Summary: A sermon on 3 reasons for the resurrection of Jesus Christ preached on Easter Sunday (Material adapted from Jack Cottrell's book, The Faith Once For All, chapter 14 The Work of Christ, pg. 272- 277)
There’s a story about a Sunday School kindergarten teacher who was trying to determine how much Christian training her new students had. She found one 5 year-old boy who knew absolutely nothing about the story of Jesus. She began by relating to him the death of Jesus on the cross. When he asked her what a cross was, she picked up some sticks and, fashioning a crude cross, she told him that Jesus had been nailed to a cross and had died. The little boy, with eyes downcast, quietly said, "Oh, that's too bad!" But then the teacher quickly related that Christ rose again and came back to life. Hearing that, his face lit up, and he exclaimed, "Totally awesome!" Well, it IS totally awesome, when we stop to think about it.
Christ’s main work of redemption was not completed when Jesus cried out on the cross: “It is finished!” True, the suffering and humiliation was done for Christ but the triumphant phase of this work was yet to come, and was begun 3 days later when he arose from the dead.
To understand the importance of the resurrection of Jesus, we must understand that this whole world is under the penalty of death.
This judgment includes physical death; all die physically as the result of Adam’s sin.
This also includes spiritual death; all sinners are spiritual dead before God even while they live in this world.
If this continues unchanged for a human soul, judgment ends in eternal death in lake of fire.
Here is the good news, every aspect of death is removed for the redeemed. However, physical death still remains and it will always remain until the second coming of Christ.
Through Christ’s resurrection a power is available that can reverse the conditions of death and restore us to life. We can pass from death to life. But how?
Thesis: Today we will talk about 3 reasons for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christ’s Resurrection Devastates His Enemies
Through the fall of Satan and the Fall of mankind, our enemies were empowered to strive against God and against his plan for the creation. These enemies include Satan and his dominion of darkness, sin, death, and Hades (the place of death).
1 John 3:8: The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
Hebrews 2:14-15: by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death- that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
The major battle between Christ and these enemies began with the cross, where Satan indeed bruised Jesus’ heel (Genesis 3:15) and probably thought he had gained the victory over him by bringing Christ under the power of death.
Satan is not all knowing and this appears to be one thing he did not know. What he did not know was that in this “victory” Satan had already lost his war against God, because the cross itself was already pulling the sting out of sin and death and thereby rendering the devil’s main weapon powerless (Hebrews 2:14-15).
By taking on himself the penalty and condemnation for the sins of the whole human race, Jesus “disarmed the powers and authorities, and he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15).
What Satan also did not know, or maybe did not believe, was the Jesus would actually rise from the dead. The divine power that brought Jesus back to life and set him free from the tomb absolutely devastated all his foes. He was put to death, but “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24).
The risen Christ declares in Revelation 1:18: I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
2 Timothy 1:10: He “has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
We need a champion. Jesus is our champion. He fought with Satan and won. The best illustration of this is 1 Samuel 17 where the giant Goliath, offered to do battle as the champion of the Philistines. His proposal was I will fight as the representative of the Philistines, now you Israelites select a champion to fight me. If your champion defeats me, we will serve you; but if I defeat your champion, then you will serve us. It wasn’t until a shepherd boy came that Israel found a champion. We know that David prevailed and won. Jesus prevailed and won over Satan through the resurrection.
Christ’s enemies are our enemies too; but we do not fear them because Christ shares with us his own victory over them. He delivers us from the dominion of Satan and gives us His power. 1 John 4:4: the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.