Who Is This Jesus?
19. He is our Risen Savior
MAIN IDEA: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in his name. (v. 31)
• Listeners will be reminded of the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and challenged to explain the evidence any other way.
• Listeners will be encouraged to examine what they have done with the life they have been given by God, and to receive the LIFE that comes through belief in Jesus.
Man’s “headache” is a nail in the head.
Construction worker Patrick Lawler thought he had a toothache. For almost a week, he tried painkillers and ice packs to reduce the swelling. When nothing he did brought relief, he finally went to the dental office where his wife works. Only after the dentist took an x-ray did Patrick learn the true source of the toothache. He had a four-inch nail in his head.
When the dentists reported their discovery to Patrick’s wife, she thought they were joking. But the x-ray revealed the truth. The nail had entered through his mouth, just missing Patrick’s right eye.
The incident occurred six days earlier. Patrick was working with a nail gun that backfired. Although one of the nails shot into his mouth and embedded itself, Patrick didn’t realize it. He merely complained of a toothache and blurry vision, and even tried ice cream to soothe the pain.
After the nail was discovered, surgeons at a Denver hospital successfully removed it through four hours of surgery. Although it is a "pretty rare injury," one neurosurgeon admitted, "this is the second one we’ve seen in this hospital where the person was injured by the nail gun and didn’t actually realize the nail had been embedded in their skull."
A wrong diagnosis only leads to a wrong remedy. In the spiritual realm, unless we recognize the deadly reality of sin, we will never turn to the only solution, which is found in Christ. Today we celebrate the solution to the deadly reality of sin in our lives – the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Before I say anything else I want to go back to the ancient story that really says more than I can possibly say today. Let’s hear what the apostle John recorded about what happened on the Sunday after Jesus died.
30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit….
The Burial of Jesus
38Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
The Empty Tomb
1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
10Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
18Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may[e] believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
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.
That’s the whole point of the 20 weeks we’ve spent thus far studying the Gospel of John. That you may come to a point of believing that Jesus is who he claimed to be, and that you may experience abundant life now and eternal life into the future.
This chapter of scripture tells it all:
• He was dead on Friday.
• He was buried on Friday.
• On Sunday morning the tomb was empty.
• They all saw him and talked with him and touched him.
• Jesus is alive.
The tomb is empty! And it always has been since that first Resurrection morning!
No has ever argued successfully that it wasn’t empty.
• Jesus followers claimed the tomb was empty – and they were the ones who put him in it!
• The Roman soldiers guarding the tomb knew it was empty – we know from Luke they went to tell the Jewish authorities about it.
• The Jewish authorities were convinced it was empty – so convinced that they bribed the soldiers to keep quiet about it.
But today people are as skeptical as ever about this story. If you are prone to doubt the truth of the resurrection, you’ve got to answer a very simple question: “What happened to the body?”
Did the disciples take it?
• Why would they do that? They were afraid for their own lives. Huddling together behind locked doors.
• What motivation would they have for lying to the world about his resurrection, only to be killed because of that lie? Many people have died for something they thought was true but was really false. Have you ever heard of anyone who died for something they KNEW was a lie? Can you really believe that all 10 of the remaining 11 disciples who would die martyrs deaths would keep silent about such a lie?
• No the disciples didn’t take the body.
Did the Romans steal the body?
• Why would they do that? The soldiers were staring down a death sentence for allowing the roman seal placed on the tomb to be broken and the body to be stolen.
Did the Jews steal the body?
• Again, why would they have done that?
How about Joseph of Arimathea. Perhaps he changed his mind about having Jesus laid in the tomb he had purchased, and he moved the body and just never told anyone about it.
• If so, explain how the soldiers didn’t know of it, and why he never told the disciples when they started believing Jesus was alive again.
What happened to the body?
• The only explanation that can even find a plausible explanation is that God miraculously raised Jesus from the dead. The tomb was empty because Jesus was alive again!
The clear evidence of history is that Jesus of Nazareth died on Friday, his tomb was empty on Sunday morning, and that the disciples were so convinced of his resurrection that they turned the world upside down, telling everyone they met that Jesus was the Messiah who had come from God, paid for the sins of the world, and that the way to a relationship with God had been opened by his once for all time sacrifice.
You simply can’t argue with those facts. To deny them a person has to find some way to explain the radical change in the disciples from scared peasants to empowered ambassadors with a life-changing message.
Why have I gone into these arguments? Because the Devil wants us to be confused. He wants me to doubt that it really happened. He wants you to be too “smart” to believe in such a preposterous thing. He’ll do anything to put doubt in your mind. But God has given us so much evidence that we don’t have to doubt. Even though we can’t place our hands on his nail-scarred hands like Thomas – we have more than enough reason to believe he is resurrected.
And if you believe God resurrected him, it’s not that far of a leap to believing that the other things written about him in the Bible are true as well.
As John says at the end of this chapter – all of this is written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that, believing, you may have life in his name.
Friends – God wants you to have LIFE. That’s why he sent Jesus. He has given you life, graciously, but he wants you to have LIFE. He wants you to experience everything good that life has to offer, and to be with him forever. It’s kind of like this…
ILLUS: Transistor radios and boom box.
God gives each of life. He makes our hearts start beating. He puts in each of us the spark of life. And though it is hard – life is a wonderful thing (turn on transistor)
But God doesn’t want us to just have this model – he wants us to experience more. Problem is, when we hear God’s word – we understand that Jesus must have risen from the dead, but we continue to doubt and we refuse to believe that Jesus was the Son of God and follow his teaching, we basically do this (throw the radio down.)
We say thanks God for this thing called life, but I want to go my own way. And we crash. And we crash. And our lives get wounded and broken, Until we get to a spot where nothing seems to work anymore, and we scream at God what are you doing!
And all the while God is ready to take that broken down life, and exchange it for an abundant life, full of joy and peace and experiencing every good thing that God has for us, and he promises even more – eternity with Him after we die.
The scriptures say each of us has a fatal problem. It’s not a nail in the head – its sin. Sin that separates us from God. Sin that keeps us from experiencing peace in our lives and in our world. And on our own we are helpless to remove it. There is no surgery, no matter how drastic, to take care of the problem, what we need is to receive the life Jesus has for us.
The tomb is empty.
Jesus has proven himself to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
And you can have life by believing in His name.
Nothing would please God more than to receive from you the broken, battered life you’ve lived on your own, and to replace it with the LIFE he’s always had in mind for you.
The choice is yours.