Summary: The resurrection of Christ is the foundation stone of Christianity. This sermon examines the bogus explanations for Christ's resurrection, and the importance, impact and implications of the resurrection of Christ.
He Is Risen!
April 1, 2013
A PowerPoint presentation for this sermon is available by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Luke 24:1-12
Luke 24:1-12 – “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words, 9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. 12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.”
Both haters and lovers of Christianity have recognized the resurrection of Jesus Christ to be the foundation-stone of the Christian faith. Because of this, the resurrection has been one of the most attacked doctrines in the Bible. Only the Bible itself has received more criticism, scorn, and attempts to explain it away.
Now—either Jesus Christ DID rise from the dead or He DID NOT. If he DID, it was the most sensational event in all of history and proves conclusively that Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God. If he DID NOT, then, as Josh McDowell states in his book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, the teaching of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the “most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon the minds of men...” (p. 179).
The exciting thing about the resurrection is that it is one of the most indisputable and well attested events in history, contrary to what you read in the media today.
The great Roman historian, Professor Thomas Arnold, for 14 years the headmaster of Rugby, author of the 3-volume History of Rome, and holder of the chair of modern history at Oxford, was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. – He said:
I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God [gave] us that Christ died and rose again from the dead. (Thomas Arnold, Sermons on the Christian Life—Its Hopes, Its Fears and Its Close, p. 324)
The reason people dismiss the resurrection out-of-hand is NOT because of a lack of evidence, but because of either fear of where the facts may lead or simple ignorance of the facts.
So for centuries haters of Christ have concocted some of the most bizarre explanations to explain away the resurrection, yet today it stands still as the foundation of Christianity.
Before getting into the meat of today’s message today, let’s look at some of these attempts:
• The earliest explanation circulated was that the Apostles stole the body.
This would mean that the Apostles foisted a diabolical hoax. This, of course, is one of the easiest to answer because it’s a historical fact that each of the twelve Apostles suffered torture and persecution for their beliefs, and the resurrection was the most prominent teaching of the Apostles. And each died a martyr’s death, except John, who died in exile on the isle of Patmos. Now, it’s true that some will die and suffer torture for what they BELIEVE TO BE TRUE, though it may not be true, but NO ONE will die and suffer torture for what they KNOW TO BE A LIE, and certainly, not all twelve of them!
• The second hypothesis is that the Jewish or Roman authorities moved the body.
But why?—The LAST thing that the Jews wanted was for Jesus’ body to disappear. They were well aware that Jesus prophesied His own resurrection. In fact, Matthew says the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate the day after Jesus’ crucifixion and said, “…Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. 65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch [a “watch” was four soldiers, changed every four hours]: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. 66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” (Matthew 27:62-66)