Summary: The resurrection is true
EASTER SUNDAY SERMON
APRIL 8, 2007
The Rev. Canon John A. Donnelly
The story was first
· Told by 3 women,
· Then told by the slain rabbi’s disciples,
· then told throughout the whole city of Jerusalem.
· It spread like wildfire throughout the Roman world---through Europe & Asia; and later the Americas and Africa.
· Jesus, the man who had been publicly executed—rose from the dead.
· 3 days after he died, his body was no longer in the grave. His spirit transformed his old flesh & He appeared with a supernatural body –alive & well & full of power.
· At least, that’s what the witnesses and the scriptures contend.
The title of this sermon is the 2nd trial of Jesus.
· The court (pound gavel) is now in session.
· The OJ Simpson trial may have been the greatest trial of the last century—but this is the trial of all time.
· Judge John Donnelly, presiding, at the bench.
Before we begin the 2nd trail, we need to quickly review the first. At his first trail, Jesus of Nazareth was convicted and executed on the charge of blasphemy—for he claimed to be the Son of God.
· The evidence against him consisted of lies, made by those who were jealous of his popularity and afraid of His influence.
· However, when it came time to call witnesses for His defense, no one spoke up. No one spoke on His behalf. His followers either denied knowing him, or they were silent—because they felt intimidated.
· Therefore, because of their silence, the accused was found guilty.
· Subsequently, he was battered, beaten, stripped naked, lynched, and executed.
That was the first trial of Jesus.
The 2nd trail of Jesus Christ is occurring today--now, in the court of public opinion. The man Jesus is being charged by pundits, intellectuals, authors, academics, and theologians---all who claim that Jesus did not rise from the dead, as Jesus promised He would.
· According to them, He is not alive. They further charge that Easter is simply a human fabrication—a myth—a lie—and that all who believe that Jesus walked out of the grave are fools.
· The judge and jury consist of the court of public opinion. And that opinion appears to be against Jesus. Why? Because the loudest voices in our nation are the voices that deride, ridicule, and defame Jesus and his modern day disciples.
The scientific and medical evidence says that a dead man cannot come back to life. A dead person has never been brought back to life by the best medicine that money can buy.
In the realm of literature, what best-selling book and recent block buster movie, on this subject, has had the most recent popular success? The answer is… (slide)
· The Da Vinci Code, which claims that Jesus did not really die. In fact, this theory, based on quote, scientific and historical fact, unquote, claims that Jesus married and had children, and that his descendents are among us today, being protected by a secret society. And further, the story is that church leaders have known about this for thousands of years.
Next slide---In archeology, archeologists have recently concluded that THEY found the true tomb of Jesus.
· Now, for thousands of years, most biblical scholars thought that the real tomb of Jesus is located in the old city of Jerusalem, where Christians have been worshipping since the first Century AD.
· But NO, they have all been wrong. Millions and millions of Christians, since the time of Christ, have been wrong. Now they have supposedly found a tomb, where Jesus was buried with his family—and the remains of HIS body are in the tomb. And the advocates claim that they are using DNA testing. Now, they have not been able to satisfactorily explain how the DNA in this tomb relates to Jesus Christ, but lots of people are willing to give their pseudo research some credibility.
And of course, there are many so called academic/ theological authorities, which have come forward with testimony against Jesus.
· They claim that the Bible is not the Word of God, but rather a collection of human thoughts about God and fairy tales. So they recommend that you don’t read the Bible, because it is a dangerous document, which will just confuse you.
· They claim that if you want to Know God, you will not find him in archaic/outdated mythology of the Bible.
So, the prosecution has laid its case against Jesus and his disciples, and the absurd claim to have risen from the dead and to be alive, here and now.
Now it’s time for the defense. If the clerk would please start up the videotape.
The first exhibit to defend Jesus is ancient videotape, which was recently discovered in Jerusalem. This testimony is actually from a video cam, which was at the tomb of Jesus Christ, the day he rose from the dead. Let’s see it: