Easter is the most important day in the Christian calendar. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. As Christians, we take the fact of the resurrection without question.
However, unbelievers sometimes want more explanation before they will believe. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
If you have friends who do not understand your faith, you may want to take notes this morning so you can answer their questions. [A sermon preached by Dr. Arnold Lastinger]
Read Luke 24:1-8
1. Why is the resurrection so Important?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-19
A. Validates everything Jesus taught. He told us He would rise from the dead; if He did not, we would have no reason to believe anything else He told us.
B. Our salvation would be a lie. He would not be the Son of God, but an imposter.
C. There would be no eternal life and the grave would be the end for us. It gives us hope for our own resurrection; since Christ is risen, we will also rise from the grave. It is the one thing that sets us apart from all other world religions; we have a living Savior!
2. Can it be explained in natural Means?
A. Skeptics claim that Jesus was not really dead; he was just unconscious on the cross. Would suggest that the Romans could not tell a dead man when they saw one (crucifixions were common).
B. Not a single historical or biblical record even suggests that Jesus did not actually die on the cross. How could an unconscious man survive in the tomb for three days without food, water, or medical care? How could a weak, unconscious man, with no help from anyone, roll the stone away and overcome the Roman guards at the tomb?
C. The nature of His treatment was too severe for anyone to have lived through it: Agony began in Gethsemane. (bloody sweat is a documented medical condition caused by great stress). Beaten at Caiaphas’ House. No food, no sleep, no rest, no water.
Then there was the matter of the beating he took:
- Legal requirement in a crucifixion; Short whip with metal barbs; Experts called Lictors whipped the victim. Lacerated belly, sides, back. Weakens victim, hastens death. The cross experience was the final phase.
- Weakened, He carried his own cross. When He fell, Simon was forced to carry it. Wrists and feet were nailed to the cross. The weight of his body compressed his lungs. Could only breathe by pushing upward with His feet.
- The broiling sun, the severe damage to his back and belly, and His inability to breathe took their toll on Jesus…Died! To think that any mortal man could have survived such inhumane treatment is insane! The body they took down from the cross and placed in the tomb was very dead without any doubt.
3. Couldn’t it have been a Conspiracy?
A. Suggests that the authorities hid the body so His disciples could not get to it.
If they intended to do that, why would they have placed guards at the tomb?
- If they had the body of Jesus, when stories of the resurrection were told, the authorities would have paraded His body through the streets to disprove the resurrection story.
- By displaying the dead body of Jesus they could have stamped out Christianity with a single act.
- The fact that they did not do that indicates that they did not have the body.
Suggests that Jesus was dead, but His disciples stole His body to make people believe He had risen:
- The Jewish leaders first suggested this theory! (Matthew 28:13). How could the guards have known what happened if they were asleep?
- Eleven of the twelve disciples died because they refused to renounce their faith in the resurrected Christ!
- The disciples would not have suffered martyrdom for what they knew to be a lie!
B. In either case, the conspiracy would have involved so many people that it would have collapsed under its own weight!
C. Somebody would have broken the silence and told the truth. It would have been the end of Christianity!
The resurrection story is not a myth. It is one of the most documented facts in history. The Bible story is an indestructible anvil of truth. Those who seek to destroy or disprove it are like hammers pounding on that anvil.
Today, the anvil still stands unharmed, surrounded by broken and worn-out hammers, broken by the very anvil they sought to destroy. The simple, undeniable truth today is that Jesus is alive and because He lives, we shall live also.
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