Summary: This sermon explains why the resurrection is not just an historical event, but it has relevence for our lives today.

Resurrection Sunday

What the Resurrection Means to Me!

March 31, 2002

Acts 4:8-31


A. [illustration, by Joel Pankow]

I have heard that possums are smart animals.

You wouldn’t think so because you hardly ever see one except when it’s dead on the road.

There’s a joke that goes, "Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the possum that it could be done!"

But possums, it turns out, are smart.

They won’t enter a hole if there’s just one set of tracks going into it.

They know there’s something in there.

But if there are two sets of tracks.

The possum will enter and not be afraid.

The message of Easter is that we can enter the grave - we don’t have to fear death because there are tracks leading out of the tomb.

B. [Turn and greet your neighbor and tell them, "Praise God for the Resurection!"!]

C. We’ve been studying through the book of Acts here at Somerset and last Sunday we finished chapter 5.

1. However today on this Resurrection Sunday, I want to go back to chapter 4 and review a sermon the Peter preached.

2. I preached a couple of sermons from this text already, but today I want to preach another one and see what we can learn from Peter about the resurrection of Christ and what it means to us today.

3. Today I want to tell you what the resurrection means to me.

I. Jesus was crucified.

Acts 4:10, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified

A. The very first thing Peter said in this sermon was that the Sanhedrin was responsible for crucifying Jesus.

1. The record is clear that Peter was telling the truth.

2. Luke tells us at the beginning of this chapter some of those who made up the Sanhedrin: Acts 4:1, The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees…Acts 4:5-6, The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family.

3. Now listen to Matthew 27:1, Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.

Matthew 27:15-23, Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" 18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him." 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" asked the governor. "Barabbas," they answered. 22 "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!" 23 "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"

4. You see the record is clear that Peter was telling the truth when he said the Sanhedrin was responsible for Christ’s crucifixion.

B. Jesus did, in fact, die on the cross of Calvary.

1. John 19:31-34, Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

2. [illustration] 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.

Dear Bewildered,

Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear thru his side...put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens."

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