Well, just this week I read of a poll recently taken that indicated that 66% of American adults believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave.
And that poll, which I am told first was inaugurated in 2014, has remained consistent over these last eight years. There are 23% who do not believe it and 11% who are uncertain, which means that 77% of Americans either do believe or at least think it is possible that Jesus Christ truly rose from the grave. But here's the shocking part. The greatest majority of those who believe it said that it really doesn't matter that much one way or the other. They believe it to be true, but they don't believe it really matters. I'm not quite sure what to make of that. It certainly is a commentary on the sad state of modern Christianity. It probably is a commentary on the shallow feeling-oriented preaching that dominates modern Christianity. By the way, that poll, it broke down a lot of things.
It broke it down by race and by denominations and by all kinds of different ways. And 98% of those who identify themselves as evangelical believed in the bodily resurrection, which I'm glad to hear, but that makes me wonder how in the world do the other 2% call themselves evangelicals and don't believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead? But at any rate, we are encouraged by that. That at least tells me that the efforts by what we call liberalism or modernism over the last more than 100 years, concerned about the difficulty of people believing in the bodily resurrection have tried to make something serious about it even in spite of the fact that it may not have happened. In other words, they've been teaching us that it really doesn't matter whether Christ rose bodily or whether it just rose in spirit, his influence lives on and so forth and so on, so we can still take comfort in that. Well, evidently, those efforts have not destroyed the belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ from the majority of people, but they apparently have succeeded in causing people to think that it is of no particular relevance to the Christian faith.
How very, very sad. And yet it is exceedingly relevant, is it not? It is probably the most relevant truth that is found anywhere in the Word of God with the possible exception of the birth of Christ of a virgin. Paul put it this way in Romans chapter 15, that chapter that deals about the resurrection from the grave. And he said this in verse 14, and if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ whom he did not raise up if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. The opinion of the apostle Paul and the opinion of the majority of Americans are widely divergent at this point. They say it really doesn't matter.
Paul says it matters totally. If he arose, then everything is true about the Christian faith that you have been told. And if he did not rise from the grave, then everything is false. It doesn't matter because it isn't true and there is no salvation if Christ didn't rise from the dead. But if it is true that Jesus rose from the dead, then it's obvious that Christianity is the true religion and is the only true religion, and we'd better embrace Jesus Christ for salvation.
Everything we believe about Christ and about salvation depends upon his resurrection from the grave. All four of the gospels record the account of Christ's resurrection, each one adding various details and emphasizing different parts, but altogether they fill in a very wonderful and detailed account of what took place. But today we're going to focus upon John's account found in John chapter 20 verses 1 through 18.
And we are going to break this account into three parts. We shall notice, first of all, the devoted women in verses 1 and 2. Secondly, the discovering apostles in verses 3 through 10.
And finally, the rewarded worshiper in verses 11 through 18. It begins with the account of the devoted women. Now the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early while it was still dark and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved and said to them, they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him.
The devoted women. Now Mary Magdalene is John's primary focus. And the reason for that becomes even more clear after Peter and John examine the tomb. But John does not totally neglect the other women who also came to the tomb, as some have erroneously concluded. And that's evident by the use of the plural pronoun we that is found in verse 2 when she says, they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we, not I, we do not know where they have laid him. Therefore it's clear that John is not excluding the other women that came with Mary to the tomb, but indeed Mary is the most prominent one of those women. And so they came on a momentous day called here the first day of the week.
I'd never thought of this until one of the commentators that I studied pointed this out. But in all of the accounts we are told that he rose on the first day of the week and none of them are we told that he arose on the third day after the crucifixion. Now leading up to the crucifixion there's always this emphasis upon on the third day he will rise again.
That was what was foretold. But when he actually rose from the grave it doesn't say he rose on the third day after his crucifixion, but rather he arose on the first day of the week. I cannot help but think that we are to make something significant out of that insignificant fact, but it is nevertheless there in the scripture. And that is that something so momentous happened on this day that it changed a lot of things. And one of the things that changed was the day of worship from the seventh day to the first day. So momentous, so significant, so earth-shaking, so totally comprehensive in regard to the Christian faith was this event that took place on the first day of the week following the crucifixion that every account identifies and dates the resurrection to the first day of the week.
A momentous day. But next we notice a devoted disciple namely Mary Magdalene. On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early. Mary Magdalene or literally Mary of Magdala, a village in Galilee. Mary Magdalene stands out even among the devoted women and the devoted women stand out among the not quite so devoted apostles.
