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The Risen Savior - I Believe

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I think that we live in an age of skepticism. And I blame George Lucas.
We waited so long for the Star Wars prequels to learn the story of Anikan skywalker. And we got Jar Jar Binks. Now we are skeptical that Hollywood can deliver on any movies.
Today we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus our Lord and Savior. But it’s a fair question, did it actually happen?
John 19:1–8 ESV
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.
John 20:1–8 ESV
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
John 19

Big Idea: Believe without all the Answers

1. Not all is as it seems. (vv. 1-2)

I love crime tv shoes, where something happens in the beginning and then the rest of the show is the detectives trying to figure it out. But if you’re like me, you realize one very important detail: you almost always meet the killer or criminal within the first 10 minutes of the show. The rest of the show is misdirection. They make it seem like it might be someone else. But if you watch these shows long enough you know not to trust them.
When Mary arrived at the tomb that morning and saw the body missing, she jumped to conclusions. No body? Somebody must have stolen it. She runs to the disciples. Peter and John head for the tomb to check things out (Which was dangerous considering the tomb was guarded by people who would love nothing more than to set up some new crosses). John gets there first, but Peter goes right in. I’m with John on this one. We’re not told what Peter is thinking, because remember this is written by John. We are told that when John goes in, he recognizes that not all is as it seems.

2. Look for the evidence. (vv. 3-7)

There was a lot on that first morning to take in. Emotions have a way of clouding our judgement and hiding facts. Taking a breath, we have to look at the evidence.
1. Stone Rolled away
2. Empty Tomb.
3. No soldiers.
4. Unfolded linen
5. Folded face cloth.
Ok, Sherlock, what are thinking took place here?
What’s amazing is that John had a small picture of what had happened. But that small amount of evidence was enough for John. For us today we have so much more evidence. We have historical evidence, archaeological evidence. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence for the events that took place on that first Easter.
For John, I think it was the folded face cloth. That's just weird. A zombie wouldn’t have folded the face cloth. a thief wouldn’t have folded the face cloth. In fact a thief wouldn’t have left the linens at all.

3. Remember what you already know. (vv. 8)

3. Remember what you already know. (vv. 8)

Some might say, I don’t need evidence if I have faith. Ok that’s fine. The Bible says you are blessed. But we can’t look down on those who need evidence. Remember the story of Thomas.
John 20:24–28 ESV
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus never redicules Thomas for needing evidence. He invites him to come and find the that he will believe. The same is true of you. Jesus invites you to find the evidence you need. But I think that if you stop and think and remember, you’ll see that you already know what you need to believe.

3. Remember what you already know. (vv. 8)

John had walked with Jesus for 3 years. He knew Him so well. He saw Him do incredible miracles. He heard Him say some strange things. He heard Him tell parables. He even heard Him say that He would be killed raised from the dead. Could that have been just a metaphor? Of now, coupled with the new evidence…could Jesus have actually been serious?
John knew he Had the power. He even believed that He was the son of God. It was not a huge jump for John to acknowledge Jesus as more than just a man, teacher, or friend. Sometimes the skeptic in us wants to have all the answers when ever fiber of our being knows something to be true.
One of the greatest evidences for the existence of God and the reality of the resurrection is our own experience. We have seen the power of God in our life or in the lives of others. It seems like everyone’s got that one grandma or aunt that everyone said was a Jesus Freek. But you knew there was something true about them. Sometimes we need to look a little deeper.
Now no amount of evidence is ever going to fully get us anywhere. Even atheists acknowledge there are things they don't’ understand (many which would otherwise point to God). But at the end of the day, they make a faith jump. And yes, it does take faith to be an atheist.
The same is true for believers. You will never get all of the answers to all of your questions. But if you.
recognize that not all is as it seems.
look for the evidence
Remember what you already know
You’re 90% there.

Reflection: Do you believe?

This morning I want to invite you to take a step, a leap or an Olympic long jump of faith. Wherever you are in your faith journey. And just believe.
But if you’re not ready, I invite you to begin a journey towards faith. Join us at North Hills weekly as we study God’s word. Ask your toughest questions and accept some reasonable answers.
Matthew 7:7–8 ESV
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
What better place to begin than here on Easter Sunday.
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