Summary: In a buffet of religious choices, choose Christ, the Living One!
“The Living One” I Corinthians 15:1-11
A Mohammedan and a Christian were discussing their religions and had agreed that both Mohamed and Christ were prophets. Where, then, lay the difference? The Christian illustrated it this way: “I came to a crossroads and I saw a dead man and a living man. Which one did I ask for directions?” The response came quickly, “The living one, of course.” “Why, then,” asked his friend, “do you send me to Mohamed who is dead, instead of Christ who is alive?” This is the basic difference between Christ and every other religious leader. All the others came into the world, lived, and died—but none of them lived again. The resurrection of Christ was the one event that persuaded His disciples once for all that He was the Christ, God’s Son.
These men had watched as Jesus challenged the conventional wisdom of the religious authority of their day. They had observed Jesus doing the impossible, feeding five thousand from five loaves of bred and two fishes. They had seen the presence of God descending as like a dove and heard the voice of God declaring that this was His Son in whom He was well pleased. Still they had misunderstood and did not fully understand who Jesus was and is.
It was not the unique teachings of Jesus, it was not even the many miracles that He performed in their presence, and it was not until the resurrection that Jesus disciples were transformed from a group of ordinary men into a group of men who were used of God to completely and radically transform the entire world!
In this Easter morning, let us discuss the Living One, Jesus Christ who though He was dead is alive and reins forever more. Easter is a time of celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, an empty tomb, and a risen savior.
This morning I want to impress upon you by the weight of biblical and historical evidence that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is no metaphor for renewal or even an expression of earthly hope. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a sure foundation upon which we rightly build our entire life.
In a veritable buffet of choices with regard to religion, faith, or the lack thereof, Jesus stands unique, radically different, of such intrinsic value and worth that we dare not suggest, state, or imply that He is but one choice among many. He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! He is the Living One!
In I Peter 3:15 the Apostle, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (NIV)
In what follows this morning, I will offer up a reasoned defense of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I will argue that one need not check their mind at the door in order to honestly and earnestly worship the God of all glory who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. It is the evidence, not some sort of blind faith, which compels us to choose Christ and to participate in the life that He alone offers to humanity.
In the modern culture there are many who attack the truth claims which are connected to the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the grounds that it is a legend, fabricated over the centuries either by Christians seeking to gain political power, prestige, or to simply make a name for themselves through the founding of what has become the largest religion in the world; claiming more than 2.1 billion.
This is an interesting notion and in light of the rise of so many modern cults it is easy to understand why some people would believe this to explain the existence and establishment of Christianity. From a purely modern perspective this is understandable. Modern Christianity boasts many wealthy churches and denominations. The Vatican in Rome is a mighty Bastian which declares the power and wealth of the Roman Church throughout much of Western history. Televangelists drive expensive cars and live in great homes.
But to rightly understand the rise of Christianity in history we do not rightly look at the present but the past. Does the so-called “legend theory” stand the test of antiquity, history, and reason? Did the Church arise at some time very much later than the time of Christ as the result of the story of Jesus being told, retold, revised, and embellished until the man Jesus was said to be the Son of God?
Is Christianity supported by evidence which supports its chief voice: the Bible? Well, let’s consider the evidence. There are more than 24,000 partial and complete manuscript copies of the New Testament. These manuscript copies are very ancient and they are available for inspection now. There are also some 86,000 quotations from the early church fathers and several thousand Lectionaries which were widely used. The New Testament has an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting its reliability.