Summary: An Easter sermon showing Jesus is who He says He is.

He is Risen!

April 21, 2019

Have you ever received an email or fax that tells you somebody in Nigeria wants you to send them money so they can unlock a huge sum of money, of which some of that money will be sent to you, making you amazingly wealthy? All you have to do is give them your bank account or pay fees and you’ll be sent big bucks!

Don’t believe it!! Actually, in 2017, the FBI reports people sent $57 million in scams like this. From what I read, this scam is among the top five largest revenue sources for Nigeria — it’s that successful.

Fortunately, there are websites like SNOPES.COM. If you want to check out whether something is legitimate or not, that’s a great place to go. We call these urban legends.

If you go to SNOPES and type in the Resurrection of Jesus you’ll find some interesting articles.

There’s one about a lady who leads people to Jesus named Edith Burns. There’s a story about a disappearing hitchiker. And there’s an article called “Easter Lore and Superstitions” which details all kinds of superstitions about Good Friday and Easter. Dealing with scams is part of the world we live in.

So, on this Easter Sunday, maybe you’re wondering if this whole Easter thing is a scam! Maybe, it’s really not real and we’ve all been duped to give money away, to believe in something which doesn’t exist, to serve a god who doesn’t exist.

Ultimately, the question we want to ask Jesus is - -

Are you really who you say you are?

Even in life, our identity is doubted all the time. Every time we log in. Every time we swipe. Every time we try to unlock our phones.

Are you really who you say you are?

Yes, here’s my password. Here’s my key code. Here’s my fingerprint.

We’re doubted several times a day. It’s woven into the fabric of our days. Make up a new password. Set up a user ID. Get out your drivers license to prove you are who you say you are. It’s a common problem, and an old one.

During his ministry, Jesus was doubted all the time.

If He was really a prophet, Jesus wouldn’t associate with a prostitute or an adulteress.

If Jesus was really a rabbi, He wouldn’t eat with sinners and tax collectors.

He wouldn’t touch the sick and the lepers, He would condemn them.

If He was really the Messiah, He would lead that revolt against the Romans.

Even while He was dying, Jesus was doubted - If you are the Son of God, save yourself.

Are you really who you say you are?

And that’s the question that still hangs in the air when it comes to Jesus: Is he really who He says He is? Is He really the Messiah?

The question isn’t about whether or not He did miracles. Others, like Moses, Elijah and other prophets performed miracles. Other rabbis performed miracles. The Catholic church has an entire system in place to prove that people have done miracles. It’s not about the miracles.

And it’s not about the good teaching. It’s not about generosity. It’s not about caring for the poor, the sick and the marginalized. They’re all important, but - - -

What it all comes down to is this: Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

Only one person claimed to rise from the dead. Only one has followers who say that He rose from the dead.

This is the key identity question for Jesus: Did Jesus rise from the dead? And you won’t find your answer on SNOPES!!

The apostle Paul lived in the city of Corinth and started a church there. Corinth was like a combination of Las Vegas, Mardi Gras and New Year’s Eve all rolled into one city. It was a wild place. And Paul, this very conservative Jew, now worshiper of Jesus living and preaching there.

People were changing, they were being transformed, believing in Jesus. They were turning from their crazy sinful lives and following Jesus. But then Paul left. And the people started to turn back to their old ways.

So Paul sent them a letter, reminding the people about who Jesus is. In the end, he based his argument on the resurrection. People were doubting what he said, forgetting what they learned, wondering if Jesus is who Paul says He is.

Paul tells them - -

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.

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