Video Illustration: What Easter is All About – Skit Guys!
Life can begin again is the truth shouting from the empty tomb of Jesus today. Jesus’s resurrection proves that life can begin again and that your seemingly dead or lifeless life can be brought back to life. Easter is all about Jesus ability to bring the dead back to life! The truth of Easter is there - aint no grave that can hold Jesus down and if He walked out of the grave so can we walk out of the grave!
Series: Breakthrough 2020
Sermon: Breakthrough from the Grave - Easter
Tag line: “Jesus - The Grave Robber”
Easter Song: “Ain’t No Grave!”
History of the song:
Claude Ely, a songwriter and preacher from Virginia, describes composing the song while sick with tuberculosis in 1934 when he was twelve years old. His family prayed for his health, and in response he spontaneously performed this song. Originally recorded by Bozie Sturdivant in July 1942 (and released in 1943 as "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down") in a slower, African American gospel style and in 1946-7 by Sister Rosetta Tharpe with barrelhouse piano; the song in Ely's version was recorded in 1953 but composed in 1934 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ain%27t_No_Grave)
Aint No Grave – Bethel Music – Molly Skaggs!
Shame is a prison as cruel as a grave
Shame is a robber and he’s come to take my name
Love is my redeemer lifting me up from the ground
Love is the power where my freedom song is found
There ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down
There ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down
When I hear that trumpet sound, I’m gonna rise up out of the ground
There ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down
Fear is a liar with a smooth and velvet tongue
Fear is a tyrant, he’s always telling me to run
Love is resurrection and love is a trumpet sound
Love is my weapon, I’m gonna take my giants down
There was a battle, a war between death and life
There on a tree the Lamb of God was crucified
He went on down to hell, He took back every key
He rose up as a lion and He’s setting all the captives free
There ain’t no grave could hold His body down
There ain’t no grave could hold His body down
When He heard the trumpet sound, He rose up out of the ground
There ain’t no grave could hold His body down
There ain’t no grave could hold His body down
There ain’t no grave could hold my body down
There ain’t no grave could hold my body down
If You walked out of the grave, I’m walkin’ too!
Thesis: Jesus could have been called “The Grave Robber” because he healed people right at the point of death like the Roman soldiers servant, he did the same from a distance with the officials son, he raised from the dead the Son of the widow of Nain, He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead and then the biggest one – the most public was Lazarus resurrection 4 days after being dead. Jesus just loved to take back what the Grim Reaper wanted to take away. But all these encounters with death and Jesus power to overcome death set the tone and the anticipation of His own resurrection which we celebrate today. But today’s power or miracle is reserved for those who believe!
Key Verses for sermon:
John 11:25-26: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus asked Martha this question right before He raises Lazarus from the dead! He is still asking that question to us today. “Do you believe this?” “Do you believe that I am the Resurrection and the life?” Do you believe I can walk out of the grave?
We have come today to celebrate Easter to shout “Christ is Risen!” and to focus on His Resurrection power and the message from it to us today.
Matthew 28:5-7: The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
I believe that each of us this morning needs to accept the invitation of the angel. We need to come to the empty tomb and behold the Resurrection of Jesus. We need to look upon the place where He had been laid to rest. We need to see that He did not stay their instead He rose from the dead to deliver you and I from ourselves – really from our sinful ways. To deliver us from evil and give us life. Jesus defeated the grave and promised us if we believe we too can walk out of the grave!
The angel invited Mary to come and see where Jesus had been laid – I believe today the Lord Jesus and the Heavenly Host are speaking to each of us to come and see where Jesus was laid at one point but who now is no longer there. We need a fresh revelation of this historic event today so that it will impact our lives. So we can experience His presence and power today. Especially when we see the death angel rolling through the world!
Can you close your eyes and imagine the scene – and empty tomb – folded burial cloth, strands of burial cloth lying there with no body in them!
