Summary: Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity would be nothing more than another dead man’s religion.
The Impact of the Resurrection (4/8/07)
I. The Resurrection Validates the Claims of Jesus(John 11:25)
II. The Resurrection Guarantees the Promises of Jesus(John 11:23-26)
III. The Resurrection Verifies the Work of Jesus
IV. The Resurrection Calls for a Response to Jesus (John 11:25-27)
Intro: On this Easter morning, we are focusing on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. No surprise there, but have you ever wondered why the resurrection is so important to the Christian faith? Have you ever wondered why the resurrection is so important to each and every Christian? The apostle Paul said that without it, we are a sorry, miserable, hopeless lot.
-Let me just say that without the resurrection, I would not be a Christian. In fact, there would be no Christianity, no Christian churches, no real hope of any kind beyond this life as we know it. Without the resurrection of Jesus, we would still be lost and separated from God.
-- ILLUS: A buddhist in Africa was converted to Christianity. Somebody asked the former Buddhist, “Why did you change your faith?” Here’s what he said: “It’s like this: If you are walking along and came to a fork in the road and two men were there, and one was dead and the other was alive, which man’s directions would you follow?”
-That’s what I’m talking about today, and herein lies our main idea:
Prop: Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity would be nothing more than another dead man’s religion.
Interrogative: How does the resurrection set Christianity apart from other religions?
TS: Let’s look at a few ways the resurrection of Jesus has made a lasting impact on this world.
I’d like to begin with a story from the 4th Gospel, where Jesus raises His friend Lazarus from the dead. I’m only using a portion of that story, because it shows some of the claims and promises of Jesus.
John 11:20-27 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." 23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27 "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
I. The Resurrection Validates the Claims of Jesus (John 11:25)
-25Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life.” Jesus was saying, “If you need resurrection and life, look no further. I have the answers to those things, [or better] I am the answer to those things.”
-Jesus made a number of shocking claims to the people of the first century. He said these kinds of things about Himself: “I AM the bread of life. I AM the light of the world. I AM the door. I AM the good shepherd. I AM the true vine. I AM the way, the truth and the life. I AM the resurrection and the life.”
-Bible scholars like to point out that the first two words of these claims are the same words that God used to reveal Himself to Moses at the burning bush. Exodus 3:14 “God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ’I AM has sent me to you.’" This is the sacred covenant name of God. It is pronounced Yahweh in the Hebrew language. When Jesus made these claims about Himself, it appears that He intentionally identified Himself with the God who had revealed Himself to Moses and Israel. In the gospel of John, Jesus made a claim, “I and the Father are one. If you’ve seen Me, you’ve also seen the Father.”
-This didn’t go over too well with some of the Jews, because they thought Jesus was a mere man, claiming to be God. If they had only known who they were talking to, would they have received God’s grace and forgiveness? Many did. But many missed out on it because they thought they knew better.
-However, when Jesus rose from the dead after three days, some of the doubters became believers. The resurrection of Jesus put a lot of things into perspective for His followers. As they began to remember all that He had said to them, the pieces of the puzzle began to make sense and fall into place. Jesus really was who He said He was, because He had conquered the Giant Enemy Death.