Resurrecting the Resurrection

Resurrecting the Resurrection

People ask questions today that weren’t asked 100 years ago. For example:

Why is it that to stop Microsoft Windows, you have to click on "Start"?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why isn’t there a mouse-flavored cat food?

Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouths closed?

And more seriously, why is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ such a big deal? Furthermore, why am I talking about it after Easter?

Because, the world has successfully turned our thinking from an empty tomb to an Easter egg, and replaced Jesus with the Easter bunny. As with Christmas, children are deceived by sitting them on the lap of a person dressed up in a rabbit costume. As a result, the real meaning of the Resurrection escapes most of the world and part of the Church. Many doubt the Resurrection. Therefore, I hope to resurrect the meaning of the Resurrection this morning so you can understand its importance and share it with others.

The Scriptures stress that Jesus actually rose from the dead. The angel at the tomb told the women, He is not here; he has risen, just as he said (Matthew 28:6). While the women were telling the disciples this, the soldiers who guarded the tomb were paid handsomely to spread the news that Jesus’ body had been stolen.

Matthew 28:11-15 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’  And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

Which is easier to believe—the women or the soldiers? Obviously, the soldier’s story is more plausible. At first, even the Apostles didn’t believe the women.

Therefore, Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Why is the Resurrection of first importance?

First, if the Resurrection means anything, it means Jesus Christ is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Almighty God! Therefore, people choose not to believe in the Resurrection, for they don’t want to recognize Jesus as God. If He is God, then what He said is true and He is all powerful; someone to be obeyed. Here is an example of His power:

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Being God, Jesus merely spoke things into existence. He spoke and there was light. He spoke again and there was planet earth. He spoke and there were stars in the universe, more than man can number. Furthermore, God (who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” and man became a living being.

God is so powerful He can create something out of nothing. He is not limited like we human beings. God can do anything He wishes to do. He can create anything His heart desires with a word and He can destroy it with a word. He can create life, He can raise the dead, and He can lay His life down and raise it up again.

He has authority over life, death, and salvation. The empty tomb convinced Jesus’ disciples of His divinity, for He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). Therefore, they were willing to die for their faith in this living, all-powerful God.

Those who do not believe or desire an all-powerful God with authority over their lives, choose to imagine He does not exist and claim the Resurrection is a myth. However, there are consequences to their choice. The Resurrection means that Jesus is alive and everyone will have to face Him one day, not as Savior, but as Judge.

Secondly, the Resurrection means that His grace is greater than all our sin.

Romans 5:18-21 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is good news!

Through man’s disobedience, sin entered the world. That contagious germ of sin contaminated every human throughout history. The real meaning and purpose of life was perverted. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ restored to fallen mankind the means to rediscover and fulfill life’s purpose.

As man walked with God in the beginning, we can walk with Him again, here and now, and be with Him throughout Eternity.

Thirdly, the Resurrection means that love is stronger than hate.

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.

John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

The hatred of unbelievers for Jesus Christ is clearly revealed at the cross, but His love is greater than human hate.

Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

While unbelievers deny God and the Resurrection, God still loves them and seeks to save them. There is a length, breath, depth, and height to the love of God that cannot be fathomed.

Romans 5:6-8 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Furthermore, the Resurrection gives believers the power to love and forgive those who persecute them.

Matthew 5:44-48 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

In the flesh—in our own strength—this is impossible. However, the Resurrection means Jesus has the power to convey His Spirit to us. When we are born again, we receive the very life of the risen Lord, the Holy Spirit, from Jesus Himself. This grace to love one another and even our enemies is a witness that Jesus is alive and living in us.

Fourthly, the Resurrection means that life is stronger than death. The death of the body of a believer in Christ has no sting. He only changes address and continues to live.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

That is a good question. Do you believe this? If Jesus can raise Lazarus after 4 days in the grave, if He can raise Himself after 3 days in the grave, then He can raise us, save us, and give us life. Life is in the words of Jesus, calling to our hearts even when we are wrapped in the burial clothing of sin and death. Jesus can give life, because He is Life.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Jesus came to bring life—eternal life to all who believe. His resurrection is both a promise and provision of eternal life. To know Christ personally means to be resurrected with Him NOW and to live free from the bondage of sin and death by the power of the Holy Spirit. One day, we will have a body like His glorious body, but we can know here and now the power and effectiveness of His resurrection and can “walk in newness of life” every day. When we experience His life, we lose our fear of death.