Max Lucado stated;
What do you say we have a chat about graveclothes? Sound like fun? Sound like a cheery topic? Hardly. Make a list of depressing subjects, and burial garments is somewhere between IRS audits and long-term dental care. No one likes graveclothes. No one discusses graveclothes. Have you ever spiced up dinner-table chat with the question, “What are you planning to wear in your casket?” Have you ever seen a store specializing in burial garments? (If there is one, I have an advertising slogan to suggest: Clothes to die for.”) The apostle John, however, was an exception. Ask him, and he’ll tell you how he came to see burial garments as a symbol of triumph…God took clothing of death and made it a symbol of life” (Lucado – He Choose The Nails page 119).
My friends the empty tomb is the sign of new life – Eternal life - Resurrection Power - and it’s the hinge pin of validity for all of the Christians across the world this morning and this weekend of Easter.
Yancey states, “The Resurrection is the epicenter of belief. It is, says C.H. Dodd, “not a belief that grew up within the church; it is the belief around which the church itself grew up, and the ‘given’ upon which its faith was based “(217).
Mark Batterson states this about Easter, “It’s that unique claim which sets Jesus apart and puts Him in a category all by Himself—the Son of God. Christianity is not built on the foundation of philosophy or a code of ethics. The footer of our faith is one fundamental fact: the empty tomb. After cheating death by calling Lazarus out of his tomb, Jesus walked out of His own tomb under His own power! That’s the ultimate apologetic—there is no argument against it. If the resurrection didn’t happen, Christianity ranks as history’s cruelest hoax. We’re not just wasting our lives worshipping Him. We’re living a lie. But if Jesus walked out of the tomb two thousand years ago, all bets are off. Or maybe I should say, all bets are on Jesus.”
The empty tomb of Jesus is what shows that Christianity is the real deal. It sets it apart from all other religions and makes it THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE WAY TO GOD! It’s the sign from God that Jesus is the way – the truth and the life! We only find New Life and true happiness for now and forever in this belief and in this relationship. Jesus is the life giver – He is the Grave Robber who can make the impossible possible! But you have to believe!
Let’s take a moment today to look again at another of Jesus resurrection miracles – one which also deals with an empty tomb and empty burial clothes.
Scripture Text: John 11:1-57:
1Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.
3So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
7Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”
9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light.
10It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”
11After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”
13Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,
15and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
17On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
18Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,
19and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.
20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
28And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”
29When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.
30Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.
31When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
34“Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
36Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
39“Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
45Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.
46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs.
48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
57But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him.
Introduction of our text:
What a story – a man dies – Jesus comes late – people ask why – Jesus calls the dead man’s name – the man hops out of the tomb wrapped like a mummy after 4 days – it goes from mourning, crying and wailing to shouts of praise and amazement – seems like a wild scene to see and be a part of a miracle – a crazy story and “Yes” a true miracle?
I am praying today that each of you get a fresh revelation of Jesus today! I pray you see Him, feel Him and experience Him today! Just like they did that day! I pray that the miracle you praying for and crying out for comes today.
We need to be reminded again of how Jesus should have been called “The Grave Robber!” He loves to snatch people out of the Grim Reapers hands and say not this time! He loves to say, “Lazarus come out!” or "Mike come out!"
Is He calling your name this morning? I pray you hear Jesus voice this Easter Sunday!
• Can you hear Him call your name “Mike?”
o He’s calling you out of sin.
o He’s calling you out of death.
o He’s calling you out of your own tomb.
o He’s calling for you to participate in His resurrection.
Jesus’ grave robbing history is impressive and listed below (rather remarkable) but don’t forget about all the people He healed on deaths door too:
1. Jesus raised the son of the widow of Nain from the dead (Luke 7:11-15)
2. Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Luke 8:41, 42, 49-55).
3. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).
4. Many saints rose from the dead at the resurrection of Jesus (Matt. 27:50-53).
5. Jesus rose from the dead himself (Matt. 28:5-8; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:5, 6).
Can you see why he should be called “The Grave Robber!”
Jesus loved to bring people back to life to show who He was – Life giver – death robber – The Grave Robber! He still does this today by the way both spiritually speaking and literally speaking.
Paul describes “The Grave Robbers” power this way: 1 Corinthians 15:54-57: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This verse just inspires me to say, “Thank You Jesus!” Can I hear an “Amen!”
On this Resurrection Sunday we need to say thanks to Jesus – The Grave Robber – death snatcher – victory giving Savior! Wow what a Savior – what love!
T.S. – But let’s re-look at our miracle story and see what we need to learn from this empty tomb story.
I. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44)
a. Mark Batterson states, “Enter Jesus. Jesus showed up four days late (after Lazarus had been dead), but He showed off His power in a way never before witnessed. He had reversed withered arms and weather systems. But the seventh miracle was a sudden-death showdown with an undefeated opponent. The Grave Robber went toe-to-toe with death itself, and death met its match.” Batterson, Mark (2014-09-02). The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 235). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
b. Jesus went from Carpenter to Miracle Worker – to Grave Robber in the span of three ½ years.
i. For nearly thirty years Jesus crafted wood, he planned it, shaped it, sanded and cut it.
1. I am sure he created many masterpieces!
ii. His miracle working power was kept in reserve out of sight out of the attention off others. He was with God in the beginning when the world was formed but for many years He has been creating furniture, doing building projects. I am sure Jesus was a great carpenter! But remember Jesus was more than a carpenter He was God in the flesh come to make things right in this fallen world.
1. But timing matters to God so Jesus just waited for His pinnacle – life changing - history making moment in time.
iii. Jesus the carpenter is now the miracle worker and The Grave Robber! Jesus came out of the carpentry shop with no tools to create new works of art and He enters center stage in the history of the world. The carpenter has been doing miracles without tools for over 3 ½ years just using His Words.
1. He created things with His words – no tools – no special effects just speak it into existence!
iv. His power to do miracles was all set in motion at His baptism in the Jordan River. He would be baptized by John and empowered with the Holy Spirit and John the Baptist would testify to who he was and what he saw.
1. He was the One!
2. He was the Son of God!
3. He was the Savior!
4. He was the Miracle Worker!
5. He was the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit and fire!
6. He was The Grave Robber!
7. He was going to save the world from sin!
a. Can you see Him in the water – hands uplifted – The Holy Spirit descending on Him like dove?
b. Can you see who he is today?
v. Mark Batterson says, “He was also God incognito. His miraculous powers rank as history’s best-kept secret for nearly three decades…Thirty-four distinct miracles are recorded in the Gospels, while countless more went unrecorded. John’s Gospel spotlights seven miracles, unveiling seven dimensions of Jesus’s miraculous power.”
1. All His miracles pointed to His mission and His identity and where done so we would and could believe!
2. John 20:30-31: “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
a. Why does Jesus do miracles like this – So that you may believe!
c. Back to our miracle story and the coming empty tomb. Jesus has dialogued with Lazarus sisters – both asking the common question God gets in times like this, “Why” Did He not come sooner to heal him?” But Jesus reminds them who He is and asks them “Do you believe?” Martha answers “Yes!”
i. How would you have answered that question: “Do you believe?”
1. Would you have said “Yes!”
ii. The stage is now set for a miracle and another empty tomb scenario – another body snatched from the Grim Reaper.
1. Jesus lays it all on the line with these next few words “Lazarus come out!” His own reputation is on the line all the other miracles hinge on this moment.
a. By the way that is what Jesus does – when you believe!
b. I heard Him say to me “Mike come out of your tomb to New Life!”
i. I said “Yes” I pray you say “yes” today too and come forth.
2. Mark Batterson in his book “Grave Robber” looks at this scene this way: “When you act in faith, it may seem like you are risking your reputation, but it’s really God’s reputation that’s at stake. And God is able to defend His name, His reputation. As I survey Scripture, it seems to me that those God uses the most are those who risk their reputation the most. They aren’t afraid to ask God to make the sun stand still, walls fall down, or an iron ax head float. The way you establish God’s reputation is by risking your own.”
a. Batterson, Mark (2014-09-02). The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (pp. 258-259). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
3. Jesus lays everything on the line here all the other miracles hinge on this one but He knows what He is doing and He knows that the miracle needs to happen for the sake of the people so that they will believe in Him.
a. This is noted in our text! He prays to the Father for the miracle so others hear Him pray – so they know God the Father raises people from the dead! That God hears our prayers!
