Topical - Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
We now come to the heart of the Christian faith, the gospel either stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is the very capstone in the arch of Christianity - - if it is removed, all else crumbles. It is the singular doctrine (teaching) that elevated Christianity above all the pagan religions of the ancient Mediterranean world.
I. Six Consequences If There Was No Resurrection
1. Preaching Christ would be senseless (v. 14)
- Me declaring to you that there is hope in this world is untrue. You may as well check out now for there is no reason to go on living anyhow.
2. Faith in Christ would be useless (v. 14)
- Your faith in the power of Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins would be useless.
3. All the witnesses and preachers of the resurrection would be liars (v. 15)
1. What we have told you about God is not true.
2. Jesus Christ was not the Son of God.
3. God does not love you.
4. God is not good.
5. God does not care for you.
6. The Bible is not the word of God.
7. God did not create you, thus there is no purpose for your life.
4. The two resurrections, Christ’s and the believers’, either stand or fall together (v. 13, 16) cf. REV. 1:17,18
5. No one would be redeemed from sin (v. 17)
1. Your sins have not been forgiven.
2. You must still be tortured by your sense of guilt.
3. You must one day pay the penalty for your sins.
6. All former believers would have perished (v. 18)
1. Their beautiful lives are all over, the final chapter has been written there is no hope of ever seeing them again.
2. All their good living was useless.
3. All the sacrifices they made to give to you love and a better life were foolish, they would have been better off just living for themselves.
4. There is no reward waiting for them in heaven, there is no future life, it is ended, over, that’s all there is folks.
7. Christians would be the most pitiable (to be pitied most, or more miserable) people on earth (v. 19)
1. This is because of the sacrifices made in this life in light of the hope of life to come.
2. If there is no life to come, we would be better “to eat, drink and be merry” before we die.
§ Through the Resurrection, Christ demonstrated that He does not stand in a line of peers with Budda, Mohammed, or any other founder of a world religion. They died and are still dead, but Christ is risen!
§ There is no middles ground when it comes to the resurrection. It is fact or fiction; hoax or history; miracle or myth.
§ If Christ’s bones lie decayed in a grave, then there’s no Good News, and life has no meaning. The headlines of the world would indicate that the world is coming to an end soon - - with no hope for the future in eternity if Jesus Christ has not been raised.
II. Christ Is Risen From The Dead, He Is The Firstfruits v.20
A. He has become the firstfruits (the first of many to follow) of those who rise from the dead to eternal life.
1. Because of His resurrection and by the indwelling life of the Spirit of Christ, we have a hope of eternal life.
John 14:19 - “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.”
2. We know that His claims are true, and that our sins have been forgiven.
B. Our faith is not in vain.
C. We speak the truth concerning God, He does so love the world that He sent His Son into the world to die for man's sin.
D. Our sins have been forgiven, blotted out.
E. Our loved ones who have gone to sleep in the Lord have not perished, but their spirits have moved into their new bodies that Jesus has prepared for them in heaven.
F. “Death” is only sleep to the believers.
1. The body sleeps, but the soul is at home with the Lord
2 Corinthians 5:1-8 . . .Philippians 1:21-23 . . .at the resurrection, the body will be “awakened” and glorified.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we have no gospel. Our faith is vain, our preaching is vain, and we are still in our sins, and those who have died have perished. If Jesus did rise from the dead, then all the other claims He made are true, and He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man can come to the Father but by Him. Salvation is only through faith in Him, and “he who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” John 3:17-18
I. The Empty Tomb
Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
A. Just how many women came to the tomb, we are not told.
1. In every gospel account Mary Magdalene is listed. Luke tells us that there was also Mary, the mother of James, and Johanna, and the other women (v.10).
2. Mark adds one other name that of Salome
3. Whether they all came togeather or in two companies from different sides of town we do not know.
4. Luke gives to us just a very brief account.
B. Luke tells of the resurrection day, what happened in the morning, in the afternoon and then what happened in the evening.
C. Each gospel account gives us some different insight that is not found in the other accounts, a surface reading has caused some to consider that their are discrepancies in the accounts. This however is a possible scenario of how the events took place that morning, seeking to harmonize the four gospel accounts.
1. At the first break of dawn, two or more groups of ladies started making their way toward the tomb.
2. They were concerned about how they could enter the tomb, knowing that the doorway had been closed with a huge stone.
3. They were incapable of moving the stone themselves and were discussing where they might find help.
4. It was about this time that the angels rolled back the stone to let the world see that Jesus had risen.
5. The guards who were watching the tomb, were overcome with fear at the brightness of the glory of the angels, and the guards became like lifeless corpses.
