ENCOUNTERING THE RESURRECTED JESUS
(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)
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INTRO TO TOPIC: HOW IMPORTANT IS THE RESURRECTION?
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” (1 Cor. 15:12-14, NKJV).
- Jesus loves us so much He died for us! After Jesus died on the Cross (Good Friday), three days later He raised from the dead and began appearing to His disciples.
- Easter Sunday – or resurrection day – is the most important day of the Christian year.
THE BIG IDEA: Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we can experience Him through the living hope of His resurrection today.
- THEORIES THAT CLAIM THE RESURRECTION WAS A HOAX:
- The (Coma) Theory which claims that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, but He was in such a state of exhaustion due to loss of strength and blood, that He ‘swooned’ into a coma. Believed to be dead, He was taken down and put into a tomb (where) He revived and somehow pushed the stone away and slipped out into the night unnoticed by anyone. He then reappeared to His followers, claiming to have been raised miraculously, when actually He had only fallen into a coma.
- The Kidnap Theory which says that Jesus did actually die, but in the middle of the night, someone came and took His body. Unseen by the soldiers, the kidnapper pushed back the stone, stole the body, and hid it where it would never be found.
- The Hallucination Theory which borrows from the kidnap theory, says his body was hidden away. And those disciples who later thought they were seeing the raised Christ were having a hallucination.
- EVIDENCES FOR THE RESURRECTION:
1. Jesus Really Died: A Response to The Coma Theory:
“31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (John 19:31-34).
“So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” (Mark 13:39).
- After the brutal torture Jesus experienced as He was whipped and beaten, and His six hours on the Cross, He was undoubtedly dead!
- Jesus couldn’t have rolled the stone away after being so weak! “Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.” (Matt. 27:26). Discuss the scourging.
- QUOTE: “Before the scourging began, Jesus was stripped of His garments and bent low over a low post, with wrists and ankles shackled into that position. The instrument used for scourging was a circular piece of wood to which were attached long, leather thongs. Into these leather thongs or straps were sewn bits of glass, bone and metal…The flagellum was brought all the way back and whistled forward, making a dull drum sound as the strips of leather smashed against the back of the rib cage…It was designed to reduce the naked body to strips of raw flesh and inflamed, bleeding wounds. It was not uncommon for a man to die on the stump…It is easy to forget that Jesus was tortured, brutalized, and mistreated for an extended period of time before He was led to the place of execution. He had become so marked and swollen that His individual features were scarcely distinguishable.” (Charles Swindoll).
2. The Empty Tomb: A Response to The Kidnap Theory:
- Who would have kidnapped His body? His enemies wouldn’t have done it: The Romans put guards on the tomb to prevent that: “So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.” (Matt. 27:66).
- His disciples wouldn’t have stolen His body. If they had, they wouldn’t have been willing to die for a lie like that! “People will die for their religious beliefs if they sincerely believe they’re true, but people won’t die for their religious beliefs if they know their beliefs are false.” (Lee Strobel).
- The empty tomb is one of the greatest proofs for the resurrection!
3. The Post Resurrection Appearances: A Response to The Hallucination Theory:
“3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor. 15:3-6).
- When Paul wrote this letter in the first century, there were hundreds of people alive who had all seen the resurrected Jesus!
- Paul’s conversion to Christianity (as a Jew who opposed the teachings of Christ) is another evidence for the truth of it. Look also at Lewis, McDowell & Strobel!
- THE BIBLE ACCOUNT OF THE RESURRECTION:
“1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples (Mark adds “and Peter” in Mark 16:7) that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” 8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” (Matt. 28:1-10).
- Here the women came weeping, mourning, grieving and fearful.
- But after encountering His resurrection power, they were full of fear and great JOY!
- One of the greatest evidences for the resurrection is people still encounter Jesus today!
- Do YOU struggle with fear, discouragement or depression? Come to Jesus for His joy!
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
PREACH IT: Do YOU know Jesus today in the power of His resurrection?
- Too many people are stuck on Good Friday – in some churches, He’s still on the Cross!
- Jesus is alive! God wants to take our old and broken lives and make all things new!
- Are you a sinner? He died on the Cross to pay the price for your sins to be forgiven.
- Are you depressed? He wants to give you joy unspeakable and full of glory!
- Are you sick? He will heal your sicknesses and diseases!
- Come to Jesus all you weary and heavy burdened and find rest for your souls!
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RESOURCES ON PROOFS FOR THE RESURRECTION:
- CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity
- Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict and A Ready Defense.
- Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ
- Charles Swindoll’s The Darkness and the Dawn
- Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus.
Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/