Great Thoughts on the Resurrection of Christ
While there is a progression of thought in the following, it is not necessarily presented as a sermon in its entirety. Rather, these are thoughts that can be drawn from in developing a message. Individual stories, quotes, or points can be lifted and interwoven into your own Easter message. May you and your congregation have a very blessed Resurrection Sunday!
1. Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2. which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3. concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4. [and] declared [to be] the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
The doctrine of the resurrection is absolutely central to the Christian faith.
If the resurrection of Jesus is not totally true, then everything in the Bible and in the life of Jesus that precedes it (Genesis through the end of the Gospel Accounts) and everything that follows it (The Book of Acts through the Book of Revelation) is absolutely meaningless.
1 Corinthians 15:14-19
14. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching [is] empty and your faith [is] also empty. 15. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. 16. For if [the] dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17. And if Christ is not risen, your faith [is] futile; you are still in your sins! 18. Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Without the Resurrection:
1. Our preaching is useless.
2. Your faith is useless.
3. We are false witnesses.
4. No dead will ever be raised.
5. Your faith is futile.
6. You are still in your sins.
7. All who have trusted in Christ are lost.
8. We are to be pitied more than all men.
If Jesus has not risen from the dead, His own expectations are disappointed and His repeated promises proven false, His assurances worthless. In that case, whoever else the Nazarene might have been, He certainly was not and is not “Lord.” If Jesus has not risen from the grave, His disciples are incompetent transmitters of truth, for this doctrine was the cornerstone of their apostolic teaching. Worse, they are actually false witness, claiming to be eyewitnesses of a miracle that never truly happened. And if Jesus has not risen from the grave, if His body once lay moldering in Joseph’s tomb and is now forgotten dust, then death is still victorious and final. There is no good news for the dying. If for a Savior we have only a ghost, then for heaven we shall only have a dream.
(The Glory of Christ, Peter Lewis. Moody. pp. 358-359)
If the resurrection is not true, what difference does it make if…
…Noah built an ark
…Moses led the children of Israel to Canaan Land
…David slew Goliath
…Joshua conquered Jericho
…Daniel spent the night with in the lion’s den
…Jesus walked on the water and fed the multitudes
…The Church in the Book of Acts grew rapidly
…Paul wrote letters
If the resurrection is not true, it’s all totally worthless and meaningless.
You can’t have a living faith with a dead Savior!
In his argument in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul went on to say (verse 32): “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’”
Of what are considered the great faiths or religions of the world, Christianity alone stakes its entire claim and bases its entire existence on the Resurrection of its Founder; nothing more, nothing less.
Christianity is not based on a set of ideas, creeds, morals, beliefs, lifestyle, discipline, or practices.
Christianity may produce some of those things, but genuine, biblical Christianity is based entirely and exclusively on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The resurrection is a vital part of the total uniqueness of Jesus Christ!
Jesus was unique in every aspect of His Person.
• Unique in His birth
• Unique in His life
• Unique in His nature (totally God, totally man)
• Unique in His death
• Unique in His resurrection
The Resurrection places Jesus Christ in a class by Himself. It makes Him unique. Other religions can compete with Christianity on some things. They can say, for example, “Your founder gave you a holy book? Our founder gave us a holy book. You founder has a large following? So does ours. You have buildings where people come to worship your God? We have buildings where people come to worship our god.”
But Christians can say, “All of that may be true, but our Founder rose from the dead!” End of conversation.
(Who Is This King Of Glory? Tony Evans. Moody. pp. 81-82)
What Does the Resurrection Mean?
Resurrection is more than just the reviving of the physical body.
Jesus raised three people from the dead under His own ministry. However, all of those people died again.
The Resurrection Transformed the Incarnate State of Jesus Himself.
• Jesus had willingly come to earth.
• Willingly laid aside His might power and glory.
• Willingly emptied Himself.
• Willingly made Himself of no reputation.
• Willingly took on the form of a servant.
• Willingly accepted the limitations and restrictions of humanity.
• Willingly submitted Himself to the Father’s will.
• Willingly accepted the penalty and punishment of sin.
• Willingly died, not just normal or common death…
17. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.
Once He had died, Jesus was ready to receive His former glory.
5. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
When He was resurrected, He had the same body He had when He was on the earth, but it was transformed. His wounds were all visible (John 20:25-29).
This transformed body engaged in some of the same physical activity of any human body.
• He still breathed (John 20:22).
• He still talked (John 21:15).
• He still stood (John 21:4).
• He still ate (Luke 24:41-43).
• He still walked (Luke 24:15).
Seated now, at the right hand of majesty on high, is a man… The man Christ Jesus.
1. The Resurrection Vindicated All the Claims Jesus Made for Himself.
After Jesus “cleansed the Temple…”
18. So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” 19. Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20. Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21. But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
If Jesus could back up his pledge, promise, and prediction to be raised from the dead, it stands to reason He can back up any other promise He made.
