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Overcoming Doubts About the Resurrection

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Many people struggle with doubts about the resurrection of Jesus. If you will consider the evidence, and come by faith, Jesus will confirm the truth about Himself to you.

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This morning as we celebrate this Easter service, I want to ask you a question that I asked those who gathered this morning for our Sunrise Service. Why are you here today? What is special about this day for you that brings you to church? What brings you to church on any given Sunday. Now, don’t get me wrong! We are glad that you are here, no matter what reason you came for. But, I simply ask that question for you to consider in your own heart. What brings you to get up early, put on your Sunday best, and come to a building and a room full of strangers or friends and sit down and perform this religious ritual for an hour?
You may have different reasons this morning for being here. Maybe you are here because you want to worship Jesus and celebrate the fact that He is alive and has risen from the grave. Maybe you are here to support your family. You personally don’t really care so much for church or religion, but you want to make Mamma happy, so you come. Maybe this is the only time a year you can get your significant others to dress decently enough for you to get a good family photo, so you come. Maybe you are not sure, but you hope that somehow if you come on a high holy day like Easter, you can gain favor with God and offset some of the bad things you’ve done.
Well, whatever reason you’ve come today, I want to address an issue that every person has at some point in their encounter with Jesus. You see, you can’t come to Jesus and not have an encounter. You will either come away from that encounter believing that He is a live and is Lord, or you will come away from that encounter believing that He was alive at one time, but is dead and Christianity is just a crutch to help the weak. Wherever you are this morning, I want to come alongside of you and help you on your journey to “Overcoming Doubts About the Resurrection.” You see, at some point all of us have to overcome these doubts. We all have them. But we can overcome them and realize that their really is a physically empty tomb and that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead, just as He said He would do!
Read text. Pray.
Luke 24:36–49 ESV
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Luke 24:
The journey this morning, really begins in v. 1 of chapter 24 at the tomb of Jesus. It really wasn’t even His tomb. It was a borrowed tomb. It was the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. When Jesus died on Good Friday, He died around 3pm. There was a religious holiday that started at sundown Friday, requiring that everyone stop their work and celebrate. The disciples of Jesus had a deadline to meet and so they hurriedly requested the body of Jesus from Pilate, prepared Him quickly, and placed Him in Joseph’s tomb. Pilate then placed a guard at the tomb at the request of the religious leaders for the sole purpose of making sure that Jesus’ disciples did not steal His body and claim He had risen from the dead.
Before I continue with the story, I want to ask you a quick question:

1. What doubts do you have in your heart about Jesus? (v.38)

Do you believe that Jesus really rose from the dead? I mean, we have people who have had near-death experiences or who have been resuscitated from an almost death-like state, but nobody has ever been dead for three days and come back. It just doesn’t happen. It defied nature and science. So, it is natural to scratch your head and have doubts.
But, remember that what is impossible for us, and what defies Science for us, is only a limitation that we face. God is not limited by what we know about Science. We can say that something defies Science, only because we don’t have enough scientific knowledge to say otherwise. If we knew of some way that an event like this could coincide with Science, we could easily believe. But, then the whole point of a miracle is to do what otherwise can’t be done for the sake of validating a messenger and the message that He carries.
God sent Jesus to this earth to die for our sins. We all have broken God’s commandments and are separated from God. We all deserve death because we have committed treason against the Supreme King of the Universe. We are in contempt of court of the Supreme Judge of the Cosmos. Therefore, God sent His Son to do what we could not do - to keep the law. Jesus lived the live we could not live.
But He also took the wrath that we deserved to bear. Jesus, when He hung on that cross, took upon Himself the wrath of God for all of our sins. He takes your place and my place. He offers peace to us if we will believe in Him and repent and call out to Him to save us. But, the transaction is not complete if Jesus is still in the grave. In order for us to know that God accepted Jesus death on the cross for us, He had to rise from the dead.
Paul says in
1 Corinthians 15:12–19 ESV
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
That sounds good, but what about the facts. If you are struggling today with the resurrection:
If you were going to make up a story about the resurrection, you need credible witnesses.
Even the disciples were not sure what had happened - original response and Emmaus road encounter
Roman soldiers aren’t willing to die for a Jewish carpenter/teacher
The tomb was in a specific location

2. Have you considered the evidence in favor of the resurrection of Jesus? (vv.39-43)

So, what proof do we have that Jesus rose from the dead. Well, that brings us back to our passage this morning. Look at the response and the slow belief of the very men and women who followed Jesus. Just a few quick things to consider this morning:
If you were going to make up a story about the resurrection, you need credible witnesses.
Even the disciples were not sure what had happened - original response and Emmaus road encounter
Roman soldiers aren’t willing to die for a Jewish carpenter/teacher
The tomb was in a specific location

3. Have you come by faith to Jesus? (vv.44-48)

Ultimately when considering the weight of evidence, you still must come by faith. Remember what I said earlier about science? Science is simply a body of knowledge that we have about the universe. It is incomplete. We have to come by faith.

4. Have you told anyone else what you’ve discovered? (vv.48-49)

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