Summary: To an unchurched, Biblically illiterate population the resurrection of Jesus from the dead may be confusing or even rejected out of hand as a fable. It is only when we see it in its proper context that we can even start to grasp the magnitude of this great series of events.

Why Is The Resurrection Important?

Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:

Matthew 5:3-5

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse is:

1 Peter 3:15

“In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Today we will be reading from

Luke 24:1-12 & 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

Have you ever come in on a conversation where you only heard the end of the story and everyone seemed so excited about the conclusion but you couldn’t understand why they were so excited?

I mean, it just didn’t make any sense. What was so amazing?

The reason they were excited and you were not excited is because they knew the rest of the story.

That’s how it is with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you do not know the rest of the story it just seems like some sort of fabulous tale. Why are some Christians so excited about Jesus rising from the dead?

There are all sorts of books about people coming back from the dead. We call them near death experiences. And many people give those accounts more credence than they do the Bible.

So, let’s go ahead and read some Scripture passages about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and then we will try to determine why it is so exciting…

Luke 24:1-12 & 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

(prayer for help)

So that’s the end of the story when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and it’s a great story. (Of course, we know there’s a lot left to come after this …)

Jesus has risen from the dead. So what makes it different from other people rising from the dead? I mean, after all, Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead and Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and when Paul was preaching a young man fell asleep and fell from a third story window to his death and Paul raised him from the dead. So, what’s the big deal with Jesus rising from the dead?

In order to find out what is so special about Jesus rising from the dead we need to go back to the very beginning of the Bible.

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth and the plants and the animals and the fish and everything else there were only two humans, Adam and Eve and everything was perfect. The Lord God would come and walk with them every day in the cool of the evening.

Try to imagine having complete access to God. No temptations to fight against. Everything you need for life. All the food you need. No need for clothing. No hostility whatsoever. No danger from animals. No danger from criminals. No sickness. No disease. No need to pay bills. No repairs to do around the house. No telemarketers calling you about the warranty for your car or about Medicare. Everything was perfect. It was a time of perfect fellowship with God.

We don't know how long this period of perfect peace and harmony lasted. It could have been hundreds of years. It might have been just a few days.

But we do know that it ended. When did it end? It ended when the first sin was committed. What happened when the first sin was committed? Death entered into the world.

Death and sin up are inseparable. There was no death before sin. When Adam and Eve sinned guilt came into existence. And what happened when guilt came into existence? Shame came into existence. What did Adam and Eve do to hide their guilt and shame? They tried to sew some fig leaves together to cover their nakedness and they hid from the Lord.

That didn’t work so well. What did the Lord do to cover their shame and to pay the penalty for their sin? He killed an innocent animal and used the skin for their clothing.

Just try to imagine what THAT was like. Adam and Eve had never seen death before. The only skin they had ever seen was on a live animal. Did they actually see God kill the animal? If so, it must have been horrifying! Did they see God skin the animal? And then He put the skin from the dead animal on them.

However it all went down I am sure that it must have been very unsettling to them. They now KNEW what death was. They had always known that the Lord was the giver of life, but now they also knew what the result of sin was, death. And they had caused it. It was their fault!

So the great conflict entered into the world. God and holiness is life, sin and rebellion is death.

In the Old Testament we see that a blood sacrifice is required when a sin has been committed. How was this to be done? The person who had committed the sin would bring a spotless, perfect, innocent animal to the priest. The person who had committed the sin would place their hand on the animal’s head.

This would symbolically transfer the guilt of their sin onto the sacrificial animal. While the person’s hand was still on the animal’s head the priest would slit the animal’s throat and the shedding of the animal’s blood would stand in the place of the sinner’s blood.

Not very pleasant is it, knowing that the animal is dying in your place, and it’s your fault because you are the one who sinned, not the animal. And this would be a temporary sacrifice for sin until the next sin was committed and then it would have to be repeated all over again.

Why? Because, in a spiritual sense. the sin of the guilty can only be paid by the innocent, in this case an innocent animal and the result is always death. Permanent death.

So you see, the final results of Adam and Eve’s sin was the entrance of death into the world and for thousands of years death would remain undefeated for animals and humans alike.

But, the Bible says that God is a God of love, right?

1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is LOVE.”

But then, Ephesians 5:6 says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s WRATH comes on those who are disobedient.”

How can that be? Are the concepts of love and wrath incompatible?

Can the God of love still be a God of wrath?

Can a gentle, tender father who loves his child also be a father of wrath when someone attempts to harm his child?

In reality, love and wrath are not only compatible but they are complementary and necessary.

So, God is a God of love and God is a God of wrath.

What brings out God’s wrath? His wrath is brought about by willful, malicious, unrepented sin. This is obvious in the Bible.

