You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs…
1. Our Lord felt the pains of death truly and really. His body was in very deed dead, yet there was no corruption.
(1) It was not needful: it could have borne no relation to our redemption.
(2) It would not have been seemly.
(3) It was not demanded by the law of nature; for He was sinless, and sin is the worm which causes corruption.
2. But from the pains of death His body was loosed by resurrection.
I. IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT THE BANDS OF DEATH SHOULD HOLD OUR LORD. He derived His superiority to the bondage of death —
1. From the command of the Father that He should have power to take His life again (John 10:18).
2. From the dignity of His human person.
(1) As in union with Godhead.
(2) As being in itself absolutely perfect.
3. From the completion of His propitiation. The debt was discharged: He must be freed.
4. From the plan and purpose of grace which involved the life of the Head as well as that of the members (John 14:19).
5. From the perpetuity of His offices.
(1) Priest (Hebrews 6:20).
(2) King (Psalm 45:61.
(3) Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20).
6. From the nature of things, since without it we should have —
(1) No assurance of our resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:17).
(2) No certainty of justification (Romans 4:25).
(3) No representative possession of heaven (Hebrews 9:24).
(4) No crowning of man with glory and honour, and exaltation of him over the works of God's hands.
II. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE THAT ANY OTHER BANDS SHOULD HOLD HIS KINGDOM.
1. The firm establishment of error shall not prevent the victory of truth. The colossal systems of Greek philosophy and Roman priestcraft have passed away; and so shall other evil powers.
2. The scholarship of His foes shall not resist His wisdom. He baffled the wise in His life on earth; much more will He do it by His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:20).
3. The ignorance of mankind shall not darken His light. "The poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matthew 11:5). Degraded races receive the truth (Matthew 4:16).
4. The power, wealth, fashion, and prestige of falsehood shall not crush His kingdom (chap. Acts 4:26).
5. The evil influence of the world upon the Church shall not quench the Divine flame (John 16:33).
6. The rampant power of unbelief shall not destroy His dominion. Though at this hour it seems to bind the Church in the bands of death, those fetters shall melt away (Matthew 16:18).
III. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO HOLD IN BONDAGE ANYTHING THAT IS HIS.
1. The poor struggling sinner shall escape the bonds of his guilt, his depravity, his doubts, Satan, and the world (Psalm 124:7).
2. The bondaged child of God shall not be held captive by tribulation, temptation, or depression (Psalm 34:19; Psalm 116:7).
3. The bodies of His saints shall not be held in the grave (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
4. The groaning creation shall yet burst into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Conclusion. Here is a true Easter hymn for all who are in Christ. The Lord is risen indeed, and the happiest consequences must follow. Let us rise in His rising, and walk at large in His loosing.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: