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(The Questions of the Resurrection) Easter Sermon from Luke 24 March 23, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Easter, Luke, Religion, Sermons.
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THE QUESTIONS OF THE RESURRECTION

Luke 24

I was speaking to a young person recently. In our conversation I asked about their faith in Christ. I said, “Do you believe what we are preaching here?” They said something similar to this, “I do not believe in the big-bang theory of evolution but I find it hard to believe in a God, whom I cannot see.” I agree with that young person. It is hard to believe many of the things that the Bible teaches. Luke, in his resurrection account addresses this problem head on. You see even the followers of Christ found it difficult to believe that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.

Early on that Sunday morning, a group of women were headed to the tomb. Most of them were from Galilee and had followed Jesus here in anticipation of seeing Him crowned King of the Jews but instead saw Him crucified. They certainly did not come to the tomb expecting to find Jesus alive. They were planning to attend to the body. Jesus had been wrapped and buried hastily and they wanted to honor Jesus properly. When they got there the stone had already been rolled away but the body of Jesus was gone. Suddenly two angels appeared next to them and asked them the first question that are considering today.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (verse 5). There is no life in a dead Christ. In some ways the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most crucial doctrine that the Bible teaches. If the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not happen, then it does not matter whether you believe in creation or evolution. Jesus’ resurrection is the proof of the truth that we preach. Jesus told His followers at least six times in the past weeks that He would rise from the dead. On some of those occasions these women were present and heard what Jesus had said. That is why the angels asked, “Why are you here? He’s already gone! You are wasting your time looking for a dead Christ. Do you not remember what He told you before when you were in Galilee?”

Now you might say, “Well, certainly these people wanted Jesus alive but what difference does it make for me.” Jesus Himself has already answered that question. In John’s gospel He said, “I am come that they might have life and that more abundantly” (John 10:10). In Christ is the promise of new life.

 

 

That is one reason why it is important that Jesus rose bodily from the dead? Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 15…

17 …if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

22 …For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

This is the problem that these women faced. That had trusted that Christ would save them, that He would save His people from their sins. They had not expected Him to die. They knew that a dead Christ was worthless. They had seen other men come and go, claiming to be the Christ but the Roman authorities had hounded each one until finally they were captured and killed or died in battle or died in hiding. It looked like Jesus was just another in a long line of fakes. They still loved Him. They grieved for Him. But He was gone…they thought. But when they heard the message of the angels and remembered what Jesus had said to them, they realized that their faith had not been misplaced. They understood that their sins truly were forgiven. They knew that this new spiritual life which they had received from Christ was not fake but that it was reality. They knew the fulfillment of the promise of a new life in Christ because Christ was alive.

In Him is not only the promise of new life but also the promise of eternal life.

These women now knew that they were not hoping in something that might not come true. John 11 tells us what Jesus had said just a few weeks earlier, 25 “…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

26 “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…”

Eternal life is a reality. In Job 14:14 one of the greatest questions ever asked is stated this way, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” We along with these women can answer, “Yes!” because He is not in the grave, He is risen!

Now the second question is also important. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?” (verse 26). In other words, what purpose does His death and resurrection serve? To prove that one can be transformed in Christ is good. To prove that there is life after death is even better. Ultimately though Christ’s death is not about us but about His glory. The glory of Christ is based on His death and resurrection.

 

 

 

 

Philippians 2:8-9 tells us that Jesus, 8 “…being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,” It is the death and the resurrection of Christ that made it possible for Jesus to be glorified.

1 Peter 1:10-11 tells us that this was God‘s plan all along. 10 ¶ “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,

11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”Paul says in Acts 26:8,22-23, “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?…But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

The first two questions remind us of the importance of Christ’s resurrection but one important question remains. “…why do doubts arise in your hearts…Have you any food here?“ (verses 38 and 41). There is proof of Christ’s bodily resurrection and this proof is available to those who will believe it. Remember, Jesus could not come back as a spirit or even as a ghost because that is unverifiable and is too easy to fake. Jesus had to come back from the dead in a recognizable and verifiable way. Jesus Christ did just that.

It is important that Jesus had to prove Himself to His own followers. These were men who expected proof. They did not depend on rumors for their faith. They were willing to investigate the facts. When the women first came to them, the report of the resurrection seemed to them to be an idle tale. According to Darrell Bock, idle tales were delirious stories told by the very sick as they suffered in great pain or tales told by those who fail to perceive reality. The disciples thought these women were hallucinating. These disciples were the first to think that those who saw Christ were hallucinating. Now if these disciples had thought to themselves they would have realized that group hallucinations do not exist. They are like dreams in that they are private occurrences. Peter, in fact, went to the tomb himself to investigate (verse 12). Peter knew that if these women were hallucinating, there should still have been a body in the tomb.

He identified Himself by His wounds (verses 39-40).The wounds of Christ were, as Luke indicates in Acts 1, infallible proofs of His person. The holes left by the nails in His hands! The gap left in His side by the spear! The punctures where the giant nail went through the top of His feet! How much they had healed if at all we do not know but it was obvious that the wounds in His body identified Him as Jesus Christ.

He confirmed His resurrection by His actions (verses 41-43).

It is interesting how that Jesus did this. He asked for something to eat and he ate it in their presence. He did not say. Leave food at the door and I will eat it during the night to prove to you that I am alive. He took what they gave Him and He ate it, proving that He was still in a human body. In other words, though He was God, He remained man.

The early Christians had to deal with the question of the resurrection of Jesus Christ everywhere they went. They needed to know that Jesus Christ is alive. That is why Jesus showed Himself multiple times over a forty day period. 1 Corinthians 15 says…

4 …He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.

7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”

 

INVITATION: Luke called the proofs of Jesus Christ resurrection are “infallible proofs” in Acts 1:3. I have laid out some of those proofs before you. I have also laid out why it is important that you believe not just in the resurrection but in the Christ of the resurrection. Only by trusting Him can a sinner have a transformed life. Only in Him is it possible to live eternally with God. Finally, only in His can we have a part in His glory. The proof is before you. Will you believe it?

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