devos from the hill


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The Significance of the Resurrection – Part 1

What if Jesus did not rise from the dead?
Lesson 57 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

– 1 Corinthians 15:14–19

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

In the Bible passage above, the Apostle Paul makes a very strong statement about the significance of the resurrection. Carefully dissecting this passage, Paul says that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead, then at least six things are true:

  1. our proclamation of Jesus and the message of Jesus is in vain (v.14)
  2. our faith in Jesus and the message of Jesus is unfounded, and thus worthless (v.14,16)
  3. those who proclaim Jesus are liars and witnesses against God – basically blasphemers (v.15)
  4. we are still hopelessly in bondage to the power of sin (v.16)
  5. we are all doomed to die, and death will forever separate us from our loved ones (v.18)
  6. we are pitiful people if we hang our hopes on, and live our lives according to, a lie (v.19)

 

Bible scholars since the time of Paul have emphasized that what Jesus accomplished on the cross has meaning only if it was followed by His resurrection! In this lesson, and the next, we’ll consider the significance of the resurrection by looking at Paul’s argument in greater detail.

All of Paul’s preaching was based on who Jesus claimed to be, as it was revealed to him and the other apostles (Jesus’ inner circle of disciples).

Numerous times Jesus claimed that three days after His crucifixion, He would rise from the dead.1 If Jesus spoke falsely about this, then everything He said was suspect, and worse, He could not be God because God cannot lie. Continue reading


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The Lamb of God Celebrates Passover

He wrote the story and then submitted Himself to it.
Lesson 52 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

And when the hour had come He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

– Luke 22:14–20

And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

– Matthew 26:26–28

And so it came to pass, that Jesus, whom John called the Lamb of God, went up to Jerusalem, to observe Passover…Jesus gathered His disciples to celebrate Passover. Taking the Passover bread, Jesus broke it and said, “This is my body, which is given for you.” Then He took the wine, which represented the blood of the Passover lamb, which had been placed over the entrances of the Hebrew dwellings. And He said, “This is my blood which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

– The HOPE, Chapter 10

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

Recall from Lesson 34 that God instructed the Hebrew people to institute an annual celebration called Passover so that they would remember how He delivered them from slavery in Egypt. When the ruler of Egypt refused to let the people go, God sent death to every first–born child in the land, but He “passed over” those in a dwelling with the blood of a lamb over the entrance. They were “covered by the blood.” Many Hebrew people traveled great distances to observe Passover in Jerusalem, the main city of their land. Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus took His disciples to Jerusalem to observe Passover.

According to the Biblical account (Exodus 12:5-8, Numbers 9:11-12), the Passover meal included three essential food items: roasted lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Each of these elements was meant to remind future generations about what God had done to deliver their forefathers from  bondage in Egypt.1

The lamb would remind them of the unblemished lamb that had to be slain, and its blood placed on their doorposts so that death would “pass over” those inside. The bitter herbs would remind them of slavery under the Egyptians. The unleavened bread had a double meaning. First, because this bread did not require time to rise, it reminded the Hebrew people of their hasty departure from Egypt (Deuteronomy 16:3). Second, with leaven being a Biblical symbol for sin and corruption, this bread would remind them of a life that was not ruled by sin. Against this backdrop of rich history and imagery, Jesus gathered His disciples for a Passover meal and then proceeded to give a radically new spiritual meaning to this sacred tradition. Continue reading