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The Message of the Gospel,

Part 5:
The Anointed One and
The Necessity of His
1 Corinthians 15:4
Rob Wilkerson
April 18, 2004

This week I want to point your attention again toward

the actual wording of our text. I know we’ve been in it
for several weeks, and perhaps some of you are
wondering how we can possibly get so much from so few

As I encouraged you the first couple of weeks I was here,

we want to understand the message of the gospel as
Paul preached it, and as the early church understood it.
And the only way we can accurately do that is to spend
time in each word of the text. You see, although the
message of the gospel was that Christ died, was buried,
and was raised again on the third day according to the
Scriptures, we have already come to see that Paul’s
understanding of the gospel and ours today have
differed quite a bit in some areas, haven’t they?

Furthermore, if we don’t preach the same gospel then

we aren’t really preaching the true gospel are we? And
what is more important, if we don’t really understand the
true gospel then we really haven’t believed it, have we?
That is even more frightening a thought – to spend your
whole life thinking you have understood and believed in
the gospel when all along it was really a false gospel, not
completely biblical at all. Perhaps you have already
seen this to be true of your own heart since we began
this series. So that with in mind let us continue the
series today focusing on 1 Corinthians 15:4 where Paul
says that Christ was buried, and raised again on the
third day according to the Scriptures.

1. The Significance of His Burial and


A. Word Meanings
A few weeks ago we looked at the death of Christ.
What I did not tell you then was that the word “died” has
the particular verb usage called the “aorist” tense. This
tense of verb looks at the completed action as it
happened in the past. Thus, the apostle records that
Christ died at one point in time in the past.

The same is true of the word “buried” which he

uses here. It too is in the aorist tense. As with the word
“died” so also here, Paul’s aim is to focus on the burial of
Christ as a past event.

But when we come to his phrase “and that he was

raised on the third day,” Paul moves to a different Greek
verb usage called the perfect tense. Whereas the aorist
tense focuses on the completed action of a past event,
the perfect focuses on the continuing results of a past
event. In other words, beloved, Christ was raised again
and continues to live today! He died once, and He was
buried once, but He rose again and will live for all

B. His Deity is Implied From These Words

Next, I also want to point out to you more truth

that is contained in the way Paul uses this word “raised.”
You see it was also written in the passive mode. You
know what that means, even if you don’t know any
Greek. It means someone else was doing the raising
here. When Paul says Jesus was raised, he intends to
communicate that God the Father was the One doing the
work of raising. Paul communicated this again in
Ephesians 1:20 when he again referred to the Father as
the One who “raised Him from the dead, and seated Him
at His right hand in the heavenly places…”

Peter was the first to preach this fact, and it seems

he is the one who refers to this truth most often. In the
church’s first sermon at Pentecost, Peter preached that
“God raised Him up again…” (Acts 2:24; see also verse
32). Peter used the same phrase later in his second
sermon, found in Acts 3, where in verse 15 he refers to
“the Prince of Life, the one whom God raised from the
dead.” The final words of his sermon were, “God raised
up His Servant…” In his defense with the apostle John
before the same Jewish leaders who killed Christ, Peter
again referred to “Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you
crucified, whom God raised from the dead…” (4:10).
After he was released from their custody, he went out
preaching again, and this time was arrested. His
defense remained the same. In Acts 5:30 he stood
before the same council and proclaimed, “The God of
our Fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death
by hanging on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted
to His right hand as Prince and a Savior…”

Later, in his sermon to Cornelius’ family, Peter told

them that, “God raised Him up on the third day…” (Acts
10:40). Paul obviously heard this truth from Peter on
several occasions, and was taught this truth by God
Himself, for he proclaims it in his first missionary
journey. While in Pisidian Antioch he preached, “God
raised Him up from the dead” in Acts 13:30, referring
again to Jesus as “He whom god raised” in verse 37.

He wrote of this truth to the Romans in 4:24.

