Posted by: Brad Beaman | August 3, 2010

The Resurrection

A man started a new religion. But after he got started he found that he did not have many followers. He went out seeking advice. What could he do to bolster his new religion? He asked someone who was wise and would give him advice. The reply came, “get yourself crucified, then die and be sure to rise again on the third day.”

The resurrection is the very central point and essence of Christianity. That essence is captured beautifully in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

Jesus died, was buried, raised again and there were appearances and witnesses. This captures the heart of the gospel. The people of Paul’s day had trouble with the resurrection. In Acts 17 Paul is preaching away to the people of Athens. Paul mentions the resurrection and men sneered and left, but some remained and became believers.

We celebrate the resurrection at Easter but for the Christian it is an ongoing celebration. For some the resurrection of Jesus is an offense and a stumbling block. For others it is eternal life.

The Death of Jesus
The triumph of the Easter story begins in a most unusual way. It begins with the death of Jesus. He died a criminal’s death. When we see a cross hanging in the church it is easy to forget this cross was an instrument of death. Jesus was taken out to Golgotha, the place of the skull. Nails were driven through his hands and feet. He was left to die on the cross a disgraceful death between two criminals.

After Jesus hung on the cross the soldiers came by to break the legs of Jesus so he would die faster of affixation. When they found him he was already dead. Instead of breaking his legs they thrust a spear into his side. It brought a flow of blood and water.

Jesus experienced the sting of death. It would seem that sin and death triumphed. You know what happens when a honey bee stings? The stinger comes out and the honey bee dies. When death stung Jesus the stinger came out.

What seemed like defeat for Jesus would soon turn to victory. But for the moment Christ was dead. Jesus died according to what fulfilled the scriptures. He died the just for the unjust. And just to be sure he was buried.

Jesus was buried.

Why mention Christ’s burial? Because the burial puts a punctuation mark on his death. It also sets the stage for the resurrection from the dead. Jesus was placed in a tomb, guarded with the Roman seal. If anyone stole the body the Roman soldiers received the death sentence. Jesus burial gives evidence that his death was a historical fact.
When someone is buried, that proves it, they are dead. Jesus died; he was buried in the tomb. It was sealed and it was guarded.

Jesus was raised from the dead
Jesus died – past tense
Jesus buried- past tense
Now there is a change in tense. Jesus was raised and it carries the meaning it happened in the past and he is still alive today!

He is risen! He is alive! Jesus raised never to die again. Others in the New Testament were raised but they died again, like Lazarus. Jesus was raised from the dead and he shall live forever. Revelation 1:18 Behold I am alive forever and ever. The tomb is empty. The women on their way to anoint the body of Jesus and wondered who would roll away the stone. They were amazed that the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty.

The man in white asked why are you amazed. Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified, he is risen. Why seek the living among the dead? Peter and the other disciple heard the news and ran to where the grave clothes were lying. He is risen!

That is the foundation of our faith. The resurrection is the foundation of our hope. It is the central doctrine in Christianity. It is the bases of our hope as Christians.

If Jesus was not raised then we have no hope and no gospel. Our whole faith collapses without the resurrection. If Jesus did not raise from the dead then let’s not follow Christ. Without the resurrection we have nothing to preach (1 Corinthians 15:14). But to God be the glory, Jesus was raised. We have a resurrection. We have hope. We have good news. We have life beyond the grave. We have victory.

And this I am sure about, as sure as I am about anything. The resurrection is established. It is a historical event. There is overwhelming evidence. Yes it involves faith to beleive. The gospel has been changing lives for 2,000 years. It does not require a leap of faith. It is a step of faith to trust in Jesus and his death on the cross to count for your sins.

The Resurrection Appearances.

Paul mentions the appearances of Jesus to individuals and to groups. Jesus appeared to them, they saw him they touched him, they heard his words.

He appeared to a group of 500 most still alive when Paul wrote this. Jesus appeared often enough, under enough different circumstances that it could not have been an illusion. Christians may have full confidence a calm assurance. Their faith is not blind faith. But grounded in solid evidence.

Simple Gospel; the death, the burial, the resurrection of Jesus appearances. I hope you know the resurrection as more than a cold reality. It is a living hope that will change your life. You will become a new creation.

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Responses

  1. Thank God for Jesus!!!


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