Jesus Self-Resurrection




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Did Jesus Raise Himself from the Dead?

John 10.17–18

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • April l 15, In the year of our Lord, 2018


  1. In my judgment, what Jesus said in John 10
    1. shows that He foretold His self-resurrection,

      17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10.17–18).
    2. However, not everyone holds that view.
    3. A friend of mine read my book where I stated,

      “John 10 shows a difference in the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Something happened that had not happened with any other resurrection in the history of the world: ‘Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father’ (John 10:17–18).

      “In other resurrections, someone stood by the dead body and raised it. With Jesus, no one stood next to Him or outside His tomb. He raised Himself from the dead. He received the commandment to do that from God the Father. Therefore, God exists because Jesus did what only God can do. God created life. As God, Jesus can re-create it! The resurrection declared Jesus to be the Son of God.” (Page 62?)

  2. My friend believes that I am in error on that point.
    1. What he said, I think is good for you to hear.
    2. If you think that I overstate the case, then
      1. I would like for you to hear further
      2. why I believe in the self-resurrection of Jesus Christ,
        1. although you may never have heard anyone affirm it before.
        2. Yet, we have to go with what the Bible says,
          1. even if no one else has seen it in the Bible.


  1. Jesus Did Literally Give His Life
    1. My friend said,

      Consider some of John: 16: [sic] 11-15 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep…. I am the good shepherd; … As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
      A. A shepherd didn’t literally give his life. Animals and thieves took it. B. Christ did not literally lay down his life. He was killed by others (Matt. 16:21; Luke 24:7; Acts 2:23).
      C. Likewise, Jesus did not literally raise himself—he lived in a way that death could not keep him (Acts 2:24), so God raised him.
    2. How shall we teach biblical doctrine?
      1. Many people think that such teachings are “either…or,” but
      2. often they are “both…and.”
        1. Yes, Jesus both
          1. gave or
          2. laid down His life and
        2. others took it.
    3. Jesus did literally give His life and He did lay it down.
      1. He let others take Him.
      2. He died at the appointed time.

        4 When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law… (Galatians 4.4).

        1. No one had power over Him.
        2. He laid down His life when He was ready to die.
          1. Listen to John 19 and
            1. what Jesus said and
            2. what John said about the actions of Jesus,

              30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit (John 19:30).
          2. Luke 23 shows Jesus giving His life,

            46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last (Luke 23.46).
    4. Therefore, when Jesus said that He laid down His life,
      1. that is precisely what happened,
      2. Therefore, He literally raised Himself from the dead,

        17 “…I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10.17–18),

        1. It seems to me that we should be able to take Him at His word.
        2. If He did not mean
          1. that He would lay down His life and
          2. that He would take it again,
            1. what did He mean?
            2. How else am I supposed to take His word?
    5. Did He actually mean these quotes?
      1. “I lay down My life that I may take it again,”
      2. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself,”
      3. “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again,”
        1. If He actually did not mean that,
        2. what did He mean?
          1. Why did He say it that way,
          2. if He did not mean it that way?
        3. If He did want us to have the impression
          1. that He laid down His life and
          2. that He took up His life again,
            1. how else would He have said it,
            2. other than the way that He did say it?
        4. Are there other instances when He said
          1. that He would do something, but
          2. He did not actually mean that He would do it?
  2. Our Resurrection Being Passive Does Not Automatically Mean That His Was
    1. My friend said,

      Barnes wrote Jesus’ words, “That I might take it again” mean “Be raised up from the dead”—Barnes’ Notes
      A. Barnes compared the resurrection to Christian baptism, which is always passive (someone has to baptize us).
      B. All other NT resurrection passages appear to be passive; that is, Christ was raised. None say he raised himself. (Matt. 16:21, 17:23, Mark 14:28, Luke 9:22, John 21:24, Acts 2:24, 32, 3:15, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, Rom. 6:4, 8:11, 1 Cor. 6:14, Gal. 1:1, etc.
    2. None of those other passages can nullify what John 10 says.
    3. We have to consider what else Jesus said According to the Gospel of John.
      1. He spoke frequently of Himself not doing something, but
      2. of the Father doing it.
        1. He would also say that He was to do something, but
        2. not the Father.
          1. Notice what Jesus said on the matter of judging,

            22 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son…” (John 5.22).
          2. Yet, Paul told the Athenians,

            30 “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17.30–31).

            1. So which is it?
            2. Is Jesus doing the judging or is the Father doing the judging?
              1. It is not either Jesus is or the Father is, but
              2. it is both Jesus and the Father are judging.
    4. Moreover, John 2 shows that Jesus spoke of a self-resurrection in other places,

      18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” 19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2.18–22).

