the real Jesus

Peter said a surprising thing to Cornelius (Acts 10), and I turned it into a new devotional for Our Daily Journey. I won’t submit this for two weeks, so there is time to improve it if you have suggestions.

What an odd thing to say! When Peter brought the gospel to the Gentiles, he told Cornelius the story of Jesus. He explained how Jesus traveled throughout Judea healing people and casting out demons, how He died on the cross and rose again, then appeared to his disciples and commanded them to tell everyone He is Israel’s Messiah. And right in the middle Peter added, “We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead (v. 41).”

How is that important? Why did Peter make the point that he shared a meal with the risen Lord? Why does that merit a line in his story of Christ’s death and resurrection? Because Jesus made it a big deal.

         When our risen Lord first appeared to His disciples, they were “startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!” Jesus told them to “Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost….” When they still weren’t sure it was really Him, Jesus took “a piece of broiled fish, and He ate it as they watched” (Luke 24:37-43).

         This is a pathetic scene, but I’m glad it happened. The triumphant Christ was reduced to “Look, I’m chewing! See, I’m swallowing!”, but His humble act proved He had truly kicked down the door of death and come out the other side. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is essential for our salvation, because “if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Jesus bore our guilt when He died on the cross. If He had remained dead He would have remained guilty. And so would you and I.

         Jesus proved He was God when He did what only God could do. He proved He was really alive when He did what only embodied humans can do. He shared a meal with friends.

3 Comments

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  1. Amazing how much peter said in 10 verses. Life and deeds/acts of Jesus, death on cross, resurrection, witnesses, old testament, judgement, forgiveness of sins…all in 10 verses…i dont hear much preaching like that…thanks for the fresh light mike…keep up the good work…

  2. Dear Professor Wittmer:
    Tell me please, what translation is this? {(1 Cor 15:17) …”and you are still guilty of your sins”.}
    So if I understand your opinion correctly, Jesus was innocent, but after he was crucified God the Father declared His innocent Son, Jesus “guilty” and imputed our guilt to Jesus, In doing so The Father punished His innocent beloved Son, satiating God The Father’s wrath and need for justice.Since the wages of sin is death, Jesus bearing our guilt of sin, died. Then as you wrote referring to Jesus: ” If He had remained dead He would have remained guilty.” Thus in your opinion, in the resurrection God The Father declares Jesus not guilty after previously having declared Jesus guilty by imputation of our sin to Him?

    I think it is a serious error to say Jesus is/was guilty in any sense; imputed or otherwise. Justin Martyr wrote; “The Father of all wished his Christ for the whole human family
    to take upon him the curses of all, knowing that, after he had been crucified and
    was dead, he would raise him up.” (Dialogue with Trypho, 95). This need not be interpreted as Jesus being guilty or God The Father punishing Jesus to satisfy His wrath. In the view of the Church Fathers it seems to be that it should be viewed as Jesus bearing the real, negative consequences of our sin and healing us of the wound of sin. Justin Matryr again; “He became a man for our sakes, that, becoming a partaker of our sufferings, he might also bring us healing.” (Dialogue with Trypho 111). The Church Fathers write of sin as a sickness, as corruption that we need to be healed of and and write of death, sin and the devil as enemies that need to be defeated….that we must be delivered from bondage to.

    I completely agree with you that the bodily resurrection of Christ was necessary for our salvation. But Jesus was raised from the dead because as The Son of God He is divine and death cannot possibly hold Him. He is perfect, without sin and death can have no claim upon Him. Jesus was never “guilty”.

    “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” (1 Cor 15:20-22) As all mankind dies because of Adam’s sin, even so in Christ, all mankind shall be made alive! But it does not necessarily follow that all are saved. Christ assumed our humanity and healed it delivering us from death, sin and the power of the devil. It remains for each person to choose to follow Christ, to believe in Him. Whether a person has faith and if they cooperate with the grace of God, The Holy Spirit or not will determine how they experience the presence of God, either as heaven (Light) or as hell (a consuming fire).

    I appreciate your deep love for the scriptures and your commitment to many foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. Your firm stand for truth (and for the One is Truth) is an example to follow and an encouragement. Your posts are very interesting and thought provoking.

  3. It might be important to note the importance of sharing a meal and drink in the middle eastern world. Far more important than in the west.

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