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Summary: An Topical message on the difference that the resurrection makes.

Easter Sunday 2002 Sunrise Service

Read Matthew 28:1-7

Illustration: I read a story not too long ago about a particular family who was watching the Easter story on television. Although the entire family had seen the movie before one little girl was particularly moved by the movie. As Jesus was tortured and crucified tears came streaming down her cheek. She remained completely silent, with the exception of a few sobs, until they put Jesus body into the tomb. At that point she suddenly smiled and then she shouted, "Now comes the good part!"

Now comes the good part! Amen to that. "He is risen-He is risen in deed." The disciples had gone through a time of despair and seeming defeat as they watched Jesus endure the pain and death of the cross. They had watched as His body was laid in a tomb, sealed with a large stone and as that stone rolled into place, all their hopes disappeared. But Calvary was not God’s final word! On that first Easter morning the earth began to shake with great violence and the angels appeared in glorious splendor with a message to these women. A message that they were to share with the other disciples and a message for us today. That message is that Jesus has risen just as he said. Jesus is alive!

That truth is what we celebrate this Easter, 2000 years later. That truth, that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead is why we can gather in joyous celebration, with hope and peace in our hearts. This proclamation was the main message that the early Apostles preached. This truth is the very reason the church gathers on Sunday to this very day. We gather on Sundays, the day of the week Jesus was resurrected, to remind us that do not gather to pay homage to a dead founder but we gather to celebrate the living Lord.

Why all the celebration, joy and hope? Yes the resurrection is a very exciting an amazing miracle because we as we all know; the dead tend to stay dead. But how does this miracle that happened some 2000 years ago affect my life or your life today? In other words what is the significance of the resurrection of Jesus? What does it mean? What difference does the resurrection make?

In order to answer this question and truly understand the significance of the resurrection of Jesus you and I need to understand that the resurrection was not only a literal miracle but also that it was a sign. The resurrection is literally "sign from God" for all of those who always demanded a sign from God before they would commit to obeying Jesus with their whole heart. In fact Jesus himself said they His resurrection would be a sign when He said in Matthew 12: 39-40 "... No sign will be given to this generation except the sign of the Prophet Jonah. For as Joan was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

Now a sign by very definition is something that imparts information, gives direction and indicates a fact or truth. A sign always points to or conveys something. As a sign, what does the resurrection of Jesus point to or convey to us today? What difference should that make it in our lives?

As a sign the resurrection of Jesus showed us many important things but this morning I will only deal with one way the resurrection was sign.

The resurrection is a sign from God of Jesus authenticity

In other words, the resurrection is proof that Jesus is who He said He was. This is not my personal opinion alone rather the Bible itself says that the resurrection served the purpose of authenticating or proving that Jesus is the Son of God.

Read Romans 1: 1-4

The resurrection should leave no doubt in our minds that all of Jesus claims are true. It is nice to have such a certainty about such a vital issue, especially since so many things in our world are so uncertain. The world, even the world of science, in whom so many place their trust rarely can say anything with certainty. For example…

Illustration: Harvard Medical School Has Just Reversed itself again.

1950—salt causes hypertension;

1960—salt does not cause hypertension;

1970—salt causes hypertension;

1980—salt relieves hypertension;

1998—the AMA Journal evaluates 114 separate studies and concludes that salt does not affect hypertension either way.

—Paul Harvey

The resurrection is a sign from God of Jesus authenticity

Jesus made a lot of exceptional and important claims about Himself. He claimed to be the one and only divine Son of God. He claimed to be the absolutely only way to go to Heaven. He claimed to be the one and only true source of life, life that is fulfilling and eternal. He claimed to be completely without sin and He claimed to be the perfect expression of God the Father. Certainly, even a cursory reading of the Gospels will show us that Jesus claimed to be a whole lot more than a "good teacher", "spiritual leader", or a "prophet." Jesus did not claim to be one of many ways to God. Jesus claimed that He was God and that He was the only way to God.

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