“The Fall of Man”
“Praise God for The Resurrection”
In Philippians 3:10-11, the Apostle Paul wrote –
“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him (Christ) from the dead. I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death, so that one way or another, I will experience the resurrection from the dead.”
I can imagine that many of us would love to experience the mighty power that raised Christ from the dead. But, we might shrink back from suffering with Him and sharing in His death.
One of my favorite theologians is Dr. Ron Rhodes. Let me share with you what he wrote about the crucifixion.
“Jesus would have experienced a variety of physical and emotional symptoms on the cross – blood loss and the accompanying dizziness, extreme pain, growing infection from the wounds caused by the spikes, fever due to the infection, great thirst and hunger as time slowly passed, difficulty breathing as a result of hanging by the arms, deep shame as those below watched the horror, and an ever-present anticipation of the moment of death. Shortly after Jesus died, a Roman soldier thrust a spear into Jesus’ side so that the blood and water came out. (John 19:34). Four Roman executioners pronounced Him dead and He was taken to be buried.”
Now, as Paul Harvey would say, “Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb. Three days later He rose from the dead and showed Himself to be gloriously alive.”
Dwight Moody, one of the great evangelists of the 19th century said, “You can’t find directions in the New Testament on how to conduct a funeral because Jesus broke up every funeral He attended. He brought other people back to life and rose from the dead Himself.”
In John 2:19, we hear Jesus saying, “All right, destroy this temple (His body) and in three days, I will raise it up.” That is exactly what He did.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the sure foundation of the Christian faith. In 1 Corinthians 15:17, the Apostle Paul wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.” In the next two verses Paul shows how absolutely essential Christ’s resurrection is for us who believe.
“In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.”
The Apostle realized that the most important doctrines of the Christian faith rise or fall on the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:18-19)
I love what Paul wrote next — in vs. 20, he wrote, “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.” Paul knew for a fact that Jesus had been resurrected because he personally met Him on the road going into Damascus. (Acts 9:1-6) Never again did he question if Jesus was real or the redeemer for all mankind.
Let’s consider some of the reasons why we can be confident that we have a living Savior.
1. The tomb where Jesus was buried was empty. (Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24: 1-12, John 20:1-18)
It is significant that all four of the gospel writers wrote about Christ’s resurrection.
a. In preparing His body for burial, He was wrapped in a linen cloth and about 100 pounds of aromatic spices were mixed together to form a gummy substance. This substance was applied to the wrappings of cloth around His body. He would have been very much like a mummy – impossible to move.
b. A huge stone was rolled over the opening of the solid rock tomb where He was buried.
c. Roman guards were appointed to guard the tomb. A seal of Rome was applied to the tomb. It represented the power and authority of Rome.
• The guards would have faced death if they had fallen asleep and let someone carry His body away.
• Yet three days after His burial, the seal was broken, the large stone was carried some distance away.
• The Roman guards had fled …. That in itself would have been punishable by death.
2. In John 20:1, the account has Jesus first appearing to a woman — Mary Magdalene.
a. In 1st century Jewish culture, a woman’s testimony was unacceptable in any court. Yet, we have according to Scripture, appearing first to Mary. Mary quickly told the disciples that Jesus was alive.
b. That evening they met in a room with the doors shut for fear of the Jews. John 20:19.
“That Sunday evening, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! Peace be with you He said.”
c. As the reality of His resurrection sank in, their gloom turned to joy. After their behavior on Good Friday, when they scattered, they might have expected a rebuke but instead, He blesses them with peace.
• In John 20:20, He showed them His wounds. This means He had the same body, but that He was alive.
d. During the next forty days, Jesus, at various times and with different groups appeared to them. Their lives were radically transformed. History tells us that ten of the twelve were martyred for their faith. Their cowardice had been transformed into commitment.
Michael Green put it this way – “How have these early followers of Jesus, turned almost overnight, into the indomitable band of enthusiasts who braved opposition, cynicism, ridicule, hardship, prison, and death on three continents, as they preached everywhere Jesus and the resurrection?”
These witnesses seemed convinced beyond any doubt about the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. (John 20:24-29; Acts 2:32; 3:15; 4:18-20; 10:39-40; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
e. Only the resurrection could account for the conversion of hardcore skeptics like Saul of Tarsus. Acts 9
f. Only the resurrection of Jesus could explain the growth and survival of the Christian church. Vast numbers of Jews and Gentiles believed in Jesus despite the fact that the sword of Rome was raised against Christianity’s throat.
g. Jesus made too many appearances, over too many days, to too many people, for the resurrection to be dismissed. (Acts 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:6)
In Luke 24:39, Jesus said to His disciples —
“See My hands and My feet, that it is I myself, touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
1. The resurrected Christ indicates in this verse that He is not a spirit.
2. He indicated that His resurrected body is made up of flesh and bones.
3. His physical hands and feet represent physical proof of the materiality of His resurrection from the dead.
He was the fulfillment of what He predicted in John 2:19-21.
✓ Have you personally had an encounter with the living Christ?
✓ Have you invited Him to come into your life to be your Savior and Lord?
✓ If you have, let Him stir your heart with resurrection peace and joy.
✓ If you haven’t, I beg you right now, even as you read this, pause and invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart and life and take over. He waits for you to open the door. Revelation 3:20