Summary: What difference does Easter make? The sermon looks at "explanations" for Jesus’ death on the cross. But Easter matters because we all have baggage in life, we will die one day, and we need help.
WHY DOES EASTER MATTER?
March 23, 2008 Jay Davis Robison MARK 16:1-8
Do you suppose it will make any difference?
Augsburg Sermon Book for the year 1985: "I’ve never seen such a crowd in church, the woman exclaimed’. I didn’t know her, but apparently she was impressed by the number of people here for Easter worship. Then, as she was shaking my hand and moving toward the front door, she added, "Do you suppose it will make any difference?" Pastor held her hand so she couldn’t get away, "What do you mean? Will what make a difference?" "Easter," she shot back. "Will Easter make any difference for all these people, or will life tomorrow be the same as it was yesterday?" Lady’s question is truly a profound question. "Will Easter make any difference for all these people, or will life tomorrow be same as it was yesterday Will Easter make any difference in your life?
1. Two explanations FOR JESUS’ “RESURRECTION”
1. Believe that Jesus survived the cross. He was not dead, He had only fainted. The cold tomb revived Him and He made appearances as a resurrected Messiah.
2. Jesus experienced:
- Multiple trials to make sure he obtained capital punishment
- Whipping, struck by a staff on the head again and again
- Crown of thorns, more spitting and beating
- Crossbar burden: [approx 110 lbs]
- Crucifixion with nails: with supporting archaeological evidence
- Spare from breaking the legs: he must die to be spared
- A spear was thrust into His side, blood and water came out
- Certified to be dead before handed to Joseph
- The grave clothes could not easily be removed
- THIS THEORY BEGS ONE BIG QUESTION:
- Could a weak man like this survive three days without food or water in a damp tomb, take off the grave clothes, push the heavy stone, overcome the Roman guards, walk miles on feet that had been pierced with spikes, and give His disciples the impression that He is a conqueror over death?
1). Some say that Jesus really didn’t die on the cross
a). They say that Jesus merely swooned from the torture, pain, and exhaustion of the crucifixion and that when they took him down from the cross, his body was merely mimicking death.--they literally claim that Jesus was buried alive
After 3 days was revived by the cool air of the tomb & walked out under his own power.
c). Of course, if you believe that scenario, then you believe that Jesus not only survived the crucifixion, he was also able to disentangle himself from about 70 pounds of tightly-wound grave cloths, move a huge boulder that covered the tomb, and then overpower a bunch of armed Roman guards that Pilate had stationed near the tomb.
--And he did all that without the benefit of food and water for three days. (Yeah, right!)
Could a man GO THROUGH A TRIAL, BE BEATEN WITH A WHIP, HAVE A CROWN OF THORNS PUSHED ON HIS HEAD, HANG ON A CROSS FOR HOURS, and then UNWRAP HIS BODY, MOVE A 2 TON ROCK, AND SNEAK PAST ROMAN GUARDS?
Matthew admits some people believed and tried to spread as rumor (28:11-15)
2. This doesn’t make sense because:
- The stone weighed approx. 1.5 to 2 tons, and was stuck in a grove
- Guarded by Roman guard [which some estimate to be about 16 soldiers]
- The tomb has a Roman seal [Anyone who breaks the seal is condemned to death]
2). Others say that the disciples stole the body
a). This theory was first proposed by the Sanhedrin, who worked to gain Jesus’ crucifixion Mt. 28:12 says that the chief priests on the Sanhedrin “devised a plan, they gave some Roman soldiers a large sum of money, telling them ‘You are to say, his disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’”
ii. Mt. 28:15 continues: The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And
this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
b). However, the theory that the disciples stole the body has several weaknesses:
First, Roman soldiers did not sleep on duty IF Roman soldiers were known to be asleep on duty, they would face the death penalty
Second, disciples were not strong enough to remove stone & then carry Jesus’ body out of the tomb before the soldiers could stop them Roman soldiers were not blithering idiots. They were some of the best fighting men in the world. Jesus’ tomb was heavily guarded and when Roman soldiers were told to guard something, they did it with expertise.
- A MAJOR OBJECTION:
The resurrection has been responsible for the martyrdom of 1000s of people. Many of the original 12 disciples faced torture and death for his statements and beliefs. The disciples were frightened at first; why, after the death of Christ, did they get so bold as to