Just risen Jesus told Mary outside the tomb: “Go to my brethren and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God”, using terminology He had never used before. John 20:17
Why was THAT the first thing He said after the resurrection?
Paul explains it in Acts 13:33 as he talks of resurrection day: “God has fulfilled these (promises made to the fathers) in that He raised Jesus from the dead, for as it is written in the second Psalm: “You are my Son; Today I have become your Father (birthed you).”
Paul is making the point that to the Father the day of the resurrection was such a change in their relationship He made the statement: ‘This day I have birthed you’. What was the change?
The big change
Jesus was the unlimited Son with the Father from the beginning, with all the authority and rights pertaining to being the only Son of God, but He had emptied Himself of all those rights and privileges to be conceived in Mary as a Man*. He lived as a man, died as a man, and was raised from the dead and returned to His Father as a man – the first man to be born from the dead. God’s Son was forever a man. *Philippians 2:5-8
Even the disciples had a hard time comprehending He wasn’t raised a spirit, and that is why Jesus ate before them, to prove He was physically raised from the dead and was still a Man – Luke 24:41-43.
Jesus is now known as the first born from the dead
Jesus was first born from the dead and you and I are x number after Him born from the dead – spiritually now but one day literally in a raised or changed from the dead (glorified) body.
Romans 8:29: “Those He knew before would know Him, He also determined they would become conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the first born among many brethren.”
Colossians 1:18: “And He is the head of the body the church, who is the beginning, the first born from the dead that in all things He might have the preeminence.”
Hebrews 12:22-23: “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, and to the general assembly and church of the first born which are all in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”
Revelation 1:5: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness and the first born from the dead, and the Prince over the kings of the earth.”
What this means to us
Being the first born from the dead is proof there are others to follow otherwise He would be called the Only born form the dead – but He is instead the Firstborn from the dead - His resurrection is proof and assurance for all who believe in Him. As witness to the truth of His resurrection and status as first born from the dead, we have been given the Holy Spirit, and eye-witness to the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord.
Ephesians 1:13 says after we believed “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption by God of His own possession…”
The word ‘seal’ is ‘sphragizo’ and was used in ancient times for such normal things as sealing a bag of grain, the seal assuring the full content of the bag, the owner, the destination, and the confidentiality of the contents. We might also remember the old time sealing of envelopes with melted wax with the seal of the sender pressed into it.
The seal was guarantee of who it was sent from, where it was going, and the security and confidentiality of the contents within. We have been sealed by God Himself, His Spirit, showing who owns us, where we are going, our security and confidentiality of our hearts protected by Him who sealed us.
The word ‘earnest’ is the Greek word ‘arrabon’ and was originally ‘earnest money’, deposited by the buyer as a pledge to follow through with the transaction. Today a person might put down earnest money to take the property off the market with the promise they will follow through with the full purchase.
We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and all we have in this life is actually merely the promise, the earnest money so to speak, of the promise God will fulfill the rest of the deal – that the first born from the dead will indeed cause the rest of us to also be born from the dead – the spiritual rebirth the token of that promise.
Ephesians 1:13 says we have been sealed and have received the earnest of our salvation until the time when God who possesses us will complete the transaction – bring full redemption. As Paul said in Romans 8:23, “not only creation, but we groan within ourselves waiting for our adoption, that is to say, the redemption of our bodies.” Our spirit man yearns for the day of completion, when like the Firstborn we might also have a glorified body, one capable of functioning in the Spirit and natural realms with equal ease.
What assurance, what peace!
This mystery of Jesus being the Firstborn from the dead, the amazing truth of us being sealed by the Father by His own Spirit showing the enemy cannot touch us, this earnest payment of the Holy Spirit in our lives, should give us great peace of mind, assurance, and joy.
The Bible describes hope as being a ‘ favorable and confident expectation’ in the soul (emotions, mind, thoughts) rather than a spiritual force as faith is. But hope and faith go together, for faith is the evidence of things hoped for – destroy hope and faith dissolves away.
Hope has an amazing ability though it is of the mental and emotional realm, for when combined with faith its affect is felt by the assurance in our spirits that we are the Father’s and He will redeem us completely one day. In Hebrews 6:13-20 the writer tells of Abraham and how hope affected him.
He says that Abraham was confident in 2 things: God gave a promise, and God cannot lie. He says therefore “we have strong encouragement who have fled (to the Lord) for refuge that we may lay hold of the hope set before us, which we have as an anchor of the soul, where the forerunner Jesus entered for us, behind the veil…”
He says hope is the anchor of our soul – our emotions, thoughts, feelings – must be brought under control of the hope, that confident expectation of a favorable outcome, for it is found in Jesus who has gone ahead and entered behind the veil – into the holy of holies in heaven for us.
The word forerunner is the word ‘prodromos’ which means to ‘run forward in advance’, used at times of military scouts sent far ahead to scout the territory, and also of one sent before a king to make sure all was prepared for his coming. It was also used in ancient navies when a ship was coming into port but there were reefs and rocks to avoid – they would have a swimmer with a rope attached swim ahead of the ship to guide it in. - Our Jesus who has gone ahead of us to our mutual Father’s home, and our thoughts, feelings, and emotions must keep this fact before us at all times – and we have the Spirit within bearing witness to this truth.
We have the fact the Father has promised and confirmed His actions and plans in many ways, and we know the Father cannot lie. He has given us His Firstborn from the dead, He has sealed us with His own Spirit, we have the Spirit in our lives as the earnest of the completed transaction.
Jesus is amazing as the Firstborn from the dead - we each are born from the dead, now in spirit, one day in flesh as well – as Paul said, we yearn to be clothed upon from on high. Come quickly Lord Jesus!
New subject next week, until then, blessings,