The Wonder of the Resurrection

Easter-1

The Lord is risen!

Wondrous work of God, a recreation which brought life out of death, far more marvelous than the creation of the heavens and the earth.

The Son of GOD came in the likeness of sinful flesh, in the form of a servant, to surrender Himself throughout all His life to the wrath of God, in order to atone for the sins of His people.

The Son of MAN came as the Shepherd to lay down His life for His sheep, even when this involved separation from God in anguish of hellish torments, crying out in the amazement of His complete isolation under the righteous judgment of the God of heaven and earth.

Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, willfully submitted to the power of death; first dying our spiritual death during the three hours of darkness on the cross, and then entering into our physical death by surrendering His spirit into His Father’s hand and commanding death to take His body as its prey. He took His place among the dead of all ages. He set the stage, so that He could march triumphantly before the eyes of the whole world through death into heavenly life.

As a reward on His accomplished work of the cross God raised Him up in the early hours of the third day. As the mighty Conqueror the Son of God arose from the shades of death and entered into a new, heavenly, spiritual, immortal life in His resurrection body.

He lives. We know He lives, for we have the testimony of God’s infallible Word informing us of His resurrection, and we have the seal of the Holy Spirit by faith in our hearts.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, our Lord, Who . . . suffered . . . was crucified, dead and buried, descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. Glorious resurrection!

Taken from an Easter meditation based on John 20:8 written by Rev. Cornelius Hanko, published in the April 1, 1980 issue of the Standard Bearer.

The Gospel of “Re-“, Rev. W. Langerak – April 1, 2017 Standard Bearer

The latest issue of the Standard Bearer (April 1, 2017) is once again filled with interesting, instructive, and edifying articles, as you will see from the cover image below.

One thing to call attention to is the editorial by Rev. Ken Koole. In “Our Need for Seminary Students: Time to Be Praying” he points out with numbers that do not lie that the PRC is going to be in urgent need of candidates for the ministry in the near future. Especially parents and young men ought to direct themselves to that article, but all of us ought to be praying for the fulfillment of this need.

SB-April1-2017

The article to which I call special attention is the word study by Rev. W. Langerak. The striking title “Re-” tips the reader off that his subject is those words in the Bible that begin with “re-” – and as you will notice, there are many such words in God’s Word.

Pastor Langerak ties these words to the redemption Jesus Christ secured for His people on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that we will celebrate this coming Friday and Sunday, and you will readily see the connection to such words as reconciliation, regeneration, and reward.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from Re- – read and rejoice in which God has done through His Son!

The celebration of our redemption and resurrection in Jesus is a good time to remember the wonderful aspect of the gospel indicated by the prefix re- of these two words. Re- basically means “again” and denotes something repeated, returned back, or done intensely. Redemption, therefore, means “to be bought back” and resurrection “to be raised again.” And re- is one of the most common prefixes in Scripture, which shows the rich significance of “again” to the holy gospel. The gospel is the good news of re-.

Our Father has nurtured, raised, and stretched out His hand to rebellious (to war again) children, children who refused (give back as unwanted) to keep His covenant, hear His word, and obey His law, and rejected (to throw back) even His Christ (Dan. 9:9; Ps. 78:10, Hos. 4:6; Isa. 53:3). He came unto His own, but His own received (to take back) Him not (John 1:11). But the stone the builders reject and refuse, God makes the head of the corner (Ps. 118:22).

Through Christ, God gives us, therefore, the ministry of reconciliation (to bring together again)—that while we were still enemies, we were reconciled to God by His death and assured salvation by His life (Rom. 5:10, Ps. 118:22). Although sheep going astray, we are returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls and received back into His favor (L.D. 4; 1Pet. 2:25).

The gospel is that the Lord remembers (takes to mind again) His covenant forever, but remembers our sins no more (Ps. 105:8; Heb. 10:17). Although He be high, He has respect for the lowly (1Pet. 1:17). He regards the crying of His children (Ps. 106:44). He releases the captives from prison and feeds those who cannot recompense (to pay back) Him again (Luke 14:14). The Lord removes our sins, restores our soul, revives and renews our spirit, repairs our broken hearts, and regenerates (to be born again) us by the incorruptible seed of the Word unto a lively hope that always remains in us (1Pet. 1:3, 23; 1John 3:9).

