Summary: Resurrection of Jesus, Easter sermon
"DAY OF VICTORY"
TEXTS: John 20:1-31
INTRO: If the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not take place then Christianity is a joke! BUT … if it did take place then your choice of accepting or rejecting Christ as Lord of your life is NO joke!
Most people have a hard time with believing in a resurrection because it just seems too incredible! But, only a couple hundred years ago if you had told your great great great great grandfather that you could fly from New York City to Los Angeles in a little over 5 hours on a vehicle that weighed hundreds of thousands of pounds with over 300 people on board 5 miles high in sky he would have laughed in your face, he could not believe this because it had never been done! If you told that same relative from a couple hundred years ago that men would walk on the moon, or that messages could be flashed to England or China in less than a second, or that a machine called a computer could do a billion math calculations in a matter of seconds or milliseconds he would not believe it! We easily believe it because we take it for granted, having witnessed and even experienced these things over and over again. The same is true with resurrection power, what seems incredible to us today will be taken for granted after the resurrection of the godly one day, it is only incredible to us today because we have not yet seen it as a widespread reality yet!
The gospel writers are careful to tell us a great deal about Jesus’ resurrection, why? They wrote to make us realize that we need to take seriously the claims of Jesus Christ! No other religious leader of any other religion has risen from the dead except Jesus, so who do you want to follow?
ILLUS: Sometimes a political candidate who wishes to be returned to office will say, "I stand on my record." Our faith stands on the record of what God has done, on the record of promises kept. John 20:31 says "These are written that you may believe." Faith is not inherited, nor does it come by accident. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and discovering that God keeps his promises. Faith is "standing on the promises." -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
The challenge of God is before us this day, will you believe in Jesus Christ and thereby experience resurrection life one day?
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that Jesus rose from the dead. If this is not true then it doesn’t matter what we believe, but if it is true then it eternally matters what we believe!
I. TERROR OF THE TOMB! 20:1-9
A. ’Grave’ Helplessness 20:1-7
1. It is early Sunday morning and Mary Magdalene makes her way to Jesus’ tomb, heartsick over His death!
a. This is hardly the kind of person to make up a story about Jesus being alive again, she has come in tears!
b. Mary was once demon possessed with 7 demons, (see Luke 8:1 ff.) Jesus had delivered her and completely restored her!
2. The 12 disciples were hardly the type of men to steal the body of Jesus and make up His resurrection, they were hiding in fear of their lives when Jesus was dying!
a. Women were the last at the cross, and the first at the empty tomb!
b. These women (while the text here only mentions "Mary" she does say, "WE don’t know where they have put Him!" thus indicating more women were with her. Indeed, the other Gospel writers indicate that other ladies were with her.
3. Can we take the evidence of an empty tomb and the witness of men and women from long ago seriously?
ILLUS: The Etruscans were the first known inhabitants of Italy. They were there before the Romans and had a highly developed civilization. They left no written record, no history, no poetry, no literature. All that we know of them we have learned from their tombs. Jesus Christ left us so much: sermons, parables, a sinless life, the church -- but we also learn much from his tomb, his empty tomb. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
a. We do this all the time in archeology! Why not with Jesus?
b. We can accept the testimony of both His enemies and His friends, for even the enemies of Jesus paid the frightened soldiers to make up a lie that Jesus’ body had been stolen!
4. The grave frightens us, but it doesn’t have to if we know Jesus Christ as our savior and lord! We are not helpless when facing death when we know Christ!