Summary: This sermon looks at the eleven appearances of Jesus to his disciples.
“Jesus is Risen”
For us in the Christian Church the fact of the resurrection of Jesus is the truth that makes or brakes our faith. Without the resurrection we have no need for the Christian Church. The resurrection gives meaning to the CROSS of Calvary. The resurrection verifies the meaning of the CROSS that Jesus died for our sins and provided salvation and access to eternal life.
If Jesus didn’t raise form the dead the entire New Testament is a sham. If Jesus is not who He said He was and is then He was a false teacher, a charlatan or a liar. Can you believe the disciples would carry on a hoax after Jesus ascended into heaven?
The best evidences of truth are eye witness accounts. In the Gospels we have eleven appearances to individuals and groups after Jesus rose from the dead. Let’s briefly look at those appearances of Jesus.
1. An angel appeared to women at the empty tomb. (Mark 16:1-8) Early on Sunday morning, faithful women of Galilee came to the sepulcher to anoint the body of Jesus with spices. They were anxious and challenged because they didn’t know who would be around to roll the stone away so they could anoint the body of Jesus. They were puzzled to see that the very large stone had already been rolled away. Jesus probably walked through the large stone and the angel moved it so others could see that the tomb was empty.
Stooping down the ladies entered the tomb, a chamber of six or seven feet square. They were terrified to see an angel. “Don’t be alarmed,” the angel said, “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” “Go tell the disciples and Peter, Jesus is going ahead of you into Galilee.” “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled form the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” (Mark 16:1-8)
2. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene very early Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene had experienced a transformed life. Jesus delivered her of seven devils. She was bold enough to go and tell the disciples, but they would not believe her. (Mark 16:9-11)
The first group of women saw the empty tomb and were confused and told no one. Mary Magdalene saw for herself the risen Lord and told all she saw that she had seen Jesus alive. Unbelieving people can see and hear of many evidences of Jesus, but having a personal fiend who is a Christ follower and honoring Christ in her/his life makes a lasting impact.
3. Jesus appeared to two disciples traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus Sunday afternoon. (Luke 24:13-32) They were discouraged and near despair. They had hoped Jesus was the Messiah and would set up His earthly kingdom. All hope was lost when Jesus was arrested, crucified and buried.
Jesus walked with them and explained to them the Scriptures from the Old Testament concerning Jesus as their Messiah. When they reached their home they sat at the table to have a meal. Jesus their guest became the host and broke the break and gave it to the couple. When they saw the nail prints they recognized Jesus. Indeed he had risen from the dead. Jesus disappeared from their midst and the two that were in mourning became energized and ran from Emmaus to Jerusalem to tell others of the good news.