Two things stand out very clearly about Jesus' resurrection. It was not expected by these followers, but received at first with incredulity and doubt and stubborn unwillingness to accept it without clear undisputable proof. And then that they were thoroughly satisfied that He was actually back again with them, with His personal identity thoroughly established; so satisfied that their lives were wholly controlled by the consciousness of a risen Jesus. Sacrifice, suffering, torture, and violent death were yielded to gladly for His sake.
A new morning broke that morning, the morning of a new day, a new sort of day. That resurrection day became a new day to them and to all Jesus' followers. The old Sabbath day was a rest-day. God Sabbathed from His work of creation. This new day is more, it is a victory-day. Every new coming of it spells out Jesus' victory over sin and death and our victory in Him. The old Hebrew rest-day came at the week's close. The new victory-day comes at the week's beginning. With the fine tingle of victory in our spirits we are ever at the beginning of a new life and new victory and great things to come.
Did Jesus rise? Or, was He raised? Both are said of Him. Both are true. He was raised by the power of the Father. Every bit of His human life was under the direction and control of His Father. Every act of His from first to last was in the strength of the Father. This last act was so. The Father's vindication of His Son was seen in the power that raised Him up from out of the domain of death. He was raised.
Jesus rose from the dead. The action was in accord with the law of His life. He rose at will by the moral gravity of His character. He had gone down, now He lets Himself rebound up. The language used of His death is very striking. No one of the four descriptions of the death upon the cross says that He died. The words commonly used to describe the death of others are not used of Jesus. Very different language is used. Matthew says, |He dismissed His spirit.| Mark and Luke each say, |He breathed out| His life. John says, |He delivered up His spirit.|
His dying was voluntary. Not only the time of it and the manner of it, but the fact of it was of His own choosing. The record never suggests that death overcame Him. He yielded to it of His own strong accord. He was not overcome by death. He could not be, for sin having no hold within His being, death could have none. Physical death is one of the logical results of the sin within. Jesus yielded up His spirit. It was a free, voluntary act. He had explained months before that so it would be. |I lay down My life that I may take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again. This commandment I received from My Father.| This being so, the return to life followed the same voluntary course. Having accomplished the purpose in dying, He now recalled His spirit into the body and rises by His own choice.
Man's true gravity is toward a center upward. Sin's gravity is toward a center downward. When an ordinary man, a sinful man, dies, he is overcome by the logical result of the sin in himself. He is overcome by the moral gravity downward of His sin. He has no choice. His own moral gravity apart from sin is upward. But that is overbalanced by the downward pull of the sin ingrained in his very being. And this quite apart from his attitude toward the sin.
In Jesus there was no sin. Being free of it, He rose at will. |It was not possible that He should be held by death,| for it had no hold upon Him. His gravity was upward. For a purpose, a great strong purpose, He yielded to death's embrace. Now that purpose being achieved, He quietly lets Himself up toward the natural center of gravity of His life.