Jesus Conquered This Feller
Heidelberg Catechism #41
Q. Why was he “buried”?
A. His burial testifies that he really died.
Theological: Did Jesus really have to die? Isn’t it enough that he just lived a perfect life? And if that’s not enough, what about all his sufferings? Death, after all, is so final, and it requires a resurrection, which is basically impossible.
The actual and literal death of the Mediator is necessary. God threatened Adam with death if he disobeyed (Gen 2:16). It is written, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ez 18:20), and, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Further, it is prophesied of Messiah that he would die: “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death” (Is 53:9). So, here’s the deal: If Jesus Christ is truly the last Adam (Rom 6, 1 Cor 15), then he must succeed where Adam failed, and he must be a substitute for the punishment of Adam’s failure. Since Adam, by his sin, earned death, the Last Adam must die. If sinful humans are to be saved, blood must be shed (that is, death must be tasted) on their behalf, for “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin” (Heb 9:22). Messiah really died, was buried, and was resurrected: “And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13:29-30). There is no Gospel without the death and resurrection of Messiah.
Thus, all the unbelieving Bible scholarship that wants to worm its way around the death and resurrection of Jesus should be recognized for what it is: unbelieving lies. The swoon theory, for example, that Jesus just gave the appearance of death on the cross but was really still alive, is foolishness. But it’s foolishness that 18- and 19-century historians and theologians grabbed onto. Better that than break with Enlightenment thought and look the fool, right? There are some other theories about how Jesus didn’t really die, but these are to be rejected out of hand. The Bible testifies all over the place that Jesus died. Case closed.
Practical: One MASSIVE practical aspect of the death of Jesus is that it has transformed death for the believer. For those in Christ, death is not a judgement and an entrance into condemnation, rather it is a transition and portal into blessed life. For the Christian to die is for the Christian to be with the Lord. Hallelujah! O death, where thy sting? O grave, where thy victory?
Also, this (along with so many other things in the Bible) shows us that God is our only hope. Christ DIED. Dead. It don’t get more final than that, friends. But God raised him up in newness of life. Thus, God can raise the dead. That’s unthinkable. It’s scandalous. It’s impossible! Nope, God can do it. Let us not doubt his promises but wholly trust him “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”
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