That is what it is to be “born again”. Old things pass away. All things become new, including us, who are being changed daily into the image of Christ.

Christ’s Resurrection gained victory over being dead to God for every member of the human race. But this victory, and our sharing His Life, only becomes ours when we live “in Him”. That is, our wills are no longer ruled by our Adamic nature, no longer ruled by our desires, but are always ruled by Christ’s nature, by the Holy Spirit.

The proof that we have experienced the Resurrection of Jesus is that we have a definite likeness to Him. The Spirit of Jesus entering us rearranges our personal life, and the experiences of our life must now be built on the foundation of His life.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Some of you have no idea what I’m talking about. If you experience it, you understand.

After the decision to be identified with Jesus in His death through baptism, we are born again of the Holy Spirit. Then the Resurrection life of Jesus penetrates every bit of our human nature. The Holy Spirit cannot be accepted as a guest in merely one room of the house—He invades all of it. He takes charge of everything. Our part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals to us. Therefore, we can have the Resurrection life of Jesus here and now, and it will exhibit itself through a holiness like Jesus.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ challenges everything and every person. To science and philosophy it says, "Explain this event." To history it says, "Repeat this event." To time it says, "Blot out this event." To faith it says, "Believe this event."

The Resurrection of Christ stands unique and true and will as long as this world stands. It is very important to you whether you believe it or not. You see, the Resurrection is not just an event. It is not just a special Sunday out of the year. The message of the Resurrection is that Jesus is alive. Furthermore, He has the power to resurrect us from “death unto life”. He is God. He is the Resurrection and the Life.

Dr. Henry Morrison of Institute for Creation Research said, “The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. Everything else that was said or done by Christ and the Apostles is secondary in importance to the Resurrection. If the Resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.”

“All other men, even the greatest men and the holiest men, have died. Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Caesar, Marx—men who made a profound impact on the world in one way or another—are all dead.

“But Jesus Christ is alive! It is true that He died and was buried, in common with all other men, but unlike other men, He returned from Hades, resurrected His own dead body, made it henceforth immortal, and emerged from the tomb, alive forevermore!

This was the greatest of all miracles since the creation itself, and could have been accomplished only if Jesus indeed is God, as He had claimed to be.”

Brothers and sisters, the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is not only the most important thing about Christianity, it is the most important thing in life. If His body had remained in the tomb, another prophet would have passed this way, but no Savior. Without the Resurrection, there is no reason to celebrate His birth. Without the Resurrection, we are no different than anybody else and we are no better off than anyone else! Without the Resurrection, we are still dead in our sin.

To those who believe, Jesus lives in us, because when we die through baptism, He resurrects us unto everlasting life! So I say to you, “Live in the power of the Resurrection every day!” That is, die to your own desires, give your life completely to the Holy Spirit, listen to Him, and do what He says. Don’t act or say things on your own any more.

To those who do not believe, the Resurrection is something they must constantly deny in their minds. However, they will find no peace, because they cannot find any proof for denying the Resurrection. The Resurrection destroys an unbeliever’s philosophy that there is no life after death, and yet they cling to it and wonder, “What if I am wrong?”  

If that describes you, you can be sure of the Resurrection’s reality today. By believing and confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord and risen from the dead, you can be saved from death and damnation and receive eternal life as a gift.

When we believe something, we act on it. To show that you believe in Jesus Christ and His atonement for your sin on the cross, repent of your sin and give Him your life by dying to yourself in baptism. You will be raised  unto a new life, born of the Holy Spirit, who will lead you into righteousness and give you grace to know the truth of the Resurrection, because the Resurrection—Jesus Christ—will be living in you.