Summary: Message #3 in sermon series, "Pursuing Victory." Easter Sunday message, focusing on the importance and depth of meaning of Easter and Jesus’ resurrection.
Series -- Pursuing Victory
Message #2: "Capturing the Meaning of Easter"
-- How An Empty Tomb Can Fill Our Lives
Mt.28:5-6 -- "The angel said to the women, ’Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.’"
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the fresh beginning Spring affords, nothing wrong with having fun hunting hidden colored eggs. But Easter means more than just a change of seasons.
The real meaning wrapped up in Easter is found in what Jesus did and what He promises us.
WHAT EASTER REALLY MEANS...
1) JESUS DOES WHAT HE SAYS HE’LL DO.
Mt.28:6 - "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said."
Jn.2:22 - "So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this; and they believed...the word which Jesus had spoken."
<>How We Know He Did It...
a) He Clearly Was Dead.
Jn.19:33 - "...when (the soldiers) saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs, but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water."
The coroner of the day, the centurion who was assigned a detail of men to guarantee that the three men hanging on crosses that die did die as their sentences demanded, twice signed off on the fact that Jesus was, officially, dead. Once, when Pilate wondered if Jesus was really already dead when Joseph of Arimathea came and asked for Jesus’ body, and the second time when he actually authorized Joseph of Arimathea to take the body away from Mount Calvary. If Jesus were not dead, the centurion, witness to many crucifixions and an "expert" on if someone was really dead, would have been killed for his wrong information.
The soldiers, coming around to break the legs of those who were on the cross so that the victims would no longer be able to lift themselves and gasp for air, determined that Jesus was already dead, so they didn’t need to break His legs.
Just to be sure, or perhaps out of spite, however, one of the soldiers plunged a spear/sword up into Jesus’ chest cavity, puncturing His heart.
The fact that blood AND water (the clear fluid in the pericardial sac around Jesus’ heart) came gushing out is significant, because the clear fluid would only be present in the pericardium IF the person had already died.
So, nope. No "swoon theory" possible. Jesus really died.
Oh, by the way, to believe that Jesus didn’t really die but emerged later, you would have to believe some pretty bizarre stuff:
--You’d have to believe that a man who hadn’t eaten since Thursday evening, hadn’t had anything to drink since Friday morning, and who hadn’t BREATHED since Friday evening (100 pounds of spices had been stuffed into his body cavities and a tight linen cloth had been wrapped around his head), who had his muscles torn away by virtue of the whipping from a cat of nine tails, so that he was so weak he fell beneath the load of merely a crossbeam and had to have Simon of Cyrene carry His cross the rest of the way to Calvary, who had His knee knocked out of joint by the soldiers, and who had no blood left in His body after bleeding for hours and then, in a final act of vengeance had the remainder of His blood poured out by a spear in His side, SOMEHOW managed to resuscitate in a cold and clammy tomb, roll away a stone that normally took a strong man with the advantage of rolling it downhill, roll it away from the inside of the tomb where He would have had almost no leverage, then beat up at least ten, perhaps as many as thirty armed Roman soldiers, then run away and appear to His disciples as a strong, fully-healed and confident victor.
My friend, it actually takes more faith to believe
THAT theory than it does to believe the claims of Scripture, that Jesus really rose from the dead, vanishing from the tomb in the same manner as He re-appeared in the upper room later that evening, not at all limited by the presence of walls.
b) He Was Placed In Joseph’s Tomb.
*Mt.27:59-60 - "And Joseph took (Jesus’) body...and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away."
The "wrong tomb" theory is laughable.
-->The ladies who arrived at the tomb on Sunday morning had been there around 6pm on Friday evening, too short a time to "forget" where the tomb was.