Summary: There are more hymns celebrating the cross than the open tomb which might lead some to think Jesus’ death was more important than His resurrection. But, how important is the resurrection to us?
OPEN: Women: are there times when your husbands don’t seem to be paying attention?
One man wrote: The ears are a marvelous creation: A piano has 88 keys, but each of your ears has a range of 1500 keys. They are so finely tuned that you can hear the blood running through your vessels. The outside of your ear can catch up to 73,700 vibrations per second
He continued: My wife used to think I needed my hearing checked... there’s nothing wrong with my hearing... I just don’t listen to her. It’s not that I don’t love her… it’s just that there’s something else that has caught my attention that I regard as being more important.
APPLY: I can identify with that. How about you other men? It’s not that we can’t hear our wives. It’s just doesn’t seem as important as what we’re doing at the moment. It’s a guy thing.
BUT it’s also true of everybody. That which we consider important, that which we value, that which has worth at moment - that is what gets center stage in our minds. That’s what grabs our attention. Everything else fades into background.
ILLUS: Michelangelo observed this when he visited several great art galleries in cities across Europe. He was deeply impressed by the overwhelming number of paintings that showed Jesus hanging on the cross.
Michelangelo asked: “Why are art galleries filled with so many pictures of Christ upon the cross – Christ dying? Why do artists concentrate upon that passing episode, as if that were the last word and the final scene? Christ’s dying on the cross lasted for only a few hours. But to the end of unending eternity, Christ is alive…”
In other words, the crucifixion - vital and critical to our salvation has grabbed our attention. But what about the resurrection? Did the resurrection have any value? Was the idea of the resurrection important?
I. The idea of resurrection was so important…
…that the Chief Priests and Pharisees did everything to make sure there would no resurrection ever took place.
Matthew 27:62-66 tells us:
The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."
"Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how."
So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Do you understand their intention? They wanted no hint of a resurrected Jesus, so they went to Pilate and requested a guard. They thought "If Body was stolen they’d have real problems. WHY?
Because Jesus had predicted He would rise from the dead. And, as long as Jesus’ body was still in the tomb it would crush any further potential power this movement had. They could take people over to the tomb and say “hey, look at the body – this is Jesus – he’s dead”
AND, if he was still in that tomb, dead that proved this teacher to be a liar, because He said He would rise again.
However, if the body wasn’t in the grave any longer SUDDENLY… these Jewish leaders have nothing for "show and tell."
AND SO, these leaders (the Chief Priests & Pharisees) went to Pilate and got a Roman guard. Why go to Pilate? Because Roman soldiers were the best soldiers in the world. Not only that – they wouldn’t desert their post… under fear of death.
So these Jewish leaders went to the tomb, made sure body there, rolled stone back in place & sealed it with a Roman seal. Then they went home and went to bed… only to wake a couple of days later to find they had failed.
Why had they failed…? Because - no roman guard was gonna keep Jesus in the ground! IN FACT: An entire Roman legion couldn’t have got that done!!!
As Psalm 2 tells us, God sits in the heavens and laughs at the feeble to control the eternal.
So, the idea of the resurrection was important because, as Romans 1:4 tells us
"Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead."
The importance of resurrection: it declared Jesus was Son of God.
II. And the idea of the resurrection was so important – that it was center piece of the Gospel.
Read I Corinthians 15:1ff
ILLUS: A conversation between a Christian missionary and a Muslim illustrates a great