A question sent to the problems page of a Christian magazine read like this.
Our preacher said, on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think?
The magazine replied like this.
Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear through his side; embalm him; put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what he says then.
Christ’s resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith!
1 Corinthians 15 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost said this: Acts 2:31-36; 31 Seeing what was ahead, (David) spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ’
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
After the healing of the lame man at the gate of the Temple, Peter preached, Acts 315 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
And on trial before the Ruling Council of Jerusalem the Sanhedrin Peter said this.
Acts 4:10-12 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is “ ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
The resurrection of Jesus is the heart of the Christian faith,
Christ’s resurrection was all the proof Thomas needed of who Jesus really is!
John 20 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Christ’s resurrection is all the proof we need that Jesus really is the Son of god –
Romans 4:1-4 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Christ’s resurrection proves that ALL of Jesus’s teaching is true. The Message translates 1 Corinthians 15 like this. Verses 13-20 “If there’s no resurrection, there’s no living Christ. And face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.
If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ wasn’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries. MESSAGE
Jesus is alive. Jesus is Lord! And that is all the proof we need that His death on the cross was an acceptable sacrifice for all our sin. The ransom has been given, the price has been paid. Christ has dealt with our past. Our sins have been forgiven!
The historical event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the heart of the Christian faith. But what does the resurrection mean for us? How does it change our lives?
I asked this question last week at our evening service for us to discuss. Three themes emerged.
First, Jesus is alive today because God raised Him from the dead. So Jesus walks with us day by day. Indeed Jesus is alive inside us through the work of the Holy Spirit. So Jesus can hear and answer our prayers – because He is not a dead martyr but our Risen Saviour. Jesus makes a difference to our lives here and now in the present.
Hebrews 6 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever.
Hebrews 7 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Jesus promises us in Matthew 28:20 Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
We are never alone. Jesus is with us all the time and has promised never to leave us!
Second, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof for us that we will see Christ in glory and be with Him for eternity. The resurrection is our guarantee of heaven!
On the night before He was crucified, Jesus made this promise to his disciples.
John 14 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
Because Jesus lives, we will live also!
1 Corinthians 6 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
Christ’s resurrection is our guarantee of life beyond death and the happy certainty of Heaven – Philippians 320 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
1 Peter 1 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,
So we don’t need to be afraid of death any more! Jesus is alive and because He lives, we will live also! Jesus gives us a future and a hope more wonderful than any of us can possibly imagine.
Third, the resurrection is Jesus’s victory not only over sin and death but also over the devil and all the powers of evil. And Jesus shares His resurrection life with us. Christ’s resurrection is the key to living the Christian life. The resurrection is the power we need to live the Christian life!
Romans 6: Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
Romans 8 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
The Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us! Jesus shares His victory with us and so we can be victorious over sin and victorious over death and victorious over the devil and all his evil schemes!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes a difference to our past – all our sins have been forgiven. The resurrection makes a difference to our lives in the present – Jesus is with us and gives us the victory! And the resurrection makes a difference to our future – we have a living hope of a glorious inheritance.
God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!
And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives! (Bill Gaither)
So the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the gospel we preach. Christ’s resurrection is all the proof we need proof and also God’s warning to the world that judgment is coming!
Acts 17:30-31 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
So the message we preach is that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Of course the cross is important – Jesus has died for our sins! But the gospel the early church preached did not centre so much on the cross as on the resurrection. Belief in the resurrection is essential! And the gospel of Jesus Christ is simply the announcement to the world – JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE!