Session 18- Resurrection
Central Theme: Responding to the Resurrection
Objective Statement: If we want to respond correctly to the Resurrection, we must have three responses.
- Recognize the Fact of Christ Resurrection.
- Remember the Prediction of Christ’s Resurrection.
- Realize the Implications of Christ Resurrection.
- When you think about figures of history there are many who need no response from us today.
- In fact, most of the people of history demand no response from us whatsoever.
- The most notable do seek a response- Marx, Freud, Darwin.
- Men like these do effect the way our word is in real and tangible ways.
- But none of them demand a response the way that Jesus does.
- Most events in human history do not demand a response the way the resurrection of Christ does.
- What you think about the American revolution, or the battle of Gettysburg may matter a little, but it will not effect your eternity.
- This is not true of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- We must respond rightly to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- We can respond rightly with these three responses.
If we want to respond correctly to the Resurrection, we must have three responses.
1. Recognize the Fact of Christ’s Resurrection
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. Luke 24:1
- To understand who is being referred to in this passage you must go back to the previous chapter. In Luke 23:50 we learn about a pharisee name Joseph who went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus.
(50) And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (51) (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. (52) This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
- Apparently Pilate gave him permission to take the body. In verse 53 we learn that he wrapped the body in a linen and placed him in a brand new stone tomb.
(53) And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
- In verses 54-55 we learn that it was the Sabbath, and so the women, his disciples from Galilee who had come with Jesus to Jerusalem, saw the wrapped body in this tomb. They left to go prepare the spices and ointments traditional to preparing a body for burial.
(54) And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
(55) And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
- In verse 56 we see that they could not fully complete this process because of the Sabbath day.
(56) And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
- Then comes the first day of the week.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
- These women who were now prepared to honor Jesus by finishing putting spices and ointments on his body came to the tomb.
- Can you imagine their demeanor as they came? Funerals and cemeteries are not known as fun, positive places to hang out. Certainly, this was a morbid and difficult task that they were coming to do.
- Jesus was dead. At least that was what they thought.
- Certainly, even at this point, they weren’t thankful that He died. The most important act in human history was Christ’s death and subsequent resurrection. But at this point they did not understand the significance of what had happened.
- Jesus was dead. At least that was what they thought.
- Their emotions didn’t match reality. Their vision of their future at the moment was not complete. If you were to ask them to guess as to what would happen next they would have been wrong. Their understanding of who Jesus is and what He could do was about to be expanded, and they had no idea.
- Because as far as they knew Jesus was dead. At least that was what they thought.
- Can you imagine their conversation over the past couple of days. Did their conversations with each other bring them any comfort or hope? Was their plan to finish this morbid task and then head back to Galilee, defeated, despondant and depressed?
- Jesus was dead. At least that was what they thought.
- Often the way we feel and reality do not match. As I have heard from a wise person in my life over and over again, feelings make a great caboose, but they make a horrible engine.
- These people were doing all they knew to do to honor the Lord. Yet, I’m sure their feelings about what had transpired were not in keeping with the truth of what had happened.
- We can be that way, too. For the child of God, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. As difficult as things may get for us on this earth, our hope is secure, and our home is sure. God does not promise prosperity for his followers. In fact, he assured us that we will be hated by the world system. But He told us, “be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”
- Are you discouraged? Hope in God.
- Are you hurting? Cast your cares on the Lord.
- Is your sin forgiven? If it is not, call on the name of the Lord to be saved. If it is, rejoice in the Lord!
- So they are walking towards a tomb, thinking that they will be spending the early part of their morning working on the corpse of the master they loved and in whom they had all of their future hopes.
- Look what they found:
(2) And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. (3) And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
- Now think about the reality of their discovery.
- They came and found the stone rolled away. The tomb was empty! This was the undeniable reality. There was no body.
- What an incredible finding. They did not expect the stone to be rolled away. They expected it to be closed. They did not expect the body to be gone. They expected it to be there. They thought that Jesus was dead, but He wasn’t.
- Now if you and I find an empty tomb today we would conjecture everything but the supernatural. We would think that someone exhumed the body. We would think that someone took it. We would make every kind of naturalistic explanation, and investigate what happened, never even thinking the supernatural as an explanation.
- And what is amazing is that God, in His infinite wisdom, orchestrated the events of Jesus’ death burial and resurrection to make every possible naturalistic explanation of the empty tomb implausible. How did God make the resurrection of Christ provable?
- First of all, Jesus was obviously dead. He died at the hands of Roman executioners. They knew death. He was pierced until blood and water flowed. This was a sign that death had happened.
- Secondly, We see the nature of His burial. He was laid in a tomb, wrapped in grave clothes, with a giant stone put in front of the mouth of the tomb.
- Matthew tells us something about the setting of the tomb before the resurrection. The stone in front of the tomb was quite large. The stone was sealed and was guarded by Roman soldiers.
(62) Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
(63) Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
(64) Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
(65) Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
(66) So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
- These would have all been obstacles that a recently crucified man would not have been able to manage on His own. The grave was guarded by Roman soldiers who would have paid a severe price to lose the body.
- Thirdly, the sacrificial death of his followers for falsifiable claims. That early body of believers right in Jerusalem made the foundational claim that since Jesus rose from the dead, He substantiated His claim to be God and could forgive sins because of His atoning death on the cross. What would have killed that movement was to present the body of Christ, and it never happened. In fact, these men who had been cowards previously, were bold in the face of persecution and even death.
