Summary: This Easter message focuses on the DISRUPTION that Jesus's presence brought into the lives of the selfish priests and Pharisees at His first Advent, their response to the disruption (murdering Jesus), and the SURPRISE Jesus's resurrection was to them and even to the disciples.
Today we celebrate the greatest event in the history of mankind: the resurrection of Christ. Nothing has ever happened that influences the destiny of mankind like that one event. Alexander’s defeat of the Persians changed the course of Western civilization. It was a significant turning point in human history prophesied in the book of Daniel. The defeat of the Spanish armada in 1588 shifted the balance of power in Europe and put England in a prominent position. The success of D-day in World War II meant the ultimate defeat of Hitler and the end of his plans for world domination. There are key events in world history there were monumental. But none of that compares to the resurrection of Jesus.
The resurrection of Jesus marked the ultimate end of Satan’s dominance in the world. It sealed his fate even though finalizing that defeat would take thousands of years. If Jesus had not been resurrected from the dead, all hope for humanity would be lost. The resurrection validated the Father’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice for sin. It opened the way of salvation for you and me and for all who will receive it. It made a way of escape from the cruel bondage of Satan. It reversed the defeat of the first Adam and replaced it with the victory of the last Adam. “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14). In 1 Corinthians 15:14 Paul wrote, “. . . if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15:14).i But he knew Christ is risen. He saw him on the road to Damascus. Paul was not preaching a theory. He was preaching a reality that he knew by personal experience.
Have you met the risen Christ? Your encounter with him was probably not as dramatic as Paul’s. Paul had a special call as a apostle. But a genuine encounter with the risen Christ will change the course of anyone’s life. It will not be just an addendum to life. It will become central to everything in your life. It will turn you from a course of self-will to a pursuit of God’s will. Have you met the Master? Have you met Jesus? He extends the invitation to whosoever will: to come to him and receive eternal life.ii His resurrection guarantees his ability to give you eternal life. He lives in eternal life, and he now holds the keys to life and death. He alone has that authority.
There is salvation in no other name but the name of Jesus.iii The resurrection of Jesus distinguishes him from all the counterfeits. Death continues to hold Mohammad in its grip. Joseph Smith’s words were not validated by a resurrection. Buddha did not come out of the grave. Jesus is risen from the dead! This is our battle cry. This is our assurance of victory.
“Now this I say, brethren, [1 Cor. 15:50] that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ 55 ‘O Death,
where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:50-57).
I do not declare to you a religion. I declare to you a Savior who is risen from the dead. I declare to you a conqueror who has defeated sin, Satan, and death itself. I declare to you the only way of salvation approved by God.
I want to tell you his story this morning.
THE BIG DISRUPTION
It begins with a disruption. It begins with God the Son stepping into the course of human history—born in a barn at Bethlehem—growing up in obscurity—revealing the Father through his words and life. That revelation was disruptive for those who encountered him.
When Christ comes it is always disruptive. It always confronts the selfish agenda of carnal people. And we are all carnal by nature. Every child of Adam is self-absorbed, intent on pursuing selfish goals and objectives. The natural man works and maneuvers to position himself for advantage. He manipulates people and circumstances so that he gets what he wants. He builds a nest egg because money is power. He pursues positions of power and influence so that he can adjust his world according to his own wishes. And he resists anything that might disrupt the world he has arranged for himself.