Summary: Easter is not about celebrating Jesus crucifixion it’s about celebrating Jesus resurrection, our focus is not death it’s life. This sermon looks at the effect of the resurrection on Peter & Thomas and us.
I want to take us on a journey back in time
Back to Easter Sunday. Not last week, I want to take us back a couple of thousand years.
I want you to imagine it’s very early on the first Easter Sunday Morning.
Can you imagine Jesus followers waking up and remembering what had happened,
remembering the horror of Friday,
remembering that their friend was dead
thinking their dreams were shattered.
Jesus was dead,
and with him died all of their dreams,
all of their hopes - everything they believed in.
They had given everything to him,
their past, their present, even their future
up until Thursday night it seemed so good.
All he had wanted was everything,
and they gave it.
All he had asked was that they believe and
oh how they had believed.
They had seen the impossible,
they had seen blind men see,
they had seen lame men walk,
and they had seen dead men live.
They believed with all their hearts,
but not any more,
their beliefs were as dead as their master.
And there was nothing to do but to go home,
to leave Jerusalem, to leave their hopes,
to leave their dreams and just go home.
They might as well try and recover their yesterdays because their tomorrows were as dead as Jesus was.
They had seen him captured,
They had seen him beaten,
they seen him crucified,
they had seen him die
they had seen him buried
they thought the dream was as dead as the dreamer.
But then a shout, He’s alive, the tomb is empty.
The two Mary’s had seen an empty tomb,
she had seen empty grave clothes
she had seen Jesus.
He wasn’t dead, he was alive.
He was alive & everything was going to be ok.
And then, it happened, as quickly as turning on the lights, instead of mourning his death
they were celebrating his being alive.
It wasn’t defeat it was victory.
He is alive and the tomb is empty.
Easter is not about celebrating Jesus crucifixion
it’s about celebrating Jesus resurrection,
Our focus is not death it’s life.
Easter is not about mourning it’s about celebrating.
We believe as did the early church that Christ had risen from the dead, there was actually a physical resurrection.
Throughout the years there have been other theories as well.
A man called Lee Strobel was an atheist,
he was an investigative reporter and legal editor for the Chicago Tribune Newspaper.
Lee’s wife became a Christian and he began to investigate the claims of Christianity.
Through that journey he became a believer and he wrote a number of books as a result of his investigation.
In his book “The Case for Easter” Lee wrote, “The starting point seemed obvious to me:
the resurrection was the centre of the Christian faith. After all, anyone can claim to be the Son of God. But if someone could prove that by returning to life after being dead and buried --- well, that would be a compelling confirmation that he was telling the truth. Even for a skeptic like me.”
The first thing that Lee wanted to confirm was that Jesus actually died on the cross.
There have been those who have maintained that Jesus only passed out on the cross and woke up in the cool air of the tomb.
What Lee discovered was that modern doctors felt that there was little chance that Christ could have survived the torture described in the Bible.
Once Lee was satisfied that Jesus was really dead when he was placed in the tomb he needed to prove that one of the apostles hadn’t stolen the body.
The strongest argument for that is that every one of the apostles was tortured for their faith and for their belief that Jesus rose from the dead.
And while there are all kinds of people who will lie there are very few who will maintain that lie in the face of torture and death.
The same apostles who hid while Jesus was being tortured encountered something or someone that gave them unprecedented power, and according to the scriptures, that something or someone was the risen Christ.
Strobel also wrote “The disciples didn’t merely believe in the resurrection:
they knew it was fact not fiction.
Had they known it was a lie, they would never have been willing to sacrifice their lives for it. Nobody willing dies for something that they know is false.
They proclaimed the resurrection to their deaths for one reason alone: they knew it was the truth.”
If all of the people Jesus appeared to after His resurrection were here this morning,
and we asked each of them to speak for just 15 minutes on what they saw it would take 129 hours.
In other words it would take you from breakfast on Monday until Friday at dinner time listening around the clock to hear the testimony of those witnesses.