Summary: This is a sermon that could be used any time during the year. I wrote it for Easter Sunday 2007.
What Does It Mean? Why Does It Matter?
Today is Easter Sunday and it is good to see all of you here. Easter is the most important Christian holiday that there is. It is the day that we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. In 1990 George Gallup took a survey and found that 84% of the people he talked to believed in the resurrection of Jesus. That’s good because the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact. Jesus rose from the grave. It didn’t happen in secret. If it would have happened in our time CNN would be covering it live. There are at least 15 historical records found in the scriptures of Jesus meeting people - touching people - eating with people and talking with people after He rose from the dead. At one time a crowd of 500 people saw Him after the resurrection. There should be no doubt in our minds that the resurrection is a historical fact.
Today I want us to ask two questions about the resurrection. The first is, “What does it mean?” And the second is like it, “What does it matter?”
Let’s look at the first question. “What does the resurrection mean?”
1. It means Jesus is who He CLAIMS He is
Do you know who Jesus claimed to be? Think about this for a minute. Jesus never claimed to be a great religious leader. He never claimed to be a great prophet. He never claimed to be a Man of God. But He did claim to be the Son of God. By claiming this title – He claimed to be equal with God.
To the religious leaders of that time to say you are the Son of God means that you are saying you are equal with God. You are saying you have God’s authority, that you have God’s power, that you are a direct descendant of God and that you are part of God’s blood line. This, of course to them, was blasphemy. No one could be equal with God unless you were the Son of God. This is exactly what Jesus claimed.
Let me ask you a couple questions this morning. Who has the power to forgive sin? God does. Who has the power to raise people up from the dead? God does. Who has the power to grant eternal life? God does. Did you know Jesus did all of these things? He forgave sin - He raised people from the dead - He told people that they would be with Him in heaven. He claimed to be equal with the Father because He was. We as Christians believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. God became flesh and dwelt among men. This is what Jesus claimed. Follow along in Matthew chapter sixteen:
“He (Jesus) said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-17 (NKJV)
You see when Jesus claimed to be “The Son of God” He was saying He was equal with the Father. He has the power to grant eternal life. Here are a couple other claims Jesus made. Follow along with me in a couple passages out of the gospel of John.
“Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25 (NKJV)
“Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6 (NKJV)
These are pretty strong claims. He claims to be “the” resurrection and “the” life. He also claims to be “the” way, “the” truth, and “the” life”. Notice He doesn’t say that He is “a” way. He doesn’t say He is “one” way. He doesn’t say I’m “just a” way. No, He says He is the way. All roads lead to heaven is a lie. That’s like saying I can pick up a phone and dial any number I want to on the phone and it will connect to my house. It’s just not true. Jesus is who He claims to be. He is the Son of God. He is the Messiah. He is THE Savior not just "a" savior. The resurrection shows that Jesus is who He claims He is.
2. It means Jesus has the POWER He claims to have
Look at John chapter ten with me:
“No one takes My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." John 10:18 (NKJV)
No one could keep Him in the tomb. The Romans killed Him. They made sure He was dead. They took a spear and opened up His side. Blood and water flowed from the wound. They were sure He was dead. They took Him and put Him in a tomb. They sealed the tomb with a heavy stone. They placed guards at the entrance to make sure no one bothered the grave. The guards were there 24 hours a day. Yet they could not stop Him from rising from the dead. He said, “I lay my life down and I can lift it up again.” No matter what you do – you can’t keep a good man down.