4. Jesus cries out “Come Out!” and here comes the boom – Out of the tomb comes Lazarus hopping like a bunny (maybe this is where the Easter bunny entered the scene for Easter?) I think this would have been hilarious to see – I am sure they all talked about this for a long time and laughed about it around family gatherings) – the tears of sorrow turn to shouts of joy, there is crying and celebrating. There are dropped jaws and a supernatural infusion of faith in others from The Grave Robber.
a. People believe because they have seen a miracle right before their swollen eyes!
b. He did it – He raised a dead person –dead for 4 days – Jesus kicked death out of Lazarus life.
i. He can do the same for you today too!
c. He did not use His carpenter tools to create a masterpiece He called it forth with His words - and there he is alive.
d. Did you catch the point that Jesus speaks life into existence with His powerful words of life – just like when He and God did it in Genesis!
i. Let there be ______________ and the boom came!
1. Healings come – Dead people raise up – marriages healed – people delivered from drugs happens.
2. Do you need a “Here comes the boom” in your life!
iii. I love it when miracles happen and people see them! The look on their face the skip in their step. The smile across their face. Wow – miracles are so cool! They ran and told everyone! This is why Jesus is greeted with cheers in Jerusalem!
1. Share a miracle story:
a. Dad and the keys.
b. Grandma’s prayer about Pap.
c. India’s many miracles.
i. Boy healed
ii. Priest healed
iii. Women delivered of demons
iv. Communion in a small church
d. I think a warning is important whenever you talk about miracles: Don’t seek miracles. Seek Jesus. Some run from meeting to meeting for a miracle but never commit to Jesus in a local church which is essential for spiritual maturity.
i. I have come to know an important truth that if you follow Jesus long enough and deep enough, you’ll eventually find yourself in the middle of some of His miracles.
1. Have you been there – been a part of a miracle – we heard a few stories about them from time to time at church!
2. I have another one for you today -- Fran’s testimony which she sent to my email a few years back:
a. Hi Pastor Mike, I wanted to share a praise report with you. The lady I work for has a cleaning lady that is there on Wednesdays. A few weeks ago she asked me to help her talk with a nurse on the phone and set up an ultra sound appointment for her because she speaks polish and some English. I asked her last Wednesday if she was ok did she have the ultra sound and she told me that she had something very large in her abdomen a cyst or something and it was pressing on the other organs causing her pain. They wanted to repeat the ultra sound to see if it's growing and how fast. She said she would have to have surgery to remove it. I asked her if I could pray for her and she seemed a little unsure but said yes. I placed my hand on her side and she put my hand right on the spot where her pain was. I prayed and asked Jesus to heal her and take it away. She gave me a hug and said thank you. Today when she came in I asked her how she was feeling and she told me that they repeated the ultra sound and the cyst was gone!!!! She gave me a hug and said thank you I told her not to thank me but to thank Jesus. I said praise God he healed you!!!! Fran
ii. I love what Mark Batterson says, “Everyone wants a miracle. But here’s the catch: No one wants to be in a situation that necessitates one! Of course, you can’t have one without the other. The prerequisite for a miracle is a problem, and the bigger the problem, the greater the potential miracle. If the wedding party in Cana hadn’t run out of wine, there would have been no need for the Wine Maker to do what He did. What the bride and groom perceived as a problem was really a perfect opportunity for God to reveal His glory. And nothing has changed since Jesus turned water into wine, healed a man born blind, or walked out of the tomb three days after His crucifixion…He is the God who can make your impossible possible!”
1. Do you believe this?
2. What is happening in your life which seems irreversible? Pray and ask God for a miracle to reverse it!
T.S. – Jesus can make the impossible possible - but we must believe on Him! Believe in what He has done. We need Jesus to enter in our life – we need to answer his call to come out of the tomb of sin and death. We need to say “Yes!” Let’s learn a little more about The Grave Robber – Creator of New Life!
