Summary: The message shows that when Jesus died the church was filled with despair and fear, but when he arose it was transformed into a band of heroes willing to die rather than keep silent.
BIBLE MESSAGES ON EASTER
Yahoo to homeorchurchbiblestudy.com bob marcaurelle
Annual Sermons: Vol. 5 No. 22
Text: 1 Cor.15:1-8;Luke 24:33 ff
Concord Baptist Church: 1991 Bob Marcaurelle
JESUS IS ALIVE!
Paul gives us here the two foundations of Christianity. First, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures! (1 Cor. 15:3). We are not saved by being good, doing better, being sincere, being baptized or being anything, but by putting our faith in and giving our lives to the One who died in our place. Then second, on the third day He rose from the dead according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:4). We don’t worship a dead Christ, we “serve a living Savior, He’s in the world today!”
All this points to the past, but Paul uses a word four times that blends the past with the present. He says, “He APPEARED or (WAS SEEN) to Cephas. . . . He APPEARED to the twelve (the ten - Judas and Thomas were missing - Lk. 24:33 ff). . . He APPEARED to me. . .” (His salvation on the Damascus highway - Acts 9). Or, in other words - Jesus is ALIVE, Jesus is ALIVE, Jesus is ALIVE.
The most detailed, in depth appearance was His fifth and final appearance that first Easter Sunday. He appeared to Mary, to the women, to the tow disciples on the way to Emmaus, to Peter, and finally to the ten disciples. There He urged them not to fear, showed them His hands and feet, talked of His risen “flesh and blood,” and taught them the scriptures. I have two points from the passages. First, JESUS is alive (the same Jesus, yet different) and second, Jesus is ALIVE (still appearing, still ministering, still doing the Father’s will.) Look first at. . .
I. THE PROSPECT BEFORE US - JESUS IS ALIVE
1. The Strangeness of His Body.
When Jesus rose from the dead, there was something different about Him. He had entered a new realm. His body was set free. We see this all through the resurrection appearances. He tells Mary in the garden not to touch Him. Mary and the disciples on the road did not recognize Him at first. Here He simply “appears” in the room, His body not subject to time or space or locked doors and walls.
Paul tells us our Lord’s body is a picture, a preview, a prospect, a promise of what our body will be after death. He says, “. . .He will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like His glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). How marvelous and miraculous our resurrection bodies will be!
When someone asked Paul what our body would be like, he answered, “Thou fool!” (1 Cor. 15:36) and said it would be like comparing a seed with a plant or an acorn with a mighty oak tree. Think of imagining Mars and being on Mars. Think of imagining exploring a “Dark Hole” billions of light years out in space and doing it. Think of not being subject to time or space or pain or sin and you have a picture of what we will all be in the resurrection.
2. The Sameness of His Body.
But there is another side to this. Jesus was different but He was the same. Those special, precious little things that made Jesus, Jesus were still there. We find this, too, all through the resurrection appearances. When peter and John ran to the tomb they found the napkin that had been around His head “neatly folded,” folded the way Jesus did it! When Jesus said, “Mary!”, Mary knew that voice anywhere and said, “Master!” Here in the upper room He did again for His disciples what He had always done. He calmed their fears, chided their unbelief, and taught them the scriptures. To assure them it was really Him, He showed them His hands and feet.
Before His death He told them the Holy Spirit would one day be their Comforter (stand by, friend, counselor, guide, encourager, etc.) and then explained it like this, “I will not leave you to be orphans, I WILL COME TO YOU!” (Jn. 14:198). The SAME Jesus was in the upper room and the SAME Jesus ministers to you and me in the Holy Spirit.
Think what death did to Jesus - physically! It took Him away. That mighty life was gone as gentle friends took His pale body down, drained of life and stained with His own blood. Those strong, tender hands that built plows, hugged children and cleansed lepers were now limp, scarred and still. Those feet that helped Him stand tall to aid His friends and face up to all the howling winds of temptation were limp and bloody.
His kingly head hung low and was scarred by thorns. His gentle side was ripped open by Roman steel. His piercing eyes, full of compassion, warming the soul and burning at sin, were now glazed and blind. His matchless voice, fountain of the Father’s thoughts, was stilled, to speak no more. Death took away the Jesus they knew and loved.