Jesus was raised from death: To elevate his power and authority

Steven D. Mathewson wrote a powerful book entitled Risen: 50 Reasons Why The Resurrection Changed Everything. He admits that though there may be more or less than 50 reasons, since most of it often overlap. Not to mention that “the biblical writers often look at the same reality from different angles” (25).

But here is one reason why the Resurrection changed everything: To elevate Jesus’ power and authority.

The apostle Paul wrote: “And who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4, italics added).

Paul’s presentation of the gospel in this letter begins with the Resurrection. That he was making a link from (v. 3), which refers Jesus as the “Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David,” to the prophecy made in 2 Samuel 7:12-16, that Jesus is the Annointed One, a king in the line of David, whose kingdom will be established forever. And that in (v. 4), Paul “then announces that this Messiah-King was appointed to a new and even more powerful position by his resurrection from the dead!”

“However, saying that Jesus was appointed Son of God sounds like the heresy of Adoptionism, a view from the second century AD that denied the eternal sonship of Jesus. According to this view, Jesus was not the Son until he was adopted at his baptism or at his resurrection.” And the heretical view goes on to use a verse in Acts, where Peter concludes: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (v. 2:36).

Nevertheless, Mathewson agrues that Paul and Peter wasn’t supporting Adoptionism or a sort of, but rather they are saying something much different. Their statements were “not describing a change in essence but a change in status.” And that “the exact wording of Romans 1:3 assumes the preexistence of the Son of God – ‘who became from the seed of David'” (26).

Mathewson quoted Douglas Moo, in referring to the transition of Romans 1:3 to v. 4: “The transition from v. 3 to v. 4, then, is not a transition from a human Messiah to a divine Son of God (Adoptionism) but from the Son as Messiah to the Son as both Messiah and  powerful, reigning Lord.”

And he then explains, “Through the resurrection, Jesus is exalted to a greater level of power and authority than he previously had” (26). Since he set aside his glory in the Incarnation (Phil. 2:6-8).

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