In Genesis 6:5 it says, “(Yahweh) the LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”

And what was the Lord’s response to that wickedness? The flood. God’s wrath was poured out on the world and death was the sentence for all except for Noah’s family.

Was the Lord unjust in pouring out His wrath upon the wicked? No.

According to the Word of God Noah and His family were the only righteous ones left on the earth and what did the Lord have Noah doing at the same time he was building the ark? The Lord had Noah preaching repentance to all those around him. They could have turned to God and been saved but they chose sin instead.

And in Genesis 19 we see that the city of Sodom was filled with unrestrained, violent homosexuality. What was the result of that wickedness? The wrath of God resulted in the destruction of the city and all of its inhabitants. Death.

Was the Lord unjust in pouring out His wrath upon those in Sodom and Gomorrah? No.

Would they have been able to hear the word of truth? Had they been given the chance to live righteous lives? Was the Lord protecting the fledgling nation that would come from Abraham who lived nearby? The Lord always offers forgiveness and salvation. For Him wrath is a last, but sometimes necessary, resort.

In the Bible we see from the very beginning that sin results in death. Either the death of an innocent animal or sometimes the death of the rebellious person at the hand of God or at the hand of one of His obedient children.

It is true that we may die as a RESULT of our sin but we can never spiritually pay for our own sin even with our very life. The life of a guilty person is not an acceptable sacrifice for sin in the eyes of the Lord. Only an innocent dying on the behalf of the guilty is acceptable in the eyes of the Lord.

That is why Jesus, the pure, spotless, sinless, sacrificial Lamb of God took all of the sin of sinful humanity upon Himself as the One and Only Acceptable Sacrifice.

Isaiah 53:8 says,

“By oppression and judgment He was taken away. Yet who of His generation protested? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was punished.”

The wrath of God that we deserved was placed on Jesus.

The Innocent One died, His precious blood was shed for us, for you, for me!

Are you thankful for that?

Romans 5:9

“Since we have now been justified by (Christ’s) blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!

So, what does any of that have to do with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and why do we get so excited about it?

What is the end result of sin?

Death; spiritual death and physical death.

Romans 6:23 says,

“The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Recently, pastor Karenlee and I were listening to a sermon on TV and the pastor made a statement about life and death. We knew what he said was true but we had never heard it framed the way he did.

Here’s what he said (this is not a direct quote …) “You have two options; you can either live once and die twice or you can live twice and die once.” So, what on earth does that mean?

Jesus gives eternal life to those who come to know Him as their Savior. The born again person lives their natural life, they die a natural death and then they are raised again into eternal life. That’s living twice and dying once.

Jesus also declares that those who reject Him as their Savior face an eternity after this life that He calls “the second death.”

So, the unsaved person lives their natural life, they die a natural death and then they face an eternal “second death.” That’s living once and dying twice.

Revelation 21:8 says,

“The cowardly, the unbelieving (who reject Christ as their Savior), the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

John 3:18 makes it even more plain …

“Whoever believes in (Jesus) is not condemned (has eternal life), but whoever does not believe stands condemned (to an eternal death) already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

So, Jesus’ sacrifice gives us all a choice.

Live this life as a believer in Jesus Christ, die a natural death and then inherit an eternal life. Live - Die - Live eternally.

Or, as an unbeliever in Jesus Christ, live a natural life, die a natural death and then be condemned to a second, eternal death.

Live - Die - Die eternally.

How do we know this is true? The proof is in the resurrection.

The Resurrection is the ultimate proof of Jesus’ deity.

If someone prophecies their own resurrection from the dead and it never happens then that person would be a false prophet and a liar.

BUT … if Someone says, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him and spit on Him; they will flog Him and kill Him. On the third day He will rise again.” (Luke 18:31-33) and because it all came true then the speaker, Jesus, is a true Prophet and we had better believe it! In this case, the true Prophet was not just a prophet but the Son of God as well!

So, the resurrection is a validation of Jesus’ Deity and our faith in Him is NOT misplaced.

Why else do we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead? We celebrate because His death and resurrection restores for us the path to the same unhindered fellowship with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed before they sinned!

We can have peace with God and we can have an intimate, loving relationship with Him because after He arose from the dead He ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. We, as true believers in Jesus, can actually have God living within us! And, He will guide us, comfort us, encourage us and make His home in us!

When you read through the Old Testament you will see only brief periods when the presence of Yahweh, the Lord, was with them and even then God’s presence was usually only present with a prophet or the high priest.

We can have fellowship with God NOW and CONTINUALLY!

What an amazing gift!

These are just a couple of reasons why we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead each and every day of the year! It’s not just for Easter Sunday, it’s for every day in the life of a true believer. Praise His Holy Name!

Christ’s life, death and resurrection restores to us the fellowship with God that was lost in the garden of Eden. Hallelujah!

Final thoughts leading to communion …