The Resurrection

“I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”
                           —Ps. 16:8-11/Acts 2:25-28 (cf. Acts 2:22-32)

Peter refers to this Davidic Psalm in Acts chapter 2. He said: “Fellow Israelites, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us today” (Acts 2:29). In short, David’s dead and his body rotted. David did, however, as a prophet tell us that one of his descendants would sit on his throne (v. 30). So, David seeing that in advance “spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: ‘His body was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did His body see decay’” (v. 31).

Paul says it a little differently. He says King “David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption” (Acts 13:36). King David saw corruption. His body decomposed. So, David is not the “Holy One” that the Psalm refers to.

Paul goes on to say, “But He whom God raised up did not see corruption” (v. 37). Ding, ding, ding! Jesus is the Holy One! He is the long-awaited Messiah and forever King!

David knew that the LORD would place one of his descendants on the throne. How did he know this? Because…

“The LORD swore an oath to David,
a sure oath that He will not revoke:
‘One of your own descendants
I will place on your throne—
If your sons keep my covenant
And the statutes I teach them,
Then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever.’”
                  —Ps. 132:11-12[1]

Jesus is the perfect Son that keeps the covenant and fulfills the law.[2]

In Psalm 22, the Psalm from which Jesus quotes His forsaken cry—“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”—we also see many other Christ connections. Jesus is “scorned by mankind and despised by the people” (v. 6). Jesus is mocked (v. 7, 17). People said, “He trusts in the LORD, let Him deliver Him” (v. 8). Jesus was surrounded by fierce soldiers (cf. v. 12) and crucified with evildoers (cf. v. 16). The soldiers cast lots for His clothing (v. 18).

There’s many Christ connections but unlike David, Jesus was not delivered from “the mouth of the lion” (v. 21). Or, was He?

Jesus died but He was delivered! He rose from the dead and His body did not see corruption (unlike David’s)! And so, the rest of Psalm 22 applies to Jesus as well.

“All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before You.
For kingship belongs to the LORD,
And He rules over the nations” (v. 27-28).

Ever knee will bow down to “the One who could not keep Himself alive” (v. 29). The coming generations will be told about Him (v. 30). His righteousness will be proclaimed “to a people yet unborn, that He has done it” (v. 31).

Jesus has done it! He defeated death, Satan, and sin! Jesus is the promised Forever King and His Kingdom will have no end (2 Sam. 7:12-16)!

Jesus is the fulfillment of David’s prophecy. Jesus was neither abandoned to the grave nor did His body undergo decay. Peter said that God raised Him up and that he was a witness of that truth (Acts 2:32). And so Peter, the faithless denier, became faithful even to the point of death, and even the death of upside down crucifixion.[3]

Yet Peter’s body, and our bodies can dwell in hope (Ps. 16: 9) even when they are buried six-feet under because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ![4] So, when those in Christ die we grieve but not as those with no hope (1 Thess. 4:13). We have hope because of Jesus’ resurrection (v. 14)!

Reflections

  • I’m not sure where you are spiritually, but we all have a clock that’s tick, tick, ticking down. We will all die. It’s really important that we consider this because we all live with a death sentence we cannot escape. And “so long as death remains someone else’s problem, Jesus will remain someone else’s Savior.”[5]
  • “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”[6]

Prayer

“Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

_______

[1] See also 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 89:3-4, 35-36.

[2] See Matthew 5:17 and Romans 10:4.

[3] Tradition says that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome under Emperor Nero. See also John 21:18-19.

[4] This is true of David’s body, Peter’s body, and it’s true of all those in Christ, because Jesus’ though crucified did not see corruption! Jesus raises from the dead and He will bring a large host with Him (Is. 53:11, 12)! 1 Corinthians 15 talks about Jesus being the firstfruits, and there’s a ton of more “fruit” to come (v. 20, 23)!

[5] See Matthew McCullough important book, Remember Death, p. 59.

[6] Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, 210.

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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