Summary: Pagans expected nothing to happen after a person dies. Jews expected the faithful to be resurrected at the end of time. And Christians have felt that not only has Christ risen from the grave but His resurrection guarantees His follower's resurrection.
Happy Resurrection Day to Cross Church! Maybe you grew up thinking miracles happened a long time ago, if at all. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll introduce you to both ancient miracles and modern ones. But if you’re looking for a miracle, you need not look any further than the empty tomb. If you’re looking for a miracle, look no further than Jesus rising from the grave. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a miracle of the highest order. The resurrection changes everything. And it’s through Jesus’ resurrection that you can experience real, deep, meaningful, and permanent change. That’s what empty tomb promises. So this morning I want to ask: What does the resurrection of Jesus mean to you? The empty tomb of Jesus is significant for three noteworthy reasons.
1. Death Isn’t Final
Every follower of Christ, every believer of Jesus, will be raised from their cemetery graves. Incinerated remains for those believers in Christ who have been cremated will form back together one day.
“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29)
There have been three historic opinions that have formed in history as to the resurrection of the dead and they remain to this day. Pagans expected nothing to happen after a person dies. Jews expected the faithful to be resurrected at the end of time. And Christians have felt that not only has Christ risen from the grave but His resurrection guarantees His follower's resurrection. The empty tomb promises you can live forever because Jesus rose from the grave.
2. Your Status is Insured
“…Jesus our Lord … was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:24b-25) When God raised Jesus from the dead, He approved of Jesus’ work of suffering and dying for our sins. The resurrection of God was confirmation that God accepts Jesus’ work on your behalf. The penalty for sin was paid. Now if you’re the kind of person who says, “Lord Jesus, I’m a Christian, and please answer this prayer because I’m trying my very best to live a life like you’ve asked me. I’m trying my very best to ask you to forgive my sins. I’m really trying my best,” you haven’t gotten it. No more payments needed to be made. Think of the resurrection as a gift God has purchased you. The empty tomb says you can know your sins are forgiven.
3. The Power to Change
The power of Jesus’ resurrection is made available to you today. The power to raise dead people to life is made available to make broken people… whole. It’s this power that is offered to aimless, listless people to make them purposeful and peaceful. A fresh start – that’s what many of us hunger for. The false hope of pharmaceutical drugs, whether they are legal or illegal. The false hope of a name change and a new identity – fleeing your old life for the promise of a fresh, new start. It’s the brilliant college graduate who takes an immoral turn to make a quick buck. Thinking she can outsmart the FEDS, she uses insider information to make millions. After betraying her friends for the sake of a reduced prison sentence, she relocates and tries to cabbage together a new life.
Brokenness comes in many forms. Let me share with you the story of Louie Zamperini. Louie grew up going to church but was often bored by the pastor’s sermons. He was a troublemaker as a child of Italian immigrants. It was Louie’s older brother than discovered his ability to outrun nearly everyone. And in time, he rose to fame as an Olympic runner, finishing 8th in the 1936 Olympics and catching the attention of Adolf Hitler. It was then that he entered WW II. After a plane crash in the ocean, he was trapped in a raft for 47 days. It’s in this tiny raft boat that Louie survived sharks, starvation, dehydration, and Japanese fighter planes. But his 47 days in the ocean were nothing compared to the torture he endured as a POW in Japan. At the hands of an evil man nicknamed “The Bird,” a Japanese military officer and an awful, sadistic criminal, Louie experienced pain and a hatred that few have known. He was left with real scars, emotional and physical.
I’ll continue this story in a few minutes but let me ask you: Would you like to make a fresh start? And how does the gospel make you change? Real profound change?
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