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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Resurrection and Second Coming of Jesus Christ
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Describe the accounts of the resurrection in the synoptic gospels,
ii. Explain the significance of the resurrection to the Christian faith,
iii. Explain the activities of women in the story of the resurrection,
iv. Recognise that Jesus will come again at the end of time,
v. Describe the signs of the second coming of Christ,
vi. Explain how every word spoken will be subjected to judgement,
vii. Explain heaven, hell and judgement.
The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1 – 8, Mark 16:1 – 6, Luke 24:1 – 11)
Resurrection means coming back to life after death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was to show his victory over death. The account of the resurrection appears in all three synoptic gospels. They all stated that when the women disciples-Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of James and Salome went to the tomb to embalm the body of Jesus, they discovered that he had resurrected. Matthew reported that there was a great earthquake; angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled back the stone and sat upon it. It was this angel that informed the women that Jesus had risen from the dead.
However, Luke and Mark did not report any earthquake. Mark reported that as the women were contemplating who would help them roll away the stone at the entrance of the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right side dressed in a white robe and they were amazed. He told them:
“Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6)
The angel then directed them to go and inform his disciples to prepare themselves and meet him in Galilee. Mark added that the women left the tomb trembling and astonished and they could not say anything to anybody. Luke’s account was similar to that of Mark except that he added that as the women were perplexed over what happened to the body of Jesus, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. It was these men that informed them of the resurrection of Jesus. When the women told the news to the disciples, they did not believe them.
The Significance Of The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ
i. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of Christian faith. Without his resurrection, there would be no Christian faith.
ii. God raised Jesus from the dead thereby confirming him as His son.
iii. Resurrection equally forms the basis of Christian hope of salvation.
iv. It is an assurance that as God raised Jesus from the dead, so will God raise every Christian that die in the Lord on the day of resurrection.
v. Again, the resurrection of Jesus and the hope that the Lord we are serving is alive and this is Christian’s hope of eternal life in the kingdom of God which is in Christ.
vi. It was the resurrection of Jesus from the grave that helped to encourage the early apostles to preach the gospel with boldness. The fulfillment of all that Jesus had promised gave the disciples and early apostles much confidence and trust in him.
vii. The resurrection of Jesus is central to Christian belief. To Christians, the resurrection is an assurance of Christ’s victory over sin and death.
viii. Christ’s resurrection day became for Christians the day of the Lord, the day of salvation. Hence the shift away from the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) to the Christians first day of the week, Sunday- a day of devotion to God; the most memorable day.
ix. At baptism, Christians die to sin (symbolized by dipping into water) but with Christ’s resurrection, Christians rise in faith with Christ (symbolized when they are raised from the water).
The Second Coming Of Christ
The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is the expectation of many Christians based on the teachings of Jesus Christ after his resurrection and the ascension, he would go and prepare a place or spiritual home for the children of God and he would later return and rapture them.
Signs of the Second Coming of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13 – 18, 2 Thess. 2:1 – 12)
St. Paul in his epistle to the Thessalonians described the signs of the second coming of Jesus Christ and showed how it would involve the living and the dead. He also showed some of the preparations that Christians should make for his second coming through good conduct and righteousness.
Paul started by first of all giving warnings to the Thessalonians that they should not be deceived by word or letter purported to have come from him, for the second coming would not come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so called God or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
The mystery of lawlessness is already at work although it is yet to be revealed. The lawlessness one will operate with the power of Satan and produce pretended signs and wonders with all wicked deception for those who are to perish because they refuse to love the truth and be saved. Therefore, God will send upon then a strange delusion to make them believe what is false so that all who do not believe the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned. Paul said the appointed time, the lawless one would be revealed, only to be destroyed by Christ’s breath.
St. Paul further warned the Thessalonians not to be grieved for those who are dead in the Lord as he declared:
“But we would not have you ignorant; brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with the cry of command with the archangels’ call and with the sound of trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive who are left shall be caught up together with them in the cloud to meet the Lord in the air, so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:13 – 18).
Thessalonians embraced the doctrine of the second coming of Jesus Christ with all their minds and they thought it was going to be immediate. So, they were afraid of their brethren who died before the resurrection and the second coming of the Lord. But Paul made it clear to them that as long as you are in Christ, death cannot separate the person from him. As Jesus resurrected from death so will they be raise up again.
Paul; went further to outline the signs of the second coming as;
i. Christ will descend from heaven with a cry of command with archangels’ call and with the sound of the trumpet of God.
ii. The dead in Christ will rise first; then those who are alive shall be with them in the clouds (in their spiritual bodies) to meet the Lord and remain with Christ forever.
iii. There will be certain destruction for the unwary.
He finally told the Thessalonians to comfort one another with these words.
Preparation For His Second Coming (1 Thess. 5:1 – 11)
St. Paul said it was needless to write about the time and season. The point is that Christians should get ready, for the day of the Lord will be sudden like a thief in the night. St. Paul warned Christians not to relent in their efforts, thinking that they have peace and security, for in such deceptive situation, destruction would come suddenly upon them like travial of a woman in labour. Therefore, whoever that does not anticipate the second coming or is not conscious of it, will certainly be caught unawares.
The message is that true Christians, we dead or living, have hope of salvation. All the living Christians need to do is to be prepared by living a righteous life with strong faith in the redemption work of Jesus Christ.
Significance/ Lessons To Learn
i. Christians should live in readiness, knowing fully well that the second coming of Jesus is a reality.
ii. Christians should watch and pray, study their Bibles always and observe their fasting.
iii. They should live obedient and righteous lives.
iv. Christians should engage in evangelism and preach to others about the reality of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
v. Christians should not grieve much about their brethren who died for they would rise again on the resurrection day.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. Describe the second coming of the Lord, according to Paul’s teaching. What does this teach us as Christians?
ii. What are the signs of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
iii. What kind of preparation should Christians make for the second coming of the Lord?
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