I Believe Jesus is Alive
Resurrection Sunday, April 04, 2021
Today, I want to do something a little different. All of you know how I like to tell jokes, some good, some okay, some terrible. Well today I want to start out telling you a joke with a point, so I hope you will bear with me.
A woman, Majorie Bosworth, posted this joke on FaceBook. It got over 400 likes and a few dozen comments. This is told from the perspective of a Sunday School Teacher.
I was testing the children in my Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven.
I asked them, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?”
“NO!” the children answered.
“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?”
Again, the answer was, “NO!”
By now I was starting to smile. Hey, this was fun! “Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?” I asked them again.
Again, they all answered, “NO!”
I was just bursting with pride for them. “Well,” I continued, “then how can I get into Heaven?”
A five-year-old boy shouted out, “YOU GOTTA BE DEAD.”
Question: Was the five-year-old boy correct?
Answer: Of course he was correct. But he was also wrong, Dead Wrong.
Question: Any idea why the poster (above) says, WANTED – Dead or Alive?
Everyone here was among the walking dead at one time. What do I mean by that?
Ephesians 2:1 tells us As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins NIV
Ephesians 2:1 tells us, And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins NKJV
So, we know according to scripture, you either were dead – spiritually – at one time or you still are dead. Only you and God know if you still are dead or not.
Why was Jesus’ death on the cross so important for all of us? Ephesians 2:3 answers that: All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
The wrath this verse is speaking of is God’s wrath and that wrath is hell.
Why is Jesus’ death on the cross so important? He paid the price for our sins on the cross. That was the plan all along, fulfilling Old Testament scripture along the way. But it was not enough that He, who was without sin, died on the cross for our sins. No, it was not enough. Death on the cross, crucifixion was common. An ugly terrible death perfected by the Romans. People would do almost anything to avoid such a death. Jesus did not try to avoid it. He embraced it, for His death on the cross was His purpose.
John 3:16-19 tells the story
16 For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
Who is going to believe Jesus was the son of God and died on the cross for our sins? His disciples would surely tell us so and some would believe. But as mentioned earlier, death by crucifixion was common in the Roman Empire. Something else was called for. Something else was needed.
That something else was Jesus’ Resurrection. He had told His disciples time and time again and again He must be crucified and then rise after three days. Two things. They did not understand and they did not believe Him.
Sure, He had raised Lazarus from the dead, but Lazarus had died a natural death from illness. Jesus was crucified and to ensure He was dead a spear had been thrust into His side. He was dead and none of the disciples could conceive of anyone of them raising Jesus from the dead.
For us we see on TV or at the movies all kinds of fake miracles where someone was dead but then comes alive. All fine and good, but that just does not happen in real life. If someone is shot and dies and is brought back to life by cardiac shock the person is still wounded and has to heal before he can resume a normal life. That is the reality.
In Jesus’ time they could not shock the heart back into operation. Death was death. Dead was dead. Except for Lazarus. When Lazarus was raised from the dead he went on to live his life and die again.
What to do about this? Luke 24, Jesus joins two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus and only after stopping to eat and breaking bread does He reveal Himself to them. After that He disappears. Of course they rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the Eleven and others about this. While they were telling their story, Jesus appears among them.
How do you think they reacted? Let’s let Luke tell the rest of this part of the story still in Luke 24:37-49
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
The Book of John tells this a bit differently and more succinctly, so lets go to John 20:19-20
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
While the disciples believed, one of them was not there so we will skip down to verse 24-29
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed;
And then He added blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Thomas believed, the others who say Jesus resurrected in the flesh, they believed. And they were ready to share this as the gospel. Now along with Jesus dying for your sins, it is clear He had risen, defeated death. And for those who believe He has prepared a place for them in heaven.
There was no incredible oratory by the disciples. Not at all. They simply presented the gospel, the good news.
Paul gives us an example of how he presented the gospel in writing in his first letter to the Thessalonians in 15:1-5
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
6 After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time,
most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
7 Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
8 and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
What does it mean to believe the gospel? It means we are saved and will be resurrected. If we die before the rapture, Paul tells us (still in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
42 The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
How do we go about getting saved and being made alive, no longer walking around as the living dead? Salvations is as easy as ABC.
A – Admit/Acknowledge you are a sinner, and you need a savior
Romans 3:10 There is no one righteous, not even one
Romans 3:23 all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
B – Believe in your heart Jesus is Lord
Romans 10:9 If you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved
C – Call upon Jesus’ name as your Lord and Savior
Romans 10:10b it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. And
Romans 10:9 and if you believe in your heart God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved
For Romans 10:10a it is with your heart that you believe and are justified,
and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Romans 10:13 All who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved
We celebrate Christ’s crucifixion because that is the free gift of Salvation which we cannot earn.
We celebrate Christ’s Resurrection because it shows the completeness of the Good News that He is real and we can believe even if we have not seen Him because so many did see Him and shared His Good News – the Gospel
Finally, we celebrate that He WILL return. 1st to rapture the believers, then for a final battle.
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.
With justice he judges and wages war.
12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.
He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.
14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.
“He will rule them with an iron scepter.”
He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords.
Yes we celebrate His Resurrection and the knowledge He is coming back