Summary: The empty cross of Christ is one of the most powerful symbols of truth the world has ever known.
This is Easter morning, a time to remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
In order to fully appreciate the resurrection we must understand the death of Jesus Christ.
w/o- death, there could be no resurrection
w/o- resurrection- death- insignificant
The Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead …
He was a threat to their position/religious belief
The Roman authorities wanted Jesus dead …
He was a political/social troublemaker.
The Romans crucified many people- what made the crucifixion of Jesus more significant than others?
The cross speaks of shame, guilt, failure, death.
The empty cross of Christ is one of the most powerful symbols of truth the world has ever known.
Through the cross the power/wisdom of God- released
1 Cor 1:23-24
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. NASU
Out of death (the cross) come life (the resurrection)
A pattern God built into the fabric of the universe.
Jn 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
In all human history … Jesus the man, who was Christ the God, was the only one qualified to die
for the sins of mankind.
There has never been and will never be another Messiah apart from Jesus Christ.
2Co 5:19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them ... NLT
Basic to the Christian faith is that mankind needs to reconciled to God.
The Bible says the Devil tempted the first man Adam, and sin entered the world.
Adam- cast out of the garden- separated from God.
Every man/woman since Adam, carries this original sin, that separates them from God.
1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; NASU
The empty cross as a symbol of victory
The death of Christ at first appeared to be a defeat.
Once Jesus was resurrected the hold of sin, death, and the devil were broken over mankind.
Heb 2:14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, NASU
Jesus victory at the cross- His resurrection-
completely defeated the enemies of mankind and
set him free from the power of sin/death.
The Message Bible says it this way (Col 2:15) …
He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.
Today we are in the middle of a great battle for the hearts and minds of people.
There is a personal devil with his host of demons, deceiving and tormenting men/women today.
Speaking of the devil, Jesus says …
Jn 8:44 … He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. NLT
There are always men, empowered by the lies of darkness, trying to prove the resurrection- a fraud.
Last year it was “The Da Vinci Code,” a movie based on fiction, yet presented as fact.
This year- documentary, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.”
A movie that claims Jesus bones have been found in a box- disproving the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Attempts to discredit the resurrection go all the way back to the guards placed at the tomb …
11 … some of the guard … reported to the chief priests all that had happened.
12 … they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
13 and said, "You are to say, ’His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ NASU
· Jesus did die on a cross- that is an established historical fact.
· Jesus was resurrected from the dead/seen by over 500 people- that is an established historical fact.
· The Tomb today is empty- no bones have been found in it- that is an established historical fact.
The question we must wrestle with today is …
is Jesus your resurrected Lord,
is Jesus alive in your life,
is He your God,
does He sit on the throne of your heart,
does He rule your life?
I like the statement made by Pastor Amos Dodge of Capitol Church in Virginia … (Lincoln Memorial)
Make no bones about it.
The tomb is empty!
Jesus is alive!
That says it all.
He is alive! Is He alive for you today?