Easter is the day given to both recognize and celebrate one thing, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This message answers “why the resurrection matters” by focusing on reasons for the resurrection and reflections from the resurrection.
Why the Resurrection Matters
Easter – I Cor. 15:3-8
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – April 1st, 2018
- Easter weekend is the time when we come together in celebration. There are gifts, chocolate, food, family and friends. There are bunnies and baskets and eggs. There are Easter outfits, pictures, and hopefully laughter and enjoyment as we make memories and celebrate together.
- The real reason we celebrate this weekend is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This morning we are going to talk about reasons for the resurrection and reflections from the resurrection to answer the question “why the resurrection matters”.
Reasons for the resurrection
1 Cor 15:3-8 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
- The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is of “first importance” to everything that the Bible teaches and everything that God has revealed to us. Not to say the other things are not important, but who Jesus is and what He has done is the first thing of importance. Why? Because all that God has done is centered in the life of the Son. God’s love and justice, His power and will, His compassion and mercy are seen in Him and is focused on Him. All of scripture points to Him, and without Christ there is no Christianity, there is not salvation, there is no future and there is no hope. Who Christ is and what He has done is the focal point and central issue of our faith.
- Never lose sight of this “first thing”, never put other issues of Christianity and faith above this. Christ is the cornerstone and the capstone of our faith. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the beginning and the end, He is the Alpha and the Omega. Christianity and theology are centered and built upon Him. Never lose sight of Him, never put anything or anyone above Him, because if you lose Him, you lose everything, but in Him and with Him, you gain everything.
- Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down and lost in the weeds of theological speculation at the cost of losing your focus on Christ. There are tons of interesting and beneficial things to think about and examine, but always remember what is of “first importance”, who Christ is, what He did and what that means to us and for us.
- Paul is delivering to us what he received. Why is this important? Because what Paul is passing along to us is what he heard from first person accounts of the life of Christ. These were not accounts passed on to him from anonymous people from hundreds of years before his time and thousands of miles away. These were first person accounts of people who were there and witnessed these things. These were reliable, credible witnesses who Paul personally talked with, people who knew his name and who lived amongst him. Paul received this information from those he knew; those who saw, heard and witnessed these things. What Paul is passing along is the first Christian creed, what the Church was built upon as a rock-solid foundation for the faith. So, what are the things of “first importance”.
- Christ died
- Christ died for our sins in accordance to the scriptures
- This is something that He did because of the will of the Father, He was not forced but willingly gave Himself for us.
- He was betrayed, abandoned, denied, mocked, ridiculed, beaten, falsely accused, publicly humiliated, tortured, exposed, crucified, and verified dead.
- He did this not for His sins, but for ours.
- These things were foretold by scripture, that they would happen (Isa. 53, Dan 9:26; Zech 13:7)
- Christ was buried
- He was not taken down and “revived”, He was buried, put in a tomb by a rich man who was “a respected member of the council” (Mark 15:42), named Joseph of Arimathea (who is specifically named in all 4 Gospels) who asked Pilate for the body (after He was confirmed dead). Joseph wrapped the body and placed the body in his own tomb and rolled a great stone in front of the entrance as others (Mary and Mary) watched. (Matt. 27:57-61)
- Christ was raised
- The stone was sealed and there was a guard of Roman soldiers on duty. These guys put their lives on the line to protect this site from being tampered with. On the third day there was a great earthquake. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the stone and sat on it. The guards trembled in fear of him and fell like dead men. (Later, some of these guards told the chief priests what had happened and then they assembled with the elders and decided to pay off the soldiers and the governor to change the story to say that the disciples came by night and stole him away while they were asleep.) Matt. 28:11-15. This tells you the extent of the hardness of heart these leaders had. The angel told the women who had come that Christ has risen, just as He said. They were told to go look and see and then go and tell the disciples. (Matt. 28:1-10).
- Jesus was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. (1 Cor 15:4; Ps 16:10; Isa 53:10; Acts 2:25-32; 13:33-35; 26:22,23; Matt. 17:23, Matt. 20:19, Luke 9:22, Luke 24:28)
- And it was not that the body of Jesus could not be found, he also appeared to many people and groups of people many different times for a period of 40 days.
- Christ appeared
- To Mary Magdalene in John 20:10-18
- To the other women, in Matt. 28:8-10
- To Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus, in Luke 24:13-32
- To eleven disciples and others, in Luke 24:33-49
- To ten apostles and others, with Thomas absent, in John 20:19-23
- To Thomas and the other apostles, in John 20:26-30
- To seven apostles, in John 21:1-14
- To the disciples, in Matt. 28:16-20
- To the apostles and others at the Mount of Olives before His ascension, in Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-9
- He mentions specifically appearing to Peter and also to James (who were of primary importance in the founding of the church and Christianity. James also was a sceptic at first)
- Last of all He appeared to Paul in Acts 9
- And these people talked with Him, ate with Him, touched Him, learned from Him and saw Him ascend. These people were still around when the gospels were being written (so their stories could be verified) they had seen Him alive after His crucifixion (including sceptics) and they lived and gave their lives because of it.
Reflections from the resurrection
- It gives us perspective – that all of scripture is true, that what it says can be trusted. It gives us perspective for our lives, for history and for the future.
- It gives us purpose – that our lives are not an accident, that we are deeply loved by God, that this life here and now is temporary, and eternity awaits us all. That God will make everything new and we can trust His words for the future. That living a life for Him in all things is the way to live during our fleeting time on earth. That becoming like Him and living for Him is the best way that anyone of us can live our lives.
- It gives us peace – in this world and for the next. The end is not the end, only the end of the beginning.
- Jesus is the focal point and the foundation of our faith, and in this faith we will live, and in this faith we will die, and in this faith we will be raised eternal.
- Place your trust in Him, renew your faith and commitment to Him.
- Rejoice in the fact that the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives in you and because Christ was raised from the dead, so will you be! And also, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice (1 Peter 1:4-6 ESV)
Questions for the week ahead:
- What was surprising to you from the message today?
- What was helpful for you from the message today?
- How will these truths impact your thinking and living?