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.”
The Bible makes it clear that when the Roman soldiers approached Christ with the intention of breaking His legs they saw that he was DEAD ALREADY.
The message of Easter is that He arose! Jesus is the original “Resurrection Man,” and as the resurrection man he is the great body snatcher.
I. He Snatched Bodies From The Grave During His Life.
A. The Widow’s Son at Nain
1. In Luke 7:11-15 we read, “And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.”
a. It is interesting that Jesus should tell this young man, to arise. That is what the word resurrection means: “To re-erect, to stand up!”
B. Jairus’ Daughter – Mark 5:35-42
1. As we read this account, Jairus,’ daughter was at first said to be ill, and at the point of death.