II. Lessons from Jesus -The Grave Robber – Life Giver – Death Snatcher and Miracle Worker!
a. We sometimes think that something is irreversible because what has happened has happened and you cannot turn back the clock to get a re-try!
i. Have you ever been there? Are you there now?
1. Mark Batterson words it this way: “You cannot unbake cookies, uncut hair, undelete documents, or unrun red lights. These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way. Some of those lessons were easily laughed off after a little embarrassment. Then there are those irreversible moments that leave a hole in your heart forever—like standing at the foot of a casket. If you’ve been on the receiving end of divorce papers, answered a frantic phone call in the middle of the night, or gotten lab results from your doctor that affirm your worst fears, you know that feeling all too well. It feels like your life is over. But it’s not over until God says it’s over!”
a. Life is not filled that often with re-do’s!
i. Would you agree?
b. But did you know with Jesus resurrection power and a relationship with Him in life you can have a re-do – a new beginning – a new start - a new birth?
i. He has the resurrection power to give do overs!
ii. Do you need a do over?
b. Here is the truth which comes from Jesus “The Grave Robber”:
i. When Jesus raised Lazarus and the others from the dead and then He himself walked out of the tomb things changed.
1. You may ask, “What changed?
a. The word impossible went out the window with His exit from the tomb!”
ii. Do you remember what the angel said to Mary about Jesus inception in her by the Holy Spirit?
1. Luke 1:37: “For nothing is impossible with God.”
a. Wow! How we sometimes want to limit God on what He can do in and through our lives.
b. Jesus shows us on this Resurrection Sunday that He can do anything!
i. The impossible is possible!
c. In actuality we should celebrate Jesus’ resurrection everyday not just on Easter!
i. Because the impossible is possible with Him every day of our life!
2. Miracles happen more than you think or I should say “Notice!”
a. We are so blinded today to miracles and the working of the Holy Spirit! Would you agree? By the way this has a scientific name when we fail notice the obvious happening around us:
i. It’s called “The Invisible Gorilla Syndrome”
b. Mark Batterson shares this: “The Invisible Gorilla Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons conducted an experiment at Harvard University more than a decade ago that became infamous in psychology circles. Their book The Invisible Gorilla popularized it. And you may be one of the millions of viewers who made their Selective Attention Test one of YouTube’s most-watched videos. The two researchers filmed students passing basketballs while moving in a circular fashion. In the middle of the short film, a woman dressed in a gorilla suit walks into the frame, beats her chest, and walks out of the frame. The sequence takes nine seconds in the minute-long video. Viewers are given specific instructions: “Count the number of passes by players wearing white shirts.” Of course, the researchers were not interested in their pass-counting ability. They wanted to see if the viewers would notice something they weren’t looking for, something as obvious as a gorilla. Amazingly, half of the test group did not. How is that even possible? How do you miss the gorilla in the room? The short answer is inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness is the failure to notice something in your field of vision because you are focused on something else, in this case people in white shirts passing basketballs.
c. We can say the same about the religious leaders in Jesus day:
i. Batterson adds: “But the first-century Pharisees make an even better case study. They were so focused on Sabbath law that they couldn’t see the miracles happening right in front of their eyes. Jesus healed an invalid who hadn’t walked in thirty-eight years, gave sight to a man born blind, and restored a man’s withered arm. But the Pharisees missed the miracle, and missed the Messiah, because they were blinded by their legalism. They couldn’t see past their religious assumptions.
1. Inattentional blindness can be as intentional as turning a blind eye to something you don’t want to see, like the Pharisees did.
2. It can also be as unintentional as fading awareness of the constants in your life that you take for granted over time.
3. Either way, it’s one of the greatest threats to spiritual vitality. One of the truest tests of spiritual maturity is seeing the miraculous in the monotonous.”
a. Batterson, Mark (2014-09-02). The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (p. 16-17). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
c. This resurrection miracle reveals the true identity, the full identity, of Jesus – it’s why He did it before His own resurrection.
i. Marks says, “He’s not just the Wine Maker or the Water Walker, as impressive as those miracles are. He’s the Grave Robber. And He saves His boldest claim for last: “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).”
