Thursday, May 14, 2015
“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24 KJV).
The third verse of Robert Lowry’s classic 1874 hymn “Up From the Grave He Arose” highlights today’s Scripture.
“Death cannot keep its prey,
Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus my Lord!”
A special religious day was coming in just three hours, so Israel wanted the legs of Jesus and the two criminals broken (John 19:31-37). Once the legs were broken, crucified individuals could no longer push themselves up with their feet. Hence, they would suffocate (and die) quicker. Israel did not want those bodies to remain crucified on “God’s” holiday. The soldiers came and broke the legs of both criminals who had been crucified on either side of Jesus. When they came to the Lord Jesus’ body, they knew He was gone. They did not break Jesus’ legs (fulfilling Exodus 12:46 and Numbers 9:12). Instead, a soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, and blood and water poured out. Yes, the King of glory was gone.
The Prophet Isaiah, some 700 years B.C., wrote of Messiah Jesus: “…for he was cut off out of the land of the living” (53:8). Daniel the Prophet added a century later, “…Messiah shall be cut off” (9:26). Jesus’ death was not a swooning (fainting spell) or some form of trickery. He was, as we would say, “stone cold dead.” He had given up His spirit to the Father (Luke 23:46) and His soul was now down in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:39,40).
In those three days and nights between His death and resurrection, there was immense satanic opposition to keep Jesus Christ dead. All the powers of hell, Satan, and death were against Him (Hebrews 2:14,15)! But, God the Father had the final say in the matter, and today’s Scripture says He raised up Jesus Christ from the dead. Hence, Jesus Christ said, “I have the keys of death and hell” (Revelation 1:18). What had belonged to Satan, was now Christ’s! Because He had fully paid our sin debt, death could not bind Him. The Lord Jesus Christ had to—and did—resurrect! 🙂