Summary: A resurrected Christ changes everything
Here we are gathered together on another Easter Sunday and a question arises in my mind: “Do we really get it?”
A Sunday School teacher asked her class on the Sunday before Easter if they knew what happened on Easter and why it was so important. One little girl spoke up saying: "Easter is when the whole family gets together, and you eat turkey and sing about the pilgrims and all that." "No, that’s not it," said the teacher.
"I know what Easter is," a second student responded. "Easter is when you get a tree and decorate it and give gifts to everybody and sing lots of songs." "Nope, that’s not it either," replied the teacher.
Finally a third student spoke up, "Easter is when Jesus was killed, and put in a tomb and left for three days." "Ah, thank goodness somebody knows" the teacher thought to herself. But then the student went on: "Then everybody gathers at the tomb and waits to see if Jesus comes out, and if he sees his shadow he has to go back inside and we have six more weeks of winter."
Contributor: Andrew Chan at sermoncentral.com
Those kids didn’t get it because they didn’t know the story. We know the story, but I fear we don’t get it, because the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes so little impact in our lives. In the days and years after the Lord rose from the dead, a little band of fearful followers was transformed into a missionary force that, in turn, transformed their world. Jesus’ teaching and miracles made a profound impression on their minds, but did not provide the spark that made the disciples into a risk-taking, revolutionary movement. Today we understand that His death on the cross took away the sins of those who trust in Him, but for the disciples the crucifixion meant that Jesus’ mission was a failure. A crucified Jesus changes nothing, but a resurrected Christ changes everything.
This morning I want to demonstrate just how the resurrection should impact and transform our lives. You may know the story like the back of your hand, but have the repercussions of the resurrection permeated your heart and fundamentally changed your life?
One of the ambiguous statements to the resurrection story we read has to do with John, the writer of this gospel who designated himself, the disciple who Jesus loved. After running to the tomb that first Easter morning and eventually going in to inspect the scene, John found the grave clothes and head cloth neatly placed where Jesus’ body had been, but without the body. It was clear to him that this was not the work of Jesus’ enemies or grave robbers looking for money. Any such intruders would have carried off the body and grave clothes or stripped the corpse quickly to carry it away. Before seeing the resurrected Lord, John tells us what happened in his own heart:
Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) John 20:8
John believed resurrection had taken place. He noted that this idea did not arise from his reading of the scriptures. It was the evidence that convinced him. It was only after the fact that the disciples were able to see where the Old Testament predicted the resurrection of the Messiah. Here’s the repercussion for us:
Learn the evidence that supports Jesus’ claims
It was the evidence of the resurrection that the apostles proclaimed after the first Easter morning. One of the opening lines of his gospel makes this clear:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory …” John 1:14
Jesus came back from the dead and John, along with all of the early church, presented the evidence. The resurrection verified Jesus’ miracles, teaching, and the effectiveness of His sacrifice on our behalf.
As His followers today, our task is to learn the evidence that supports Jesus’ claims. We are to present evidence of the resurrection.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect 1 Peter 3:15
Reason is evidence. We are to be prepared to present the evidence that Jesus died and rose again to lead others to faith. The evidence is easy to present, but I find that most Christians don’t know how to do it. You only have to present two pieces of evidence: 1) Jesus really died; 2) the tomb was really empty. Let’s start with the first, did Jesus really die?
One lady wrote in to a question and answer forum. "Dear Sirs, Our preacher said on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.