Summary: Jesus is alive! He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. This sermon examine three benefits of Jesus’ resurrection.
Today is Easter Sunday. It is the Sunday that the Christian Church has set aside to commemorate and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is a very real sense in which we do that each Sunday of the year. And yet, there is one day each year on which we particularly remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In past years I have taken the opportunity to set before you the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am not going to do that today. I am going to assume the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The reason I do so is because the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is in fact one of the most historically verifiable facts in all of history, and my purpose today is different.
Today I would like to set before you three benefits of Jesus’ resurrection. I intend to draw my material from all of Scripture but, before I do so, let me read Matthew’s account of the resurrection of Jesus. Please listen as I read Matthew 28:1-10:
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1-10)
Last week one of our New Tampa Christian Academy preschool teachers came to me and said, “Pastor Freddy, I need to tell you what one of my four-year-old girls said in class.”
“Go ahead!” I said.
She told me that she was teaching the class about the resurrection of Jesus. She asked if anyone knew what the angel said to the women when they came to the tomb looking for Jesus. One of the girls excitedly raised her hand and said, “I know! I know!”
“What did the angel say to the women when they wanted to know where Jesus was?” asked the teacher.
The little girl responded proudly, “He is not here; he is in prison!”
The fact is that Jesus is not in prison; he is risen!
But what does that mean for us? Today, I want to look at three benefits of Jesus’ resurrection.
I. Forgiveness for Past Sins
The first benefit of Jesus’ resurrection is forgiveness for past sins.
As we think about the resurrection in relation to our sins, we must recognize that only because of the resurrection of Jesus can we have forgiveness for our past sins.
The Bible says that “because of our sins Jesus was handed over to die, and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God” (Romans 4:25, Good News Translation).
If we see Jesus as merely dying on the cross and being buried in the tomb, there is no hope and no forgiveness for us. It is his resurrection that gives us the assurance that Jesus has overcome death and won a great victory for his people. It is the resurrection that makes all the difference and puts us right with God.
This truth can be illustrated by an incident which I understand is well-known in England. After the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 all England was waiting for news about the outcome of the campaign. The Duke of Wellington had opposed Napoleon Bonaparte in this battle. Of course, this was long before the telegraph, telephone, or television, and watchers were stationed along the coast to read the semaphore (i.e., flag) signals from the first returning sailing vessels.
It was a cloudy, foggy day but, finally, one watcher spied a sailing vessel beginning to signal a message. The message read: “Wellington defeated,” and then the fog closed in again.