Summary: Easter message designed to help the church take the Good News of the resurrection to others.
Taking the Resurrection Outside the Church Walls.
April 16, 2006
Well, what do you know? It’s Easter.
A Sunday School teacher was attempting to teach her young students the true meaning of Easter. "Why do we celebrate Easter?" she asked. When the children replied ’because of the Easter bunny,’ Easter eggs, candy, spring, etc., she said, "No, those are Easter traditions and symbols, but what is the REASON why we celebrate Easter? What happened at the very first Easter?" A little girl raised her hand and said, "Easter celebrates Jesus coming out of the tomb." "Yes!" said the teacher, excited and relieved that finally the correct answer had surfaced. Encouraged, she prompted, "Jesus arose from the tomb, and what does He do for us?" The youngster replied, "He looks to see if he can see his shadow, and if He can, he goes back in for another six weeks." (SermonCentral.com. Contributed by: Abraham Shanklin, Jr.)
Of course, the reason for Easter is to celebrate the fact that Jesus did, indeed, raise from the dead, and that the tomb has been empty to this day and always will be.
The resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. As important as the crucifixion of Jesus was, the resurrection is at least that important.
How can I say that? Because, as I’ve said on numerous occasions, the resurrection is what validates everything Jesus did and said.
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, He claimed to be the only way to God, and He claimed to be the judge of the world.
And if the resurrection didn’t really happen, then everything He said about these things was a bunch of what Colonel Potter on M*A*S*H would call, “Horse hockey.”
Easter is more than just an excuse to come to church and maybe go out for lunch at a nice Easter buffet.
Easter celebrates one of the most crucial events in all of eternity, and it has eternal consequences for everyone in here.
But I don’t want to just talk about the “what” of Easter. I want to talk about how to take Easter from being just a church holiday to being something that can really impact our own lives and the lives of those around us.
In doing that I want to give you three ways to take Easter from being just a religious holiday to being a life-changing truth.
And my hope is God will impress on your heart the importance of the message of Easter, not only for you, but for those have not yet responded to it for one reason or another.
Let’s look at these three ways, okay?
1. Know the facts.
You know, this whole resurrection thing isn’t just a bunch of nice religious speculation, along the lines of “the theological implications of a resurrection should be considered as a factor in the spiritual lives of the adherence of the particular religion called Christianity.”
Folks, the resurrection is a historical fact, complete with hundreds of witnesses and people who gave their life for the idea that they had seen Jesus alive after he had died.
But when it comes to just what are the facts, let me just give you three basic ones that you need to know:
* Jesus lived physically.
* Jesus died physically.
* Jesus rose again physically.
Pretty simple, huh? And if you’ve grown up in the church or have had access to learning about Jesus, then none of these are a big deal.
Why would I have to emphasize the fact that all of these were done physically?
Because there are many who claim otherwise, especially in the death and resurrection.
Few, if any, will deny that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure. Some will say that He didn’t really die – he just passed out. And many will deny that Jesus rose physically from the grave.
It’s bad enough when people outside the scope of the Christian faith say this. But it’s horrendous when those who claim to be Christians and are even “ministers” who claim to represent him deny this.
Believe me, they’re out there, and they get plenty of press in the national media this time of year.
One lady wrote in to a question and answer forum. "Dear Sirs, Our preacher said on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.
Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear thru his side...put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens." (SermonCentral.com. Contributed by: Royce Hendry)
Jesus said that He would die and rise again.