Summary: Sometimes even on Resurrection Sunday we can become distracted and drawn into something beside the main focus of the day; the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Resurrection Sunday 2019 – The Main Thing

Please stand as we read our newest memory Scripture together …

2 Timothy 4:3-4

“The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

And our memory refresher verse(s) for today is(are) …

1 Peter 3:8-9

“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love one another as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will bless you for it.”

Please open your Bibles to Luke 24:1-12

This past week I did a word search through the Bible and what I didn’t find may amaze you!

There were absolutely NO references Easter Eggs and there absolutely NO references to Easter Bunnies!

The only reference I found to rabbits is that they were considered to be ceremonially unclean as a food source for the Israelites in the Old Testament.

There were a few references to eggs. One in particular is that if you take the eggs from the nest of a mama bird you should leave her and not take both her and the eggs.

So, there was nothing about Easter eggs or Easter bunnies.

But, what I did find is even more amazing than what I didn’t find. What I did find is that references to Jesus’ physical resurrection from the dead are everywhere in the New Testament and that this very truth is foundational to our salvation!

With that in mind let’s look at: Luke 24:1-12

May God bless the reading of His Word … (Prayer for help …)

Have you ever been distracted by something?

In 2015 alone, distracted driving was responsible for: 3,477 deaths, 3,196 fatal car wrecks and 391,000 injuries.

So, what does that have to do with Resurrection Sunday?

Resurrection Sunday is when we make a special effort to focus on the fact that Jesus not only died on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sin but He was also raised physically from the dead three days later!

Here’s a thing, not only do drivers get distracted but pastors get distracted, too!

I remember hearing one pastor saying that Easter Sunday was the most difficult day of the year to preach. They said that it was difficult because, “Everything that could be said about the day had already been said …”

Why do we feel that we need to come up with something new and exciting when the most phenomenal event, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, is the very reason we are gathering on that day?

There is no other event that even remotely compares to the incarnation, the birth, the life, the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!

That, in itself, is the greatest spiritual event in the history of earth!

That is what stands out as the unique event that separates Christianity from every other religion on the face of the earth; past, present and future!

In every other religion humanity is attempting to reach god in whatever form that god may take.

In all of the religions I looked at there was only one where God actually cared! There was only one where God became Man and gave His life to become reconciled with us.

And what is that religion? Christianity!

Christianity is an odd ball in the religions of the world!

In Christianity we have a God who …

- Created us – not considered to be unusual

o We rebelled against God – also not particularly unusual

- Pursued us – very unusual!

o With a few exceptions we continued to rebel against Him

- Sent His Son, Jesus, to teach us by His life and by His words

- Offered His Son’s body and blood as a sacrifice for our sin

- Raised His from the dead

- Ascended into Heaven and is actually interceding on our behalf with God the Father

- Sent the Holy Spirit to draw us to the Lord, to bring us to repentance for reconciliation and then to help us live lives as participants in His Holy Kingdom here on earth.

There is no other religion here on earth where God actively pursues people so that they can have eternal life.

There is no other religion on earth where God literally demonstrates His passion for the people He created.

There is no other religion here on earth where we can be assured of eternal life while we are still alive here on earth!

No other God that invites us into a personal relationship, who forgives us, who enables us to find salvation, who enables us to live holy lives because He actually lives within us, who gives us spiritual gifts and who gives us the ability to accomplish any task He asks us to do.

So, when it comes to the Sunday where we specifically celebrate the resurrection of Jesus how could we possibly get distracted?

Well, the resurrection narrative is an amazing account with lots of people involved and lots of questions to be asked.

For instance:

- How could the disciples have possibly missed Jesus’ multiple prophecies that He would be handed over to the gentiles, crucified and then rise again on the third day?

o Interesting question but not the main focus of what is going on!

- Why did Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus embalm Jesus with about 75 pounds of spices before they put Him in the tomb if they believed He would be raised from the dead in three days? (John 19:39)

o Interesting question but not the “main thing!”

- Why did the women also bring spices to embalm Jesus on the third day after His death? (Luke 24:1)

o Interesting question but not the “main thing!”

- Why were the disciples hiding out in a locked room on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion instead of holding a resurrection party at the tomb? (John 20:19, 26)

o Interesting but not the “main thing!”

- Were the women greeted by one angel or two angels at the tomb?

o Interesting question but not the “main thing!”

- Why did the two disciples on the road to Emmaus believe that Jesus was only, “a prophet, powerful in word and deed” and NOT the Messiah? (Luke 24:19)

o Interesting question but not the “main thing!”

- Just how much faster could John run than Peter? (John 20:4)

o Interesting question but not the “main thing!”

You see, it is possible to dig into this miraculous account and ask question after question after question.

And, that is fine as long as you remember that the main thing that matters the most in my eternal existence and yours is that Jesus was dead and now He is alive!

To put it bluntly, there is no other God like our God!

Revelation 7:10 says,

“Salvation belongs to OUR God, who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

1 Samuel 2:2 says,

“There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God.”

John 14:6 says,

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

So, what exactly, are the benefits of believing that Jesus rose from the dead?

1) Eternal life (John 3:16-18) “For God so loved …”

2) Forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins ….”

3) Deliverance from slavery to sin (Romans 6:22) “Now that you have been set free …”

4) Peace that passes human understanding (Philippians 4:6-7) “Do not be anxious …”

5) Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 6:22) “The fruit of the Spirit is …”

6) Guidance by God Himself (Proverbs 3:5-7) “Trust in the LORD with all ….”

7) Becoming a child of God (John 1:12) “But as many as received Him …”

That sounds great, doesn’t it?

Well, it SHOULD sound great because it IS great! We have a GREAT GOD!!!

But, along with these great gifts comes great responsibility!

There are billions on earth who have never heard of Jesus.

I cannot reach billions and you cannot reach billions of people for Jesus.

Even with our denominational missions programs we cannot reach billions.

But … I CAN reach those who the Lord brings across my path every day.

Acts 1:8 says,

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We are to be witnesses for the Lord in our homes first and then in our neighborhood, our work place or school, in the grocery store and wherever the Lord may place us.

2 Corinthians 5:15-20 says,

“He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new is here!

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. ‘We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.’”

What do we see in these passages as our responsibility?

- We are to be Jesus’ witnesses

- He has committed to us the message of reconciliation

- We are Christ’s ambassadors!

When we are saved, really saved, we are so thankful and so humbled that we WANT those who are lost in sin to know the freedom from sin that is found in a relationship with Jesus!

We want people to know what it is like to be reconciled to God and to have the Holy Spirit living within them.

Often we think about Jesus sacrifice on the cross as Jesus dying for us.

“Jesus died for me” is a pleasant thought.

“Jesus died because of me” is not such a pleasant thought.

Even though both are true one has a greater impact than the other.

An old Southern Gospel song called I Am To Blame puts it this way …

(Author unknown)

When I see the nail prints in the hands of Jesus

The nail prints that were made because if me

I’m reminded of a life of sin and sorrow

And of how Jesus took my place on Calvary

Now I kneel before Thy throne of grace for mercy

At Your feet, O Lord, I bow, I’m so ashamed

I repent of all my sin and ask forgiveness

And for the nail prints, in Your hands, I am to blame

The stripes upon His back were for my healing

And the thorns upon His head were for my shame

In mockery the purple robe was placed upon Him

But for the nail prints in His hands I am to blame

The statements, “He died for me” and “He died because of me” both have a place in the heart of the true believer.

Have you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

(Final thoughts and prayer)