That really is puzzling, isn't it? We're not surprised at Judas who was the betrayer that he forsook Christ. But to read of the other eleven apostles all forsaking him at the cross and going into hiding is very disappointing indeed while a band of devoted women stayed at the cross all the way to his death and then were the first to come to the tomb on that momentous first day of the week. Clearly the women were more devoted, were more committed, were more believing, though all of them were having trouble believing, but were more believing than the twelve apostles.
Which tells me a couple of things. Number one, we must never depreciate the value of women in regard to the church, in regard to Christianity, in regard to faithful dedicated followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. They often proved to be the most faithful, the most dedicated of all followers of Christ. But secondly, it causes me to ask the question, why then, when the women were clearly more devoted than the men, why then did Jesus appoint twelve male apostles, no female apostles?
Why did Christ tell the apostles to go out and preach and not only does not command the women to preach, but actually through the apostles commands that they should not be public proclaimers of the word, but they have another role in the work of the gospel, why is that so? Why would God not elevate the most devoted ones to the most prominent positions rather than the weaker ones? And the answer is, I don't know, but he did.
And there's a lot of things like that in the word of God. He can't always figure out the reason, why did God do this? Why did he do that? Why did he say this?
Why did he say that? The important thing is not understanding why, the important thing is surrendering to what he has declared. When God has declared something, we surrender to it, whether we understand it or not, whether we would have done it that way or not, that's beside the point, because he's God and I'm not, right?
So if God did it, we accept it and move on. Mary Magdalene stands out among and even above the other devoted women and was consequently rewarded with the first resurrection appearance of Christ, which takes place later in the account that I read to you this morning. She did receive reward for her devotion, for her commitment. She was an unusual woman. The Bible tells us in Luke chapter 8 that she was a woman who had been freed from demon possession and consequently devoted her life to Christ and along with some other women supported his ministry financially.
Here's what it says in Luke chapter 8. Now it came to pass afterward that he went through every city and village preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God and the twelve were with him and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene out of whom had come seven demons and Joanna, the wife of Cusa, Herod's steward. She was a wife of a high ranking administrator in the Roman administration of that country and Susanna and many others who provided for him from their substance.
A band of faithful women who regularly gave to the support of the ministry of Christ and his apostles so that they were free to travel and preach and have the means necessary for them to be able to do that. This tells us a couple of things that are very important. Number one, having money does not translate into well-being. Here's a woman who had wealth and yet she was demon possessed with seven demons. Money does not translate into well-being. We know that, we observe that and yet it seems like it's hard for people to believe that, to understand that so many times the problems of the world, I just heard it again this week or read it maybe in the Wall Street Journal this week that the newly elected mayor of Chicago said that the reason that there's so much more crime in Chicago than in other places and the reason why the crime in Chicago has risen so much is because businessmen are not paying their fair share and therefore there's too much poverty and therefore there's more crime.
And with that statement he probably changed the minds of about two or three hundred more businessmen who are now going to relocate out of Chicago. So if somehow we could devote, we could invest more money in poverty and raise people out of poverty, that would solve our crime problem. Why is it therefore that after billions and billions and billions and billions of dollars have been spent on the war on poverty, our crime is increasing not decreasing.
Explain that to me please. Maybe we need to understand that the source of crime is not poverty. There have been times in our country when there were many more people that were abysmally poor than we have today and yet crime was a great deal less. Is it possible that the increase in crime has something to do with the decrease in morality, the decrease in Christianity? Could that be the reason?
I think so. Money is no guarantee of well-being but when money is bestowed it needs to be used for the Lord Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene is a good example of that. Great gratitude leads to great devotion. Mary was extremely grateful to Christ.
He had cast out of her seven demons. Can you imagine what her life must have been like before Christ did that? Can you imagine what her life would have continued to be if Christ had not done that? All the money in the world could not have given her a peaceful, meaningful life as she was possessed by seven demons but when Christ healed her, her whole life changed and she devoted her life to the Lord Jesus Christ and she used the resources that God had graciously bestowed upon her to serve the cause of Christ. And what does that tell us about our gratitude to Christ? What does our giving tell us about our gratitude to Christ?
I'll let you answer that question for yourself. But this devoted disciple, Mary Magdalene, was able to make a surprising discovery when she came to the tomb. She went to the tomb early while it was still dark and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. She arrived early. Putting together the different gospel accounts, we understand that a group of women left for the tomb while it was still dark but after they arrived, the first daylight was beginning to appear.
