- Sermon Notes
He is not Here
ILLUS – Former atheist, now defender of the Christian faith, Josh McDowell, was once asked by a student from the University of Uruguay, “Why can’t you refute Christianity?”
1.It has been rightly said that Christianity stands or falls on whether Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:14, … if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and so is your faith.
2.Since the death of Jesus took place almost 2,000 years ago, how can we be certain that He was truly raised from the dead as Christianity claims?
3.Tonight, we’re going to study one of the post-resurrection appearance accounts of Jesus Christ and discover life-changing answers to this question, answers which confirm what the angel said to the women at the garden tomb that Sunday morning, “He is not Here, He is Risen!”
1.Ever since the Resurrection of Jesus “Conspiracy Theories” have been concocted to argue against the most important event in human history.
2.How do we know the Gospel accounts are reliable?
3.Scholars have developed a standard for determining authenticity, standards similar to what detectives use to determine if a witness is credible.
a. Early Testimony – How soon after the event was the testimony recorded? Less time means greater credibility.
b.Eyewitness Testimony – Eyewitness testimony is stronger than second-hand accounts. When more than one independent witness attests to an event, there is a strong support that the event occurred.
c.Embarrassing Details – Details which may embarrass a witness or potentially weaken one’s argument increases credibility because people typically try to make themselves “look good”.
d.Unsympathetic Sources – If testimony affirming an event is given by a source who does not sympathize with the person, message, or cause, then authenticity increases. Typically, a person is biased against his or her enemy, not the other way around!
I. Eyewitnesses Confirmed Jesus is Alive (15-24)
A.First Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene
1.It was the first day of the week, Sunday.
2.We’re told in Luke 24:1-12:
a.Some women went to the tomb and found it empty. But angels told them Jesus had risen from the dead just like He had said.
b.The women ran back to the apostles, but the eleven thought they were speaking “nonsense”. (11)
c.Peter and John ran to the tomb. Their report was true; the stone had been rolled away, the tomb was empty, and only grave clothes remained. (John 20:4-10)
3.The Gospels of
4.Why is this significant? Embarrassing Details!
a.In that day and culture, women were treated like second class citizens.
b.Their testimony wasn’t admissible in court.
c.Therefore, if the Gospel writers wanted to avoid any questions about the resurrection of Jesus, they would have said that He only appeared to His “male” apostles!
d.By declaring that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene and then to the other women, God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, strengthened the credibility of the Gospels accounts!
APPL – At Christmas we celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth.
His was not a noble birth, though none born of a woman is more noble!
He was born in a manger and His first bed was a feeding trough for farm animals.
His first worshippers were dirty, despised shepherds.
Then after His resurrection, His first worshipper was a former prostitute who had been possessed by seven demons!
Jesus is not a Messiah for the rich and famous only. He is Savior for all!
John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
B.Jesus appeared to over 500 eyewitnesses
1 Corinthians 15:5-8, He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
1. The story for two of those 500+ witnesses was recorded in verses 13-35.
2.They were not apostles. In fact, one was left unnamed, though the Lord knew his name.
3.They headed home to Emmaus, seven miles northwest of Jerusalem. And why not? The party was over. Jesus was dead!
4.Along the way, they were trying to get their minds around what happened and were deeply depressed. None of it made sense to them. One week earlier, the crowds were shouting, “Hosanna!” Then five days later, Jesus was crucified.
5.How could Jesus do what He did and be who He was, only to die the way He did?
ILLUS – Building puzzles with Malina
6.Then Jesus overtook them on the road and started talking with them. There must have been a smile on Jesus’ face when He asked them to tell Him about what had happened in Jerusalem.
7.Their eyes were prevented from recognizing Jesus. Why? Because they had a limited view of who He is. Look at how they described Him.
a.“Jesus the Nazarene” – just a man! (19)
b.“a prophet” – not more? (19)
c.“Mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people” (19)
d.But He was crucified (20)
e.They had hoped that He was their “political” Messiah (21)
f.“It’s the third day” – too late for a natural resuscitation (21)
g.Strange report from women – empty tomb (22-24)
APPL –When this passage is combined with others; does it appear that we have the making of a cover-up or a conspiracy? Not from this group!
