Summary: JESUS' RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD-WHAT IT MEANS.
EASTER - WHAT A DIFFERENCE!
Today is Easter Sunday &, as Christians, we have gathered to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior & Lord. But even as we celebrate, our hearts are heavy with the realization that much is wrong with our world. Unrelenting hatred seems to rule supreme in the hearts & lives of so many & the fruits of terror are all too evident.
ILL. It was21 years ago, on Feb. 27, 1991, at the height of Desert Storm, that Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon. It stated that her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private 1st Class, had stepped on a mine in Kuwait & was dead.
Ruth Dillow later wrote, "I can’t begin to describe my grief & shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For 3 days I wept. For 3 days I expressed anger & loss. For 3 days people tried to comfort me, to no avail because the loss was too great."
But 3 days after she received that message, the telephone rang. The voice on the other end said, "Mom, it’s me. I’m alive." Ruth Dillow said, "I couldn’t believe it at first. But then I recognized his voice, & he really was alive." The message was all a mistake!
She said, "I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels, because my son whom I had thought was dead, was really alive. I’m sure none of you can even begin to understand how I felt."
A. Perhaps not, but some who walked the pages of the N.T. would have understood how she felt because they
experienced the same emotions themselves.
1. One day they watched their best friend & teacher being nailed to a cross.
2. They witnessed His pain as He cried out, "I thirst!" & "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"
3. They listened as finally He bowed His head & said, "It is finished!" & "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit."
4.They watched as His body was taken from the cross & buried. All their hopes & dreams were buried with Him.
5. Friday & all day Saturday they mourned, until finally, on "the first day of the week, early in the morning," the scripture says, some
women made their way along the path that led to His tomb, wondering who would roll away the stone for them.
But when they arrived, they found that the stone had already been rolled away. And an angel there told them, "You’re looking in the wrong place. You’re looking for Jesus among the dead. He is not dead. He is alive. He is risen, even as He said!"
"He is risen!" That is what we celebrate this morning. When all the evidence is in we’re convinced that Jesus is alive. He is risen from the dead, & what a difference His resurrection has made!
B. The 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians is the great resurrection chapter of the Bible. In vs’s 1-11 Paul writes,
“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received & on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, & that He appeared to Peter, & then to the 12.
"After that, He appeared to more than 500 of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, & last of all He appeared to me also."
With that introduction, Paul goes on to present a tremendous testimony to the resurrection of Jesus. Then he turns his attention to us, "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, & we will be changed" [15:51-52].
PROP. With those words ringing in our ears, let us consider some of the changes, some of the transformations, that the resurrection of Jesus has already made.
I. THE TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE CROSS & THE TOMB
To illustrate the transformations that His resurrection has already made, think about the cross & the tomb.
A. Before His resurrection, the cross was known only as an instrument of horrible death, rough wood soaked with human blood.
1. So terrible was this form of execution that the Roman Empire prohibited the crucifixion of Roman citizens.