Speaking of justification by faith, Paul proclaimed that
we must “believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from
the dead.” It was “the glory of the Father” that raised
Christ from the dead, according to Romans 6:4. Finally,
in Colossians 2:12, Paul refers once more to “God, who
raised Him from the dead.”

So you see that it was God the Father who raised

Jesus from the dead on the third day.

However, there are other passages which could be

confusing to the human mind without the aid of the Holy
Spirit in understanding them. For instance, what do we
do with John 2:19 where Jesus prophecies His own death
and resurrection? In that prophecy Jesus stated that He
would be the one to raise Himself up after three days.

This same thought is repeated in John 10:27-28

where Jesus says, “I lay down my life so that I may take
it up again.” He clearly implies here that He raises
Himself up again. In fact, one chapter later He boldly
proclaims that He Himself is the resurrection and the life

And to confuse matters even more, the Holy Spirit

is also referred to as the one who raised Jesus from the
dead. In Romans 8:11 Paul writes, “If the Spirit of Him
who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who
raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your
mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Now that’s confusing! In the beginning of the verse, it is
the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead, but in
the middle of the verse, it is the Father.

So who dunnit!? Who raised Jesus from the dead?

Was it God the Father, God the Spirit, or God the Son?
That’s precisely the point behind all these references!
The answer is ‘yes’ to them all. And why? Because the
Scriptures in this way prove the deity of our Lord Jesus
Christ in His resurrection. He could say that He would
raise Himself from the dead because He was God. And
in making this claim He was again making Himself equal
with the Father and the Holy Spirit. This is the most
important feature of the resurrection, beloved. It proved
that He Himself was God in the flesh – total humanity yet
total deity.

C. His Physical Nature is Emphasized in These

Two Words

The mention of Christ’s burial and resurrection

emphasizes His physical nature. Only dead people are
put in graves and tombs. And conversely, living persons
are not found in empty graves and tombs! Who was
found sitting in the tomb when the three women entered
to care for the body of Jesus in Luke 24? That’s right.
There weren’t any humans in there – just angels! That’s
because empty tombs don’t contain living persons! As
Luke recorded for us in 24:3 – “they did not find the
body of the Lord Jesus.” Amen! Matthew, Mark and
Luke all record for us the testimony of the angels sitting
inside that tomb pointing the place where He was (past
tense) laying.

In addition, consider what remains were found

there. Each gospel writer records the items that were
found left in the tomb. His grave clothes. These were
the linens that were used to wrap His body, and the linen
napkin that was used to cover His face. All four gospels
record that while there was no body of Jesus in the tomb,
there were His grave clothes lying there.

But note the detail that John includes in his gospel.

In 20:6-7, John records, “Simon Peter, therefore also
came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he
beheld the linen wrappings lying there, and the
facecloth, which had been on his head, not lying with the
linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.”
Listen to one pastor as he describes this for us.
“This is exactly what Peter and John saw. Not
only had the body gone, but the grave clothes
had not been touched in the process; they had
simply subsided when the body disappeared.
The effect on John was instantaneous: ‘He saw
and believed’ (John 20:8). Those four words
are more significant than they seem. We are
told that when John reached the tomb he
‘looked in at the strips of linen lying there but
did not go in’ (John 20:5), and the Greek verb
blepo suggests a superficial glance from
outside the tomb. Then Peter went in and ‘saw
the strips of linen there…’, and the Greek verb
changes to theoreo, which often means ‘the
careful perusal of details in the object’. But
when John ‘saw and believed’, the Greek verb
is eidon, a word which generally refers to ‘the
mind and thought of him who sees’. All of this
tells us that John not only saw with his eyes,
but with his mind. He realized the significance
of those collapsed grave-clothes – ‘and
believed’. (Meet the Real Jesus, John
Blanchard, p. 132).


