The Final Proof
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;
9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.
12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”
14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
Because Jesus live, we know that he is who he says he is.
It is no exaggeration to say that the resurrection is the single most important miracle that Jesus ever did. If Christ had never risen from the dead, there would be no reason to worship as we do. The resurrection proves to the world that the check he wrote can be cashed. It proves that Jesus is who he says he is. If he had died, and stayed dead, then nothing that he did or said would have mattered. Ladies and gentlemen we can trust Jesus, we can trust his teachings, we can have confidence in the things we believe, because Jesus is alive! Not even death could defeat him! Within the resurrection Jesus proves that he is indeed God, the source of all life, and that death has no hold on him.
Because Jesus lives, we know that we also will have life.
And it is for that reason, that we know that we don’t have to be afraid. All our lives, we have been living under the curse. We have consistently set ourselves against God and his good plans for us. It’s not enough to live what you think of as a “good life” , that means absolutely nothing, and it will never be good enough. We all have flaws and short comings, and all those character flaws do matter. They are all an act of rebellion against God, the only one who deserves the title of king. When we set ourselves against the author and sustainer of life, surprise, our actions bring about our corruption and death. Not only physical death, but eternal death.
But here is this carpenter from Galilee, teaching about how we actually can be forgiven. He had the audacity to stand out in public and say, “I can forgive your sins. I can make you whole again.” And wonder of all wonders, this lunatic says that he has the power of life, and that anyone can have life in him. “Because I live, you also will live.” Who is this man? Who is this carpenter from Galilee? He claimed to be none other than the Son of God, and they killed him for it. But it wasn’t enough, not even the clutches of stone cold death was able to bind him. This Easter weekend, we celebrate that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, was truly the Son of God. Has made some bold claims, but he backed them up with hidden power. His words aren’t just the empty moral guidance of a long dead sage, they contain the words of life! Because Jesus lives, we know that we can have eternal life!
1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Do not ignore the power and the immense comfort that these words have to offer! When you question and doubt about whether there really is more, let the words of Almighty God whisper to your ears and soul. Hear the tenderness and reassurance in his voice! We are no longer slaves to the curse! Jesus is exceedingly clear, only through him is there to be found any hope at all. All other religions and philosophies are meaningless, but for anyone who is willing to repent, cast yourself at the mercy of Jesus, there is life forever! He died to pay the penalty for our sin! He rose again, proving that the check won’t bounce! He has gone before us to prepare a place for us! We can have life, if only we would let go our pride and self confidence we would find that Jesus is a far more secure foundation for life. This is not just a series of nice little writings! This is not the quaint teachings of a good man! Within this book we learn how to escape the righteous wrath of God, and live forever by his side in a new world, free! It’s only through a relationship with Jesus!
Because the Father sent Jesus, Jesus now send us.
Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not the Vedas, not Odin or Zeus, not even through Moses! All of them offer life, but it is an empty promise. They are all dead, and have stayed dead, and their teachings lead to death and to hell! Only Jesus can deliver! Church, there is a whole world out there that is perishing, doomed to eternal punishment, and we have in our hearts and minds the only path to pardon! Jesus said that just as God the Father sent him, he is now sending us. “Well he can’t do that!” Sure he can, he’s God. Just week, a friend sent me a comedy skit where a church group was sitting around a table, Bibles in front of them, praying for God to move and work within the world around them. Suddenly God speaks and says, I’m answering your prayers, and I’m going to use you to do those things. Suddenly the Christians who were awestruck and adoring just one minute before start shouting “its a ghost” and quickly exit the building. As believers, we are unwilling to do the painfully uncomfortable things necessary to share the gospel, and the unbelieving world knows it. I’m not advocating street evangelism here! But we all know people who don’t believe. Build relationships, show that you care, then share the truth. God loves them, but they need his mercy and forgiveness.
Before we end our time here today, I’d like to extend an invitation. If you have never asked Jesus to forgive you, you can do that today, where you are. Don’t put this off because today is the only day that any of us are promised.
You are in charge.