Summary: The Thief, The Skeptic, The Believer
• SLIDE #1 Easter Clip in PowerPoint.
• It is so good to have everyone here this morning as we celebrate this Resurrection Sunday!
• This is the day that we celebrate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified on a cross for the sins of the whole world!
• This is a fact that Christians believe to be true, but not everybody in the world believes to be true.
• There are various opinions as who Jesus was and what this day means.
• These opinions range from people who think He never existed to those who think He was a good teacher or a great religious leader; to those who would say He was a prophet to those who would say He is one of many paths to God. And we finish up with those who believe that He was the one and only Son of God, sent by God to redeem mankind from sin. That He is the ONE and ONLY path to god and salvation.
• If you have your bibles with you today, I would like for you to turn to Matthew 27:33-50.
• I would like for us to take note of something in this passage.
• SLIDE #2
• Jesus was not the only one crucified on that dreadful Friday some 2,000 years ago; there were three crosses on that day.
• Today we are going to look at the Savoir, the Skeptic, and the Believer.
• We are going to examine the Three Crosses this morning.
• Let us read Matthew 27:33-50
• In the text, we have three men, all in the midst of dying horrible deaths on a cross. We are going to focus on the man in the middle, but we will also learn something from the two men on each side of Jesus.
• Our first person we are going to focus on is:
I. THE SAVIOR
Who is this Savior?
On the center cross, we have the man named Jesus. He is the focus of the story. When we think about this man Jesus, it is bound to bring up some questions. There are many, but we are going to look at three of the most important ones in this section this morning. The first question is this, is the man on the center cross:
1. Man or Myth?
• SLIDE #6 Who is Jesus Video clip from PowerPoint
• Was there really a man named Jesus who lived between 6 B.C. and 30 A.D.? Do we have a birth certificate for this man?
• For the rest of the Easter holiday to have any validity, we need to establish with as much certainty as possible that this Jesus was a man of history, a person who really existed, a man who was not just a myth like Paul Bunyan.
• WE do not have video clips from the time, nor do we have photographs to prove the existence of Jesus. We do have the Bible which tells us that Jesus was a real person living in a real time.
• It is easy for a person who does not understand why the Bible is a reliable source of truth to discredit the Bible if they want to. If you start to understand WHY you can rely in the Bible as an accurate source, you have no trouble accepting it.
• Without going into a whole message about why we can trust the Bible, is there any other evidence that would show us that Jesus existed? Do we have any mention of Him outside of the Bible?
• Interestingly enough, even after all this time, we do have some mention of Jesus outside of the bible.
• SLIDE #7
• Cornelius Tacitus (born A.D. 52-54) was a Roman historian. In 112 A.D. was Governor of Asia, son-in-law of Julius Agricola who was Governor of Britain A.D. 80-84.
• Writing of the reign of Nero Tacitus alludes to the death of Christ and to the existence of Christians at Rome. He writes:
• But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all he atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome.
• Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius:
• But the pernicious superstition, represented for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also. Annals XV. 44. (Evidence that Demands Verdict. Josh McDowell, p. 81-81)