Summary: Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we can experience Him through the living hope of His resurrection today.
ENCOUNTERING THE RESURRECTED JESUS
OPEN: The Lord’s Prayer
INTRO TO TOPIC: HOW IMPORTANT IS THE RESURRECTION?
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” (1 Cor. 15:12-14, NKJV).
1. Jesus loves us so much He died for us! After Jesus died on the Cross (Good Friday), three days later He raised from the dead and began appearing to His disciples.
2. Easter Sunday – or resurrection day – is the most important day of the Christian year.
THE BIG IDEA: Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we can experience Him through the living hope of His resurrection today.
1. THEORIES THAT CLAIM THE RESURRECTION WAS A HOAX:
A. The (Coma) Theory which claims that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, but He was in such a state of exhaustion due to loss of strength and blood, that He ‘swooned’ into a coma. Believed to be dead, He was taken down and put into a tomb (where) He revived and somehow pushed the stone away and slipped out into the night unnoticed by anyone. He then reappeared to His followers, claiming to have been raised miraculously, when actually He had only fallen into a coma.
B. The Kidnap Theory which says that Jesus did actually die, but in the middle of the night, someone came and took His body. Unseen by the soldiers, the kidnapper pushed back the stone, stole the body, and hid it where it would never be found.
C. The Hallucination Theory which borrows from the kidnap theory, says his body was hidden away. And those disciples who later thought they were seeing the raised Christ were having a hallucination.
2. EVIDENCES FOR THE RESURRECTION:
A. Jesus Really Died: A Response to The Coma Theory:
“So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly this Man was the Son of God!” (Mark 13:39).
“31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (John 19:31-34).
• After the brutal torture Jesus experienced as He was whipped and beaten, and His six hours on the Cross, He was undoubtedly dead!
• Jesus couldn’t have rolled the stone away after being so weak! “Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.” (Matt. 27:26). Discuss the scourging.