Resurrection Sunday 2016

EasterMessageFor this Resurrection Day Sunday 2016 we post a number of quotes on our Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, beginning with the Scripture itself.

May the Lord fill you and yours with the joy and hope of His victory over death and the life everlasting He gives to all who trust in Him.

Matthew 28:1-8

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

1 Corinthians 15:12-22:

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

J.C. Ryle:

“The resurrection of Christ is one of the foundation-stones of Christianity. It was the seal of the great work that He came on earth to do. It was the crowning proof that the ransom He paid for sinners was accepted, the atonement for sin accomplished, the head of him who had the power of death bruised, and the victory won.”

“We need not wonder that so much importance is attached to our Lord’s resurrection. It is the seal and memorial stone of the great work of redemption, which He came to do. It is the crowning proof that He has paid the debt He undertook to pay on our behalf, won the battle He fought to deliver us from hell, and is accepted as our guarantee and our substitute by our Father in heaven.

Had He never come forth from the prison of the grave, how could we ever have been sure that our ransom had been fully paid (1 Corinthians 15:17)? Had He never risen from His conflict with the last enemy, how could we have felt confident that He has overcome the power of death from the devil (Hebrews 2:14)? But thanks be unto God, we are not left in doubt. The Lord Jesus really rose again for our justification.”

John Calvin:

“The Bible says he was raised not just after the blood-shedding, but by it. This means that what the death of Christ accomplished was so full and so prefect that the resurrection was the reward and vindication of Christ’s achievement in death.”

Charles H. Spurgeon:

“There is a resurrection after death. Let this never be forgotten. The life that we live here in the flesh is not all. The visible world around us is not the only world with which we have to do. All is not over when the last breath is drawn, and men and women are carried to their long home in the grave. The trumpet shall one day sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. All that are in the graves shall hear Christ’s voice and come forth–those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. This is one of the great foundation truths of the Christian religion. Let us cling to it firmly, and never let it go.”

Martin Luther:

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”

Jesus, “the Conqueror of Death”, Buried – J. Calvin

The burial of Christ is now added, as an intermediate transition from the ignominy of the cross to the glory of the resurrection. True, indeed, God determined, for another reason that Christ should be buried, that it might be more fully attested that he suffered real death on our account.

But yet it ought to be regarded as the principal design, that in this manner the cursing which he had endured for a short time began to be removed; for his body was not thrown into a ditch in the ordinary way, but honorably laid in a hewn sepulchre.

Although at that time the weakness of the flesh was still visible and the divine power of the Spirit was not clearly seen before his resurrection; yet God determined by this, as a sort of preparation, to shadow out what he was shortly afterwards to do, that he might exalt gloriously above the heavens his Son, the conqueror of death.

JCalvin1Taken from John Calvin’s Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), XVII: 330-331.

Word Wednesday: Rise(n); Raise(d) – Rev.W.Langerak

SB-April15-2015For our word feature on this Wednesday, we turn to the latest Standard Bearer – April 15, 2015 – and post the most recent contribution of Rev.W. (Bill) Langerak to the “A Word Fitly Spoken” rubric. This one ties in nicely with our recent commemoration of Easter and our Lord’s resurrection.

Rise(n); Raise(d)

Rev. Bill Langerak

The gospel is that Jesus is risen from the dead. The good news is not merely that Christ died. Indeed, Jesus must die for our sins according to the Scriptures (1Cor. 15:3). But He must also rise (John 2:22). For if Christ is not risen, our faith is vain (1Cor. 15:14). A dead Jesus does us no good. A dead Jesus is no different from any other human. And Christians who believe only a dead Jesus are themselves still dead in sin (1Cor. 15:17). The complete, comforting, pure and powerful good news of salvation is that Jesus is risen from the dead, and if we confess this with our mouth and believe it in our heart, we also shall be saved (Rom. 10:9).

