Summary: Some say the resurrection is untrue - what does common sense say?
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. John 20:19 - 31 (NRSVA)
IF you have seen The Passion of the Christ film, there is hardly need to recount the brutality and finality of what happened to Jesus on the cross. The Garden arrest, trial, scourging of Jesus – his death march down the Via Dolorosa, and the final excruciating event on Golgotha are all well-imprinted on your mind. The film took just over two hours to drain all the blood from his body, drop by agonizing, flesh-whipping drop.
But – what then; so what; what does it all mean? So what that Jesus was brutalized, bled and died; so what that they put a dead man in a hole in the ground and covered the hole with a big boulder.
A few days later, Thomas, doubter that he was, took one look at Jesus and fell at His feet, called Him “Lord”, the word in Greek is kurios (supreme Master), in Hebrew Adonai (Lord, God). He said, “My God,” using the most unmistakable word in the language to indicate the Sovereign creator of Heaven and earth. Down through the last two millennia the church has called this man Lord; he is the one who is completely in charge.
Largely the secular world hears that and says, with a sniff of arrogant defiance; Sure…call him Lord, the man in charge. He didn’t look in charge to me when they arrested and beat him, and then nailed him to that cross. He didn’t look in charge when he died and they buried him. Lord? Really?
There is, of course the resurrection. But there has been no shortage of skeptics to challenge the veracity of the resurrection; and, of course there are always skeptics. There have to be skeptics because the resurrection settles the issue. If they really did put a dead Jesus in the grave Friday evening, and then Sunday morning He was alive again, it changes everything. The skeptics have to slink away; atheists can’t show their faces…and we have to bow and call Him “Lord”.
But, if it is not true, the church is a lie, and we are without a god at all; we’re left to live this life for all the selfish pleasure it may hold or offer, and there are no consequences!
It has been said that the unexamined life is not worth living; I agree. I also believe that the place to begin that examination of life is the resurrection. Billy Graham once said:
If the Bible is true and Jesus is who He claimed to be, and raised on the third day, then nothing else matters. But if the Bible is false at that point, nothing matters!
So let’s begin with a statement about “Lordship”:
Jesus can only truly be Lord if the resurrection is true; it is, and He is!
I would like us to put the resurrection on trial today. There are about four theories that usually surface when the resurrection is called into question. Let’s investigate them together.