Summary: Easter Sunrise Service (shorter than normal) examining reasons why Jesus showed an empty tomb.
EASTER SUNRISE 2012
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 20-22
Some time ago I had a lady ask me, “Brother Gene, why do we have to get early on Easter? Why do we have a Sunrise service?” Let’s think for a moment about the events leading up to this celebration.
If you remember, Jesus and his disciples gathered to celebrate the Passover together. While in the upper room, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet and they shared the first Lord’s Supper.
Later that evening, they went into the Garden where Jesus prayed and cried because He knew what was coming next.
After praying, He was arrested on trumped up charges. He was condemned in a farce of a trial.
The soldiers clothed Him in royal robes, placed a crown of thorns on His head, then spit on Him and mocked Him.
Isaiah tells us that His beard was plucked from His face.
He was beaten with a cat-of-nine-tails to the point where He was unrecognizable.
He was forced to carry His own cross to the place where He was crucified.
He had nails driven into His hands and feet and He stayed on that cross until He died.
He died so quickly, from the stress and loss of blood, that a Roman soldier drove a spear into His side to confirm that He was really dead.
A rich follower of Jesus had His body wrapped in linen strips with 75 lbs of spices, with a cloth covering His face. His body was placed in a carved tomb with a huge bolder rolled in front of it.
The religious leaders had heard Jesus say that He would rise in 3 days, so they had a seal placed on the tomb and a group of Roman soldiers guard it to make sure that no one could steal His body and claim that He had risen. That was on Friday.
But Sunday came. It was then that the Devil’s plans went awry. It was then that the religious leaders’ plans were foiled. It was then that some Roman soldiers feinted like frightened girls.
For on Easter morning there was a violent earthquake.
On Easter morning, an angel descended from heaven and rolled the boulder away to prove that Jesus had risen. Jesus appeared to Peter and the 12. He appeared to the men on the road to Emmaus. In the days following Jesus appeared to over 500 men at one time. He appeared to James and all of the apostles. Finally, He appeared to Saul, a Christ-hating religious man who was persecuting Christians and the experience shook him up so much that the Lord changed his name to Paul and instead of attacking Christians He became one. Instead of denying Christ, he began preaching about Jesus.
Why? Why all of this fuss? Why did Jesus appear to so many and why did He think it was so important that we understand that He had risen?
II. JESUS SHOWED HE HAD RISEN BECAUSE:
1. He was showing that God had accepted the payment.
> Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
The Bible says that all of us have sinned. …
There is a price for that sin.
> Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
. 2 weeks ago a young lady asked me why Jesus had to die, why God demanded that someone pay that price. It is because God is a just God. Justice demands payment for crime.
God couldn’t just say that everything was forgiven and let that be the end of it. Someone had to pay the price for our sins if God was going to pardon us. Justice demands it.
God had Jesus pay the price for our sins.
On the cross Jesus cried, “IT IS FINISHED! Paid in full!” Jesus claimed that He had paid the price for your sins and mine, and God had the tomb opened so we could see that He had accepted the price Jesus paid. The empty tomb is a canceled check. It says, “God has accepted the payment Jesus made and we can be forgiven!”
Why have an early service and why celebrate the resurrection? Because the empty tomb proves that our sins have been paid for.
Why have an early service and celebrate the resurrection, because the resurrection proves that God is mightier than death.
2. The resurrection proves that God is mightier than death. – 54-55
There are those who have the mistaken idea that death is the end of things, that when we die we are nothing more than worm food.
The resurrection proves that God is greater than death and that He is stronger than the grave …