The good news of this gospel is derived from three truths concerning the resurrection. First, we are repeatedly taught (17 times in Acts alone) that God raised Jesus (Acts 2:32). This proves the impossibility of any salvation by the will or worth of man. So completely is salvation from beginning to end the work of God, even Jesus did not raise Himself up. God must raise Jesus by His Spirit (Rom. 8:11). Likewise, the same God who raised up the Lord, must also raise us up by His own power and grace (1Cor. 6:14). Eternal life is the gift of God (Rom. 6:23).

Secondly, Jesus is risen from the dead. This is why God must raise Him. Dead is dead. God raised Him because, having paid the wages of sin, it was impossible for death to hold Him any longer (Acts 2:24). And being raised, death has no more dominion over Him (Rom. 6:9) and this enemy will be destroyed (1Cor. 15:26). The Lord is risen to scatter His enemies (Num. 10:35), rule His adversaries (Num. 24:17), and stand over His fallen foes (Psa. 20:8). Risen, He has abolished death and brings life and immortality to light through the gospel (2Tim. 1:10).

Thirdly, He is risen. On the third day, God did not raise merely His body. But God raised His Son (1Thes. 1:10). He raised up Jesus and showed Him openly (Acts 2:24). Likewise we shall be raised. It is true this includes the quickening of our bodies (Rom. 8:11)—the same natural body sown in corruption, dishonor and weakness, is raised a spiritual body, incorruptible, glorious and powerful (1Cor. 15:42-44). But the really good news is God raises persons—and that if His Spirit dwell in us, then He who raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise us up (2Cor. 4:14).

Because God raises persons from the dead, the good news is that we need not wait until He raise our bodies to enjoy the benefits of His resurrection. Indeed it is true, that Christ is risen as the first fruits of them that sleep, so that when He returns we will awakened from slumber by trumpet sound, and in a blink of an eye raised incorruptible (1Cor. 15:20, 52). But the really good news is we are already risen. As we are buried with Him in baptism, we are now risen with Him through faith by the operation of God (Col. 2:12). And whosever lives and believes in Jesus shall never die (John 11:26). God is not the God of the dead, but God of the living (Mark 12:27).

God has given us assurance in that He raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 17:31). Jesus is risen that we might have a living faith and hope in God (1Pet. 1:21). Faith believes that, as He was delivered to death for our offences, so He was raised for our justification (Rom. 4:25). Hope is certain that God, having raised up His Son, has delivered us from the wrath to come, and sent Him to bless us in turning us away from our iniquities (1Thes. 1:10; Acts 3:26).

Such faith worked by the Spirit of the risen Christ is powerful to make us alive unto good works. Now. It is as impossible that a living faith leave us unfruitful and remiss in a holy life, as it would be for those who believe this gospel to ignore Jesus at the trumpet’s call and remain unchanged in the grave (B.C., Art. 24). Christ was raised by the glory of the Father that we should walk in newness of life, and bring forth fruits unto God (Rom. 6:4; 7:4). As those alive from the dead, we yield our members instruments of righteousness unto God (Rom 6:13). Risen with Christ, we are made to sit together in heavenly places, to seek those things which are above where He sits on the right hand of God (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1). Good news indeed!

For more word studies like this, visit this page on the PRC website. They make for fine devotional material.

Resurrection from the Dead – Rev. G. Vos

unspeakablegift-gvosEvery Sunday the church of Christ gathers for worship because of, in commemoration of, and by the power of her Lord’s resurrection from the dead. And because we are in that time-frame between celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection and His ascension into heaven, it is good on these Sunday’s to pay close attention to our Lord’s resurrection.

For that purpose, once again today we turn to a meditation of Rev. Gerrit Vos taken from the pages of the Standard Bearer (originally – May 1, 1957 issue – Vol.33, #15) and also found in the collection of his meditations published as The Unspeakable Gift – The Gift of God’s Son: Selected Meditations (Hudsonville PRC’s Men’s Society).

The following quotation is taken from the meditation titled “Resurrection From the Dead”, based on 1 Corinthians 15:4-5a.

Oh yes, Jesus arose from the dead, and . . . according to the Scriptures!

