is on self and sin and death. I can enter into the 'power of his resurrection.'" Are we then to expect freedom from temptation, deliverance from all the outward ills of life? Nay, not so. If I had said so, you would have smiled, as you remembered what cares worried, burdens pressed, and sins still humbled you. It is this - life, toil, suffering, look and are wholly different things when we realize Christ in us, we in Christ, and his victories involving ours in them. The resurrection of our Lord is the Divine acknowledgment of man's soul victory over sin - evil consequences; and over sin - evil power. Those who are united by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ enter daily into his triumph; it is repeated in them again and again; and day by day they are "more than conquerors through him that loved them." We often dwell on salvation from penalty. We should often realize that victory over sin and over self which is won for us by Christ. Too often we are satisfied with saying that we may have strength from Christ to wrestle with evil if we ask for it. But we ought to go on to say that we have the victory in having the risen and living Christ. Every form of evil Christ has met for us and beaten; that is, I, in Christ, have met and beaten. Sickness is a beaten foe; pain, loss, disappointment, suffering, are beaten foes; death itself is a beaten foe. And God has openly acknowledged man's soul victory in raising his Son Jesus Christ from the dead. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.