May 5, 2008

With Christ in the Resurrection

by Hegomen Pishoy Kamel
What does it mean to live the Resurrection with Christ? Questions and answers on the Resurrection, its scriptural significance, and its practical relevance in our lives.
Why Did He Rise on the Third Day?
Christ already died for the salvation of mankind. After He finished His message of salvation, it was appropriate for Him to rise quickly. He rose after three days because it is inappropriate for His holiness to see corruption. His remaining in the tomb three days confirmed the truth of His death. His resurrection confirmed His Divinity fulfilling these prophecies: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19) "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Mat 12:40) His resurrection confirmed the pleasure of the Father for the sacrifice of the cross.
His resurrection gave mankind hope for eternal life. As the soldiers follow their leader in war, the same do Christians follow the Head of faith and its perfection, the Lord Jesus. So as He lived estranged in the world, we live. And as He rose, we rise with Him. Just as it happens to the head, it happens to the members so that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. For the sake of this hope we struggle, tire, suffer and are persecuted in this world. The martyrs delivered their bodies to hunger, thirst, cold, fire, sword and all kinds of torture for the sake of hope of the glorious resurrection.

How Did He Rise?
At His death, His soul became separated from His body. As for His Divinity, It did not become separated at all. Neither from His body nor from His soul. Because of this, no corruption befell the body. Then the soul went to Hades "and He descended into Hades through the Cross." He descended with the image of a victorious king and delivered all of the fathers the saints who reposed on the hope of the coming of the Lord Jesus. For this, the saints rejoiced and the victory of the Lord of glory over death was fulfilled. Then the soul came to the tomb and became united with the body, so He gained a brilliance and glory... and the Lord of glory came out of the tomb while the doors were shut "the stone on the tomb"... just as He entered the womb of His mother while the doors were shut.

Just as Joseph came out of the prison so that he might be a deliverer to all of Egypt, Christ came out of the tomb as a victorious king, a Savior for the whole world. Just as Daniel the prophet came out of the lion's den without any harm touching him, with the resurrection of the Lord from the tomb the saying was fulfilled, "O Death where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"

Resurrection With Christ
Whoever desires to enjoy the splendor of the Lord's resurrection must have passed the experience of death with Christ. "For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." (Rom 6:5-6) "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts." (Rom 6:11-12) "How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Rom 6:2)

Resurrection, Repentance and Baptism

Repentance: Death from sin and resurrection with Christ. Baptism: Burial and resurrection with Christ.

"Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Rom 6:4) St. John Chrysostom says: "Indeed, the Lord confirmed the truth of the resurrection after forty days by different appearances and numerous forms, in order to prove to us that we are engaged in the resurrection for a new life in the likeness of His resurrection... in newness of life."

How Do We Enter into the Power of the Resurrection?

Indeed, the body of the Lord in His resurrection became a spiritual heaven, not submitting to the world even though it lives in the world. Therefore it is appropriate: That our lives be heavenly even though we live in the world since if we live according to the flesh we will die, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body, we will live. (Rom 8:13) The deeds of the flesh that we should avoid are "...adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries..." (Galatians 5:19- 21)

Therefore we should become separated from the world even though we live in the world. Due to this, the Apostle says, "the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess and those who use this world as not misusing it." (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

Lastly "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God... For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." (Col 3:1-4)

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