It was all revealed in prophecy: “I know my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” Job 19:25. And: “When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for iin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” Isa. 53:10. And: “For Thou shalt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.” Psalm 16:10. And there is much more. Both the Word of God and nature itself testifies of the resurrection. Look upon the billions and billions of seed that die in order to bring forth life and seed and harvests. Look upon the lowly caterpillar and the beauteous butterfly which emerges from the corpse.

But the third day?

Does the Holy Bible speak of that in prophecy?

Yes, there is one text, but it is enough. God has foreseen and fore-determined all things.

There is the sign of Jonah: he had to be in the whale three days and three nights in order to supply this necessary fragment of prophecy to which Paul would allude. O, God is God! And He is good and wise! Let us adore Him!


And He arose with a glorious life.

I showed you already the fruit of the death of the grain, and the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the butterfly. All these things are signs of that which is central in the Gospel: the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

He arose with a glorious life.

It was not the life of Adam add Eve in the state of righteousness. You cannot even compare the two. Adam’s life was earthly, temporal, fleshly. But the life which Jesus received at His resurrection was eternal, heavenly, glorious and spiritual.

It was an entirely new life. It was never seen before. It was the life which we all shall enjoy in the new Kingdom. Paul speaks of it in Colossians when he said: Our life is hid with Christ in God!

Yes, according to body, soul and spirit, Jesus received this heavenly, glorious, eternal, spiritual and new life at His resurrection. That is the reason there was so much confusion and doubt at every appearance the Lord made to His disciples. They could walk with Him for hours and converse with Him, but they did not recognize Him at all. A wonder had to take place in their eyes in order to see the risen Lord.

And He received that wondrous life as the Head of the Church and the New World.

Hence, His resurrection is at the same time the justification of all that belong to Him. Indeed, His rising again is the proof of our justification. On Good Friday He hung on the cross, and He had us all in His bosom. Therefore it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. God saw all our sin and guilt on Him. God imputed all that guilt and sin on Him, and He had to die in order to pay the price.

So, when He reappears in the garden of Joseph it proves that all that guilt and sin is gone. Otherwise God would never have raised Him from the dead.

Moreover, His resurrection is also the power of that new life for us and even in us. A little of that glorious life of the raised Lord is now in us. It is called eternal life. It is only a little principle, but it is sweet to the taste. For the sake of it the people of God have not loved their lives unto death, but they have died for the sake of it.

And, it is also a pledge of our own glorious resurrection. If Jesus is raised, and He is—then we must be raised also. Where the Head is the body must also be. If the Head is in the throne of God, we shall join Him there. Such is His promise, and His name is the Truth and Faithful. He always does what He promises.

Not found online at the “SB” site where this meditation is posted, but found in the print version referred to above is this “little sequel” by Rev.Vos – significant in its simplicity and power:

And now there is a little sequel to my text which is so important to all of us.

‘And that He was seen of Cephas!’

Do you note that I placed an exclamation point behind it?

I did that purposely, and I know you will forgive me.

I can say, I can write it jubilantly: Even Cephas saw Him!

Cephas who denied Him with cursing and swearing.

Then I draw a very happy conclusion, dearly beloved, and I know you will do the same.

Here is my conclusion: then it is also possible that I be saved!

Hallelujah! Amen.

Easter-Day Poem – A.Toplady

The following poem is found in the work Contemplations on the Sufferings, Death and Resurrection of Christ by Augustus M. Toplady (“published from the author’s manuscripts” in 1822 and republished by Gospel Standard Baptist Trust, 1976).

This unique work includes various “contemplations” by Toplady (see biographical note below) on the subjects given above, interspersed with poems, some of them his own (some of his well-known hymns and poems) and some by others (I.Watts, J.Hart, C.Wesley according to the Preface).

The poem posted here is often attributed to Charles Wesley (a bit ironic considering Toplady’s opposition to John Wesley), but I find the language sufficiently different that I wonder if this one too is not actually Toplady’s (although, comparing it with other of his poems, it does not seem to be in harmony with his usual language). Perhaps someone with more knowledge of poetry than I can help me with this. In any case, the poem is certainly fitting for this Easter Sunday.