1. I Am the One who gives the do overs – I give new births – I create new lives – I do re-births!
2. I can reverse the irreversible!
a. He can do this because He is God in the Flesh – Miracle Worker – Creator and Grave Robber!
b. You just have to believe He is the ONE!
ii. Mark Batterson shares: In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, U2 frontman Bono was asked his opinion on Jesus with this question: “Christ has His rank among the world’s greatest thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that far-fetched?” The lead singer of U2 and global crusader against poverty responded: “No, it’s not far-fetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this. He was a great prophet who had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually, Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says, ‘No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me a teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: I’m the Messiah. I’m saying: I am God incarnate.’ And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet we can take. So what you’re left with is either Christ was who He said he was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase.”
1. While most people have no issue accepting Jesus as a compassionate healer or wise teacher or even a religious prophet, that isn’t who He alleged to be. He claimed to be the Son of God.
2. C.S. Lewis famously observed, Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or in fact who He claimed to be—Lord. There is no middle ground.
3. Either Jesus is Lord of all, or He’s not Lord at all. So which is it?
4. That one decision will determine your eternal destiny. It will also make the impossible possible! After asserting His identity as the resurrection and the life, Jesus popped a point-blank question that punctuated Martha’s life: “Do you believe this?” (John 11:26).
a. Above from Mark Batterson.
iii. This is the big question today by the way --- the point of this whole message - Do you believe Jesus is who He and others say He was and is?
d. Marks adds this thought to our miracle moment: “Remember that Lazarus hadn’t walked out of the tomb just yet. Yet Martha responded with her simple profession of faith: “Yes, Lord.”
i. One little yes can change your life.
1. We so underestimate the power of saying “Yes” to Jesus!
ii. One little “yes” can change your eternity.
1. The litmus test is the same now as it was then. The only question on God’s final exam is: Do you believe this? It’s not a multiple-choice question. It’s true or false. And it’s the most important question you’ll ever answer.
2. That one decision will determine your eternal destiny. The good news is that it’s an open-book exam, and God reveals the right answer in Romans 10:9:
a. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (ESV).
b. So, do you believe Jesus can resurrect people from dead and give them new life, a second chance, a new beginning?
c. Do you believe?
Marks adds these following thoughts for us to ponder this Easter Sunday as we have been looking at resurrection stories:
• The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the axis around which our faith revolves. When Jesus rose from the dead, it radically redefined reality. The resurrection is the history changer, the game changer.
• But the trick is learning to live as if Jesus was crucified yesterday, rose from the dead today, and is coming back tomorrow!
• The resurrection isn’t something we celebrate once a year by donning an Easter bonnet. It’s something we celebrate every day in every way.
• The resurrection of dead bodies is nothing short of miraculous, and the re-materialization of dead bodies when Christ returns is going to be must-see TV.
• But the resurrection miracles don’t stop there: Jesus is still doing them today you may have just missed them in-attentional blindness!
o God raises dreams from the dead – you look for them.
o He resurrects dead relationships – if you open your eyes to see.
o He restores and makes marriages new – just listen to the stories of others.
o He gives people re-do’s in life – hear the testimonies – look at other’s lives.
o He heals people – believe the stories of healings.
o He snatches people out of the grips of death – the stories have been written in books, and movies made about them – but you have to believe.
o And no matter what part of your personality has died at the hands of sin, suffering, or Satan himself, the Grave Robber came to give you your life back!
? This is the message of the resurrection stories we have explored today
The question is do you believe?
As we go into our final song “Aint No Grave” of Easter morning I challenge you to look into the empty tomb and see that you can begin again – if you believe!
There is victory in the Resurrection for you if you believe – there is new life awaiting – there are new beginnings if you want them!
Open your hearts this morning as the team sings this song – see Jesus today in His resurrected state of glory!
See His victory over the grave as your victory over the grave!
“If He walked out of the Grave – We will too!”