He is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed! - John 1:1-18
On the evening of Good Friday we remembered the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross.
We read of his being betrayed and arrested, of his trial, his punishment and mockery, and his crucifixion and death.
We read of the care for and burial of his body.
And we left it there...
If you were here, you have likely had moments this weekend where you have recalled the reading that we did on Friday night.
You have recalled and pondered these last moments of Jesus life.
This morning we pick up the biblical account right where we left off on Friday evening...
There were still things hidden from the disciples (v9).
Luke 24:11 said that the idea of the resurrection “appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.”
It was that very moment that Christ revealed himself to Mary.
This wasn’t simply some case of mistaken identity.
Mary knew Christ well.
He wasn’t merely an acquaintance, but her Lord and teacher.
Jesus was hiding His identity from her until He was ready to be recognized.
And at the very moment that he revealed himself to Mary,
We see something similar happen with His disciples throughout the Gospel accounts.
The women at the tomb encountered Jesus upon the road soon after they had left the tomb and they recognized Him immediately and worshiped Him.
After meeting the disciples on the Road to Emmaus He sat to take a meal with them and He blessed the bread and began giving it to them, just as He had done many times before.
Jesus appeared to a group of disciples and scripture says that “He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.”
The last disciple to recognize Jesus was Thomas.
He was struggling with believing what the others were telling him.
In fact, he declared that He would not believe unless he had physical evidence.
John tells us the reason that he wrote this account of Jesus’ life...
That you may believe...
I believe that there is a principle to be gathered from these events of the first Resurrection Sunday.
PRINCIPLE God reveals Himself to those that He wants to draw into His kingdom.
And there is a corollary principle to go along with it...
PRINCIPLE We have the freedom of choice to allow God to draw us or to reject His Son and go our own way.
Those principles lead me to our key point for today.
Of course the point of Easter is to celebrate the resurrection of Christ...
But I also did not want to neglect the other holiday that we celebrate today...
April Fool’s Day
Just like John had a point in writing his gospel “so that you may believe,” I too desired for this Resurrection Day message to have a point, that you may believe in the risen Christ and by the grace of God be saved and secured in the kingdom of God.
The Foolishness of the Cross
We all know that there are some that struggle with belief.
Specifically they grapple with whether they can trust the accounts of the Bible.
Paul understood this when he wrote his letter to the Corinthians...
1 Corinthians 1:18-19
In the original Greek that means the “wisdom of the wise” or the “intelligence of the intelligent” will be “rejected” (refused, put away, nullified, invalidated).
Paul is quoting Isaiah here, which reads in English:
The difference here is that Isaiah is talking about the Israelites, and Paul is talking about the Corinthians, which is made up of Jewish and Greek believers.
1 Corinthians 1:23
Some stumble at the cross (1 Corinthians 1:23a)
because they are caught up in miraculous signs and the cross appears weak (Jews)
Just like the criminal on the cross mocking Jesus by asking Him to perform a miracle to save Himself, the world refuses to believe that trusting in Jesus can make a difference.
Some laugh at the cross (1 Corinthians 1:23b)
because they are caught up in the wisdom of man but they cannot see wisdom in the cross.
It is the wisdom of man that says that man is good enough on his own without having to believe in Christ.
Some only trust in themselves
Maybe they feel betrayed by religion or have been so abused by others that they have felt that they could only trust themselves.
Some believe that they will be saved by good works
The works of man may lead to his ultimate fall before God.
We find ourselves putting a false hope in the accomplishments of our hands in order to feel better about ourselves.
But the Bible speaks to that as well...
That No Man May Boast Before God
1 Corinthians 1:27-29
We believers do not boast in ourselves, but in the Christ who has saved us.
There is actually nothing that we could do in and of ourselves to earn this salvation.
It is purely the work of the Holy Spirit to draw us and to save us.
Our only role in this process is to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and to put our lives under submission to Jesus Christ and Father God.
I know that there are some here today who have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Maybe you live a good life and you do good things for other.
In fact, maybe in the eyes of the world, you’re “not so bad!”
But let me be blunt and tell you that’s not good enough!
Being Good is NOT Good Enough!
The ONLY thing that makes you good enough for God, is the blood of Jesus Christ.
When we say that, we mean that you have to be in submission to Jesus as your Savior.
It is only His work on the cross that has any hope of saving you before God.
In fact, at the end, when God is judging all of creation and He looks upon you, what will make you good enough to enter into His presence for all of eternity?
We have to accept that Jesus Christ died for us in order to wipe our sins away and put ourselves under His authority so that we might spend eternity in Heaven with God.
Confession Follows Belief
Once we believe, there comes a need for confessing our Lord Jesus.
This is your time of confession.
We’ll have communion in just a moment, I’d like for you to be able to participate.
Communion is for believers who stand in a right relationship with God and with their fellow believers.
[invite the deacons forward]
the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.
- 1 Corinthians 11:23b-24 (NASB95)
[bless the bread and distribute it]
This is the body of our Lord, Jesus Christ, take it and eat in remembrance of His body broken for for us.
[eat & pause]
In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.