Summary: Did Jesus rise from the dead?
Today I would like to address one question…
Why should anyone believe in Jesus?
1Peter 3:15 says we should “always be ready to give …a reason for the hope that is in [us]…”
If you have:
· Listened to the radio
· Watched TV
· Read the newspapers
ANY TIME IN THE LAST 20 YEARS
You might have noticed that the world does NOT hold Christianity in the highest regard. In fact Christians are commonly the object of ridicule by skeptics in politics, TV and legal circles. These powerful circles of influence give the appearance that there is no reason to believe in Jesus.
The questions is: ARE THEY RIGHT???
For our own faith, and the faith of others, it is critical for us to be able to give a reason why we believe in Jesus.
My goal with today’s lesson is to give you good sound reasons to believe in Jesus. Let me begin by reading to you seven words from the bible. Words that capture the central reason why anyone should believe in Jesus.
They were spoken by an angel…to a small group of broken-hearted women. These women had just returned from a tomb where a few days earlier, their master, their cherished friend – Jesus – had been buried.
But now his body was missing. And these women didn’t know where it was or who had taken it.
And in the midst of their grief and confusion, an angel appeared. And in the heart of his message were seven of the most powerful words that the world has ever heard.
Those words are found in
Matthew 28:6 -- "He is not here; he has risen."
Words with profound implications, telling of the first and only person in all of history who had conquered death.
These words conveyed an idea totally contrary to mankind’s belief in the absolute permanence and finality of death.
Yet the angel proclaimed that what was impossible for man had been accomplished by God:
"He (Jesus) is not here; he has risen!"
So for 20 centuries, the world has wrestled over the truth of these seven powerful words:
The greatest attacks on Christianity have been against the resurrection … and for good reason. Believers and Non-believers alike understand that the resurrection is the cornerstone of Christianity. If Jesus rose from the dead, then Christianity is true. If he did not, then it is false. It is that simple.
So the question of whether we can or should believe in Jesus is dependent upon whether the resurrection actually happened.
Are the seven words of the angel true? Did Jesus really die and come back to life?
Is there evidence to support our belief?
One of the worst things that can be said about a preacher is that he preached as if NOTHING were at stake. So, in my attempt to avoid such an accusation, let us briefly consider what is at stake.
The implications are huge!
If the resurrection did happen… then it proves:
1. Jesus has power over death.
2. You can personally trust him with your eternal destiny. Because he predicted and fulfilled his own resurrection, you can trust the promise he made to you about his intention to raise you from the dead.
3. All other religions are false. We’ve all heard someone say “It doesn’t matter what you believe so long as you are sincere”. But that’s not true. I can be sincere and still be absolutely wrong. I can sincerely believe that the airplane I am flying in will land just fine. But if the wheel falls off during landing, no amount of sincerity will prevent the plane from crashing. It’s the same thing with our belief in Jesus. Either he rose from the dead… or he did not. Sincerity is irrelevant.
If Jesus claimed to be the ONLY way to God (which he did), then his rising from the dead is the stamp of approval from a completely truthful God saying that Jesus is in fact the only way to Heaven. EVERY OTHER RELIGION IS FALSE. I find it amazing that every religion claims to know how to conquer death, but none except Christianity claims a leader who actually did conquer death.
· If, however, the resurrection did NOT happen…
Then the implications are summed up by the apostle Paul in Corinthians 15:14… “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (Corinthians 15:14).
1. Jesus is a liar or at a minimum a lunatic.
2. Christianity is false.
3. You have wasted your life believing in Jesus’ supposed ability to save you from death.
There is a lot at stake here!
So did he rise from the dead?
To answer our question, we need to examine 2 things:
1. EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION