Pastor Miles opened today’s message by recounting his recent trip to the White House for a Prayer Breakfast, during which Vice–President Biden said that they were gathered to celebrate the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. It is a fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion, just as He said He would. No other religious leader claimed the ability to take away the sins of the world by His own death and resurrection, let alone actually dying and rising from the dead to conquer death.
Jesus’ resurrection sets Christianity apart from every other faith. Where other faiths outline the ways in which man can try to reach God, Christianity is the only faith in which God came to man.
If Christ did not rise, then we are still in our sin, there is no forgiveness available to us, and there is no hope beyond the grave. But if He did rise, he can overcome all the drama in our lives—even death.
- Jesus said He would die. Matthew 20:17-19
- Jesus said He would rise. Matthew 20:17-19
- Jesus was actually crucified. Matthew 27:26-35
- His burial place was no mystery. Matthew 27:57-61
Proof of Life:
1. The testimony of women. Matthew 28:1-8
Why was it important that the angel’s first message of Jesus’ resurrection was proclaimed to two women?
In Jesus’ day, women were looked down upon. In fact, it was said that the bad deeds of a man were still better than then good deeds of a woman. If the writers of the Bible wanted to falsify information and convince everyone of a lie, wouldn’t they have chosen men as the bearers of the story? Women would have never been given such a prominent position of receiving this priceless message of hope unless it was truth.
2. Sunday became the day of worship. Acts 20:7
Jesus turned what was last into first.
The reason we worship on Sunday today is because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. The early Christians wanted to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection every week. When you come to church on Sunday, you are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, the most important event in human history!
Jesus is our hop, because the fact that He rose validated that He was pure and sinless. We thank God every Sunday for sending Jesus to restore our relationship with God.
3. His dead body was never found. Matthew 27:62-66, 28:11-15
Twelve Roman soldiers failed to protect the body.
If someone wants to discredit the whole Bible, all he would have to do is find Jesus’ body.
Jerusalem was a small place, and everyone knew where the tomb was located, yet Jesus’ body was never found…because it didn’t stay on the earth.
In Matthew 28, we can read that the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb returned to the elders and told them what happened. Not wanting this story to get out, the elders paid the soldiers to report a false story that the disciples had come in the night and stolen the body. But think about this account. Does it really make sense that some fishermen came in the night, got past the most highly trained soldiers in the world, were able to unseal the grave by rolling away the stone and then steal Jesus’ body? It doesn’t make any sense!
The truth is that Jesus was crucified, put in a tomb for three days, and then He rose and walked around for 40 days. People spoke to him and touched Him! No one else has ever or could ever do that.
4. The Holy Spirit was given to those who believed. Acts 1:4-8, Acts 2
Just as a glove is designed in the image of a hand so that the hand can live inside the glove, man is designed in the image of God so that God can live in us. We are designed for relationship with God. When we believe in Jesus, God comes and lives in us and shows us what is right.
5. Eye witnesses were transformed. Acts 4:13
In the context of a relationship with God, He transforms us into what He created us to be.
Think of how frightened, confused and disappointed the disciples were after Jesus was killed. They believed that they would now be the targets of violence. But Acts 4:13 tells us that the preaching disciples acted with amazing boldness and conviction. What has happened in between Jesus’ death and the disciples’ proclamation of the Gospel? They were transformed, having seen firsthand the risen Jesus. Every single one of these once frightened and dismayed disciples eventually died for their faith because they had seen their risen Savior and believed with certainty that there was life in Him beyond the grave.
Let the facts speak for themselves: today is the day to find freedom that only Jesus can provide. From what do you need freedom?