Summary: What if... Jesus really did rise from the dead? And what if... we can know Him in the power of His resurrection? When we encounter the resurrected Christ, everything changes.
ENCOUNTERING THE RESURRECTED CHRIST
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence… When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down, The mountains shook at Your presence. For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him.” (Isaiah 64:1-4).
• This has been a prayer that I have often prayed, but do we need to pray this?
• “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.” (Matt. 3:16). Jesus already tore the heavens open when God came to the Earth as a man!
• When Jesus died: “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.” (Matt. 27:51).
• Why did Jesus die, and come back to life? So we could have access to God!
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE RESURRECTION?
“But tell me this – since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless.” (1 Cor. 15:12-14).
• Easter Sunday – or resurrection day – is the most important day of the Christian year.
• I’m not going to take the time to convince you of proof for the resurrection (this week I will cover that in my daily devotionals online). Jesus is alive!
“That I may know Him, in the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Phil. 3:10).
THE BIG IDEA:
What if... Jesus really did rise from the dead? And what if... we can know Him in the power of His resurrection? When we encounter the resurrected Christ, everything changes.
ENCOUNTERS WITH THE RESURRECTED CHRIST:
1. TO MARY AND MARY MAGDALENE – SUNDAY MORNING: JOY
“1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 5 But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you." 8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” (Matt. 28:1-10).
• Here the women came weeping, mourning, grieving and fearful.
• But after encountering the resurrected Christ, they were full of fear and great JOY!
• Right away, they went and told other people the Good News.
• The journey: Hurting, Healed, Helping Others.
2. TO THE DISCIPLES – LATER SUNDAY MORNING: PEACE & POWER
“9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. 12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. 14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.” (Mark 16:9-14).