2. The Resurrection Signified Jesus’ Complete Success.
12. buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with [Him] through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14. having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Paul affirms that Christ has “disarmed” these forces of evil. He has stripped the powers and authorities just as a conquered antagonist was stripped of his weapons and armor and put to public shame. Paul goes on to say that God (in Christ) “made a public spectacle of them.” That is to say, he exposed them to public disgrace by exhibiting them to the universe as his captives. The added words, “triumphing over them by the cross,” expand this idea. The picture, quite familiar in the Roman world, is that of a triumphant general leading a parade of victory. The conqueror, riding at the front in his chariot, leads his troops through the streets of the city. Behind them trails a wretched company of vanquished kings, officers, and soldiers–the spoils of battle. Christ, in this picture, is the conquering general; the powers and authorities are the vanquished enemy displayed as the spoils of battle before the entire universe. To the casual observer the cross appears to be only an instrument of death, the symbol of Christ’s defeat; Paul sees it as Christ’s chariot of victory.
(New International Version Bible Commentary)
3. The Resurrection of Jesus is the Power and Pledge of our Resurrection.
Christ undertook a battle not rightly His; we share in a triumph not rightly ours.
4. Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be [in the likeness] of [His] resurrection…
1 Corinthians 15:20
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, [and] has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
• We were crucified with Him.
• We died with Him.
• We were buried with Him.
• We were quickened with Him.
• We were raised with Him.
• We have been made to sit with Him in heavenly places.
• He is the firstfruits, and we are the harvest that follows!
Two hundred miles northeast of Los Angeles is a baked-out gorge called Death Valley — the lowest place in the United States, 276 feet below sea level. It is also the hottest place in the country, with an official recording of 134 degrees. Streams flow into Death Valley only to evaporate in the scorching heat, and a scant two and on half inches of rain falls on the barren wasteland each year.
But some years ago, and amazing thing happened. Due to a freak weather pattern, rain fell into the bone-dry earth for nineteen days straight. Suddenly, millions of seeds, which had lain dormant for untold years burst into bloom. The Valley of Death exploded into beauty, color, and life.
This is the message of the resurrection. Life springs forth from death. A desert becomes a garden. Beauty transcends the ugly. Love overcomes hatred. A tomb is emptied. The grim and haunting outline of a cross is swallowed in the glow of an Easter morning sunrise.
(Jesus in 12 Lessons. Max Anders. Nelson. p. 155)
Because He lives, we shall live also!
Miscellaneous Quotes, Songs, etc.
The Strife is Over, the Battle Done
(1695 – Latin translated – 1861)
The strife is over, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of Triumph has begun.
The powers of death have done their worst,
But Christ their legions hath dispersed:
Let shouts of Holy joy outburst.
The three sad days have quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead:
All Glory to our risen head!
Lord, by the stripes, which he wounded thee,
From death’s dread sting thy servants free,
That we may live and sing to thee.
He is literature’s loftiest ideal. He is the philosopher’s highest personality. He is the critic’s supreme problem. In theology, He is the fundamental doctrine. His name blossoms on the pages of history like the flowers in springtime on a thousand hills. His name sounds down the corridors of time and through the centuries like the music of all choirs. Jesus, the Son of God, is the One all together lovely, the bright and morning Star, the Rose of Sharon…
To the doctor, He is the Great Physician
To the Judge, He is the Righteous Judge.
To the Juror, He is the Faithful Witness,
To the Philosopher, He is the Wisdom of God
To the Preacher, He is the Word of God.
To the Student, He is the Incarnate Truth
To the Theologian, He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith
To the Toiler, he is the Giver of Rest.
To the Sinner, He is the Lamb of God
To the Christian, He is the Son of the Living God!
“Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf of springtime.”
– Martin Luther
As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev’s widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev’s wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest. There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.
– Gary Thomas, Christian Times, October 3, 1994, p. 26.
“In many respects I find an unresurrected Jesus easier to accept. Easter makes him dangerous. Because of Easter, I have to listen to his extravagant claims and can no longer pick and choose from his sayings. Moreover, Easter means he must be loose out there somewhere.”
– Philip Yancey
“As we remember the crucifixion, know that Jesus was not a helpless victim of mob violence, neither was He merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. Peter says that Jesus was, ‘delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God’ (Acts 2:23), and John calls Jesus, ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’ (Rev. 13:8). Jesus Himself testified, ‘I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again’ (John 10:17-18). Jesus was no powerless victim; He is the Savior and Redeemer. His death was as deliberate as His resurrection. He was in the right place at the right time, and all who believe in Him are the eternal beneficiaries of His sacrifice.”
– Tony Cooke
“The Example—He faced every temptation and overcame.
The Substitute—He bore all iniquity and every shame.
Through death, the Sinless One was swallowed in the earth.
Risen, victorious, He gives each of us new birth.”
– Tony Cooke
“The empty grave does not do anything to us. You need to meet the Risen One.”
– Alex Harten
“Jesus entered Jerusalem to shouts of ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’ Shortly, those accolades turned into the cries of ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’ His joy was turned into sorrow, so that our sorrow could be turned into joy.”
– Tony Cooke