      1. It was on this very point,
      2. that the Jewish leaders condemned Jesus.
        1. They misunderstood Him, but
        2. that was not His fault.
          1. Matthew 26 shows that at His Jewish trial
          2. they brought up the incident from John 2,

            61 “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days’” (Matthew 26.61).

            1. How quickly He could have disarmed that charge,
            2. if He had said that He did not mean it literally.
    5. Revelation 1 records Jesus saying something
      1. that shows He could perform a self-resurrection,

        18 “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1.18).
      2. Paul began the Roman letter by saying,

        4 …declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1.4).

        1. How did His resurrection show Him to be the Son of God?
        2. Other people were raised from the dead, but
          1. their resurrections did not declare them Sons or Daughters of God.
          2. The difference is that Jesus did what only someone divine can do.
            1. He has the keys of Hades and of Death and
            2. He used those keys to open the gates of Hades,
              1. to re-enter His body and
              2. to give life to His body again.
  3. We Are Not God, Therefore, We Cannot Raise Ourselves
    1. My friend said,

      Jesus’ resurrection is a model of our resurrection to a new life by baptism (Rom. 6:4-6) (Eph. 2:6).
      A. Every able-bodied person can immerse himself.
      B. We cannot immerse ourselves for forgiveness of sins; we must “be baptized,” that is, someone else has to baptize us (Acts 2:38).
    2. The Father also raised Jesus,
      1. as Paul declared in Romans 6, and
      2. the Father raises us.
    3. However, this says nothing about whether Jesus raised Himself.
      1. I have already shown passages which explicitly state that He did.
      2. Yes, we can put ourselves under water and bring ourselves back up.
        1. Yes, baptism is passive. Someone does it to us.
        2. However, Jesus also participated in His own resurrection.
  4. This Does Not Affirm the Oneness Doctrine
    1. My friend also said,

      Troy argued against those who believe there is one person in the Godhead. A. He read Luke 3:21-22: “When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
      B. Troy said that would mean that Jesus prayed to himself, then saw himself descending upon himself, and Jesus’ voice from heaven told Jesus that he was his own son and well-pleasing to himself.”
    2. What my friend referred to is the Oneness doctrine,
      1. that teaches the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all one person, but
      2. manifested differently at different times.
    3. Both the Father and the Son created.
      1. To affirm that does not mean we imply the Oneness doctrine.
      2. If the Bible says both the Father and the Son raised up Jesus,
        1. then that is what happened.
        2. Let me add that Romans 8 teaches
          1. that there is another one
          2. who was involved in the resurrection of Jesus and
            1. in our future resurrection,

              11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8.11).
            2. It should not surprise us
              1. that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit
              2. all worked together in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  5. We Should Speak as the Bible Speaks
    1. My friend affirmed,

      “I know you believe the truth about the Godhead. I would personally avoid statements that Christ raised himself, because I think some would take them to mean I have ‘oneness’ leanings, and that those statements will also distract from the book’s message.

      “In a workshop 15 years ago, Roy Lanier Jr. discussed his father’s book, The Timeless Trinity, which has some unusual statements about the Godhead. Roy elaborated on a few of them. William Woodson followed Roy. He said that the Godhead was very hard for him to understand, so he avoided making unusual interpretations of it. I also find it difficult.

      “You and I may not agree; preachers seem to always disagree on some things. This is my view. If you differ and have time, or you feel I have made a mistake, feel free to point it out. This is certainly not personal, and I want to know when I am wrong.”

    2. My goal is to speak as the Bible speaks,

      11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4.11).

      1. If I avoided everything that someone might misunderstand,
      2. I would have to quit preaching and teaching.
        1. If the Bible affirms that Jesus raised up His body again,
        2. then we should also affirm it,
          1. even if everyone else in the Churches of Christ denies it,
          2. although I do not know that everyone does.
    3. My goal also is not that I do not want to sound like someone else.
      1. In our efforts to avoid denominationalism,
      2. we can become denominational,
        1. unintentionally,
        2. by excluding truth, because
          1. we fear someone might think
          2. that we sound like someone we do not want to sound like!
    4. Is our goal just to be different from everyone else?
      1. If so, it should not be!
      2. Jesus spoke things and people misunderstood Him all the time.
        1. So shall it be with us.
        2. If someone misunderstands our point,
          1. it gives us more of an opportunity
          2. to teach him more.


  1. As I showed from Romans 8.11, someday we shall be raised from the dead.
  2. To be sure that we then go into heaven, we need to do as Romans 6.4 says.