Noted 19th Century theologian R. A. Torrey used to tell about an encounter between an affluent gentleman and a street urchin in Scotland. The story went something like this:
Years ago, on Princes Street, Edinburgh, with its beautiful setting, one of the many shop windows displaying art treasures attracted the eye of a passing wealthy gentleman. He was gazing intently at a painting of the Crucifixion, with the Savior extended on the Cross, the multitude watching, Mary and others standing by.
It had a been a long time since this man had allowed any thoughts like those suggested by the canvas to enter his mind, but the artist’s graphic portrayal brought back poignantly to the gentleman memories of truths he had learned as a child.
Then he became aware of the presence at his side of a little ragged boy who was also looking intently at the painting with its moving story of Calvary.
The street urchin piped up, “Mister, that’s Jesus on the cross. They nailed Him there with that crown of thorns on His head and killed Him, Sir. Jesus was the Son of God. He became a man so that He could die for us. That’s Mary His mother standing there, looking at what they did to Him.” The gentleman felt a lump rise in his throat as the boy continued, “And He died, Sir, for our sins and they buried Him yonder.”
It was too real, and the man turned away to continue his walk down Princes Street.
After he had gone several yards, he heard the pattering of feet running after him. He then felt a tugging at his coat. Turning around he saw it was the ragged laddie who had been describing the Crucifixion painting. The boy exclaimed breathlessly, “Hey, Mister, I forgot to tell you, He rose again!”
Two Applications of Resurrection Truth
Application One: Jesus Rose Again, a Truth to Proclaim
Dr. Torrey’s story drives home an essential point, doesn’t it? After His atoning sacrifice on the Cross, Jesus did rise again from the dead. And after reflecting on the wonders of Calvary on a “Good Friday” observance and / or after celebrating Communion it’s important and powerful for us to proclaim one of the most undeniable facts of all history: “Jesus rose again.”
The Apostles certainly all felt that way. Two examples:
1. Right before the Crucifixion Peter denied Jesus, but later Peter saw and dialoged with the risen Savior. Hear the old fisherman’s new boldness in Acts 2:22-24: “…listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
2. Paul who had been persecuting Christians met the risen Christ on the Damascus Road. Soon, at risk of his own execution, Paul went everywhere preaching the Gospel and making statements like what he writes in 1 Corinthians 15:19, 20: “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ has been raised from the dead….”
Hymnist B. D. Ackley wrote this challenge:
He rose triumphantly, in power and majesty –
The Savior rose no more to die;
O, let us now proclaim the glory of His Name,
And tell to all, He lives today!
Application Two: Jesus Rose Again, a Truth that Motivates
In John 14:19, shortly before He is to die on the cross, Jesus promises His resurrection to the confused disciples; and in that promise He also provides a dynamic motivation for them and for us to love and serve Him forever: “After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.”
As I look back over a half century or so of following and serving the Risen Christ and forward to what He may yet have in store for me, I sometimes privately paraphrase Kermit the Frog like this: “It ain’t easy being Grahame.” (It’s likely many of our readers might easily replace my name with their own.) And yet, when I reflect on the many ways in which “because Jesus lives, we will live also” both in the now and in the forever, I just want to drive ever onward with Him and to lay rubber all the way into heaven. Bill Gaither1 said it well:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow;
Because He lives all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.
1. How does the truth of Jesus’ resurrection influence your thinking and your way of life?
2. What encouragement does the truth of Jesus’ resurrection bring to you?
A nice prize will be awarded to the first person who tells us in the comments section below what verses from which Old Testament psalm does Peter quote immediately following Acts 2:22-24?
This contest is now closed. Congratulations to the winner, Chris Caldwell!