Summary: We celebrate the most shocking event in human history, an event that was dramatized in the theatrical release, The Son of God.
If you were to ask people,
“What is the most important day of the year for Christians?”
what response would you get?
Probably most would respond, “Christmas.”
It certainly looks that way,
not only in our culture, but in our churches.
And I don’t want to take anything away from Christmas,
because it is the annual celebration of the mind-boggling truth
that “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,”
as the Bible says.
That is a big deal.
But if I can do so without taking anything away from Christmas,
I want to stress that the event we celebrate today—
the resurrection of Jesus from the dead,
after he had suffered and died on a cross
to pay for my sins, your sins, the whole world’s sins—
is not only the single most important event in history….
it is the single most important event in my life….
and if it’s not already the most important event in your life,
I sincerely hope it will be by the time you leave here today.
It can be!
Over the past few weeks
we have shared together a series of messages and worship experiences
called “Who Do You Say I Am?”
based on a movie called The Son of God,
a dramatic portrayal of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ
as well as his message and mission.
Each week we have seen a different depiction of a Bible passage
as the creators of The Son of God movie rendered it,
and then we have gone to our Bibles to study and apply that part of Jesus’ story to our lives today.
We have explored Jesus as the Son of Man, the Sinner’s Friend,
the Anointed One, and the Coming King.
And today we celebrate the most shocking event in human history,
an event that was dramatized in the theatrical release, The Son of God:
PLAY video clip from The Son of God, “The Resurrection”
That scene represents the filmmaker’s interpretation
of the Easter event,
the turning point of history,
the resurrection of Jesus Christ
and the first of his many appearances to his followers.
We are going to turn to one of the four Gospel accounts,
recorded by the earliest witnesses,
and study it more closely than the camera lens allows.
We’re going to look at Matthew 28, verses 1-10,
as we begin our exploration of Jesus’ revelation to the world
as “The Resurrection and the Life,”
and three simple but life-changing responses I want to suggest
to the glorious truth of his resurrection.
So follow along as I read aloud from Matthew 28, verses 1-10:
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (Matthew 28:1-10, NIV).
There it is: one of the earliest accounts of the historical event we celebrate today.
But if you’ll allow me,
I’d like to ask an important and often-neglected question:
What difference does it make?
Really, in practical terms, how is it supposed to affect me?
What did it really accomplish?
What difference does it make that Jesus rose from the dead?
Well, in order to answer that question,
let me ask you this:
Did you know that Jesus’ resurrection is NOT the only recorded resurrection in the Gospels?
It’s not even the first.
There were three resurrections, each performed by Jesus,
each of which foreshadowed his own resurrection,
and each of which points to his resurrection.
And, I would add, each of which gives an answer to the question,
“what difference does it make?”
And the first is this:
1. Don’t Be Afraid
One day a man named Jairus came up to Jesus.