Summary: Easter – what does it mean? Easter means at least THREE IMPORTANT THINGS. Easter – how does it work? Easter meets at least THREE IMPORTANT LIFE-NEEDS…
Opening Statement: Just like those reporters were struggling to make sense of the resurrection, maybe you are struggling to make sense of what Easter means to you today. Maybe you’re asking lots of questions, like our reporters were. Many people believe in the resurrection of Jesus. They know what it is, but they’re not sure what it all means. What began as an investigation many years ago has turned out to be the central, defining event of the Christian faith. On this day, for the last twenty centuries, Christians have gathered together all over the world, in remote villages and in crowded cities, in cathedrals and in rented schoolrooms, just as we are doing here this morning; bearing witness to the world that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.
Transition: In a few moments, I’m going to talk about why Resurrection Sunday is such great news, why it’s more to us than just an interesting historical event.
Illustration: They tell us that a good reporter anticipates the questions that your average American wants to ask and then proposes that question. Today, I’m going to ask two questions that I think you would want answered. These questions are where our three reporters were headed if the Centurion would have stuck around for a few more minutes.
Title: The Two Questions of Easter: What does it mean? How does it work?
Key Word: Easter – what does it mean? Easter means at least THREE IMPORTANT THINGS. Easter – how does it work? Easter meets at least THREE IMPORTANT LIFE-NEEDS…
Jesus is Who He Claimed to Be!
Recitation: John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!”
Explanation: This is one of the most explicit claims that Christ made to deity. In fact, John’s gospel records seven “I Am…” statements that Christ made in order to bring people to a point of belief and conviction about the Savior.
Seven “I Am” Statements
The bread of life
Believing in Him is like a loaf of fresh-baked bread after going without food for a long time. If you’re hungry, I am food.
The light of the world
Believing in Him is like a light that appears and leads you home out of the darkness. If you’re in the dark, I am light.
Believing in Him is like entering a door that opens up into a brand new life. If you’re out of options and need a new opportunity, I am a door.
The Good Shepherd
Believing in Him is like wandering aimlessly through life and then finding a Shepherd to lead you into green pastures and cool water. If you’re without a guide, I am a Shepherd.
The resurrection and the life
Believing in Him is like being dead on the inside and chaotic in spirit and then being renewed to a new, resurrected life. If you’re afraid of death and dying, I am life.
The way, and the truth, and the life
Believing in Him is like always being uncertain about what is right and about what path you should take and then finding a road on which your deepest questions of life are finally answered. If you’re lost, I am the way.
The true vine
Believing in Him is like being all shriveled up inside and finding a source of life that brings out the beauty and joy of a well nourished heart. If you’re malnourished, I am energy.
Observation: John even stated at the end of his Gospel what his twofold purpose for writing about these things was. John 20:31 But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Explanation: The one condition for eternal life is to believe, to place your trust in Christ alone. You can believe with confidence in Jesus because the resurrection proves that He is who He claimed to be! And if He is who He claimed to be, you don’t have to seek any other way! It is the Jesus-path that leads to home. There is no other way. Jesus did not say “I’m one way.” He did not say, “I’m a good way.” He did not say, “All spiritual roads lead to the same place, so take your pick.”
Illustration: One pastor has suggested that this particular way of thinking, which seems prevalent today, is like saying I can dial any phone number and get home. That’s ridiculous. You can’t do that. There’s only one number, one way, one path that leads to home, and that path is Jesus and Jesus is who He claimed to be and He rose from the dead to prove it.