SIGNIFICANT “MARKERS” IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST
His Victorious Resurrection – On the third day after His death and burial (as the Jews reckoned time), our Lord was raised from the dead by the power of God. All four of the Gospel writers tell of this momentous event (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20). By His resurrection Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4). The reality of the resurrection was one of the key aspects of the preaching of the apostles in the book of Acts (2:24, 32; 3:15, 26; 4:1-2, 10, 33; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33-34, 37; 17:18, 31; et al). The resurrection is an essential element of the gospel, and without it there would be no gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4). Christians love and serve a living Lord and Savior, not a dead martyr! His resurrection is the divine assurance of our resurrection (I Corinthians 15:20-22), reminding us always that our labor for Him is not in vain (verse 58).
His Glorious Ascension – Often little attention is given to the ascension of Christ, but it was an important feature of His life. Jesus promised that He would return to the Father (John 14:1-3). In order for several other things to occur, Jesus had to ascend back to heaven (John 16:7). Daniel gave prophetic utterance of the ascension and why it was to occur (Daniel 7:13-14). Careful attention needs to be given to this passage, and it needs to be observed that Christ was “coming with the clouds of heaven” and that He “came to (not from) the Ancient of Days” (a highly descriptive term of God the Father). The New Testament records the fulfillment of this prophecy and stresses the ascension of Christ back to God the Father in heaven (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11).
His Magnificent Coronation – From the passage in Daniel cited above (7:13-14) we see a prophetic picture of the coronation of Christ as the king over His eternal kingdom. Earlier, Daniel had identified the time when this kingdom would be set up or established and had emphasized its indestructible nature (Daniel 2:44). Following His ascension back to heaven Christ was crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. On the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ the apostle Peter proclaimed, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). On this day the kingdom was set up, or, which is the same thing, the church was established (Matthew 16:18-19; Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-4, 47).
His Beneficent Reign – All who have been saved from their sins in obedience to the gospel have been “delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13). Christ “has made us kings and priests to His God and Father,” and all Christians are “in the kingdom” now! (Revelation 1:6, 9). Jesus declared: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The Bible knows nothing of a future earthly kingdom yet to come! We are now citizens of “a kingdom which cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28). Christ is our king, which is to say that “He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). His throne is a “throne of grace” at which we may “obtain mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). He will reign “till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:25-26). “And when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:28).
His Abiding Intercession – In addition to being the King of His kingdom, Christ is our High Priest. “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle (the church, hf) which the Lord set up, and not man” (Hebrews 8:1-2). Over 500 years before the birth of Christ, Zechariah had prophesied that Christ would be both king and priest, declaring, “So He shall be a priest on His throne” (Zechariah 6:12-13). The writer of Hebrews says, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens (ascended back to the Father, hf), Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” (Hebrews 4:14). As our High Priest, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). He is our “Advocate with the Father” who pleads our case and represents our cause before the throne of God (I John 2:1).
His Promised Second Coming – As surely as Jesus came the first time, as surely as He ascended back to the Father, just that surely He will come again. He said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2b-3). At His ascension, two men in white apparel (apparently angels) said, “This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10-11). When He comes “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (II Peter 3:10). The dead will be raised (John 5:28-29), and Christ will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:30-31; II Corinthians 5:10). Christ will then deliver the kingdom to God “that God may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:24-28) – “And they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5b).
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hugh Fulford, July 21, 2020