Such amazing detail to the resurrection of Christ

undoubtedly points to the fact that He was a real human
being who died, yet who mysteriously came back from
the dead. He must have for Peer and John, at least, to
have seen the linen wrappings laying there, in the shape
of a body, yet with no body in them. John believed, but
it took Peter and the other disciples a while. Yet this is
the truth that He had presented to them over and again
while He was with them. I showed you a few weeks ago,
in our very first sermon, in fact, on the message of the
Gospel that Christ foretold His own death over and again
while He was with His disciples.
I showed you that most of those prophecies occur in the
last year, last month, and even last week of His earthly
ministry. But there was one instance which occurred in
the first year of His ministry. You probably remember
that occurrence. It was when He was driving out the
money changers from the temple. After “taking His belt
off” to the greedy business, using the temple as a means
for their greed, Jesus went ‘postal,’ to use a common
term today. The people asked Him who He thought He
was, and who gave Him the authority to come in and
wreak havoc on their enterprising. Remember His
response. It is classic confusion for the lost, yet
“vintage” claims to deity. He said, “tear down this
temple and I’ll raise it up again.”

What an answer that was! Think about it. They ask Him
about where He gets the authority to drive them out,
and He responds with resurrection talk. It is as if He is
saying, “I’ve got the authority to do this because I can
raise myself from the dead.” Who can top that
authority! So you see that this appeal Jesus makes to
the resurrection is the highest court of appeal anyone
can possibly appeal to. That’s why the resurrection of
Christ is such a massively big deal in both theology and
in our Christian lives. There is no other human being in
the world who can command us because no other
human being can raise themselves from the dead.

Now I bring up this issue because Jesus foretold His own

resurrection. He did it several times, as a matter of fact.
But does Paul consider these claims a part of the
Scriptures he refers to in 1 Corinthians 15:4? In other
words, when Paul says that Jesus was raised again on
the third day according to the Scriptures, what are those
Scriptures? Do they include Jesus’ words? I’m not sure,
to be honest with you, because by this point in church
history, no gospels had even been written yet, much less
What we can be sure of is that whenever Paul uses the
word Scriptures, he is referring to the OT. And here in 1
Corinthians 15:4 he is saying that Jesus was raised again
on the third day according to the OT Scriptures.

II. His Burial and Resurrection Were “According

to the Scriptures”

The phrase “according to the Scriptures,” referring to

the OT, would have to be a combination of OT
prophecies, because there is no one specific reference in
the OT cited about the Messiah being raised from the
dead, though there is at least one referring to His burial.
What combination is this?

A. In Hebrews 11:19 we have a somewhat veiled

message about the resurrection of Christ. The
writer, referring to Abraham offering up his son
Isaac, says of Abraham, “He considered that God is
able to raise me even from the dead; from which
also he received him back as a type.” As a type of
what? The text could literally read that Abraham
received Isaac back in a parable. That is, Isaac
was given back to Abraham as a parable to teach
Abraham that God can deliver a person from the
dead. And if Isaac was that type, who was the
fulfillment? Jesus Christ, of course.

B. In Hosea 6:2, Israel is spoken of as being restored

on the 3rd day.

C. Jonah 1:17 & Matt. 12:40. Jesus referred to His

burial with the illustration of Jonah in the belly of
the whale for three days and three nights.
Therefore, whether he knew it or not, Jonah’s time
in the whale’s belly was a type of Christ in the
D. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be assigned a
grave with the wicked men, yet ultimately buried
in the tomb of a rich man (Isa. 53:9). In addition,
verses 10-12 imply a resurrection since this man
who was crushed and killed would somehow one
day see the heirs of His suffering and death. How
could this happen unless He was raised from the

