And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 14, Number
In this issue:
“So what if Jesus was resurrected from the dead? What difference does it make? The resurrection is just a theological debate with no practical meaning.” Not so! Such descriptions of the importance of the resurrection of Jesus are utterly false and show a dreadful lack of understanding and faith. The importance of the resurrection of Jesus cannot be over-emphasized.
The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most historically verifiable events of human history. It is no exaggeration to say that if it is proved that Jesus of Nazareth did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is the greatest hoax ever conceived and perpetrated. On the other hand, if the evidence supports the authenticity of the event, one ought to believe and yield to the great power of God in Christ Jesus.
All admit these facts:
1) Jesus lived and was crucified;
2) He was buried in a sealed tomb,
3) The tomb was empty.
Since space limits a complete treatment of all the evidence that supports the fact of Christ’s resurrection, let us consider just a few, beginning with the nature of the tomb in which He was buried.
The Scriptures say Jesus was buried in “a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid” in a garden where the crucifixion occurred (Jno. 19:41). It is unreasonable to think the Roman soldiers (who guarded the tomb), the women and the disciples all went to the wrong tomb. (Even if they did, the real tomb would still be holding the body of Jesus - but the body was not there.)
Next, consider that the tomb was cut out of solid rock and sealed with a great stone (Matt. 27:60, 66). This eliminates a number of the skeptic’s speculations, including:
1) The disciples stole the body. How? There was only one entrance, and it was guarded by soldiers and sealed so that any tampering would be obvious.
2) Jesus had merely swooned, later revived inside the tomb and removed the great stone. Such a theory unfairly indicts the credibility of the soldiers and centurion who certified Jesus to be dead while still on the cross (Jno. 19:33; Mk. 15:44-45). Besides, where would Jesus have gotten the strength to roll away a great stone that three healthy women could not move (Mk. 16:3)? Incredible!
3) The disciples stole the body. This was the lie that the chief priests paid the soldiers to tell (Matt. 28:11-15)! How did fishermen with only two swords defeat a guard of fully armed Roman soldiers (Lk. 22:38)? Amazing! The facts about the tomb itself provide abundant evidence to believe Jesus was raised from the dead.
Furthermore, the theories of men do not explain the empty tomb:
1) The swoon theory is too far-fetched to believe (Jno. 19:33).
2) To suggest the enemies of Jesus stole the body is directly opposed to their stated intention (Matt. 27:62-64).
3) The accusation that the disciples stole the body leaves unanswered how they could have done so (Matt. 27:66) and why they were depressed about the whereabouts of the body (Lk. 24:21-24). This theory charges the apostles with being liars and deceivers of the worst sort (Acts 2:32)!
4) To suggest that the women went to the wrong tomb is unreasonable (cf. Matt. 27:61). The enemies could simply go to the right tomb and show the dead body of Jesus!
5) The hallucination theory (that the disciples wanted to see Jesus so badly that they simply thought they saw Him alive) calls into question the integrity of over five hundred people (1 Cor. 15:5-8). Talk about mass delusion!
To deny the resurrection of Jesus one must also address the problem of the body of Jesus. hat happened to it? The tomb was empty! If not, the enemies could easily prove the announcement of His resurrection a lie by producing the dead body. Every explanation offered to deny the resurrection of Jesus fails:
1) The disciples could not steal the body and dispose of it successfully. That was a lie spread by bribery, the difficulty of which has already been noted (Matt. 28:13-15).
2) The Jews would not steal the body. That would defeat their purpose (Matt. 27:62-64). If they had the corpse of Jesus they could have produced it on Pentecost and ended Christianity before it began (Acts 2)!
3) The Romans dared not remove the body. What possible motive could they have had for removing the body? To do so would jeopardize their standing before the governor (Matt. 28:11-14).
So, where was the body of Jesus? “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matt. 28:5, 6-9)
What does all this mean for you and me? What is the practical value of the resurrection of Jesus? Well, since its occurrence cannot be successfully denied, it should cause us to believe Jesus is the Son of God (Rom. 1:4). Because Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we should obey Him in all things.
1 Corinthians 15:12-19 states the consequences if Christ was not raised from the dead, showing the central (and practical) importance of it in the Christian’s life. If Christ was not raised, then:
1) Gospel preaching is vain, v. 14
2) Your faith is vain, v. 14, 17.
3) The apostles are false witnesses (liars), v. 15.
4) Christians are still lost in their sins, v. 17.
5) Dead Christians have merely perished, v. 18.
6) And Christians are truly to be pitied, v. 19.
But, Christ has been raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20)! Thus declared to be the Son of God, His resurrection shows His power over death and assures the future judgment of all men by Him (Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; Acts 17:30-31). Practical? Yes, indeed. The One who has power over death will also be our Judge in the last day (2 Cor. 5:10). What greater motive do we need to obey Jesus now? Nothing is more important than be forgiven of every sin by the blood of the One who “was delivered up for our offenses, and was raised because of justification” (Rom. 4:25; cf. 1 Cor. 15:50-58)! Baptism saves us “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21). Do you believe in the resurrection of Christ? Then “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).
Reprint (revised): The Spirit's Sword (VI:41) February 16, 2003
You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS
Where Christ Is
Scripture Reading: John 14:1-6
1. Do you want to be where Jesus is?
-To be “where Christ is:”-
I. WE MUST BE IN “THE WAY” WITH CHRIST.
is our Path to Follow from Earth to Heaven, Heb. 7:25 (10:19-25); Matt.
7:14; Lk. 13:24.
II. WE MUST BE IN “THE TRUTH” OF CHRIST.
A. Christ has
Shown Himself to be the "Way” by Means of His Revealed Truth (Word), Jno.
1:1-3, 14; Col. 1:3-6.
III. WE MUST BE IN “THE LIFE” OF CHRIST.
A. Christ (the
"Way” and the "Truth”) Gives Sinners Life from the Death of Sin, Jno. 6:63;
Jno. 1:4; 8:12; 1 Jno. 1:1-4.
1. To be where
Jesus is (heaven), we must live with Jesus now.
Peace on Earth
"BAGHDAD – A wave of violence ripped across Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing at least 57 people and injuring nearly 200 in a coordinated attack designed to wreak havoc in the Iraqi capital just days after American forces left the country." ("Wave of Bombings Across Iraqi Capital Kills At Least 57", FoxNews.com)
Will there ever be peace on earth? Not as long as sin rules in the hearts of men. For all of the negotiations, economic pressures and military presence applied, as long as the "god of this world" blinds the eyes of unbelievers from "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ", evil men will advance evil causes that hurt the innocent and hinder peace among men (2 Cor. 4:3-4).
The peace of which the angels sang announcing the birth of Jesus is the peace between sinners and God through salvation in the Son (Lk. 2:13-14). God's offer of peace is fulfilled in the redemption from sins available in His Son: "Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near" (Isa. 57:19; Eph. 2:17).
Only when hearts are purged of sin will men and women have peace with God (Col. 1:19-22). Then and only then will "wars and fights" cease between men (Jas. 4:1-4). Of Jesus it is written, "He Himself is our peace" (Eph. 2:14). Peace with God is accomplished through the cross of Christ - not His birth (Eph. 2:16).
His birth ushered the Prince of Peace into the world. The peace Jesus brought to earth is peace with God through the forgiveness of sins. When mortal enemies are reconciled to God their mutual strife is replaced with mutual peace "in one body", the church (Eph. 2:16-17).
We pray the bombings around the world will stop. The solution is peace with God in Christ, and nothing less.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/26/2011
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA