Summary: Resurrection, Faith, Jesus' Victory
THE RESURRECTION QUESTION - He’s Alive
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (p. 801) March 26, 2017
Have any of you ever played the game called “Jenga?” It’s where you have all these different shaped wood blocks that fit together and make a tower. Each player takes a turn trying to remove one of the blocks without causing the tower to collapse…but if you pull out the wrong one the whole structure is going to fall.
Over the years many people have tried to treat Christianity like the Jenga Tower…pulling out pieces…selectively removing “blocks” of the gospel…leaving big holes in it’s structure until you finally pull out the wrong one…and it collapsed in a jumbled mess.
One of the essential pieces that holds the structure of Christianity together is the bodily resurrection of Jesus. It is the cornerstone and foundation of the gospel. If you remove it…there simply is no gospel.
The Apostle Paul says “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Cor. 15:14)
There is no good news to be preached if Christ died and stayed in the grave, there is no reason to live for Jesus if He isn’t alive again.
So it shouldn’t surprise us that those who oppose Christianity would try to pull this essential piece of the puzzle out…even if it’s just hours from the resurrection.
Mary Magdalene and the other women show up at the tomb of Jesus early on Sunday morning…Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus have had to prepare Jesus’ body quickly because the sun was setting quickly on Friday and the Sabbath was approaching.
As the women approach the tomb they worry about how they will move the stone that blocks the door…as they arrive there is a violent earthquake and an angel appears. His appearance is like “lightening.” His clothes white as snow…and the guards that have been posted there by Pilate are so afraid that they shake and become like dead men.
And the angel delivers this message: “Do not be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus who was crucified. He’s not here, he has risen as He said, come look at the place where He lay…now go tell His disciples He has risen and is going ahead of them into Galilee. You’ll see Him there.”
With that promise they take off towards Galilee like a lightening bolt…filled with fear, wonder and joy…and suddenly there’s Jesus.
“Greetings.” (It’s the everyday greeting for Hello)
Fear, joy, heart and feet racing, and all of a sudden Jesus meets them and says, “Hi.”
I love it…Can’t you just see them…falling at His feet, holding on for dear life in worship and Jesus tells them, “Don’t be afraid, complete your mission, Go into Galilee and tell my brothers to meet me there.”
But remember those guards? Do you remember why they were at the tomb? Something amazing is happening in the Roman world of politics. While a risen Savior is arranging meetings…the religious hierarchy try to pull the resurrection block out of the puzzle.
MATTHEW 28:11-15 (p. 698)
Man! We’ve got to pull this Jenga piece immediately. We’ll lie, bribe, put forth alternative theories…whatever it takes…because:
I. THE RESURRECTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEM ON THE LIST
Paul’s number one priority when it comes to the gospel message: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sin, was buried, and He was raised on the third day according to scripture.” (1 Cor. 15:3-4)
This is it! The powerful foundation of what we believe and preach. Our salvation depends on this…everything revealed to us in scripture was God preparing for this event. EVERYTHING!
The Apostle Peter shares this same truth on the birthday of the Church as he preached on Pentecost.
ACTS 2:22-36 (p. 759)
The very first gospel message is a history lesson concerning God’s essential plan for our salvation. David, Israel’s greatest earthly King, caught a prophetic glimpse of a forever King. But David died, his body was buried somewhere in Israel…decaying back to dust…His faith cries out…but God you have not abandoned me to the grave…nor will you let your Holy One decay.
David spoke of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His rescue from the grave. He prophecies “The Messiah’s body won’t stay in the grave decaying.”
I love that Peter cries out, “God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep it’s hold on Him.”
It is the essential truth that makes Jesus Lord and King (Christ). He physically and spiritually conquered death…this one that was crucified by you!
The word Lord means “Ruler” and the word Christ means “Promised One” or “Anointed One.”
Jesus put all our enemies under His feet as a footstool…and the greatest and last enemy was death. The one the scriptures promised came, died, was buried and rose again in victory. He rules all…even death.