Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Meditation for the week of April 16, 2006

Luke 8:52-54 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn (or ridiculed Him), knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.

The resurrection of the Lord is a cornerstone truth of the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 15:3 we find that there are three prominent truths in Paul’s Gospel preaching. One was that Christ died for our sins. The second truth is that He was buried. The burial proved that the disciples, that Pilate, that the soldiers who were set as a guard around the tomb, that the women who came to anoint Him on Sunday morning and that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were all convinced that the Lord had died. The third truth is that Christ was raised again on the third day according to the Scriptures. Paul says in this chapter that if we don’t believe in the resurrection, then we have nothing to believe in, and we who are believers are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19). Martyrs then wasted their lives since there would be nothing to look forward to after death. But this chapter proves that Christ did rise and that there are a multitude of witnesses to prove it.

Why is it then, that the Lord’s ability to raise the dead is so hard to accept? In John 11, He waited until Lazarus was dead, buried and stinking before He came to His friend’s grave. Martha, Mary and the Jews all believed that He could have kept Lazarus from dying, but it never crossed their minds that He could raise Lazarus from the dead. Thank goodness, that didn’t stop the Lord from doing it!

Sadducees were a Jewish religious sect that didn’t believe in the resurrection. That is why they were sad you see. So in Matthew 22, the Sadducees ask about a situation where a woman had a husband who died leaving her no children. According to the old testament, a brother was to marry this woman and provide the first brother with children who could pass on his name and who could manage his inheritance. This woman went through seven brothers without having children by any of them. So the Sadducees wanted to know whose wife this black widow would be in the resurrection. Seems like she must have fed them all poison mushrooms or something but the Lord never dealt with that issue. He just showed the Sadducees that marriage is for now and not for then. Just because they didn’t believe in the resurrection didn’t mean that there was no resurrection.

In this passage, again, the Lord is laughed at when He suggests that the girl is sleeping. Now I don’t know if this proves that children under the age of 12 (verse 42), are safe and will be in heaven because they have not rejected the Lord (John 3:18), or if this girl was actually a disciple of Christ. But this terminology is used of those who are Christians and have died. The body is sleeping until it is awakened and raised at the resurrection. Most of us enjoy sleep so this is a comforting way to look at death. This girl was both dead physically and sleeping as far as the Lord was concerned.

I can assure you that I have never seen a resurrection. But I believe that those who die believing in Christ will be part of the resurrection of life (Revelation 20:4-5). However, those who have rejected Christ will also be raised one thousand years later at the resurrection of damnation (see John 5:29).

We may find it hard to believe that the Lord is going to raise the dead. But it is going to happen whether we believe it or not. Those who do not believe it will no longer laugh at Him, but He will laugh at them. Proverbs 1:26 refers to wisdom which pictures Christ. Wisdom says, “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh” The wise person recognizes that since God has the power of life and death, it would be wise to turn from sin and skepticism and trust what God says. Believing in this truth gives us a reason for living and prepares us for dying.

Bruce Collins

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