Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the King’s victory recorded in 28:1-20. Compared to chapters twenty-six and twenty-seven, chapter twenty-eight is short and simple. When we are in resurrection, everything is simple.
The resurrection of Christ was a matter of God’s righteousness. Have you ever considered the resurrection of Christ in this light? God was righteous to come in to judge Christ as our substitute on the cross. This judgment of Christ on the cross was just and righteous. By being judged by God, Christ fulfilled all the requirements of God’s righteousness. He bore our sins on the cross to fully meet all the righteous requirements of God. Thus, through Christ’s death on the cross, God’s righteousness has been wholly satisfied. In other words, the righteous God was judicially satisfied with Christ’s death on the cross. Therefore, Christ was buried in a new tomb that belonged to a rich man. This indicates that immediately after Christ’s judicial death and immediately after the satisfaction of God’s righteous requirements, Christ rested as the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Scriptures.
After Christ was buried, God was held responsible in His righteousness to release Christ from among the dead. Not many Christians realize this. Most think that the resurrection of Christ was only a matter of the divine power of God’s life. Few realize that the resurrection of Christ was not only a matter of power, but also a matter of righteousness. If God had not raised Christ up after His death on the cross to satisfy all the requirements of God’s righteousness, God would have not been righteous. It was righteous for God to release Christ from death. According to His righteousness, God had to judge Christ on the cross because Christ was bearing all our unrighteousness. But after God had judged Christ in full, God’s righteousness held Him responsible to release Christ from death and to raise Him up from among the dead.
In the Gospel of John there is the concept that Christ was resurrected by the power of an endless life. But this is not the concept of Christ’s resurrection in the Gospel of Matthew. The concept in Matthew regarding Christ’s resurrection is that it is related to God’s righteousness. John is a book on life, and life is a matter of power. But Matthew is a book on the kingdom, and the kingdom is a matter of righteousness. Therefore, according to Matthew, for Christ to be raised from the dead meant that God released Him according to His righteousness. Thus, Christ was both righteously judged and put to death and righteously raised up from the dead.
Eventually, Christ became not only the powerful King, but also the righteous King. If you read the prophecies concerning Christ’s kingship, you will see that His kingship is not very much related to power, but that it is closely related to righteousness and justice. Kingship is not a matter of power; it is a matter of righteousness. The heavenly Savior-King was righteously judged by God on the cross, and He was righteously raised up from the dead by Him to become the righteous King. He is altogether righteous. He is the righteous King for God’s righteous kingdom.
We need to have this concept as we read Matthew 28. In this chapter we cannot find a hint that the resurrection of Christ is related to power. However, if we read carefully, we can find that it is related to righteousness. Perhaps you have wondered why in this chapter, a chapter concerned with Christ’s resurrection, Matthew includes the account of the bribery of the Roman soldiers (vv. 11-15). This is mentioned for the purpose of exposing man’s unrighteousness. The opposite of unrighteousness is not power, but righteousness. Because of His righteousness, God was held responsible to raise Christ up from the dead. Therefore, Christ’s resurrection was according to God’s righteousness. This was the reason that Matthew inserted the historical account of the bribery of the soldiers. No other Gospel mentions this. Matthew includes it to show that Christ’s resurrection was related to God’s righteousness, which is versus man’s unrighteousness. Again I say that it is difficult to find in chapter twenty-eight any hint that Christ’s resurrection was related to power or to life.
At this point we need to consider Romans 4:25. This verse says, “Who was delivered because of our offenses and was raised because of our justification.” This verse links resurrection with righteousness. The Bible makes resurrection not only a matter of power, but also a matter of righteousness. Not only was God’s righteousness manifested in raising Christ from the dead, but we were justified because of Christ’s resurrection. Therefore, Christ’s resurrection is a proof both of God’s righteousness and of our justification. Hallelujah, in Christ’s resurrection God is the righteous God, and we are the justified people!
We have seen that resurrection is very closely related to God’s righteousness. The kingdom of the heavens is built and established upon God’s righteousness, which held God responsible to raise up the righteous Redeemer and to make us righteous. Hence, Christ’s resurrection is a realm of righteousness. In the sphere of Christ’s resurrection, God is the righteous God, and we are the justified people of God. Here we have the kingdom.
Many Christians today know only the kingdom of love or the kingdom of grace. In other words, they are familiar only with the realm of love and grace. They have no understanding of the realm of God’s righteousness. But God’s righteousness, not His love or grace, is the foundation of God’s kingdom. The kingdom of the heavens is built not upon God’s love or grace, but upon His righteousness. How precious, necessary, and vital the righteousness of God is! It is absolutely necessary for the kingdom life. If we realize this, the churches in the Lord’s recovery will be greatly strengthened. Hallelujah, our kingly Savior has been resurrected through the righteousness of God!
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