Let us recognize that the purpose of God in creating Adam is not simply in His having made him a living soul by having breathed into a piece of fashioned clay. No, this is very inadequate. Man does not yet have the life of God. He has the created life all right, but he does not possess the uncreated life. He is bound by time and space. He is created to a certain point, but falls short of arriving at God’s full design. For this reason, since the time of Adam, God has been working towards obtaining a man in full accordance with His plan. We notice that throughout the entire Old Testament period—ever since the time of Genesis 3 in fact—God had worked incessantly in the lives of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Samuel, David, and others for the sake of accomplishing what He had originally designed. We also perceive how God had actually apprehended those men and was able to finish His work in them. So far as God’s purpose in these men is concerned, we may say that they were apprehended by God. But so far as the man whom God designed to obtain in His eternal plan, none of them was sufficient. All these men reached a certain point but then stopped short of the goal.
But then came the New Testament era. The Son of God came to be a man: the Word became flesh. And this is the man whom God had always longed to have. The man whom He had planned to complete is now found. This man is none other than Christ Jesus. Let us always remember that Christ is the man whom God had continually expected through those many years. Christ is the complete man—God’s representative man and the typical man.
Nevertheless, while the Lord Jesus Christ was on earth there was restriction to His manhood. Though He was very different from the rest of the people on earth in that He had the divine nature and was acomplete man, yet so far as the matter of power was concerned Christ suffered the limitation of a man in that He was restricted by time and space. When the four men brought a man sick of the palsy to see the Lord Jesus, they had to uncover the roof where He was in order to reach His presence (Mark 2.3,4). When the woman who had an issue of blood wished to touch Him, she had to press through the throng before she could do so (Mark 5.25-31). On the other hand, our Lord commended a Roman centurion on his great faith because he answered, “I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed” (Matt. 8.8). This man knew that he did not need to press through to the Lord’s side in order to touch Him, because he recognized the unlimited side of the Lord. Yet so far as the human side of the Lord Jesus went, what He manifested while on earth was rather straitened in character. This does not imply that there was any imperfection in His personality; it only refers to the fact of a restriction in the release of power. He could not have been more perfect in personality, nonetheless, the manifestation of His power does seem to have been somewhat restricted. But after He died and was resurrected the Lord Jesus did arrive at the peak of completeness.
What is resurrection? Resurrection is the fact that God has gotten a man—the kind of man which He had long expected. While our Lord Jesus Christ was on earth He was a perfect man, nevertheless this perfect man was somewhat circumscribed. The man whom God had desired from the foundation of the world is not to be so confined. What God looked for was resurrection. In the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, Christ transcends all limitations. Thereafter nothing can restrict Him anymore. While He lived on earth Christ had the possibility of death. But after His resurrection death could no longer touch Him. Death and the possibility of death are both destroyed by Him. His word to the apostle John long after His resurrection is: “I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore” (Rev. 1.18). He will never die again since the possibility of death is destroyed by Him. Men can no more crucify Him; this possibility of death no longer exists. Now this is called resurrection.
Resurrection means that the man whom God in eternity sought to obtain is now found in our Lord! “Thou art my beloved Son, this day have I begotten thee,” says God. This announcement does not refer to Bethlehem; rather, it points to resurrection. When Christ was born in Bethlehem God was not able to make this announcement; after Christ is resurrected, however, God can publicly say so (see Acts 13.33). Let us therefore remember that even though the Lord Jesus was perfect in nature, character, and conduct while living on earth, He was nonetheless restricted until resurrected. Afterwards, however, all limitations were gone. And thus resurrection signifies that here is a man who has broken through all the limitations of man. The man whom God was always seeking to find is at last found on the day Christ was raised from the dead. . . .
Resurrection is the power of God: “According to that working of the strength of his might which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all . . . not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph. 1.19-21). After His resurrection the Lord sits at the right hand of the Father, far above all. He is far above every name that is named. He is far above all in this world as well as in the world to come. The man whom God had planned to have but had failed to apprehend since the foundation of the world is now found in the Lord Jesus after His resurrection. What God looked forward to possess was a man who would be like Him. Before this became factual, He had not gotten whom He had planned for. The God who is is indeed far above all, but He also wants a man to be far above all. Until there is a man who is far above all, God’s purpose is not fulfilled. After our Lord was raised from the dead He was received to the Father’s right side. Not only the restriction of death is abolished, but all other limitations are overcome. And God has nowobtained the man of His plan.
We need to see that the Lord Jesus came to be a representative man. His life on earth for thirty-odd years is representative, and so is His life after resurrection representative in nature. What He represents on earth during those thirty and more years is the moral standard of man—or more accurately, God’s moral demand on man. What He expresses to His disciples in the forty days after His resurrection is the power God will give us. So that on the one hand the Lord Jesus represents God’s ideal man who reflects the proper moral and spiritual conditions which God requires of man. Should He have come to this world and not died for us nor atoned for our sins, the Lord by so coming would have condemned us because we have all come short of the glory of God. He alone is a man who has the glory of God and who has satisfied God’s glory. He is the ideal person. By comparison, we are all sinners and are all unqualified, because He is the moral standard for every one of us. On the other hand, after His resurrection the Lord Jesus represents even more the ideal man of God. We have already commented that when God said “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” it did not refer to the birth at Bethlehem but to resurrection. On that very same day the Lord Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, “Go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God” (John 20.17). This indicates to us that our becoming sons of God also commences at resurrection . . . .
What does the Holy Spirit do on earth today? He communicates the risen Christ to men. If anyone should say he knows the Holy Spirit but not resurrection we will answer that this is impossible. For today this Christ transcends all space, time, death, and every limitation. The Holy Spirit is that Spirit who has raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. The power of the Holy Spirit is therefore the power of resurrection. Wherever the work of the Holy Spirit is, there is the manifestation of the power of resurrection. Where the HolySpirit is, there is resurrection.