E. Consider Psalm 16:8-11, with focus on verse 10.

David is writing here, but the apostle Peter
understood it to refer to Christ, in his Pentecost
sermon in Acts 2. “For you will not abandon my
soul to death; neither will you allow your Holy One
to undergo corruption.” Obviously, the Holy One is
the Anointed One who is the Messiah who is Christ.
Thus, this is a flat out promise that the Messiah
would never see the decay of His body in the
tomb, meaning He would have to rise again from
the dead in order for this not to happen.
Overall, verses 8-11 are used by Peter to prove
that the resurrection of the Messiah was foretold in
Scripture. He repeats these verses in Acts 2:25-

F. Also, look at Psalm 110, a psalm which Martin

Luther referred to as “the crown of all Psalms,”
and a Psalm that is referred to 27 times in the NT.
Verse is also used by Peter in his Pentecost
sermon in Acts 2 (v. 34), and he interprets as proof
of the resurrection of the Messiah. “The Lord says
to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your
enemies a footstool for your feet.’” How else could
the Messiah get up to the right hand of the Father,
unless He was raised from the dead?

G. Interpreted through the lens of Peter, who was

preaching a message inspired by the Spirit of God
Himself, we see that his point was to help these
Jews understand that this man they killed was
raised by God from the dead, and that because of
this, “god has made Him both Lord and Christ –
this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).


In the end, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was according

to the OT Scriptures and in fulfilling these texts, it
proved that Jesus was divine, God in the flesh, the
Anointed One, and promised Messiah. That beloved,
was what pierced them to the heart when they heard it,
according to Acts 2:37. That, my friends, is what drove
them to ask what they had to do now.

III. Why the Jews Missed the OT Prophecies of

the Resurrection

To digress briefly into Jewish history, it is important for

you to know what the average Jew knew as they listened
to Peter. I spent some time this week reading through
pages and pages of Rabbinic writings on the Jewish
understanding of the resurrection. As I did, it became
immediately evident that the Jews, at least since post-
exilic times, understood and believed in the resurrection
of the righteous.

This is the period we call “Second Temple Judaism” and

there is still a mountain of studies and research left to do
in this area. But one thing is for certain. There was a
definite heightened expectation of the arrival of the
Messiah. And there was a definite expectation of the
end of the world, when He came. The end of the world,
according to the Jewish understanding of that day,
meant that the Messiah would raise the righteous from
the dead and usher them into His kingdom to live with
Him forever, while raising the unrighteous and banishing
them to hell.
So as time progressed toward Christ’s coming, it appears
that the average Jew believed and taught that the
Messiah would be the one who would raise them from
the dead if they died.

But it seems that no necessary connection was made

between these two truths. Yes, there would be a
resurrection. And, yes, the Messiah would do it. But
they didn’t connect the dots to see why the Messiah was
able to do it. He would be the one to raise the righteous
from the dead and take them to heaven because He was
the first to rise from the grave and ascend to heaven.
The dead who rise from the grave to go to heaven follow
the Messiah who has already walked that ground before
them. He had to make the way for them to get there.

Isn’t that what Jesus taught His disciples during the Last
Supper in John 14? He told them He was going away to
prepare a place for them, and that when He had
finished, He would return and get them and take them to
be where He was. But what was the response from
Thomas? The standard Jewish understanding of the
Messiah and of resurrection which ruled the day at that
time. He asked, “Lord, we do not know where you are
going, how do we know the way?” They didn’t get it. He
was going to the grave to defeat death, then rise from
that grave, and then go to heaven in order to prepare
that same road ahead of them so they would be able to
go to heaven with Him.

His words in John 14:6 prove the point I am after here,

that the Jews didn’t connect the Messiah’s own
resurrection with His resurrection of the righteous. He
said that He was the way, the truth, and the life and that
no man comes to the Father but through Himself. His
resurrection is the connection between the truth of the
resurrection and its reality in their own individual lives.


What we must know and always remember is that Jesus

Christ was the first one to actually rise from the dead
bodily, and to ascend to heaven bodily. It is because of
this that He is able to do the same for us. For Paul, this
is why Jesus is the “first fruits” of those who are asleep,
in 1 Corinthians 15:20,23. He slept in the grave and
arose as the first fruit of the resurrection. We will also
become fruits of the resurrection later when we are
asleep in the grave.