  1. Love’s redeeming work is done,
    Fought the fight, the battle won:
    Lo, our Sun’s eclipse is o’er,
    Lo, He sets in blood no more!
  2. Lives again our glorious King;
    Where, O death, is now thy sting?
    Dying, He our souls did save;
    Where’s thy victory, O grave?
  3. Risen with Him, we upwards move,
    Seek by faith the things above;
    Still pursue and kiss the Son,
    Seated on His Father’s throne.
  4. May we die to things below,
    Scarce a thought on earth bestow!
    Joined to Him we soon shall shine,
    All immortal, all divine.
  5. Hail, The Lord of earth and heaven!
    Praise to Thee by both be given;
    Thee we greet triumphant now;
    Hail, the resurrection Thou!
  6. King of glory, soul of bliss,
    Everlasting life is this;
    Thee to know, Thy power to prove,
    Thus to sing, and thus to love!
  7. Come, Desire of nations, come!
    Fix in us Thy humble home:
    Come, Almighty to redeem,
    Rise with healing in Thy beam!
  8. Now display Thy saving power,
    Ruined nature now restore:
    Us into a temple raise,
    Built for Thy eternal praise.
  9. Adam’s likeness, Lord, deface,
    Stamp Thy image in its place;
    Second Adam, from above,
    Seal us with Thy Spirit’s love.
  10. Thee, the unholy cannot see!
    Make, O make us meet for Thee!
    Now to us Thyself impart,
    Formed in each believing heart!

Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778), was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Dublin, he was converted through a Methodist lay preacher, took Anglican orders in 1762, and later became vicar of Broadhembury, Devon. In 1775 he assumed the pastorate of the French Calvinist chapel in London. He was a powerful preacher and a vigourous Calvinist, bitterly opposed to John Wesley. He wrote the Historic Proof of the Doctrinal Calvinism of the Church of England (2 vols., 1774) and The Church of England Vindicated from the Charge of Arminianism (1769). His fame rests, however, on his hymns, e.g., “A debtor to mercy alone”; “A sovereign Protector I have”; “From whence this fear and unbelief?”; and especially “Rock of Ages”….

Published in: on April 5, 2015 at 7:10 PM  Leave a Comment  

An Easter Gospel Question: Why Weepest Thou?

John 20-16For our thankful, joyous – and humble – Easter reflection on this Resurrection Sunday, well may we consider this exposition of John 20:11-17 by Rev. George Lubbers (1909-2001). He takes his theme from the risen Savior’s own words to weeping Mary on that first Easter morning, “Woman, why weepest thou?” It may be found here on the PRC website, where you will also find a link to its original source.

Though this Easter gospel question was directed to Mary Magdalene, it is relevant for all of us as we often sit weeping in our weakness of faith (or plain unbelief). Looking at our resurrected Lord this day, no matter what our circumstances may be, indeed why are we weeping?! Unless, of course, they are tears of joy and hope.

Here is the opening part of Rev.Lubbers meditation; find the rest at the link above.

Weeping Mary!

Standing at the open mouth of the grave of her Lord, Who had taken captivity captive! She weeps here at the open grave from whence, at this very moment, no doubt, the other Galilean women were hastening to the disciples and brethren, with fear and great joy, to tell the glad gospel story of the resurrection of Jesus, the crucified one!

How utterly incongruous! How this marvelous fact of the glorious resurrection, which shall turn all our sorrows into eternal and abiding joys, is hid from the weeping eyes of Mary!

The mighty angel of the Lord had suddenly descended from heaven not long prior to this time; he had rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb, and had sat upon it; he had proclaimed the Word of peace to the woman, telling them: Fear not ye, for I know that ye seek Jesus, the crucified one. He is not here but is risen, come see the place where the Lord has lain.

And Jesus Himself had appeared to the hastening women on the way, telling them to go and tell the glad tidings to His brethren….

But Mary was standing without at the tomb weeping at such a time as this.

It is the time when all the prisoners are set free, death rejoice in victorious hope, and when all the when they who dwell in the valley of the shadow of angels of God worship Jesus, the first begotten from the dead, saying: Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing. Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels lift up their glad voices and chant and sing in joyful lays at this very moment. Is it the moment, that believing Abraham, and all the patriarchs with and after him, saw afar, and….rejoiced!

