The resurrection of King Jesus

Pastor Jeff Struecker

Last week, we started talking about Jesus being exalted, meaning that the king of the universe, who came down to Earth and went through terrible pain and suffering for us, now gets his rightful place among humanity. Now, let’s talk about Jesus’s resurrection because this is the most controversial moment in human history. I’m not exaggerating; you can look back over all the events in the recorded acts of human history. Nothing has as much criticism and controversy as one moment, three days after a Jewish rabbi died on a hilltop outside of Jerusalem. People criticize it, condemn it, and are confused about it, and to be honest with you, billions of people worldwide think it doesn’t matter if Jesus was the only human being raised from the grave.

I believe the scriptures are literal when they say that he was physically dead in a tomb from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning and that he came back out of that tomb, physically and literally alive again. And the scriptures are clear; he did it by his own power. If it were just him, we would all have no choice but to stand up and take notice.

Did you know that lots of people were raised from the dead? If you were to go back and read the Bible, many people in the Old Testament were raised from the dead, even after Jesus was raised from the dead. This is what the gospels teach us in the first four New Testament books. What makes Jesus’s resurrection any different than all the rest of them? What makes Jesus’s resurrection special? Well, that’s the question that I want to discuss with you. You see how important theology starts to get because Jesus made some claims that no other human being in history has ever dared to make and the ability to back them up. There have been some nut jobs out there that have claimed to be God in the flesh, claimed to be the messiah, and claimed to have unlimited power, but none of them have been able to back up what Jesus was able to back up.

He said, “If you destroy this body, this temple, in three days, I will raise it up again.” And people thought he was talking about that big church building in Jerusalem, but what he was trying to say is, “When I am laid in the ground three days later, I will come back again.”

I’ll tell you how big of a deal this is. There was a moment when some good friends of Jesus were struggling and suffering badly because they had just lost their brother to disease, and their brother was dead and in a tomb. Two of Jesus’s good friends by the name of Mary and Martha, have a brother named Lazarus, and they tell Jesus, “Hey, Lazarus is sick. He is your friend, and you love Lazarus. You need to come and heal Lazarus.” But Jesus deliberately doesn’t show up, and Lazarus dies when Jesus shows up on the scene. These women were broken, like any of us would be broken when we lost a close family member.

Jesus shows up on the scene and has a theological conversation with Mary. What’s fascinating about this conversation is in her head, she understands something, but in her heart, she doesn’t really realize how significant this moment is. And so I will put one very short verse from the Bible.   

Memory Verse

When Jesus is conversing with Mary, she believes he’s talking about the end when all human beings will return. She even says, “Jesus, I get it. All of us are going to be raised again.” And he said, “No, I don’t think you understand what I’m saying. Your brother is going to come back to life today. Do you believe that I can do this?” Then Jesus makes this bold statement to her. “I am the resurrection, and I am eternal life. If I say he’s coming back, he’s coming back because I have authority over life and death. ” And if you read the rest of this story from John Chapter 11, Jesus just calls the dead man’s name, and the breath returns to him. Lazarus, who was dead and in a tomb for four days, walks out of that tomb alive. Jesus demonstrates to Lazarus’ sisters and the world that he has authority over life and death.

Why is the resurrection so controversial? Because if he did claim that he had the power over life and death, and he backed it up by coming out of that tomb again, then we’ve got to listen to everything that he ever declared over us. So I have a question for you, and at first glance, this question will look super easy; it will look like no big deal. But if you think about it briefly, this question gets harder to answer; here it is,

Challenge

What difference did it make in your life yesterday? Because if that man has power over death, if he does promise that although you die, you will live again and be with him in paradise, then it should have helped you handle some problems, difficulties, and struggles yesterday. So did the resurrection of Jesus make a difference in your life yesterday? Do you believe it? Do you trust that this man has power over life and death and he can change your life, even the day-to-day stuff of your life?