Epistles of Thomas

April 12, 2009

Resurrection Sunday

Filed under: New Testament,Preaching — Thomas @ 14:30
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Resurrection Sunday

He is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed!!

What does the resurrection mean for you, the universal church, and the world?

Something amazing happened on Resurrection Sunday. Let’s read Luke 24:1-12 and experience the events as they first happened; beginning with some ladies that morning.

Luke 24:1-12 (TNIV)
Jesus Has Risen

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8Then they remembered his words.

9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was not just another resuscitation. Jesus had raised several people from the dead during his ministry, including a little girl and his good friend Lazarus. This event was something of another magnitude. It was not resuscitation Sunday, but Resurrection Sunday! God confirmed Jesus’ life, his ministry and teaching, by raising him from the dead. This event had long been anticipated. Paul refers to Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 when he speaks of the defeat of death:

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (TNIV)

54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55“Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?”

Let’s read further what Paul said in reflection on the importance of this event:

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (TNIV)
The Resurrection of Christ

15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

What does this mean for you? You will never die. I will never die. If I choose life, I will never die; you will never die. If I could bottle eternal life and sell it on the street how much would it sell for? I’m sure I could get a billion dollars for it if I could prove it worked. Jesus did just that – he proved it worked by rising from the grave. Many people scoffed at his claims during his ministry. The religious leaders claimed he was demon possessed; even his own family thought he was insane. His disciples fled in panic at his arrest. That’s why no one waited in anticipation outside his tomb. They did not understand that he was about to conquer our most ardent enemy—death. No one had ever escaped death for more than a few extra years. Jesus said “It is finished,” but no one understood why until they encountered the empty tomb. Without that empty hole in the wall Christianity would have died a stillbirth. Some didn’t believe then and some still do not believe today. Eternal life has been offered to them but it is as if Jesus had offered a pearl necklace to a pig. They have no idea what they are looking at. Paul also spoke of this in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 15:12-26 (TNIV)
The Resurrection of the Dead

12But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all others.

20But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But in this order: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

What does this all mean? It means that today is Resurrection Sunday. It means that 102,960 Resurrection Sundays have followed that first one. Every Sunday is resurrection Sunday. There have been just as many Resurrection Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays; you get the idea. The world needs to know that something supernatural didn’t just happen 2000 years ago but happens every time Christians gather together and declare, “He is Risen.” As they live according to Christ and not according to the pattern of this world. It is an amazing thing—it is Resurrection Sunday.

Will you join with me? In living an eternal life? In declaring that he is risen?

He is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed!!

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