It is the time to which we, as the New Testament saints from Gentile lands, look back and see and confess that we have born anew unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Because of this glad day of all days we gather on each first day of the week and sing a new song, saying unto our Lord and King: Worthy art Thou Lord Jesus, Thou faithful Witness, Thou firstborn of the dead, and Thou ruler of the kings of the earth to receive the Kingdom of David, our father, forever!

But Mary was standing at the tomb weeping.

At such a time as this….

Woman, why weepest thou?

Easter Meditation/Prayer: “Victory”

1Cor15-57Today I also post another Puritan devotion from the wonderful book The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett (Banner of Truth, 1975). This one is titled “Victory”, and because it covers the whole spectrum of what God did in saving us through Jesus Christ to secure victory for us, it is most appropriate for this Resurrection Sunday.

O divine Redeemer,

Great was thy goodness

in undertaking my redemption,

in consenting to be made sin for me,

in conquering all my foes;

Great was thy strength

in enduring the extremities of divine wrath,

in taking away the load of my iniquities;

Great was thy love

in manifesting thyself alive,

in showing thy sacred wounds,

that every fear might vanish,

and every doubt be removed;

Great was thy mercy

in ascending to heaven

in being crowned and enthroned

there to intercede for me,

there to succour me in temptation,

there to open the eternal book,

there to receive me finally to thyself;

Great was thy wisdom

in devising this means of salvation;

Bathe my soul in rich consolations

of thy resurrection life;

Great was thy grace

in commanding me to come hand in hand

with thee to the Father,

to be knit to him eternally,

to discover in him my rest,

to find in him my peace,

to behold his glory,

to honour him who is alone worthy;

in giving me the Spirit as teacher, guide,

power,

that I may live repenting of sin,

conquer Satan,

find victory in life.

When thou art absent all sorrows are here,

When thou art present all blessings are mine.

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (12)

HeisRisen-1On this Easter Sunday as we celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we make a final post from the book Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (Nancy Guthrie, ed.; Crossway, 2009). Chapter 22 contains an excerpt from St.Augustine’s Homilies on the Gospels, specifically on Luke 24:36-45. Though his style is different, this great 4th-century church father has some powerful thoughts and applications for us, the 21st-century church.

May they serve to point us to our risen Lord and to the faith we must have in Him alone – for comfort and hope in living and in dying.

The Lord appeared to his disciples after his resurrection and saluted them, saying, ‘Peace be unto you.’ This is peace indeed, and the salutation of salvation: for the very word ‘salutation’ has received its name from salvation. And what can be better than that salvation itself should salute man? For Christ is our salvation. He is our salvation, who was wounded for us, and fixed by nails to the tree, and being taken down from the tree, was laid in the sepulcher. And from the sepulcher he arose, with his wounds healed, his scars kept. For this he judged expedient for his disciples, that his scars should be kept, whereby the wounds of their hearts might be healed.

What wounds? The wounds of unbelief. For he appeared to their eyes, exhibiting real flesh, and they thought they saw a spirit. It is no light wound, this wound of the heart. Yea, they have made a malignant heresy who have abided in this wound. But do we suppose that the disciples had not been wounded, because they were so quickly healed? Only, beloved, suppose, if they had continued in this wound, to think that the body which had been buried, could not rise again, but that a spirit in the image of a body, deceived the eyes of men. If they had continued in this belief, yea, rather in this unbelief, not their wounds, but their death would have had to be bewailed.

…Hear him speaking; lo, he speaks to thee, thou unhappy one, he speaks to thee: ‘Why art thou troubled, and why do thoughts ascend into thine heart?’ ‘See,’, saith he, ‘My hands and My feet. Handle me and see, because a spirit hath not flesh and bones as he see Me have.’ This spake the truth, and did he deceive? It was a body then, it was flesh; that which has been buried, appeared. Let doubting perish, and meet praise ensue.

Come then, O Lord, employ thy keys, open, that we may understand… (pp.127-130)