Easter The Son of God Triumphs
THE SON OF MAN TRIUMPHS!
Luke 24:1-12; Matt 28:1-7
In Matt 28 6-7 he says to us for today, “COME SEE, GO TELL”
Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion,” “The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ affirms to us that He is indeed the Son of God, just as He claimed to be (Rom. 1:4). It also proves that His sacrifice for sin has been accepted and that the work of salvation is completed (Rom. 4:24–25). Those who trust Him can “walk in newness of life” because He is alive and imparts His power to them (Rom. 6:4; Gal. 2:20). Our Lord’s resurrection also declares to us that He is the Judge who will come one day and judge the world (Acts 17:30–31).
It is no surprise, then, that Satan has attacked the truth of the Resurrection. The first lie that he spawned was that the disciples came and stole Christ’s body (Matt. 28:11–15), but it is difficult to imagine how they could have done this. To begin with, the tomb was carefully guarded (Matt. 27:61–66); and it would have been next to impossible for the frightened Apostles to overpower the soldiers, open the tomb, and secure the body. But the biggest obstacle is the fact that the Apostles themselves did not believe that He would be resurrected! Why, then, would they steal His body and try to perpetrate a hoax?
A second lie is that Jesus did not really die on the cross but only swooned, and when He was put into the cool tomb, He revived. But Pilate carefully checked with the centurion to see whether Jesus was dead (Mark 15:44), and the Roman soldiers who broke the legs of the two thieves knew that Jesus had died (John 19:31–34). Furthermore, how could a “cool tomb” transform Christ’s body so that He could appear and disappear and walk through closed doors?
The message of the Gospel rests on the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection 1 COR. 15:1–8. The Apostles were sent out as witnesses of His resurrection (Acts 1:22), and the emphasis in the Book of Acts is on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This explains why Luke climaxed his book with a report of some of the appearances of Jesus after He had been raised from the dead. He first appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11–18), then to the “other women” (Matt. 28:9–10), and then to the two men on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–22). At some time, He also appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34) and to His half brother James (1 Cor. 15:7).
That evening, He appeared to the Apostles (Luke 24:36–43), but Thomas was not with them (John 20:19–25). A week later, He appeared to the Apostles again, especially for the sake of Thomas (John 20:26–31). He appeared to seven of the Apostles when they were fishing at the Sea of Galilee (John 21). He appeared several times to the Apostles before His ascension, teaching them and preparing them for their ministry (Acts 1:1–12).
There were over 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive at one time (1 Cor. 15:3–8). These appearances of the risen Christ were of such a nature that they could not be explained as hallucinations or self-deception. The people who saw Him were surprised. It would have been impossible for over 500 people to suffer hallucinations at the same time. Even the Apostle Paul, who was an enemy of the church, saw the risen Christ; that experience transformed his life (Acts 9).
When the believers discovered that Jesus was alive, it made a tremendous difference in their lives.
Each spring, we celebrate Easter as a reminder of the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after His death.
How do we know that Jesus actually did rise from the dead?
How many items of evidence can you think of?
(Read aloud the account of the resurrection found in Mark 16:1–8. Emphasize verse 6. Ask:)
What difference does it make whether or not Christ truly rose from the dead?
What does His resurrection prove?
(After discussing each proof that Jesus rose from the dead, ask:)
If someone you know were to question the authenticity of Christ’s resurrection, how could you answer him?
The Christian church rests on the resurrection of its Founder. Without this fact the church could never have been born, or if born, it would soon have died a natural death. The miracle of the resurrection and the existence of Christianity are so closely connected that they must stand or fall together.
The disciples had seen Jesus do many miracles, including raising people from the dead. Many times Jesus explained to His disciples of His coming death and resurrection.
Why do you think they were so surprised when it all happened?
What physical things were done to prevent Jesus’ resurrection?
Why do you think God allowed these to be put into place?
Jesus’ claim to raise from the dead in three days was so well-known that His enemies were well aware of it. What do you think motivated the chief priests and Pharisees to go to Pilate?
Each of the gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—describe Jesus’ friends’ initial reactions when they learned of the resurrection.
(Look up several of these accounts and discuss how authentic the reactions were:)
Matthew 27:16, 17
Mark 16:9–11, 13, 14
Luke 24:9–11, 36, 37
John 20:1, 2, 24, 25
From the accounts of Jesus’ appearance to His friends, how did He treat them?
How does this prove that He was the same person who was crucified?
What changes have you seen in your life or in the lives of others that proves Jesus is alive?
If you were to point to one thing in your church that proves Jesus is alive, what would it be?
Christ’s resurrection shows:
That Jesus is God (Romans 1:4)
That Jesus’ death was accepted by God the Father as payment for our sin (Romans 4:25)
That Christ is our High Priest and intercedes for us (1 Timothy 2:5, 6; Romans 8:34)
That we receive many blessings because of His resurrection (Peter 1:3–5)
The ascension of Christ means that He went back to heaven in His resurrection body.
The exaltation of Christ means that God the Father gave Jesus the position of honor and power at the Father’s right hand.
The second coming of Christ is mentioned more than three hundred times in the New Testament. Whole chapters are devoted to the subject (Matthew 24, 25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Corinthians 15) and some books (Thessalonians; 2 Thessalonians; Revelation) have Christ’s return as their main subject.
How does an understanding of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King hinge on His return to earth?
As Prophet, Jesus predicted His return to earth. As Priest, Jesus conquered sin and death, which allows Him to be the Messiah. As Messiah, He is the promised King who will rule when He returns to earth.
How does the church’s observance of the Lord’s Supper refer to Jesus’ return?
In Mark 14:25, Jesus says, “I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.” The Kingdom of God refers to the kingdom that Christ will set up when He returns to earth. (See Revelation 20:4–6.) Whenever we observe the Lord’s Supper, we can also remember that Jesus will return to reign as King of kings. Then He will drink with us.
Conclusion and Application
The reaction of Christ’s followers after the resurrection is powerful proof that Jesus did, in fact, raise from the dead.