The audio above is the entire service not just the teaching!
Today is a day of celebration…we celebrate Jesus raising from the dead we celebrate with big meals, nice clothes, bunny rabbits, candy (all kinds of candy) and being with friends and family and all of that is nice.
I know Christmas gets much more press because without faith you really can’t celebrate Easter, Santa Claus makes celebrating Christmas easy but Easter is different everything comes back to a cross, one man dying for all, and an empty tomb with a promise of a return…it is not easy to clarify what we believe and why it is so important unless we know the facts. So today bear with me as I teach rather than preach this morning because without this celebration and fully understanding it we have no hope and no faith…so here we go
Why does it matter that Jesus rose from the dead?
- The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the foundations upon which Christianity is built (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). The virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:18,25; Luke 1:27), the deity of Christ (1 John 4:15, 5:5; John 10:30), Jesus’ atonement for sin (Roman 5:10,11; 2 Corinthians 5:21), and His crucifixion are non-negotiable truths, without which Christianity could not exist. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was the crowning achievement that forever separates Him from any other religious leader who has ever been or will ever live. No other religious figure in history has ever prophesied His own death and resurrection—and then accomplished it.
- The fact that Jesus rose from the dead matters because it fulfilled prophecy. Jesus prophesied His resurrection (Mark 8:31), and so did the Old Testament (Psalm 16:10–11; Isaiah 53:12). Roman rule brought crucifixion as a particularly heinous form of capital punishment. Many people were crucified for their crimes and for insulting Caesar. So the facts of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial are not necessarily outstanding, as many suffered the same fate. However, the bodies of those other people are still in their graves. Jesus’ tomb is empty (Luke 24:24). If Jesus never rose from the dead, there would be no compelling reason to believe that He is who He said He is. But the fact is that He did rise again, confirming His claim to be God (Matthew 27:62,63; 28:6).
WE WILL NOT READ THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES BUT I WANT THEM IN THE NOTES AND ON THE SCREEN
Mark 8:31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead.
Psalm 16:10,11 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. 11 You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
Luke 24: 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”
Matthew 27: 62,63 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, After three days I will rise.’
Matthew 28:6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay
- The fact that Jesus rose from the dead also matters because our justification (being made righteous and holy) hinges on it.
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” Romans 4:25.
“…because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. Hebrews 7:24,25
- The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is fundamental to our faith. First Corinthians 15 is a detailed explanation of the importance of Jesus’ resurrection. Verses 13, 14 states,
“For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.
“and believers who have died are “lost” verse 18.
- Jesus rose from the dead, and Paul presents that event as the only thing that gives us hope in this life. Christ was the first to permanently rise from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20,22,23), clearing the way for a future resurrection for all who believe. Jesus’ claim that He has the power to grant eternal life is to be trusted because He Himself conquered death (Romans 8:11; John 3:16–18; 10:28).
What is the evidence to help gain trust in the idea of Jesus actual resurrection?
1. Without the physical Resurrection, two thousand years of history are left begging for explanation, like a movie missing a key scene. No other event in all recorded history has reached so far across national, ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural, political, and geographic borders. The message spread with unreasonable success across the world. During just the first few centuries, it spread without political or military power, prevailing against the ruthless efforts of dedicated, organized and violent opposition. How did a small band of disempowered Jews in an occupied and insignificant territory of ancient Rome accomplish this unequaled act?2 What happened so many years ago that reframed all human history?
2. With dates established by radiometric analysis, prophecies from centuries before Jesus’ birth predict his life, death, and resurrection.3The great scientist Blaise Pascal identifies this as the “tangible proof” for people who want evidence that God exists. These prophecies include specific details that Jesus and His followers could not control. For example, before the Romans invented crucifixion, Psalms 22:16 described the piercing of Jesus’ hands and feet.
My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet
Isaiah 53 is a particularly important prophecy that lays out the story of Jesus and the meaning of the Resurrection (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). Is this evidence of an Intelligence outside our time confirming Jesus’ authority?
3. Jesus was a real person in history who died. Several manuscripts from multiple sources, including Jewish historians, describe a man named Jesus who lived and was executed. Specific details reported about His execution confirm. “Blood and water” spilled from a spear wound in His side. He really died and was not merely unconscious. (John 19: 34, “On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ,” JAMA 255 : 1455, https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.1986 .03370110077025).
4. The early accounts of the Resurrection and prophecies predicting it were reliably transmitted through history. As of today, more than 66,000 early manuscripts are known, orders of magnitude more than other ancient texts. Many are carbon dated to before Jesus’ time on earth and the first few centuries after. We see accounts nearly unaltered in the earliest manuscripts.6 A pattern of consistency emerges. There are variations in the manuscripts, but nothing invalidates the reliability of the Resurrection accounts.
5. Accounts of the Resurrection include inconvenient and unflattering details, that make most sense as attempts to reliably record what had happened, free from embellishment. They do not fit expectations of a fabricated account. For example, women are the first witnesses of the Resurrection. In a culture that did not admit the testimony of a woman as valid evidence in court, this detail is surprising. Likewise, all the disciples, the leaders of the early Church, flee as cowards when Jesus is taken. However, a positive is that he was seen by so many all of the disciples, the men on the road to Emmaus, and Paul tells us he was even seen by 500 at one time 1 Corinthians 15:6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.
6. After Jesus’ violent death, His followers were frightened and scattered. Then, something happened that grew a strong, bold, and confident belief that resisted sustained, murderous opposition. Unlike other movements with executed leaders, once they came back together they did not replace Jesus with one of his family members. Their resistance was entirely non-violent and devoid of political power. Yet they were all suddenly willing to die for what they saw. What changed them? Why was there not evidence at the time to undermine their belief?7 What convinced them that Jesus was inconceivably greater than his family?
7. More than just a fact about our past, the Resurrection creates a connection to God that is perceived by people from all times, cultures, socioeconomic statuses, personalities, and mental capacities, across the last 2,000 years of history. Its reach includes some of the most famous scientists: Blaise Pascal, Johann Kepler, Robert Boyle, Gregor Mendel, Asa Gray, Michael Faraday, James Maxwell, Santiago Ramón y Cajal (I kazal), and Francis Collins. Is this unmatched reach and influence a sign of a living God working His purpose in history?
Some of the evidence here is established by scientific methods. For example, radiocarbon dating demonstrates that Isaiah 53’s prediction that Jesus “see the light of life” after dying was written at least 100 years before His birth.
1. The entire Christian faith hinges on the physical Resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:14,17), but no “Resurrection mechanism” for science to study is proposed. As a mechanism-free singular event that defies all natural laws, we are well outside science’s ability adjudicate facts and understand evidence. In other words no one asked for proof they just understood it to be real
2. The question of the Resurrection is more like an opportunity to fall in love than a scientific inquiry. There is evidence, but the Resurrection cannot be studied dispassionately. If Jesus really rose from the dead, it reorders everything. Just like falling in love, in changes our view of the world.
The final verdict, is that the Resurrection makes sense through the lens of history. I find the Creator of all that science studies comes to us in this way. The evidence is compelling. Faith in Jesus is reasonable and is certainly not without evidence.
So, we are left with an invitation. Will we too believe? Will we be curious? Will we respond with trust?
You see I have given proof this morning that we serve a living Christ and that he is able to meet you, lead you, guide you, deliver you, strengthen you and change your world if you will allow Him
He has plans for you to fulfill you because you were made to fulfill His plans and change the world rather than being changed by it…you were created to be filled with joy because Jesus said you were, you were created to live in peace, because Jesus said you are, you were created to be fully loved because Jesus said you are and we can believe it all because Jesus said he would rise again and he did!