Summary: This is a simple Easter sermon presenting Christ as the Resurrection and Life.
The Resurrection Man
Aim: To show that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
Text: John 20:1-2
Introduction: There is a very fascinating and macabre story in the news this week. Michael Mastromarino, a New Jersey dentist pleaded guilty on Tuesday to bodysnatching. Apparently he ran a huge illegal racket in the body parts of human corpses, including that of the BBC journalist Alistair Cooke, that netted him some $4.6 million dollars.
It’s hard to believe that body snatching is still going on. Of course during the 17th and early 18th centuries, body snatching was rife. A growing number of anatomists, keen to improve their medical knowledge, needed corpses on which to conduct dissections, bodies were difficult to come by, as it was only legal to perform a dissection on the corpse of a recently executed criminal. So ‘body snatchers’, made money by digging up fresh corpses and selling them to medical schools and hospitals.
When Mary Magdalene first arrived at the tomb of Jesus she thought His body had been snatched. She ran to Peter declaring, “They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”
Later, when the Jewish leaders, heard that Jesus body was missing, they bribed the Roman soldiers to say, “His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.” And that is a rumour that persists to this day.
Yet we have to ask how in the world would a team of untrained, unarmed disciples be any kind of match for a crack battalion of Roman soldiers? These men were Pilate’s own special guard. There would have been up to 16 of them placed on guard at the tomb of Jesus. There is no way in the world those soldiers would have permitted the disciples anywhere near the tomb especially after Pilate had instructed them concerning the tomb – “Make it as sure as you can” (Matt 27:65). Besides to fail in this order would have meant certain death for these soldiers!
But the irony in all this is that Jesus was not the victim of body snatching, but He Himself is the body snatcher.
You say, “What do you mean?”
There was an interesting name applied to the body snatchers of the 17th & 18th centuries. They were sometimes called “the resurrection men.” Jesus is the original Resurrection Man.
Of course some say He never rose.
Some suggest Christ’s body was placed in the wrong tomb, so that when the women & disciples returned He wasn’t there! But we understand that the women observed every detail of his burial and knew exactly where the tomb of Joseph of Arimithea was and where to go.
Others say Jesus wasn’t really dead, but merely fainted and was supposed dead. They buried a living man.
Illus: I like the story of a man who wrote to Christian magazine saying, “Dear Editor, our minister said on Easter, that Jesus only fainted on the cross and that the disciples nursed him back to life. What do you think? Yours bewildered.
He got the reply “Dear bewildered. Beat your pastor with a cat ’o’ nine tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for three hours; run a spear through his side...put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens.”