“Thus It Is Written”: Redemptive History And Christ’s Resurrection On The Third Day -- By: Lee Tankersley
SBJT 16:3 (Fall 2012) p. 50
“Thus It Is Written”: Redemptive History And Christ’s Resurrection On The Third Day
Lee Tankersley received his Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dr. Tankersley is Pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Jackson, Tennessee.
Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead
Jesus’ words in Luke 24:46 are not a source of controversy among those holding to the historic Christian faith. The resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day is a central tenet of the gospel message. Thus, when Paul wrote to the Corinthians, reminding them of what was “of first importance,” he noted “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4).1 Similarly, those constructing the Nicene Creed declared that “on the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.” Simply put, those preaching the apostolic message in the history of the church have expressed no hesitation in affirming that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and that this happened in accordance with the Scriptures.
There has been much less of a consensus in the church, however, in affirming exactly what texts (or text) Jesus was referring to when he said “it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead” (Luke 24:46). Some have suggested that it is unnecessarily reductionistic to assume Jesus had one text in mind.2 Green, for example, argues that one “would be hard-pressed to locate specific texts that make these prognostications explicit” and thus concludes, “The point of Jesus’ words is not that such-and-such a verse has now come true, but that the truth to which all of the Scriptures point has now been realized!”3
There is no doubt truth in Green’s claim, and it would surely place unnecessary constraint on the interpreter to demand that one isolate a single text Jesus must have had in mind. With that said, however, if the Scriptures demand that the Christ be raised on the third day, then it is insufficient merely to make such a declaration without identifying the manner in which the Old Testament Scriptures mandate such a time-sensitive act as
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