This truth is also why Paul refers to Jesus as “the

firstborn from the dead” in Colossians 1:18. He was
“reborn” from the dead, speaking in human terms, in
order to pave the way for His followers who would one
day themselves lie in a grave. John also uses this same
phraseology in Revelation 1:5, as he was looking at the
resurrected, ascended, glorified Jesus Christ in front of


John saw this Jesus and fell down at His feet as though a
dead man. You have not seen the glorified Christ Jesus,
but you have heard of Him this morning. Will your
response be accordingly? It may not be falling down as
a dead man, but in the very least it ought to be falling
down and submitting to Him as the Master and
Commander of your life, bowing to His sovereign right to
rule your life, a right only He has.

In the end, this man of whom we speak is God! He is

God because He raised Himself from the dead,
something only deity can do. And He is also God
because the Father and the Spirit raised Him from the
dead, because He was one with them, equal with them.

Furthermore, this God-man actually died, was buried,

and rose again. He had a physical body that was able to
be killed, and buried, yet was able to be raised again
and made completely different than it was before.

What is more, all of this happened just as it had been

prophesied hundreds of years before. It happened
according to the Scriptures. And it happened in a way
that made Him in Peter’s day and even in our own day
unmistakably the Sovereign Lord and Master and
Anointed One of all Creation, of life and death, of the
tomb and of heaven.

If this is the Christ whom Peter preached as the center of

his first sermon, and as the focus of the church’s very
first sermon, I am preaching Him this morning as the
center of this sermon, and have attempted to do so
since the beginning of my ministry here just a few weeks

I am preaching none other than the Jesus of whom I

reference earlier from John 2:19. He is the Jesus who
commands you by the authority of the resurrection. He
gave His life to murderers, He died from it, and He took
up His life again. That is why this Jesus has the authority
to command you this day and every other day for the
rest of your life!

So now, what is your response to this Jesus Christ? Are

you cut to the heart about your sin against Him? Are
you pierced in your heart because you too nailed Him to
that cross with your own sin? Or will you turn Him away
again, only to settle back into a life that completely and
utterly neglects and rejects the most magnificent power
and act that has ever been performed?

Think of it. This single event was the most important

event in all of creation. 9/11 was not the most important
event in all of creation. The civil war was not the most
important event, though perhaps some here today would
differ with me on that point. The creation was not even
the most important event in all of history. No, the most
important event in all of history is that a human being,
with a body just like yours and mine, actually raised
Himself from the dead thereby proving what He taught
all along – He is God. What will you do with this single
most important event?

What could be more glorious a thing than partaking in

this single most important event. If you had an
opportunity to take part in it, even if it was in the
smallest way, wouldn’t you want to do it? I told you last
week that the resurrection of Jesus meant that what
happened to Him after He died would happen to you
after you die. Would you not desire to take as much a
part of that as you possibly can? Is it not worth dying
for? Is it not worth living for now? Would you really look
at such an incredible event; recognize that you can be
included in that resurrection of Christ; acknowledge the
fact that you can actually have that resurrection power
here and now and by God’s power conquer those sinful
habits that plague your conscience day in and day out;
hear and read just a glimpse of what your life will be like
when you are resurrected from the dead like Christ; can
you hear, taste, see, and feel all of that and really walk
away from it? I beg you and urge you not to do that

You would agree it would be abject foolishness and

nonsense to do so. And you are right. And it is for that
foolishness and nonsensical thinking and acting that
Jesus died. He died to forgive you for it and to offer you
wisdom and sensibility again, a life that makes sense, a
life that has purpose and direction. But He offers it to
you on His terms, not yours. And His terms are that you
submit to Him wholly and completely and entirely as the
Anointed One whom God has made Lord through raising
Him from the dead. What will you do with this Jesus
Christ today?