Summary: Proof that the resurrection realy occured.
Intro: An atheist complained to a Christian friend, “Christians have their special holidays, such as Christmas and Easter; and Jews celebrate their holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur; Muslims have their holidays. EVERY religion has its holidays. But we atheists,” he said, “have no recognized holidays. It’s an unfair discrimination.”
“What do you mean, atheists have no holidays,” his friend replied, “People have been observing a special day in your honor for years.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the atheist said, “When is this special day honoring atheists?”
Easter is what Christianity is all about. Without Easter, Christmas would be nothing. Easter is when Christ took power over sin and death and because of the empty tomb we know that our sins are forgiven. Because of the discarded shroud we know that we will have a resurrection body! Easter is so important that the early Christians would greet each other by saying “He is risen!” and the response would be “He is risen indeed!” The fact that 2000 years later we gather together to celebrate the risen Christ is PROOF that Christ is “risen indeed.”
Illustration: There was a college student who loved God with all his heart. He had grown up in a Christian home, gone to church all his life. He studied his Bible daily. He loved his Christian faith. There was a science professor at the college who loved to destroy the faith of young Christians. His whole objective was to berate them and make them seem foolish. The professor would ask the class if there were any Christians in the class and when they raised their hands he would ask them if they believed in miracles. When they said they did, the professor told them that he wanted to see a miracle. He would tell them that he was going to drop an egg on the floor and that if there really was a God then they could pray that God would keep the egg from breaking and the egg wouldn’t break. Of course, no one would ever come forward.
The young man knew that eventually he would have to have this professor eventually. He decided that when it came his turn to come forward I’m going to take a stand for God and say that prayer. Sure enough, the first day of class came and the professor did exactly as he had before. The young man stood when the professor asked if there were Christians in the class. The young man remained standing when the professor asked if they believed in miracles. When the professor asked if anyone was willing to prove it the young man remained standing. The professor asked him if he would like to come forward and prove that God existed and the young man came forward.
As the professor prepared to drop the egg the young man prayed, “God if there is any way to keep this egg from breaking I’m asking you to do that. But Lord, even if it does break I will continue to believe in you and take a stand for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” The professor let go of the egg. At that moment his right foot was sticking out and the egg fell and hit his right shoe and rolled gently to the floor without breaking. The professor never said a word again. Do I believe in miracles? I believe in miracles whole- heartedly!
You may think that you’re not sure you believe in the miracle of the resurrection of Christ. You may think that your faith is not strong enough to believe that Christ is truly risen from the dead. Today I will offer you proof that Jesus is alive!
That evening, on the first day of the week, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. John 20:19a
We read here about resurrection Sunday evening. The disciples left the empty tomb and returned to “the upper room” and locked the doors for fear of the Jews. They were afraid of the Jews because they had just seen their closest friend had been brutally murdered on the cross and they too feared for their own lives. The disciples were in total shock, they were disillusioned and they were in mourning. Many of us come to church feeling the same way the disciples felt. They trusted that with Jesus everything was going to be “alright” and we thought that when we got saved we would be “alright.” The disciples believed that Jesus had come to reign over Israel and their hopes had been dashed. Many of us today may also have dashed hopes. Many of our churches are like the disciples in the upper room. Our doors aren’t locked but we can’t see out and they can’t see in. In a way it’s like being in a tomb. But, what will it take for us to go out and take the Good News to others? Can you relate to this? Do you have a hard time REALLY believing in God?