Summary: An Easter morning sermon that supports the truth and dispells the lies surrounding the Resurrection with unarguable facts . (Audio at www.sermonlist.com/2007.html)
Easter is the center point of the Christian faith. Without Easter, Christianity would be just like every other religion in the world. We are the only belief on the face of the earth that has a founder who is alive, and we are the only religion in history that meets our enemies with our prayers instead of the sword.
Buddhism was founded by Buddha, but Buddha died. Judaism was founded by Abraham, but Abraham died. Islam was founded by Muhammad, but he is dead, too. There has never been any witness to any of them being seen or talked to after they were buried. There is only one person in all the religions that came back victorious over death and rising to meet the God of the universe in Heaven. That person’s name is Jesus, and He is our Savior.
And not only did He arise from the grave, there were more than 500 eyewitness accounts of people who saw Him and talked to Him after He arose. If only one or two people had claimed to see Jesus after He was buried, then you could argue the point that they might be making it up, but when you have over 500 credible witnesses, you have to believe the facts, and the facts show that He did arise.
But that has been constantly disputed every since He walked out of the tomb. As Christians, it is necessary that we not only understand the truth, but that we have some kind of understanding on the lies that surround that truth. This morning, let’s take a look at the facts and the fiction.
To begin with, let’s talk about how …
1. JESUS DIED UPON THE CROSS
They had already paraded the bloody and beaten Jesus, to Skull Mountain just outside the city wall where He was put on a wooden cross with huge metal spikes being driven through His wrists and feet to keep him in place when the cross was up righted. Now, one detail that is never talked about is how the cross was up righted and what that did to the person who was hanging on the cross.
There was a hole dug in the dirt about 18 inches square and about 3 feet deep. After Jesus was nailed to the beams of the cross, they hoisted it up right and let it drop into that hole. When that heavy cross hit the bottom of the hole, it created a severe jolt to the person on the cross.
That sudden jar caused most of the bones in the body to snap out of joint and the tendons and ligaments to completely tear apart. This would keep that person from using his arms and legs to support his weight, so he would suffocate that much sooner. It was a most horrific and painful way to inflect death on a person.
MARK 15:25 says they hung Him on the cross at 3:00 am. He hung there, in the painful and dying position until 6:00 am. In verse 33 it tells us that at 6:00 am, darkness came over the whole land until 9:00 am. And precisely at 9:00 am, Jesus cried out, “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?”
Why would Jesus say His Father had forsaken Him? The reason is simple. God is a pure and holy God. He is so pure and righteous that He cannot even look upon sin. As Jesus hung there dying, He took the whole world’s sin upon Himself. And as He had put Himself under that sin, His holy and righteous Father had to look away. That is when Jesus cried out in anguish.
See, Jesus was not only suffering the physical pain, but He was also suffering the torment and anguish of bearing all of our sins, too. I think the pain of the spiritual burden He was under far exceeded any physical pain. What made that situation unbearable is that for the first time in all eternity, Jesus was out of fellowship with His Father.
Jesus cried out once more. He said, “It is finished,” and with that, He gave up His life. At that very instant, you and I became free of our sins, and through His shed blood have become the seed of Abraham. At that very instant, we became free of the bondage of death. That is how much God loves you and that is how much God loves me.
If you told people that mud was made from water and dirt, there would always be somebody who would try to prove you wrong. There are many people today who say the holocaust was nothing but a story made up by America and its allies. As far as that goes, there is a movie out now, being narrated by actor Charlie Sheen, that says the 9/11 tragedy was created by our own government. And of course, there are many who say the landings on the moon were actually made in a back lot at Disney Pictures in California.