Summary: Because Jesus rose from the dead, I can have confidence, I can have new life, I can be forgiven, and I can have hope.
Let me give you a quiz. Take your pen and look at the notes you would have found in your Sunrise Update this morning. At the top you’ll see a series of dates. Each one is a specific date in history when something significant happened. Some are easier than others. Just take a few seconds, scan the dates, and if you think you know what happened on those dates you can write it down in the blank. Then we’ll see how you did. Okay, go.
October 14, 1492 - Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas
September 28, 1972 - Paul Henderson scored the goal of the century allowing Canada to win the Summit Series over the Soviets.
December 7, 1941 - Pearl Harbour was attacked which ushered the U.S. into the Second World War
July 1, 1867 - Canadian Confederation
October 10, 1998 - Greg and Shera Hanson were married (Hey, I made up the quiz and as far as I’m concerned that was pretty significant.)
October 31, 1517 - Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg Door, which essentially started the Protestant Reformation
January 28, 1986 - The Challenger Explosion (I still remember where I was when I heard… in High School on my way to History class.)
July 20, 1969 - Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon
April 15, 1912 - The Sinking of The Titanic
December 19, 1997 - The Releasing of The Titanic
Those were all significant dates in history. But the reason we’re here this morning is to recognize the most important day of all. Easter. Easter is the single most important day of the year, and the first Easter was the pivotal point of history. Why?
Why is Easter important?
Because it’s the day that God conquered death and offered life to humankind.
But what does Easter mean to me today, and what does it mean to you today? Well, those are the questions I want to spend the next little while answering, and then I’m going to give you an opportunity to do something about it. I’m going to ask you two questions: Do you believe, and do you receive? Do you believe in Jesus, the Son of God who conquered death and rose from the grave? And do you receive what He is offering to you today?
Before we get to that, though, let me give you the four “I Cans” of Easter.
The Four “I Cans” of Easter
The first one is this:
1. I can have confidence in Jesus.
Because if the resurrection is true, it proves one thing: Jesus was who he said he was.
Who did Jesus claim to be? He claimed to be God. And if the resurrection is true it proves it. That’s a big “if”, though. How do I know that the resurrection is true? What proof is there? That’s a big question and it’s a good question. I don’t know all the answers and if I did we certainly wouldn’t have time to cover them all this morning. But let me give you just 5 of the proofs that Jesus rose from the dead.
Proofs Jesus Rose From The Dead:
A. The change in the disciples.
John Stott is a best-selling author, a professor, and one of the leading theologians in the world today. And he says;
“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection… When Jesus died, they were heartbroken, confused and frightened. But within less than two months they came out of hiding, full of joy, confidence and courage. What can account for this dramatic transformation? Only the resurrection, together with Pentecost which followed soon afterwards.”
~ John Stott
(Second part taken from “The Contemporary Christian” p. 80)
And this bizarre group of mostly uneducated men went on to change the world.
B. Eyewitness accounts.
Do you know that there are eleven times recorded in the Bible that Jesus appeared to people after his death. He appeared to individuals, to the disciples, and one time appeared to a group of over 500 people. When the Biblical accounts were being written most of these people were still alive and could have denied that it ever happened. But they didn’t. Some people today claim that these were all hallucinations. And I could understand that if Jesus only appeared to individuals. It could have simply been wish fulfillment. But he didn’t just appear to individuals. He appeared to groups of people, too. And hallucinations are not group events, at least not outside of the 1960’s. And the truth is that having 500 different people experience the same hallucination at the same time would be a greater miracle than the resurrection itself!
C. Modern-day accounts.
We’ve already talked about the change that happened in the lives of the disciples. But do you realize that Jesus is still changing lives today? Many of us here know that to be true by personal experience. We have a relationship with Him today. Our lives have been transformed. And that power To change is only a reality because Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today.