Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The reality of resurrection.

What if everything you believed in and everything you trusted in turned against you? Most kids believe in the “Easter bunny,” the tooth fairy, and santa clause. Yet, after some time, they finally learn the truth about these mythical creatures. What if it were time to learn the truth about the death and burial of Jesus Christ? Would you be prepared to learn that they may have found his tomb or even that He married Mary Magdalene? Don’t automatically throw away the ideas without first viewing the evidence. What would you say to someone who thought they had found the tomb? How about the idea that the disciples stole the body of Jesus? What if Jesus was not resurrected?

Last week we witnessed the most fiendish act of Satan himself, the death of Jesus Christ. Satan has not stopped his attack on Jesus’ credibility since that day. Satan has tried to lower the life of Christ to nothing more than a mere man. Every time a new reason for why Jesus wasn’t God comes out, the headlines say that it will “shake the foundations of the Christian faith.” There have been hundreds of claims over the years from archaeology to theology about how Jesus slowly realized he was God or how Jesus realized how he could act like God and get away with it. Paul speaks about this idea in 1 Corinthians 15. He says, “…if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.” (The Message)

With each new attempt, I gain a little more hope in the truth of scriptures. Why? Because each attempt proves that another one failed. Every time they have to come up with something new to discredit Christianity, they prove that they still haven’t gotten it figured out. I find hope in the failure of these ideas. The very first failure can be found in the scriptures. Let’s briefly look at this one and the two most recent opponents to Christianity.

The Stolen Body – Matthew 28:11-15

“Meanwhile, the guards had scattered, but a few of them went into the city and told the high priests everything that had happened. They called a meeting of the religious leaders and came up with a plan: They took a large sum of money and gave it to the soldiers, bribing them to say, "His disciples came in the night and stole the body while we were sleeping." They assured them, "If the governor hears about your sleeping on duty, we will make sure you don’t get blamed." The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. That story, cooked up in the Jewish High Council, is still going around.” – From The Message Bible

This is very first attempt to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The high priests knew that Jesus claimed that He would be raised from the dead in three days. There was no mistake on how long it would have taken Him. So these men decide to set up a guard unit over the tomb and make sure the disciples didn’t steal the body. They even rolled a several ton stone over the entrance and sealed it so that if anyone tried to get in, they would know. Okay, it would take half of an army to get this stone out of the slot it stood in. Yet, the soldiers even admit to the leaders that a flash of light came down and when they awoke, the stone had been moved and His body was gone. I’ve got it! The disciples had a giant laser beam on the moon and they shot the tomb with the laser to blow away the boulder in front of the grave. Okay, maybe that one is not plausible. Maybe they threw a flash grenade at the soldiers and then knocked them out in the confusion. No, that probably isn’t feasible either.

The Jews really do argue the same way about this. They say the disciples made up the story about the light and the plot of the Jews. They say the disciples stole the body of Jesus. The soldiers would die for failing in their duty. So, since the soldiers needed their help they would protect the soldiers. That’s their story. This was all a plot by the disciples to cover up the death of Jesus. This doesn’t make much sense when you look at Luke 24 and the story of the road to Emmaus. Jesus began traveling with a man named Cleopas but Cleopas didn’t recognize Jesus. Cleopas explains the events that have just occurred in Jerusalem; about how Jesus was a great prophet and was killed by the Jews, how some women had just been to the empty tomb, and how they hoped He would save Israel. They believed Jesus was dead for good. They didn’t understand the resurrection part apparently. So why would they go and steal the body. It just doesn’t pan out logically.

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