Summary: Easter Sermon - The resurrection of Jesus, or the lack of it, is a deal breaker when it comes to accepting the authority of Jesus
If you’re in the market – for anything – there’s a list of conditions called “deal breakers.” Everything else might be right, but if one of those conditions is present, forget it.
If it’s a house, it might be something like pet odors, or a bad location, or not enough windows.
If it’s a car, it might be something like the wrong color, or more than 100,000 miles, or it smells like smoke.
If it’s choosing a college, it might be something like tuition costs, or how far from home it is, or how far from home it isn’t!
If it’s a relationship, it might be something like…well, I won’t even go there!
Take most any area of life where we’re looking for something, looking to make a life-affecting choice, and every one of us will have a list of deal breakers.
There was a movie in 2001 called “The Body.” Archaeologists claimed to have discovered the remains of Jesus of Nazareth. The skeleton matched the description of a crucified Jesus. There was a priest in the movie who whose faith was so shaken that he committed suicide. Then, it was found that the remains weren’t of Jesus, but some other person who had been crucified. It’s all fiction, but it raises an important question: If Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, would it be a deal breaker? If it was proven that Jesus didn’t come back from the dead, would you still be a Christian or think of becoming one? If you take away the Resurrection, would that be a deal breaker? It would for me. My plan is to get you to follow me there.
Prove to me beyond all doubt that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, and I will cease to be a Christian.
Jesus didn’t claim to be a good teacher; He claimed to be THE truth. He didn’t claim to be a good role model; He claimed to be God in the flesh. He didn’t just promise to give life after death; He said He would prove it. Without the resurrection of Jesus, those things are no longer believable.
Is it a deal breaker for you? Here are a few reasons it’s on the top of the list:
The Resurrection of Jesus
1. It Generates Controversy
None of what we’re talking about today would matter if Jesus hadn’t claimed to be the Son of God. None of this would be important if Jesus hadn’t said all authority in Heaven and on Earth had been given to Him. But He did make those claims, and He offered His resurrection as proof that they were true.
It was the main message of the Apostles
From the very first day that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached, the resurrection of Jesus was one of the main parts of that message.
"But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
"This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.”
“…but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.”
“…God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you…"
Let’s say you have just a small window of opportunity to tell a group of people about Jesus. What would you be sure to include? What makes the cut? If you’re the Apostles, one thing you’re sure to include is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. You might leave out a whole list of things He did when others weren’t around to see it, but you would be sure to include the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. And every time you did that, you’d get a reaction…of some kind!
(It divides crowds, sends people away sneering, and creates uproars)
Let’s take a quick look at 3 scenes from Acts:
First, the Apostles are about to be arrested for the first time. The reason? Public assembly without a license? Not filing correct tax papers? Refusing to cater a wedding?
[The Jewish Council was] greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
The real point of controversy was the idea that the dead are raised through Jesus, and that includes Jesus rising from the dead.
Scene 2: Athens. Paul is preaching Jesus and the resurrection, so reactions are mixed.
…Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.
So Paul gets a hearing in the public forum where he preaches about Jesus, and about Jesus rising from the dead.