And so Mary Magdalene is there. She left while it was still dark but she got there when the first rays of daylight were beginning to make their way into the garden and she had enough light to see that the stone was rolled away. Now when we think this thing through, we realize that the women went there not knowing exactly what they were going to do about the stone. They had come with spices. They wanted to add more spices to his body because he'd been buried rather hastily and they feared that perhaps not sufficient amount of spices had been applied or that at least in some way they could demonstrate their devotion to him by adding more to what had already been done. But of course if he was in the tomb and there was a huge stone across the door of the tomb, how were they going to be able to utilize these spices? Were they planning to pile them outside the tomb as some sort of a memorial? And why would they do spices instead of say flowers if that's what they had in mind?
It's clear they hadn't thought this thing through. So she gets there and lo and behold, the stone is rolled away. So that problem, if they really hadn't thought through enough to know how they were going to solve it, has been solved by somebody else. The stone has been taken away. A literal translation would be the stone has been lifted up, which may mean that it was not just rolled away, which would have meant rolled back on the track that was prepared for it. The stone would have been on a track cut out of the rock below so that it could be rolled easily down over the tomb, which means that it would be easier to cover the tomb than it would be to uncover the tomb. It would be easier to roll the stone down, though it wouldn't be easy, but even harder to roll it back. But this seems to indicate that the stone may have been completely lifted out of its track, indicating that something huge, something momentous, something strong, something almost supernatural had happened to that stone. Indeed, it turns out that's exactly what it was, wasn't it?
But there it was. The stone was lifted up. A surprising accomplishment, a momentous accomplishment, but Mary's left to wonder who did this. Who rolled away the stone?
In fact, I think there's a whole book written about that. Who rolled away the stone? You consider all the different possibilities, and you really can't come up with any satisfactory answer except the angels did, God did.
That's what happened. But the stone has been rolled back, and the grave has been disturbed. There is now no door covering the tomb.
There are no guards guarding the tomb, as there had been before, and there is no body in the tomb. She saw that much and concluded that the grave had been robbed. Somebody had come and stolen the body out of the tomb.
Clearly, something was amiss. And so with that much information, she ran back to tell the apostles, verse 2. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved and said to him, They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him. She ran to tell Peter and the other disciple. And if you are a student of Scripture and have paid careful attention to the Gospel of John, you will note that in the Gospel of John, John refers to himself a number of times, but never by name.
There seems to be something in his thinking that makes him uncomfortable to use his own name. And so he just says that other disciple, that disciple whom Jesus loved. Everybody knew who that was, the one that Jesus had a specially loving relationship with. And so she ran back to tell Peter and the unnamed John, who is clearly John, could be no one else. And she reports to them that they have removed the body.
Wait a minute, Mary. Who has removed the body? They.
She doesn't know, but somebody evidently did. And they have removed the body, and we, there's that plural, don't know where they have laid him. So that takes us through the devoted women, but now the discovering apostles in verses 3 through 10. And the discovery of Peter and John, they're the two apostles involved in this particular discovery, are first involved in an energetic dash to the tomb.
They run, rush to the garden tomb, not surprisingly. They run together, we are told, at least starting out together. But John gets there first. In fact, he gets there quite a little while first, not just a few seconds first, but enough first that he's able to make an examination before Peter arrives. How is it that they both started out together and John got there that much quicker?
Nobody can say for sure, because the Bible doesn't tell us, but the most apparent and logical explanation is there was probably a pretty significant difference in their ages. John was a young man, Peter was an older man. And Peter may have been more out of shape.
Now I'm sure in his fishing days he was in pretty good shape, but he hadn't been doing any of that for about three years. And so we could see bearded, white haired, pudgy Peter running, huffing, puffing, maybe clutching his heart and saying, oh, there's those heart pains again, slow down. And John lickety split without a pause, arrives quickly at the tomb. And when they arrive, they examine it in this order.
There's three examinations, examination number one by John. And he, verse five, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes, or linen claws rather, lying there, yet he did not go in. John got there first, but for whatever reason.
Again, he seems to be a more shy and retiring personality, not using his own name. We've already seen that, other evidences of this. He didn't go into the tomb when he arrived there. And so he stood outside the tomb, but he did peer into the tomb. And when he looked in, he saw the grave clothes lying on the shelf, the bed, the stone bed, that had been prepared for the body, but no body was there. He saw that much. Sometime later, we don't know how much later, Peter arrives.
