The Resurrection of Jesus

Text: Acts 13:16-41

 

I.         Central to every Christian’s belief in his salvation is the resurrection of Jesus - I Corinthians 15:12-19

            A.        If Jesus was not raised, . . .

                        1.         Then every preacher has been teaching falsehoods

                        2.         Our faith in the Bible would be useless

                        3.         Our hope in Heaven would be worthless

            B.        If Jesus was not raised, then there is no eternal life

II.        God is able to restore the life of one who died

            A.        Jarius’ Daughter - Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

                        1.         Skeptics may claim that the people were mistaken

            B.        Man of Nain - Luke 7:11-17

                        1.         He was obviously dead, he was being carried off to be buried

            C.        Lazarus - John 11:38-44

                        1.         Lazarus was dead and buried for four days

                        2.         There can be no doubt of his resurrection

            D.        However, they all eventually died again.

            E.        The claim of Christians is that Jesus arose to eternal life.

III.       Jesus did die - I Corinthians 15:3; Acts 13:28; Mark 15:37

            A.        Some claim that Jesus just walked away after his burial

            B.        Consider the events of Jesus’s death

                        1.         He went through 6 trials in less than a day’s period

                        2.         He was beaten, slapped, scourged, and a crown of thorns placed on his head

                        3.         He was paraded through the streets carrying a beam of his cross. They even had to get someone else to carry it part of the way.

                        4.         He was nailed to the cross and hung in the sun for six hours

                        5.         After he was confirmed dead by the executioners, a spear was run through his side to his heart.

                        6.         His death was witnessed by many people, disciples and enemies - Mark 15:40-41; Luke 23:49

                        7.         It was verified by Pilate - Mark 15:44-45

            C.        Truly he suffered a cruel and hideous death.

IV.      Jesus’ burial - I Corinthians 15:4; Acts 13:29; Mark 15:46

            A.        A member of the Sanhedrin buried the body in his own family’s tomb - Mark 15:43; Matthew 27:57-60; Luke 23:50-53

            B.        Jesus was taken from the cross and embalmed with approximately 75 pounds of spices (100 pounds Roman weight) - John 19:39

            C.        The body was wrapped in long strips of linen with the spices - John 19:40

            D.        The body was placed in a solid rock tomb and a large stone was rolled across the entrance

                        1.         Estimates are that the stone weighed in excess of 2 tons

                        2.         It was heavy enough that a group of women wondered how to move it so they could complete Jesus’ burial preparations.

            E.        The burial was witnessed - Mark 15:47; Luke 23:55; Matthew 27:61

            F.        The body was placed in a new tomb. There were no other bodies in it. Jesus’ was the only one in it.

            G.        The stone was sealed with an official’s seal. If the seal was found broken, it was punished by crucifixion, upside down - Matthew 27:62-66

            H.        Roman soldiers were placed on duty to guard the tomb

                        1.         They faced death if anyone disturbed the tomb

                        2.         These same soldiers witness the unsealing of the tomb and fled in terror - Matthew 28:11-15

                                    a.         Eventually they were bribed by authorities about what they saw

            I.         However, both Jew and Romans testify that the grave was empty

                        1.         Notice that the rumor spread by the Jews implied that the tomb was empty.

            J.         The grave clothes were found neatly folded.

                        1.         If Jesus was near death and released himself, would he take the time to fold his grave linens?

V.        Jesus arose - I Corinthians 15:4; Acts 15:30-31

            A.        There were many witnesses - I Corinthians 15:3-8

                        1.         You may not realize this, but the first witnesses were women

                                    a.         If the Jews were trying to manufacture a resurrection story, they would not have used women as their first witnesses, since they did not carry high credibility in their society at the time of Jesus.

                                    b.         “But let not a sing witness be credited; but three, or two at least, and those such whose testimony is confirmed by their good lives. But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex.” [Josephus, Antiquities IV.8.15]

                                    c.         Mary Magdelene and another Mary - Matthew 28:1-7

                        2.         Mary Magdelene then told Peter and John - John 20:1-18

                                    a.         They too witnessed the empty tomb

                                    b.         Mary then saw the risen Lord, the first to do so.

                        3.         At one point 500 people saw the Lord at one time

                                    a.         The resurrection of Jesus is based on many witnesses.

                                    b.         Contrast this to the Mormon movement which is based on the testimony of only Joseph Smith.

            B.        Perhaps the disciples made up the story

                        1.         The Roman guards, who stood guard, were hostile witnesses. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose by losing the body of Jesus - Matthew 28:11-15

                        2.         Too many people involved to keep such a story secret

                        3.         No one was able to refute the claim. All they needed to do was produce the body.

                        4.         External evidence - An edict was issued about this time for the Judea area against grave robbing.

            C.        Perhaps the disciples stole the body and hid it

                        1.         Then why revisit the grave? - Mark 16:1-5

                        2.         Clearly the disciples were not expecting Jesus’ resurrection

                        3.         However, the Jewish leaders thought of this in advance. That was why the guards were sought - Matthew 27:62-28:4

                        4.         The disciples were afraid to show themselves - John 20:20

                                    a.         Little opportunity to steal and hide a body

            D.        Perhaps someone else stole the body

                        1.         Doesn’t explain the Roman guards’ report

                        2.         Why was the body never produced. What was the motive?

                                    a.         Not money. Jesus had none

                        3.         Could not be Jews nor the Romans

            E.        Perhaps they misplaced the body

                        1.         Could have in the tomb, there was only one and the tomb is now empty

                        2.         Many witnesses both of disciples and Jewish authorities to the placement of the tomb.

                        3.         A rich man’s tomb is not easily misplaced.

VI.      Yes, Jesus did arise - I Corinthians 15:20-23

            A.        Will you join yourself to the risen Savior?