6. Mary Magdalene in her anxiety hurried ahead of the other ladies, and arrived first at the tomb only to find the stone rolled back and the tomb empty.
7. As the other women arrived, they saw the stone rolled back and the angels tell them of the resurrection. Mark mentions only one angel, perhaps because only one spoke to them. There could have been an host of angels, as at His birth, one appeared to the shepherds first, then a multitude of the heavenly hosts. Quite possible Mark asked, where was the angel standing? referring to the one that talked to them, and they answered, on the right side of the room.
8. The angels reminded the women that when Jesus was with them in Galilee, He had predicted not only His betrayal and crucifixion but His Resurrection on the third day as well
9. One of the angels commanded them to go and announce that Christ has risen
10. These ladies then went by another route to tell the main group of disciples.
11. Mary of Magdala, the spokesman for the group, “came running to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
12. At this announcement Peter and John started for the tomb. They ran in excitement.
13. The announcement by the women did not convince these two of the fact of Christ’s resurrection; so they went to investigate for themselves.
14. Mary Magdalene then arrives back at the tomb not being able to keep up with Peter and John, and she now sees two angels who ask her why she is crying.
· Mary did not understand the significance of the Resurrection.
· She supposed that Christ’s body had been transferred from the tomb to some other place.
15. As Mary turned away from the tomb, she saw a figure standing before her, and for some reason she did not know that He was Jesus.
· Possibly her eyes were dim with tears, or
· She did not recognize Him because of the brightness of the shining angels.
· Her ears were dulled as well.
16. Mary supposed that He was the gardener (v.15)
17. She then sees the risen Lord. She grasps him with a death grip and Jesus tells her not to cling to Him, or (Literally, “Do not hold on to Me) but go and tell the disciples of His resurrection.
· Mary wanted fellowship with the Risen Lord, but the same fellowship that she once had was not possible because Christ now has risen.
· Jesus was not denying to have fellowship with her as the resurrected Lord.
· Such fellowship depended on two factors now
Ø His ascension (v.17)
Ø The coming of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7)
18. Right after this Jesus appears to the other women as they are on their way to inform the disciples of the empty tomb and the message of the angels. When they saw Him they held on to His feet, and worshipped Him.
D. These women as they were coming to the tomb with the spices, though they had lost their hope, they had not lost their love.
1. They were seeking one final touch, wanting to do one final act of love to the body of Jesus.
2. It is interesting how we relate a person to their body. This body is not the true me. I am a spirit, I live in this body right now, presently I will be moving from this body into the eternal house Jesus has gone to prepare for me.
3. If I die you guys before the Lord comes back, at the service just tell the people I moved!
4. They were bringing the spices they had prepared for Him.
II. The Stone Was Rolled Away
But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
A. I do not believe that the angel rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb to let Jesus out, but to let the people in that they might see the empty tomb, and the proof of His resurrection.
B. It is interesting that as they were on their way to the tomb, their great concern was who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
1. By the time they arrived at the tomb, their question had already been answered.
2. It is interesting that as we are often worried about some difficulty that lies ahead in our path, by the time we arrive at the situation, we find that the Lord has already preceeded us and taken care of the difficulty so that the worry was needless.
Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
1. The grave clothes were lying their, but the body of Jesus was gone.
2. We are told that they were very perplexed about this.
C. It is at this point that two angels appearing in the form of men but with shining garments stood beside them.
1. Their reaction was one of fear.
2. And they bowed down their faces to the earth.
D. The angel asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
1. They were looking for the living Lord in a grave the normal place for the dead.
III. He Is Not Here, But He Is Risen!
“He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, “saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”
A. The words of the angel are a kind rebuke to the ladies.
1. You are looking the wrong place for Jesus, He is not among the dead, but the living.
2. He told you about this when you were with Him in Galilee. He would be given into the hands of sinful men who would crucify Him, but the third day, He would rise again.
3. This is the third day, oh yes, we remember now.
B. They probably failed to understand what Jesus was saying to them because of their Orthodoxy. They believed in the resurrection of the last day.
1. Job said, For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27 NKJV)
2. Daniel had said, And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:2-3 NKJV)
3. There was a general belief in the resurrection in the last days.
4. When Jesus had said to Martha, “Your brother shall rise again.” She answered, “I know in the last days, in the great resurrection.” She believed what Jesus said, but she had misunderstood what He had said.
C. “They remembered His words.” Only now they had a clear understanding what He was really saying to them.
IV. They Returned From The Tomb
Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
1. Later that afternoon as Jesus walked with two of those disciples, they mentioned the stories of the ladies who spoke of the vision they had of the angels, but they were still passing it off as an idle.