This week, “Scripture Alone” has been a theme for me as we’ve been walking through Jesus’ Holy Week teachings. It is our goal not to add to, take away from, or twist the words of Christ. We simply want to teach them as they are, correctly explaining and applying the text of Scripture. This is how we guard against teaching what is wrong or contrary to God’s word.
Watch this Easter series leading up to and including the current post in the videos above.
On Friday, we came together to remember the death of Jesus for “many,” according to both Isaiah and Matthew. At His crucifixion, Jesus took the sin of the whole world upon Himself and justified all of His people in every place through all time. Today, we celebrate the resurrection and glorification of Christ. He has claimed the throne within creation that Has been prepared for Him. He alone has been given all authority.
Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
Sabbath day (v. 1)
Jesus was crucified on Friday morning. In verse 1, we see that after the Sabbath (Saturday), Jesus’ body had been raised. In Genesis 1, we read about God creating the world. The Scriptures describe six days of creation. In Genesis 2:1-3, we read:
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
The Sabbath day holds significant meaning. It is the seventh day of the week and the day of completion. By the seventh day, God completed His work of creation. It was not God plan for this original state of creation to be its final state. In Jeremiah 33:2, God identifies Himself as the God who formed the earth in order to establish it. In the Gospels, we see that the work of Christ was comparatively finished by the seventh day. All of creation was being established in Him. Christ, Himself would be the righteousness of God’s creation and the creation was established in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The establishment of creation in God’s righteousness alone was to be the outcome. It was never God’s intention to make humanity the glorified creature in His creation, but through humanity, His own image, to place Himself as the glorified one. This is accomplished in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If we read the Scriptures honestly, this truth means that this was God’s explicit and specific plan from before the foundation of the world.
Probably the most popular misinformation that is actually taught during Holy Week, either on Good Friday or Resurrection Sunday, is this idea that God could not look upon sin. People use this to try and explain why the sky turned dark or why Jesus would quote Psalm 22:1 from the cross. The truth of the matter is that in the crucifixion, God Himself is becoming the righteousness of His own creation. Sin is being placed on God, and if we believe that God cannot even look at sin, then we cannot believe the truth of the Gospel. He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). This misinformation is most likely an improper application of Habakkuk 1:13:
Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?
Notice the context and wording of the verse. Proper exegesis leads us to conclude that the prophet is making a claim regarding the just nature of God, not God’s ability to see. Then, the prophet asks why a just God would permit apparently wicked people to prosper over apparently righteous people. God’s answer at the cross before this Holy Sabbath day was that He, Himself was taking the iniquities of people upon Himself and that He alone would be the righteousness of His people. The message of the Scriptures is quite opposite from some things that we might normally hear. Instead of having to look away from sin, God displays His own power and mercy and grace by becoming sin on behalf of His people so that we might be the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ was establishing His own creation.
Jesus’ teaching fulfilled (v. 2-4)
In verses 2-4, Matthew describes a sign that Jesus has predicted during His Holy Week teachings about the coming of the Son of Man in His glory. If you didn’t get to watch these videos, I will give a summary, here:
- 24:3- The disciples ask what will be the sign of Christ’s coming at the end of the age.
- 24:4-8- Jesus describes some natural disasters and human conflicts, stating that these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. He also reminded His disciples not to let anyone mislead them. There would be many false prophets.
- 24:9-14- Jesus teaches His disciples that they will be delivered over, killed, and hated and that lawlessness will increase. He referred to this as tribulation. He stated that the Gospel would be preached to every nation during this tribulation.
- 24:15-25- Jesus continues to describe this “great tribulation” (v. 21), and applies these signs by telling His disciples to be sure that no one misleads them in these days. False prophets will try anything to mislead, if possible, even the elect (v. 24). This is why we are so dedicated to Scripture Alone.
- 24:26-35- Jesus describes what will happen after the tribulation. The sky would go dark and the powers of the heavens would be shaken. At this time, the Son of Man would come on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, sending forth His messengers to gather together His elect from the whole earth. The generation of the disciples would not pass away until all these things (as described in Matthew 24:1-26:1) took place or began (v. 34).
- 24:36-51- Jesus instructs that since the exact day and hour of His own coming is unknown, the people of God should be on alert and should be about the master’s business in all matters.
- 25:1-30- Jesus would tell two parables, one about His crucifixion and one about the continuous state of affairs in this world, in order to illustrate His teaching in chapter 24.
- 25:31-46- Jesus described the work that He would be doing when He comes in His glory. He would be observing the nations and separating His people out from those who are not His people. God’s people would remain with Him and the accursed would depart from Him into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.
- 26:1-5- Jesus finishes these words and tells His disciples that He would be handed over for crucifixion.
- 26:6-27:44- The disciples begin to experience great human conflict, Jesus is handed over for crucifixion, and placed on a cross.
- 27:45-66- At the moment of His crucifixion, the sky went dark and the powers of the heavens were shaken, just as He had predicted. He was coming in His glory.
- 28:1-20- Jesus is raised from the dead, claiming all authority (28:18), and sending His messengers out to gather the elect from the earth (28:19-20).
The reality of Easter is that Jesus Christ has all authority and is now doing this work of separating out His people and calling the elect to Himself according to Jesus’ own Holy Week teaching.
The reality of the resurrection (v. 5-7)
Here, we see the news of Christ’s resurrection being told to the women by an angel. Jesus accomplished His own word and has been given all authority according to His own word (Matthew 28:18). The women are instructed by the angel to “go and tell,” about Christ’s resurrection. Later, Jesus would instruct all His disciples to “go and tell,” sending His messengers to preach His message alone so that the elect would be gathered (Matthew 24:31, 28:19-20). This is the importance of Easter and the calling that has been placed on the lives of every single true Christian. Christ has given us life in Him, we are to go and tell. We are to share the message of Christ explicitly. That is why we preach the Scriptures alone. That is why we make it so easy for anyone to share the preaching of God’s word alone.
I want to take a moment and invite those who are not normally with us to become a regular part of what Christ is doing in the context of His resurrection, gathering the elect. First, I have to ask if you are ready to make an accounting to Christ based on what He has given you according to your ability, which was provided by Him (Matthew 25:15)? Will you stand before Christ as a faithful slave, or have you only sought to please yourself or gain for yourself by means of human religion, relationships, or status? Do you need to willingly surrender your life to Christ today? If you do know Christ, are you proclaiming His word alone to all people as He gathers His elect through His message that we proclaim as His messengers?
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I am still mulling over your comments concerning Psalm 22 and Christ’s cry of agony on the cross. I must tell you that I have always thought that the Father in some way left the Son or how else could Christ have suffered the pain and anguish of hell which is the penalty for sin? Does my sin earn me hell and does Christ’s sacrifice to the Father require His being in hell to pay the full charge against me? I will study and pray over this, I need to know the truth.
God bless you,
I love you in the Lord,