And again, I'm assuming huffing and puffing, and we get to the second examination. Verse six, then Simon Peter came following him and went into the tomb and saw the linen clothes lying there, and now this, that John apparently didn't see, and the handkerchief, or the cloth that had been wound around Christ's head, not lying with the linen clothes, but folded together in a place by itself. Peter arrives. Peter is not a retired personality. Peter has no hesitation.
Peter doesn't wait a moment to rush right on inside the tomb and to examine what is there. He's better able, therefore, to see details that John had not seen, examining only from the outside looking in. And he noticed the state of the grave clothes, and they were present, but amazingly undisturbed. This doesn't really look like grave robbers. If grave robbers had done this, number one, why would they have left the clothes behind? Why not pick him up, clothes and all, and carry him wherever they planned to go? If it were grave robbers, who for some reason decided to leave the clothes behind, it's hard to imagine that they would have carefully and meticulously unwound the grave clothes, and then folded them up carefully and laid them down neatly, you know, and then took the head covering and did the same thing, and unwound it and then wound it up very neatly and laid it beside the other clothes by itself in a very neat fashion.
I mean, we've got to leave things neat and tidy, don't we, while we're robbing this grave and hoping nobody sees us and catches us while we're doing it. Nope, that doesn't make sense, does it? So Peter sees all this, but it doesn't register to him what the meaning of it is. He just makes note of it. After which, then John comes, now we've got the third examination, verse 8. Then the other disciple who came to the tomb first went in also, and he saw and believed. He saw what Peter saw.
He saw these clothes neatly arranged on the shelf where the body had been, and he grasped the significance of the evidence. He saw and believed. He realized this was not the work of body snatchers, of grave robbers, that this was evidence that Jesus arose from the tomb, and this evidence convinced John that Jesus had arisen. Peter didn't know what to make of the evidence, but John saw the same evidence and believed that Jesus rose from the dead. And yet we still see an incomplete understanding, verse 9. For as yet they did not know the scripture that he must rise from the dead.
What does that mean? Well, there are some Old Testament scriptures that foretell the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Consider, for example, Psalm 16, 10. This is Christ speaking through David, and he says, For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. There's a death, there's a burial, but there's a resurrection, and that resurrection is of a body that sees no decay, no corruption.
Or this from Isaiah 53, verses 8, 9, and 10. For he was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare his generation? For he was cut off from the land of the living, his death. For the transgression of my people he was stricken, and they made his grave with the wicked, but with the rich at his death.
How interesting. Crucified between two thieves, buried in a rich man's tomb, all foretold by Isaiah. Because, we read, he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth, yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him. Who ultimately is responsible for the crucifixion of Christ?
God, the Father. It pleased the Lord to bruise him. He has put him to grief. When you make his soul an offering for sin, this is what's going to happen after that, after his death. He shall see his seed, spiritual seed. He shall prolong his days. Well, I thought he was cut off in death.
Something beyond that. He's going to live. He shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Now there are a couple of other texts that we could look at, but that's sufficient. There were scriptures in the Old Testament that foretold the resurrection of Christ.
The disciples did not understand them. As yet, they did not know the scriptures, that he must rise again from the dead. But what is the significance of that being recorded right after telling us that John saw this scene inside the tomb and it caused him to believe?
Well, I think this is the significance. John believed because of the evidence that he examined. John believed because of what he saw with his own two eyes. John was the first witness of the evidence that Christ indeed had risen from the dead. He was convinced because of what he saw, not because he knew the scriptures and therefore expected a resurrection. He didn't know them at this point, was not expecting a resurrection, and therefore that he saw this evidence and believed is powerful testimony to the strength of that evidence.
Just the evidence in the tomb was enough to make a doubting, disillusioned, perplexed disciple believe that Jesus rose from the dead. John evidenced spiritual understanding. This understanding must have been given to him by God.
His understanding is developed by degrees. Later, he came to understand the scriptures that foretold that Christ must rise from the dead. And that, of course, reinforced what he had seen with his own eyes. It made his faith all the stronger.
Believing faith is first inaugurated by God the Spirit, but it does require our own endeavors. And as John studied the scriptures later, then his faith was strengthened. It became larger.
It became stronger. How important it is for us to give ourselves to the study of God's Word. But we move on now to number three, the rewarded worshiper in verses 11 through 18.
