Summary: The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is either fact or fiction. If it is fiction we are all lost in our sin. If it is fact then our eternal destiny pivots on whether we believe it or not.
The Resurrection – A Wall or A Gate
Please open your Bibles to Matthew 28:1-7 which Pastor Karenlee will be reading and teaching from in a few minutes.
We hope many of you were able to join us for our Good Friday service. It was good to remember all that happened between the Passover Meal, which we call the last supper and when Jesus was placed in the tomb after the crucifixion.
It was not “good” in the sense of pleasant or enjoyable.
It was good in the sense that it reminded us of a series of events that were unthinkably cruel.
And it was good in the sense that even through all of the trials and torture and the unjust crucifixion we could point to the verse that tells us “For God so greatly loved the world” that He sent His One and Only, Begotten Son.
That God so greatly loved His disciples who failed and betrayed Him, that God so greatly loved the Jewish leadership and the mob that arrested Him and Pilate and Herod and the soldiers who crucified Him; that God so greatly loved all of them that He sent His Son to be the perfect sacrifice for their sins and for our sins as well!
But on this Sabbath day we turn to an event that took place three days later; the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Please read along in your Bibles as Pastor Karenlee reads from Matthew 28:1-7
May God bless the reading of His Word
Brief prayer for help
How do we know that really happened? In the Old Testament we read that no person shall be put to death based on the testimony of only one eye witness; there must be a minimum of two eye witnesses. What about a resurrection? How many witnesses would that require? Wouldn’t it be great if we had some eye witnesses?
In 1 John 1:1-4 (NLT) the disciple Jesus loved writes:
“We proclaim to you the One who existed from the beginning, Whom we have heard and seen. We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.
“This One who is Life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen Him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that He is the One who is Eternal Life.
“He was with the Father, and then He was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.
“We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.”
Who else can we look to as a witness? We can look to Luke as a witness and even though he himself was not an eye witness he was a highly educated physician and a research historian.
Here is what Luke writes in the beginning of his Gospel …
Luke 1:1-4 NIV
“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word (that is, Jesus).
“With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
How about one more …
The apostle Paul wrote a letter we know a 1 Corinthians to a church he planted in Corinth somewhere around the years A.D. 53-55 which was about 25 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
In 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 ICB Paul writes …
“I passed on to you what I received. And this was the most important: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; that He was buried and was raised to life on the third day as the Scriptures say; and that He showed Himself to Peter and then to the twelve apostles.
“After that, Jesus showed Himself to more than 500 of the believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today. But some have died. Then Jesus showed Himself to James and later to all the apostles.”
Now, I’d say that is a pretty good assortment of eye witnesses, wouldn’t you?
Romans 10:9-10 says “If we confess with our …” (recite the rest)
Eternal life is a wonderful benefit.
But, do we have to wait to die before we can enjoy the benefits of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ?
Is there any benefit to this salvation in this life?
(Testimonies: Pastor Karenlee and I tell about the wonderful changes Christ has made in our lives with all glory to God for taking sinful, unusable people and making us so that His purposes can be completed through us as His servants.)