Summary: The Resurrection is either one of the most wicked, heartless, vicious hoaxes ever or it is the most fantastic fact of history. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:17, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless.” This message will focus on three
The Case For Christ: His Resurrection
Rev. Brian Bill
I have a confession to make this morning -- I am an Information Junkie. I read two newspapers a day, listen to talk radio, and often pop in a teaching tape when I’m driving. At the office I read my Bible, memos, mail, e-mail, periodicals, journals, commentaries and books. When I go home I read the mail, and thumb through Newsweek, World and Christianity Today.
This past week I went into a tailspin because my information pipeline shut down for a few hours. I couldn’t receive or send email. Being the patient guy that I am, I immediately called “tech support” and tried to get it figured out. When they started asking me questions I couldn’t answer I went next door and asked Geoff to talk with them. Eventually, I was reconnected to my steady stream of data again.
My life is a frenzy of facts. Beth doesn’t always appreciate this obsession of mine -- in fact, she likes to give me a hard time about it. Sometimes when I come home from the office, she’ll say something like, “Did you hear about such and such?” If I say, “No” she’ll feign shock and surprise and say something like, “What? You mean you don’t know about this? You’re slipping Brian...I know something you don’t know.” After a protracted period of begging on my part, she will usually let me in on this new information so I can add it to my database.
The problem with access to so much information is that I don’t always know what to do with it all. Sometimes information overload can cause confusion.
I heard about a grandfather who wanted to see how much his four-year-old granddaughter knew about the Easter story. He put her on his lap and asked, “Julie, why do we celebrate Easter?” Without hesitating, she said, “Jesus was crucified. After He died, His body was put into a grave. They rolled a big stone in front of the opening. A bunch of soldiers guarded the tomb. On the third day, there was a big earthquake and the stone rolled away.”
Grandpa was pleased with how much his granddaughter knew about the Easter story but then she continued, “When the earthquake happened, the entire town came out by the grave. And if Jesus came out and saw His shadow, they knew there would be six more weeks of winter!” At least she had part of the story right.
This morning I want to distill the overwhelming data about the Resurrection into some bite-size chunks. And, I want to ask you to serve on a jury. Imagine this auditorium as a courtroom and each of you are sitting in the jury box.
In my opening argument I want to help you get the whole story right about what happened on that first Easter. With all the information available in the world today, I will show that most of it is irrelevant and not very useful. Its just data floating around cyberspace. It doesn’t really matter. What does matter supremely is whether or not Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus staked His entire reputation on the Resurrection -- if it didn’t happen, everything that Jesus said and did is open to question.
The issue before the court this morning is not that of a crime, but a claim -- a claim so spectacular and so crucial that it is either the cornerstone of Christianity or its fatal flaw. Members of the jury, the claim is that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead. The Resurrection is the supreme miracle of Christianity -- it’s at the very heart of the faith. If it never happened, Christianity collapses into mythology and billions of people have been deceived. If it did happen, it authenticates everything Jesus did and said -- and believers have the guarantee of eternal life and forgiveness of sins.
Let me say it as strongly as the Apostle Paul said it in 1 Corinthians 15:17: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless.” The Resurrection is either one of the most wicked, heartless, vicious hoaxes ever or it is the most fantastic fact of history.
I will show you overwhelming proof that Jesus Christ did exactly what He predicted He would do -- that on the third day He rose from the dead. Acts 1:3 states that “After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive.”
That’s what I intend to do this morning -- I’m going to present three pieces of evidence, that when taken together, will provide convincing proof that Jesus rose from the dead.
Exhibit A: The Empty Tomb
The first piece of evidence I want to bring before the court is Exhibit A: The Empty Tomb. The Bible teaches that after professional executioners crucified Jesus, His corpse was placed in a solid rock tomb. After His body was covered with about 100 pounds of spices, it was extensively wrapped in strips of linen cloth. A very large stone, estimated to weigh about 2 tons, was then rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb.