Summary: Did Jesus literally rise from the dead? Wasn't this a spiritual resurrection? Was it just metaphorical? The answer to this question is life-changing!
• SLIDE #1
• We are here today to celebrate!
• What are we celebrating? Easter eggs, the Easter bunny? Candy? Or some religious experience?
• No, folks today we are here to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! CAN I GET AN AMEN!
• Why is the resurrection a cause for celebration? Did it happen, and what does it mean?
• What are the implications of this event in history?
• Did Jesus literally rise from the dead or was this RESURRECTION metaphorical, or spiritual? Did He defeat death?
• When it comes to believing that Jesus was literally and physically resurrected after his death, Americans differ in opinion.
o “Two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) say the biblical accounts of the physical (bodily) resurrection of Jesus are entirely accurate.
o A quarter (23 percent) disagree.
o Thirteen percent are not sure.
o Almost all of those with evangelical beliefs (98 percent) agree, as do more than half of Americans who do not hold evangelical beliefs (56 percent)” (Bob Smietana, “Americans Love God and the Bible, Are Fuzzy on the Details,” September 27, 2016, LifeWay Research, http://lifewayresearch.com/2016/09/27/americans-love-god-and-the-bible-are-fuzzy-on-the-details/).
• The Gospels provide a clear account that Jesus was raised from the dead—not just metaphorically or spiritually, but by a resurrection of his physical body. We can believe this by faith according to the Bible’s testimony.
• Some people might claim that Jesus’s resurrection was merely metaphorical: his teachings and way of life lived on through his disciples after he died.
• Others might claim that Jesus’s resurrection was purely spiritual: Jesus returned and appeared to his followers on earth but only as a spirit, not in a real body.
• John’s testimony in our passage today we will see that both of those assertions are not based on the evidence.
• The bodily resurrection of Jesus has profound implications for your life and for your eternal life.
• SLIDE #2
• 1 Corinthians 15:12–19 (CSB) — 12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith. 15 Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified wrongly about God that he raised up Christ—whom he did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Those, then, who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.
• As you can see, a lot is riding on whether or not Jesus rose from the dead. Christianity rises and falls on the resurrection of Jesus.
• By the way, there have been skeptics throughout the ages who have sought to disprove the resurrection of Jesus so they could put the nail in the coffin of Christianity, people such a Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel, who after research ultimately gave their lives to Jesus!
• Today, on Resurrection Sunday, we will see that Jesus conquered death through his physical death and physical resurrection.
• In our text today, we are going to look at two people and a group of people (the disciples) who would encounter the resurrected Jesus.
• By the way, one common thread you will notice in all three instances we will examine is that in all three cases, the folks were not expecting ever to see Jesus alive again, they were sort of skeptics.
• Let’s look at John 20:11-18
• SLIDE #3
• John 20:11–18 (CSB) — 11 But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’s body had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?” Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”—which means “Teacher.” 17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus told her, “since I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what he had said to her.