And here I probably won't read too many of the verses because there are quite a few here, but I think that they've already been read and I think I can summarize them for you. We are first given a description of Mary's lingering encounter. She went back. She had left the garden. She'd gone to Peter and John to report to them that the tomb was empty and that she thought someone had stolen the body. That caused them to run to the tomb and to investigate for themselves. Mary apparently returned in a more, shall we say, dignified pace and arrived maybe apparently after Peter and John were gone and nobody else was there. The other women apparently were not here at this time.
Mary returned to the garden alone and stood weeping outside the tomb. And as she was weeping, she stooped and looked inside the tomb. She hadn't done that. Well, she had done that before enough to know that the body was gone. So now she looks inside again and this time she sees two angels sitting where the body had been laid, one at the head, one at the foot.
Angels, of course, when they appear in the Bible, look like human beings, look like men, but normally have a peril that is more luminescent than is normal, cluing one that they are in fact angels rather than men. And she saw two angels at the place where Christ's body was laid and they have a question for her. Mary, why are you weeping? And of course the answer to that is because she didn't understand that Jesus had risen from the dead. If she understood that, she wouldn't be weeping.
She'd be rejoicing. Why are you weeping? And Mary told them why. She said to the angels, because they've taken away my Lord. They've removed him from the grave.
They've taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him. And as she is encountering the angels and answering their questions, she turns around. Now she's still standing outside the tomb talking to the angels inside and now she turns around and there's a man behind her who is Jesus, but she doesn't know that it's Jesus. She didn't recognize him, which is pretty standard fare for post-resurrection appearances of Christ. In almost every appearance of Christ, he's not immediately recognized for who he is.
The two on the road to Emmaus, they talked to Jesus for a long time and they didn't know who he was. Mary encounters Jesus, but doesn't know who he is. So he's risen from the dead. He's in his body, but it's a glorified body.
It's recognizable as a human body, but it's so much more glorious than his pre-resurrection body that he's not easily recognizable. And so she doesn't know who he is. But he talks to her. Jesus asks her two questions in verse 15. He said, why are you weeping? The same question the angels asked.
And whom are you seeking? Which of course was Jesus. And she answers those questions. She assumes that he must be the gardener. She doesn't know who he is. And she requested if he was the one who'd taken the body for whatever reason, would he please give her the body so that she could give the body an honorable burial.
That makes sense in the situation at hand. The tomb is empty, the body is gone. To Mary, the only explanation is somebody's removed the body.
And here's the gardener, she thinks, of that garden area, that garden tomb, the one who's given the responsibility of keeping the garden neat and tidy. And it may be that because this was a borrowed tomb, that maybe he'd been given instructions now that after Jesus had been buried there, to remove him and put him someplace else. I mean we don't know what all was going through Mary's mind. But she asks for the body to be given to her. Now again, this indicates she must be a woman of some wealth.
Obviously she couldn't carry the body. She's indicating that she will instruct servants to come and take the body. She will secure another suitable place for the body to be buried. All of this is going to require money. But she wants to do it. She's glad to do it. Just please give me the body and I'll take it from here.
I'll make sure that he's given an honorable burial. And so we see Mary seeing but not perceiving. She sees Jesus but doesn't know who he is.
Hearing him speak but not understanding, she thinks him to be someone else. But then in verse 16 we see Mary enabled and now understanding. Jesus said to her, Mary, she turned and said to him, Rabboni, which is teacher. Jesus speaks her name. And when he did that, she recognized him and called him Rabboni, a form of rabbi, but one that instead of calling him teacher, she's calling him my teacher.
It's a personalized form of the name rabbi. Now she knows who he is. But how does she know who he is? You say, well, because she recognized his voice when he called her name. And no doubt that's true.
But I think we have to go a little bit deeper. She didn't know who he was until she was enabled to know who he was. God had to open her eyes. God had to open her ears. God had to give her understanding. And when he did, suddenly she knew who he was.
All was clear. And dear folks, we don't recognize divine truth until God enables us to. We don't recognize the significance of Jesus Christ until God enables us. We can know some facts about him, but to really understand the purpose of his coming and why we need him and how desperately we must have him, all that has to be disclosed to us by God himself.
And when he does, we will respond. And Mary is an example of that. But then comes this puzzling statement in verse 17. Jesus said to her, Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my father, but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my father and your father and to my God and your God. Now, a lot of rather unusual interpretations have been applied to this statement that I think are wrong and entirely unnecessary.
It's not saying that Jesus needs to go to heaven to accomplish something and then back to earth before he ascends back to heaven. What it's saying is my relationship to you and to all who trust in me is now forever changed. It's not going to be a physical relationship primarily, but a spiritual one. Don't cling to me physically. I'm going back to heaven. I won't be here in 40 more days. I won't be around at all for anybody to touch me, for anybody to cling to me.
Don't hold on to me now because things have changed. You're going to have to relate to me with my faith. You're going to have to relate to me in a spiritual way. You're going to have to relate to me in the person of the Holy Spirit who is sent by me to represent me and to be me with you and in you, but not physically. Everything has changed. No longer cling to my physical presence. But go tell my brethren, evidently the disciples, that I will shortly return to heaven.
Everybody needs to relate to me differently than what you have until now. And so she obeys his instruction. She did as she was told. And she went to them and she declared what she had personally witnessed. Exactly what Jesus tells us to do. To declare to others what we have witnessed. Could it be that the reason some of God's people have trouble telling others about Jesus is because they haven't experienced much of Jesus? I'll let you answer that question.
But now we come to the crux of it all. Does the resurrection matter? Yes, it matters. Yes, it matters. And let me give you four reasons quickly why it matters.
And there are many others. But it matters, number one, because the dependability of scripture rests upon it. If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, the scriptures are untrustworthy. But if he did rise from the dead, then we better believe the Bible and receive it as the word of God. I read you text that foretold from the Old Testament that Christ must rise from the dead. If he didn't rise, then how can we trust the book that is called the Bible?
It was wrong. But if he did rise, how can we ignore the book called the Bible? It has foretold amazing things hundreds of years before they occurred. And so the Bible that warns us of eternal condemnation needs to be believed. The Bible that tells us about the promises of salvation, our need of salvation because of our sinfulness, and the way of salvation through Jesus Christ's death on the cross and resurrection. That is all certified by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the dependability of scripture. Number two, the reliability of Jesus himself. He, from his own mouth while he was upon the earth, declared to his disciples that he would rise from the dead.
I'll cite one text in Matthew 20. Behold, said Jesus, we are going to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify him. And the third day, he will rise again. Remember what I told you before the resurrection? It's the third day he will rise.
After the resurrection, it's the first day. But Jesus predicted his resurrection after his crucifixion. If that did not happen, then Jesus is wrong.
If that did not happen, then Jesus is either a deceiver or badly mistaken. He's certainly not who he claimed to be. He's certainly not God Almighty. He's certainly not God the Son, the second member of the triune Godhead. But if he rose from the dead, then he must be the eternal Son of the living God who redeems sinners who turn from their sins and trust in him. Does it matter? Yes.
Why? Because of the accomplishments of salvation, the resurrection completes the work on the cross. The resurrection guarantees his death upon the cross. The resurrection certifies that God the Father accepted his death upon the cross as payment for sins. The accomplishments of salvation depend upon the resurrection. If he did not rise, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15, then the gospel is a myth. But if he did rise, it's the truth. It's the truth. Does it matter? Yes, it matters. Why?
Number four. Because the second coming depends upon it. If Jesus did not rise bodily, then he cannot come again bodily. If Jesus' body is still in the grave, then it's not in heaven at the right hand of God the Father. And he told us he will come as you saw him going into heaven. He arose in the eyes of the disciples and the sight of the disciples bodily into heaven. He tells us he will return again bodily from heaven. But if he did not rise bodily, he cannot come bodily. If he is not coming as he promised, there is no end to this world's broken condition.
There is no solution to this world's broken condition. That is a gloomy thought. But he did rise and promised that he will return and will change everything. The risen Lord will come and redeem not only sinners who trust in him, but will redeem this whole universe under the curse and turn it into that glorious perfect creation that it was before Adam sinned in the garden. The resurrection tells us that. And that declaration depends upon the resurrection.
Yes, it matters. So when it comes to the resurrection of Christ, dear friends, I tell you, you can believe it. When it comes to the resurrection of Christ, I tell you, you must believe it. When it comes to the resurrection of Christ, I ask you, will you believe it to the saving of your souls? Shall we pray? Father, seal this glorious truth to the heart, to the mind and heart of everyone here today, to the glory of Christ and to the eternal salvation of souls. We ask in Jesus' name, Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-10 14:36:00 / 2023-04-10 14:51:23 / 15