- Yes, the tomb was empty. No, they did not expect it. Nothing has been more significant in all of history than that fact.
- You can believe the Gospel, not just because the Bible claims it, but because there is historical and logical reasons that back up the claims.
- Jesus Christ is who He said He is.
- By believing we can have eternal life in His name.
- The most important response you and I will have is the response to this fact. If you have placed your faith in Jesus, rejoice in the resurrection. Jesus said in John 14:9, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”
- If you have not placed your faith in Christ, do it today!
2. Remember the Prediction of Christ’s Resurrection
(4) And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
- They were perplexed. This is a basic description of their state of mind at this moment. This must have been a very emotional time for them. They were coming to the tomb in grief. Then they find the tomb empty, and it brought about confusion. What had happened? Where was Jesus body? Who took it? Wasn’t crucifixion enough? What possibilities came to mind as questions at that moment?
- Then something even more incredible happened.
(5) And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth,
- The appearance of two men in shining garments seemed to have happened suddenly. This startled them, as you can imagine. The sight and experience was such that they immediately got to the ground.
- These angels ask the question of Easter. It is the question of Resurrection Sunday.
they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
- “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” This was the possibility that they may not have considered, or if they did it was beyond their wildest dreams.
(6) He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
- He is not here. He is not at the grave. He is not in the grave. He is not in the grave clothes. He is risen. He got up. He left the seplechure. He is alive.
(7) Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (8) And they remembered his words,
- They were saying that they should have expected it. This should have been the first and most likely possiblity they considered when you saw the empty tomb. Why? Remember what He predicted!
- They could have asked, “Don’t you remember that he said “Destroy this temple and in three days I will lift it up.”?
(19) Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
They could have asked, Do you know the scripture that says in Isaiah 53:9-10?
“(9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
(10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
- Why would you look for the man who raises the dead among the dead?
- He was asked, “You saved others why don’t you save yourself.” He prolonged His days and ours through resurrection power! This was predicted, and it came to pass.
- If Jesus rose from the dead:
- He is God.
- He is the only way to God.
- Everything He said was true.
- The Old Testament is true.
- The New Testament is true.
- We can be saved!
- Do you believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a historical fact?
3. Realize the Implications of Christ Resurrection.
(9) And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. (10) It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
- The immediate response of these women who had seen the empty tomb, and had talked to the angels, was to go and tell the disciples.
- News this big was not to be kept to themselves. They went back to the disciples, the eleven, now being called the eleven because Judas had betrayed him and had thus committed suicide.
- If Jesus had resurrected, they had to tell the others.
- The resurrection is true and should be shared with others. If it is true, then it is the most important event in human history. It must be shared.
- But notice that they didn’t immediately believe.
(11) And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
- Not everyone that hears about the resurrection will believe it.
- Especially the first time.
- But notice that Peter made the decisions to investigate.
(12) Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
- Not only did Christ die on the cross for our sins and rise from the dead, He revealed the whole thing to us in a way we could receive it.
- Hundreds of years before it happened He told us that it would through His prophets.
- Then He poured His life into disciples who were with Him.
- They heard Him make predictions about His own death and resurrection.
- Then they were there to witness the reality of what had happened.
- They saw Jesus alive.
- This same Peter that was “wondering in himself at that which was come to pass” went on to speak boldly in the name of Jesus. Notice what Peter said in the face of the priests and pharisees that were instrumental in putting Jesus to death.
(18) And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
(19) But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
(20) For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
- These men who had denied Christ and had run away were now willing to give their lives, and in fact did give their lives, because of what they saw and heard.
- It was not just something to be believed and taught in theory.
- They saw Jesus die, and then they saw Him rise again bodily. They saw Him in the flesh.
- The implications are monumental and important. This is what Paul was speaking of in 1 Corinthians 15:12-21
(12) Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
(13) But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
(14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
(15) Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
(16) For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
(17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
(18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
(19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
(20) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
(21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:12-21
- Billy Graham told of a conversation he had with the Chancellor of Germany.
I was invited to have coffee one morning with Konrad Adenauer before he retired as the Chancellor of Germany. When I walked in, I expected to meet a tall, stiff, formal man who might even be embarrassed if I brought up the subject of religion. After the greeting, the Chancellor suddenly turned to me and said, “Mr. Graham, what is the most important thing in the world?” Before I could answer, he had answered his own question. He said, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ is alive, then there is hope for the world. If Jesus Christ is in the grave, then I don’t see the slightest glimmer of hope on the horizon.” Then he amazed me by saying that he believed that the resurrection of Christ was one of the best-attested facts of history. He said, “When I leave office, I intend to spend the rest of my life gathering scientific proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It was the fact of the resurrection of Christ that called the disciples to go out as burning young revolutionaries to change the world of their day. They preached that Christ is alive. This should be our message every day of the year.
- The truth is this: If Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then it means what the Jesus said was true. It means what the Bible says is true.
- What does the Bible say?
- We are sinners.
- Our sin deserves death.
- Jesus died to pay for our sins.
- God showed His approval and substantiated the substitutionary death of Jesus by raising Him from the dead.
- Your sins can be forgiven and they must be forgiven.
- You do not have to die in your sins. You can have a home in heaven and be right with God.
- If you do not believe in Jesus you will spend eternity in Hell.
- Today is a chance to repent and believe. Today is a chance to trust in Christ by faith. Today is a chance to share the good news of the Gospel- the death, burial, and resurrection for our sins with the world.
- What should your response be to the resurrection today?