II. God’s Word Predicted It All (25-27)
A. Jesus died according to the Scriptures
1 Corinthians 15:3, For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures
1.He rebuked them for being “slow of heart” (25)
a.They didn’t believe the full counsel of God.
b.They only listened to what they wanted to hear.
ILLUS – Going to the doctor…
2.Christ must suffer before glory. (26)
3.“Beginning with Moses and with all the prophets… in all the Scriptures”. (27)
a.Moses recorded that Messiah would suffer.
Genesis 3:15, And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel.
b.David prophesied of Christ’s sufferings almost 1,000 years earlier.
Psalm 22:16-18, For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
c.Isaiah also prophesied about the death of Christ about 700 years before it occurred.
Isaiah 53:5, 9, But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being
fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death,
because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
APPL – Conspiracy? No. It was all part of God’s plan.
B.Jesus rose according to the Scriptures
1 Corinthians 15:4, … and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1.David prophesied of Christ’s resurrection.
Psalm 16:10, For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
2.Isaiah also spoke of Christ’s resurrection.
Isaiah 53:10-11, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.
APPL – During His ministry on earth, Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies. If you want to understand the Old Testament, look for Jesus. He is found in the prophecies, the priesthood, the sacrifices, the ceremonies, and feasts like the Passover and the Day of Atonement. Coincidence? Conspiracy? No! It’s concrete evidence that Jesus is the Messiah and that our Savior is alive!
III.Changed Lives Proclaim Jesus is Alive (28-35)
A.Their actions were a witness (28-33)
1.They asked Jesus to stay with them. (28-29)
2.When Jesus broke the bread, their eyes were opened, and they knew Jesus is alive! They found the missing piece to the puzzle! It suddenly made sense!
ILLUS – Amazing Grace by John Newton. “I once was lost, but now am found, T'was blind but now I see”
3.Their hearts burned within them as He taught them. Their depression vanished!
4.They ran seven miles at night back to Jerusalem! They had to tell somebody!
B.Their words were a witness (34-35)
1.The moment they arrived in Jerusalem…
a.The disciples told the two that Jesus appeared to Simon Peter.
b.Then the two shared their story about their journey with Jesus to Emmaus.
2.They couldn’t stop talking about Jesus…
Acts 4:19-20, But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.”
APPL – Conspiracy? No! One Bible scholar noted that “liars make terrible martyrs.” Many of these were tortured and lost their lives because they would not renounce their belief that Jesus died and rose again. They lost their lives but gained something far greater, eternal life!
APPL – Yet there was a conspiracy. Matthew’s Gospel records the very first one, called the Stolen Body Theory…
Matthew 28:11-15, Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.
APPL – Can we refute the Stolen Body Conspiracy theory? Yes. There were two of the 500+ eyewitnesses that I have not mentioned, Paul and James, the half-brother of Jesus.
- Why are they important? Before they became Christians, they were Unsympathetic Sources!
- Paul was Saul of Tarsus. He persecuted Christians (Acts 9).
- James, the half-brother of Jesus, was a skeptic who thought Jesus had lost His mind (John 7:5).
A skeptic and a persecutor would not die for a lie!
Paul would have used all the power at his disposal to make Christians confess the location of Jesus body!
James would have just walked away!
Transition – Why was this necessary; the death and resurrection of Jesus?
APPL – God is holy, and He requires that each person perfectly keep His Law, called the Ten Commandments. But if we lie, steal, or lust even once, we have broken the Law.
James 2:10, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
The penalty for even one infraction is death, eternal separation from God in the lake of fire…
Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death
All are guilty because all of us have sinned
Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
But Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin, then rose again to give us the gift of eternal life.
Romans 6:23, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How do we receive this gift of salvation?
Romans 10:9, … if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.
APPL – I am not talking about taking a blind leap of faith. Please look at the evidence: Early Testimonies, Multiple Eyewitnesses, Embarrassing Details, and Unsympathetic Sources. Look at the prophecies fulfilled and the lives changed.
Yet faith is required if you want to have your sins forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life.
ILLUS – Ferry accident in Asia
Jesus Christ is still changing lives. Will you let Jesus change your life by asking Him to forgive you and give you His gift of an eternity with Him?