Summary: Looks at the 3rd resurrection appearance of Jesus and challenges us to live our lives in light of the fact that Jesus is alive and He has plans for us.
1. Title: Walking After The Cross
2. Text: John 21
3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, April 16, 2006, Easter Sunday, Last in the series “Walk to the Cross”
-for the people to be reminded of God’s plan and their part in it; to understand how this 3rd resurrection appearance calls us to remember God’s plan and our part in it
-for the people to feel forgiven by the blood of Jesus and to have great hope because He is alive;
-for the people to live their life with a better sense of purpose and direction than when they fail to remember all that’s implied by Jesus’ resurrection
5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to consider how the resurrection should affect the way we think about life and to live like people who are forgiven and called by God to be used by Him in the enacting of His great plan
6. Type: Textual
7. Dominant Thought: Lives lived in light of Jesus’ resurrection are different than those that ignore it
Intro – Peggy Key of MI was driving to church on Easter Sunday. She told her children the Easter story. She explained, "This is the day we celebrate Jesus coming back to life." Right away, her 3-year-old son, Kevin, piped up from the back seat, "Will He be in church today?"
I wish that I could tell Kevin that yes He is with us here today, along with His promise that He’ll be with us to the very end of the age. Jesus is here today! He is alive!
We’ve walked to the cross over the past few weeks. This morning, the cross is over, and we’re still going to consider our walk. How do we walk, after the cross and empty tomb?
There are 4 verses In I Co that address that pretty strongly:
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Christ has indeed been raised. So what does that mean about us? Let’s go back to v17:
Your faith is not futile; not in vain
-we don’t serve a dead Lord! There plenty of people putting their faith into a lot of dead things. It’s all in vain. I believe in a risen Savior Who’s going to bring eternal life to my body someday.
You’re not still in your sins
-If Jesus wasn’t raised, I’d still be in my sins. Now, I’m not sure exactly how that works out, but I’ll believe it first. If Jesus had not been raised, my forgiveness wouldn’t have been complete.
Those who have died in Jesus are saved
-Now, if Jesus weren’t alive, we’d have a reason to grieve without hope for people who have died in Christ. But we’re looking forward to being reunited with those people, and the resurrection of Jesus is the reason.
We’re not to be pitied. We’re not pitiable.
If we were living the life of Christians now and it turned out we were wrong – that we really aren’t going to live beyond this life – we’d deserve the world’s pity. Everything we’re counting on would be a farce. But Jesus is alive, and our hope goes beyond this life. It’s not a farce.
The resurrection of Jesus is pivotal to all we believe. Jesus is alive, and He helped verify that resurrection by deliberately appearing to His followers over a period of 40 days.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
At the end of John’s gospel, Jesus makes one of those appearances. John points out that it’s Jesus’ 3rd appearance – at least to the group. And each time Jesus does make an appearance, it has a purpose:
Obviously, Jesus wanted them to see that He is alive. There were enough eye-witnesses and enough credible accounts about the resurrection to accept that it’s real. Jesus really did rise from the dead. When Thomas doubted it, He came and showed Himself to Thomas. He wanted His followers to believe that He really was alive, just as He had predicted.