Resurrection Sunday

Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. Knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”

Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, and secretly a disciple of Jesus, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.

Taking Jesus’ body, Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped it with the spices, in strips of linen in accordance with Jewish burial customs and then lay Jesus in the new tomb.  There, his body lay for three days.

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Matthew 28

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he is risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

HE IS RISEN!!!!  Come on, together now.  Let’s give Jesus some praise!  Ready?  HE IS RISEN!!!!  Jesus Christ physically resurrected from death to eternal life!

Yes, Jesus lived a sinless life and then chose to give up His life on the cross for you and I.  Just paid the price He did not owe in order to pay the debt for your sin and mine.  This is incredibly significant.

However, someone dying doesn’t exactly motivate us to follow them or give us a whole lot of hope.  We’re all going to do that someday and none of us are going to be sinless when we do it. 

Jesus physically resurrected from death to life.  This changes everything for us!  It is not in the death of Jesus, but in the resurrection of Jesus that we find our hope; a LIVING hope!

1 Peter 1:3-4

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

Because Jesus rose from the grave, we not only have hope, but we have a living hope!  I mean, literally, Jesus is alive and He is our living hope!  He is alive right now and gave everything so that nothing could separate us from Him.

Through simple faith, we can have a relationship with Jesus.  This faith need not be a blind faith based on words alone, but on historical, factual evidence.  After Jesus rose from the grave, He appeared not only to a handful of His disciples, but to over 500 eye-witnesses.  He wanted there to be no room for doubt or fake-news rumors about His resurrection.  Paul wrote:

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

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 Cephas, 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.

The resurrection of Jesus changes everything for us!  If Jesus can be brutally murdered, his body laid in a grave for days, and then be risen by the Holy Spirit to glory, then what can stop our God?  No circumstance could be more hopeless than to be dead.  Nothing could be more final from our earthly perspective than death.

However, not even death can stop the plans and purposes of our God!  Whatever we may face in this life, there is victory through Jesus!  Whatever we may be dealing with, there is hope!

1 Corinthians 15:54-58

54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?

    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Though your life may be shaken and you may be going through the darkest season of life you’ve ever experienced, Sunday is coming!  Stand firm, trusting in Jesus.  He went through it, too, but that’s the point.  He went through it and straight on to the victory on the other side of it!

Jesus is now calling you to a victory from a victory.  We may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but we keep on walking!  We don’t sit down, give up, or camp out there.  We aren’t victims, we’re victors!  In fact, God’s word says that through Jesus, we are more than conquerors!

Jesus trusted His Heavenly Father as the red carpet was laid out for Him on Palm Sunday.  He trusted His Heavenly Father on the cross while He felt forsaken by Him.  He trust His Heavenly Father in the grave.  His Heavenly Father raised Him to life giving Him the name above every name, giving Him the ultimate victory and entrusting all power and authority to Him.

When we trust God with our lives, we will still go through difficult and dark seasons.  However, our lives won’t end there.  Failure is not our destiny, success is!  Our lives will end in a victory!  This is what gives us hope.  This is why we never give up.  We have a living hope through Jesus and have faith that the victory is ours!

His is risen!  He is alive!

That same resurrection power that rose Jesus from the grave dwells in anyone who chooses to trust Jesus with their lives.  We are empowered to be overcomers in life.

Romans 8:11 (NLT)

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Whatever challenges you may be facing in life right now, no matter how dark and hopeless things may seem, hang in there!  Sunday is coming!  The resurrected King is at work resurrecting your life as well.  Trust Him through the challenges and follow His lead through it to your victory!

Luke 18:1-8

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

He is risen!

Always pray, seeking after God, and never give up.  Your victory is certain and that is how this season will end!  Follow Jesus, who is guiding you to your victory through the Holy Spirit within you.  Whatever you may be facing, you never face it alone!

In one particular dark season in the life of Jesus, when one of His close friends, Lazarus had become ill and died, Jesus cried.  He lost His friend and His other friends bring accusation against Him for not being there for Him in time in order to heal him.

John 11:21-26

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus then went on to raise Lazarus from death to life.  Perhaps, like Martha, we need to raise our expectations of Jesus?  Jesus not only resurrected, He IS the resurrection and the life.

Sure, we believe that Jesus will physically resurrect us to life on the last day, but do we believe that the resurrection power of Jesus can give life to us here and now?  Jesus is the resurrection and He wants to resurrect things in your life right now. 

Today is the day of your salvation and today is the day of God’s promises fulfilled.  Your salvation is not on hold, buffering until the moment you die.  Eternal life begins here and now!

John 6:47-54

47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. (repeat)

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

If you choose to believe in Jesus, you have eternal life.  The resurrection power of God is already at work in your life and the good work that He started, He will faithfully complete.  As we allow God to work in and through our life, His resurrection will become evident to all.

Right now, we’re going to take time to pray.  Whatever you are facing in life right now, whatever the challenge might be, we’re going to trust Jesus for the victory in it.

Prayer

Now, together in spirit, we’re going to celebrate communion.  No, we haven’t become cannibals and physically eat the flesh and blood of Jesus as the Jews were thinking.  We understand what Jesus was referring to and what it symbolized.  Together, we eat the bread, representing the flesh of Jesus and the juice, representing the blood of Jesus.  We do this to remember the cost of our salvation and the hope that we have because of the resurrection.