Summary: The resurrection of Christ is THE defining moment of history, but more importantly it is the pivotal moment of our lives.
Throughout history, there have been significant mile markers that humanity points to saying, “That changes everything!” First, there was fire. We can easily imagine people shivering and cold, huddled in the caves of a glacial landscape, eating raw plants and meat. And then suddenly, perhaps because of a lightning strike, the power of fire is discovered. “That changes everything!” Sometime later, there was the invention of the wheel, making it possible to settle in one place and haul back the heavy loads from a great hunt, rather than having to follow herds of animals around. “That changes everything!” Then, a few hundred years ago, the printing press came about. Gutenberg’s invention in 1440 finally made it possible to print the written word and mass distribute it. “That changes everything!” In just the last century and a half, we have seen the discovery of electricity and the invention of the lightbulb; Henry Ford’s first Model T rolled off an assembly line; and the Wright brothers were airborne in the first powered flying machine. I don’t think I have to tell you that, “That changes everything!” And just in my lifetime, we have seen the rise of computers and the internet, cell phones and wireless communications. As we know, “That changes everything!”
Certainly, these are all monumental events in human history, but none of them is as significant as the life of Jesus Christ. So significant is Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection, that our entire calendar is based on him. But what makes Jesus so important? Above all, it was his resurrection; the empty tomb that was found on that Easter morning so many, many years ago. Nothing else even comes close to so completely changing the world as Jesus’ resurrection. As the women entered the tomb, the angel says to them, “He has risen!” “He has risen!” These three words form the greatest watershed of all time. More than anything else in all of history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ “changes everything!” There are those who flatly deny the resurrection of our Lord. The whole idea is just too ridiculous for them, and cannot be true. But to all who can and do believe in it, there is something indescribably impressive and wholly life-changing about those words, “He has risen! He is not here.” And for over 2,000 years, the Christian church has been testifying ceaselessly to a living, loving, grace-filled God. Why? Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Without the resurrection, it is virtually impossible to imagine that the Jesus movement would have continued. “This event had changed the world forever. It announced not as theory, but as fact, that God’s kingdom had come…and that there was dawning not just another day, another week in the history of Israel and the world, but the start of God’s new age.” And sure enough, here we are over 2,000 years later, brothers and sisters in Christ declaring with faith and boldness: “Christ, our Savior is Risen from the dead! Hallelujah! Jesus lives!” Many, if not most of us here this morning, base our entire lives on this fact! It is the reason we do not fear death. It is the reason that so many of us have put our whole trust, even our whole lives into the hands of Jesus. It is the reason that so many of our lives have been changed so radically and continue to change, as we deny ourselves each day, take up our cross and follow Christ! It is the reason that billions of people around the world are able to face this terribly difficult life with courage, hope, faithfulness, and thanksgiving! It was Christ’s resurrection that made the Christian church. It was Christ’s resurrection that transformed a huddle of dispirited and frightened people into that valiant band who were willing to risk anything for the sake of Christ! It was Christ’s resurrection that brought into being and set in motion this mighty Gospel, which has been proclaimed to nearly the entire world and has changed the face of humanity! And the Words of the New Testament itself leap for joy first of all, most of all, and last of all over the empty grave! This is the Good News! And as we consider the entire Gospel story; as we study the record, as we hear from the eyewitnesses, as we see the results of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can say nothing less than, “That changes everything!”
The transforming power of the resurrection began 2,000 years ago when three women walked into Jesus’ empty tomb to hear the words, “He has risen!” And the transforming power of the resurrection has been changing history and changing lives ever since. In fact, no single event in all of history has changed more lives around the world! We think of the sign of the Christian faith as the cross. But really the greatest sign of the Christian faith is no sign at all, but the presence of the risen Lord in us; changing us, giving us hope in eternal life. The resurrection gives us hope and meaning; it makes this nearly unbearable life worth living. And this is so because in the resurrection we see the triumph of good over evil. Through the resurrection we see that Jesus really was God. And God is a God of love, of peace, of mercy and forgiveness. God is also a God who will never leave us, nor forsake us!