Summary: The Resurrection of Christ was a world-changing event, but why did it occur? I’ve compiled a list of reasons.
“I Believe” Sermon Series on the Apostles Creed
“The WHY of the Resurrection” Romans 8:10-11 Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts
While thinking about the miracle of Christ’s resurrection, a question came up: Why did Jesus rise from the dead, i.e. what did the Easter Event accomplish. I’m assuming we accept that it occurred, and so my intent is that we clearly understand the reasons for the resurrection. This may be an unconventional sermon in that I’m offering not just a few points but an extensive list of reasons (we’ll still end on time). This world-changing event that occurred in a graveyard outside Jerusalem accomplishes many things. The Resurrection of Christ:
-Affirms all that Jesus said. The truth about everything Jesus taught depends upon and is proved by His resurrection. It gives authority to His words, especially His own prediction that He would conquer the grave (e.g. Mark 8:31). The resurrection of Christ validates His Message and Mission. More than that, the Resurrection…
-Confirms Who Jesus is. He was not merely a martyred teacher. The fact that He conquered death confirms us that He is our promised Messiah. The Resurrection shows that His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father. It clarifies His Lordship and provides proof of His deity. The Person and Work of Christ are ratified and confirmed by His rising from the tomb.
-Vindicates Christ’s suffering and death. Jesus died intentionally, to purchase our salvation--and He did not die in vain. How can we know if His death has saving power for our behalf? The Resurrection proves that His mission was fully accomplished.
-Conquers death for us; “I am the resurrection and the life…Because I live, you shall live also” Jesus assures us (in John 11). Paul states, “If we have been united with Jesus in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection” (Rom 6:5). Because Jesus rose from the grave, death is no longer an issue for us. We replace fear with confidence and security.
-Manifests the justice of God. Paul says that Jesus “humbled Himself and became obedient unto death on a cross;” -he goes on to say, “therefore, God has highly exalted Him.” (Phil 2:8-9). Jesus gave His life, the Just for the unjust. His unjust death is treated justly. He would not let His Son see corruption. How could God let His Son die? With infinite love for us; but death was not “the end.” of the story.
-Frees us from our sins. Paul writes that, “Jesus was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom 4:25). The empty tomb proves that Christ’s sacrifice for sin was accepted, His atonement received, thus cleansing and forgiving us from the penalty of sin. It verifies that our inner pollution from sin has been washed away and we now are acceptable, qualified to stand before God our Father.
-Transforms us as the climactic saving act of God. In the Resurrection a new way of being human has been unveiled. We are renewed spiritually, “made alive by the Spirit”. The change in the disciples is one of many proofs of the Resurrection. They weren’t expecting it, and their despair was turned into boldness and victory. Jesus’ triumph over the grave…
-Empowers our lives. Paul’s mission statement was simply, “That I may know Christ, and the power of His resurrection” “Only a living Christ can sustain the Christian life of faith, hope, and love. The willingness to pick up our cross and follow Him, to suffer and die if necessary to proclaim His truth, is not plausible on the basis of a dead Christ…His living presence is the real energy and force and dynamic and power of historic Christianity and the present Christian life” (Oden). Resurrection power fuels our lives.
-Defeats Satan. The armies of hell thought they’d won on Good Friday, but Hell’s party was cancelled after only three days! The devil is no longer our Master--we serve a risen Lord, whose victory over evil is assured.
-Shows the ineffectiveness of evil men. God is in control of history. By rising from the grave Jesus showed that no power on earth could hinder His purpose. Peter tells the multitudes at Pentecost, “This man was handed over to you by God’s set predetermined plan, and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to a cross. But God raised Him from the dead…because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him” (Acts 4:23-24).
-Proclaims the supremacy of Christ. Tyrants lust for power, and find Jesus a threat, even though His Kingdom is not of this world. In Oscar Wilde’s play Salome, when King Herod hears about Jesus raising the dead he says, “I forbid him to raise the dead. This man must be found and told I don’t allow people to raise the dead.” This is laughable; but Jesus is a threat to any system that excludes God because He unveils the impotence of any system, whether political, economic or military, that tries to exist apart from God. Herod knew that his power had met a greater might.