Summary: In this Easter message, the meaning to Jesus’ resurrection for us today is explored.
The Lord is Risen Indeed
I want to begin this morning by reading a portion of the Easter story. Jesus has already appeared to Mary and the other women who came to the tomb early that morning. Peter and John have also seen the empty tomb. The crucifixion of Jesus has created an uproar throughout the city. Now two disciples have left the city walking toward a little village named Emmaus 7 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Follow with me as we begin reading in Luke 24:13-34 (Read).
I want to take as my theme this morning those glorious words in verse 34, “The Lord is risen indeed.” A common Easter greeting among Christians is one would say, “Christ is Risen” and the other would respond, “He is risen indeed.”
I. There is no greater news than that. Jesus is alive.
His resurrection is the greatest demonstration of power this world has ever experienced. Creation was an awesome event. When I get to heaven I want to watch the video of that. I want to see how the stars burst into the sky as God said, “Let there be...” I want to see the awesome release of power as God made the universe—the Milky Way, the planets, our solar system, and every living thing. That was a majestic display of God’s power. But that was the creation of a material world that will one day pass away.
Peter writes in his second epistle, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). Can you imagine such an event? The heavens will pass away with a great noise; the elements (the atomic make up of everything) will melt with fervent heat. The material world as we know it today will one day be wiped out. But the new creation that emerged with Jesus resurrection is eternal. Peter says, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). With the resurrection of Jesus the new order began. George Ladd says, “Jesus’ resurrection is not the restoration to physical life of a dead body; it is the emergence of a new order of life. It is the embodiment in time and space of eternal life.” The Bible goes to great lengths to help us understand that Jesus had a body. In Luke 24:39 Jesus says, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” The heresy that Jesus was just a disembodied spirit has surfaced and resurfaced during the life of the church. Jesus was resurrected in a physical body. But that body was of a higher order than flesh and blood. In our mortal bodies the life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11). But Jesus lives by the power of an endless life (Heb. 7:16).
If we don’t get this, we will not fully appreciate the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. We could just have sentimental feelings about an innocent man suffering unjustly and coming back to life. But it’s so much more than that. Remember when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus was brought back to life in a mortal body. That was far, far inferior to the resurrection of Jesus in a glorified body. Jesus’ resurrection was the beginning of a new, eternal order. Paul said he was the first fruits of the end of the age resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20, 23). Think about His glorified body. He could interact with the natural order but at the same time He could transcend that realm. One theologian said he was at once sufficiently corporeal to show His wounds and sufficiently immaterial to pass through closed doors. In fact, immediately following the text (we just read in Luke 24) He does that. In our text he has power to disguise his glory so that these two disciples didn’t know who He was; he has power to immediately vanish. Paul says that’s the kind of body we will have in the resurrection.
But to fully appreciate the significance of Easter, make sure you understand Jesus resurrection as the first fruits (the beginning) of a new eternal order of reality.
“The Lord has risen indeed.”
II. What does that mean for you and me this morning?
(1) It means Jesus is everything He claimed to be.
In the church’s first recorded sermon, Peter centered his message on Jesus’ resurrection. He said very little about Jesus’ character and good life. He only mentioned the miracles. His all-important message was the fact and significance of Jesus’ resurrection. In Acts 2:32-33 Peter says, “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” Then in verse 36 he closes. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” How did God do that? By resurrecting Jesus from the dead.