Summary: A sermon for Resurrection Sunday
“O’ REJOICE THAT THE LORD IS RISEN!”
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”
“This is our Gospel. For this is what Christianity essentially is – a religion of Resurrection. This is what every worshipping congregation is intended in the purpose of God to be – a community of the Resurrection. This is the basic character of every act of public worship – a proclamation of the Resurrection. And this is what the Gospel offers to our dark and ruined chaos of a world, where men peering into the future are daunted by the well-nigh impossible task of creating order out of confusion and life out of death; the power of the Resurrection.” James S. Stewart, A Faith to Proclaim” – Hodder & Stoughton, 1953
The death and Resurrection of Christ are events three days apart and yet inseparable. The Son of Man came to serve by giving His life a ransom for the many, but His death would have meant nothing except for the Resurrection.
In fact, that is a pointless observation to make for several reasons; the main one being, as I said in opening, the events are inseparable. He had to die to accomplish the plan of salvation, and because of who He is death could not keep Him. Moreover, because of what His death and Resurrection mean for us, without either one we would still be lost.
The songwriter may have said it most simply when he wrote, ‘…who died, eternal life to bring; and lives that death may die”
The truth of the Resurrection is the very foundation and framework of Christianity. It is the central message of the Apostles from the day they came out of the upper room freshly filled with the Holy Spirit, and it has been the message of the heralds of the Gospel ever since.
Pastor Lloyd Ogilvie pointed out: “The most powerful historical proof of the Resurrection is the ‘resurrected’ disciples. Dull, defeated people became fearless, adventuresome leaders. Cowards became courageous; the timid became bold.”
The Resurrection of Jesus is the legitimization of the rest of His earthly life and ministry. What would His teachings mean for us more than any other teacher or philosopher of history, if not for His atoning death, and what hope could we possibly have – what message of any significance could we bring to a hopeless world – had Jesus not come out of the grave in glorified body in the power of the Resurrection?
There would be no message. There would be no salvation. The world would have continued its unchecked plummet into dark, demonic, animalistic chaos and by now either destroyed itself or suffered the fiery wrath of an uncompassionate God.
But the Resurrection is real and it is an event that took place in history. It is not an intangible doctrine to meditate upon; not a point of theology to debate.
Bruce Larson wrote: “The events of Easter cannot be reduced to a creed or philosophy. We are not asked to believe the doctrine of the Resurrection. We are asked to meet this person raised from the dead. In faith, we move from belief in a doctrine to a knowledge of a person. Ultimate truth is a person. We met him. He is alive.”