Summary: The only true masterpiece of man is sin, God’s masterpiece uses the centerpiece (the cross) to paint over the ugly and unacceptable work of man. God’s masterpiece is still the good news. It is still the greatest story ever told.
Intro: A masterpiece is the greatest work of an artist, or something superlative (the best of) its kind. Michelangelo had his Sistine chapel, Leonardo DaVinchi had the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, and Van Gogh had his self portrait.
There is no work of art that compares to God’s masterpiece the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. No other religion can lay claim to its like. The only true masterpiece of man is sin, God’s masterpiece uses the centerpiece (the cross) to paint over the ugly and unacceptable work of man. God’s masterpiece is still the good news. It is still the greatest story ever told.
We will see in God’s masterpiece the truth of the resurrection, the triumph of the resurrection, the trust of the resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15.20a “But now Christ has been raised from the dead.”
I. The Truth of the Resurrection
A) His burial
1) The testimony of the centurions
a) The unbroken legs
Roman soldiers trained to be the best at killing
19.33 “when they saw he was already dead”
19.34 “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water spilled out.
b) The water and the blood
Jesus was indeed dead for the water and the blood give witness that He died of heart failure a broken heart over the sins of man.
c) The request of Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph requested Jesus’ body!!!
2) The tomb secure
a) Three times the word secure is used in verse 64-66
**The grave was secured by professional Roman Soldiers
b) The tomb was sealed
i) The seal would make grave robbing a punishable offense.
ii) The punishment crucifixion upside down.
3) The tomb surrounded
Matthew 27.62-66 a guard was set to watch the tomb
A) His disciples
1) Mary Magdalene
Matthew 28.1 “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.”
Mark 16.1 “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, an Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him.”
(today put flowers on the grave)
a) They expected to find the body of Jesus (What do you expect as you look in the empty tomb today?)
b) They found an empty tomb and a Risen Lord
2) Peter And John
B) His enemies
Matthew 28.11-13 11 “Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief preists all that had happened. 12 and when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’”
1) The Religious leaders
a) Did everything they could to cover it up
b) Did everything they could to cast doubt Jesus’ resurrection
Devil is still today using the religious to cover up the resurrection of Jesus.
2) The Religious persecutor Paul
A couple of years ago I exchanged discussion with someone I believe to be an orthodox Jew. His statement about Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus was, “Paul fell off His horse and hit his head.” Now think with me, Paul according to the Bible and his own testimony pulled Christians out of their home to either place them in jail or execute them. (Stephen Acts 7.60-8.3, 22.4 persecuted the way)
I submit to you it was not the hard ground that changed Paul. A simple blow to the head does not transform one from a persecutor into a preacher. It was the hammer of God’s grace in the hands of Jesus the Risen Savior. The hammer was not meant to harm Paul but awaken him to God’s love.
Personal Question: Have you yet been hit by God’s hammer of grace? Has it totally transformed you as it did Paul?
C) His appearances
1 Corinthians 15.19 “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”
Paul says if Jesus is not risen then we are most miserable, but verse 20 He has risen indeed!!!
The testimony of His risen body
a) Undisputed facts
E. M. Blaiklock: Professor of Classics, Auckland University
“I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . . “
b) Undiscovered faith
Pastor’s opinion it is not that more facts about the resurrection need to be found, many simply need to place their lives in Jesus nail scarred hands.