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Experiencing His resurrection

March 31, 2013

Easter SundayHe is risen

“Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her”.

John 20:11-18

 

Jesus is risen. Alleluia. All glory be to God! But it is not only today, but every day, that he is alive. And He is waiting for you to experience the divine power of His resurrection in your own life!

The most sensational news in the history of mankind is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Is this extraordinary news for you?

What would you consider to be extraordinary news? Is this not good news?

Surely, each of us has different parameters to define what represents good news. Well, actually, everyone more or less shares an idea of what makes news ‘good.’ And what does the word good mean? Something is good if it is nice, provides benefits or produces happiness.

“Benefit and happiness” are the two key words associated with “good” news. But how does the news of the resurrection benefit me as a Christian?

The resurrection is the proof that Jesus was what was said about him: The Son of God, the expected Messiah sent into the world by God and God’s ambassador. When Jesus rose, he showed his disciples, all of his followers and the world of his time that he truly had a divine power, which gave credit to everything that he had preached. The resurrection tells me today that all faith and hope that I deposit in the word of God, the Bible, will not disappoint me because it was proven to be true.

Jesus has risen means there is a warranty on the word of God, that Jesus is real and that he does what he promises.

Jesus has risen, means that God’s word is reliable and true, that the word of God is honest and powerful. That’s the benefit of knowing the good news of the resurrection.

And the happy part of this good news is that this should make me so glad that my life on this earth should be no longer be unhappy. I have no reason to live unhappily. Knowing that our existence on this earth is a limited time and that it all comes to an end, we should know that the good news is that beyond this physical death there is a resurrection of the body, as we say in our Creed. That’s the good news.

The secret for living happier is to use this good news daily in our earthly life. And today again, as in previous sermons, I ask this question: Are you happy? Are you living a life of happiness?

Even if you are not living the life that the world thinks as a good life, you should have no reason to live unhappily if you truly believe in the fact of the resurrection. This life, as we know, is fleeting and temporary. But what matters most is what happens beyond this life. If you can live each of your days, taking into account your eternal life ahead, your life here on earth will change dramatically for the better. If you can really put your trust in the fact of the resurrection and also in God’s favor and blessing that begins here on earth when you decide to believe in Christ as the Son of God, then your life will improve significantly.

There are many people who seek historical evidence to support the resurrection.

Today, in particular, we want to remember that:

  1. There are many who say that Jesus did not die. Jesus had undergone a Roman flogging; many people who received such treatment died during it. He was nailed to the cross for six hours. Could a man in such a condition push away a tomb stone of perhaps a ton and a half? The Roman soldiers were well convinced that Jesus died, or they would not have taken his body down from the cross. If they had let a prisoner escape, they would have been in danger of the death penalty. Also, when the soldiers discovered that Jesus was indeed dead, “one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” (Jn 19:34) This seems to be the separation of clot and serum, now understood as clear medical evidence that Jesus was dead. The evangelist John did not write this without reason. Since he did not have this modern medical knowledge, it makes his account that Jesus truly was dead even more powerful.
  1. Some said that the apostles stole the body and then spread the rumor that Jesus had risen. We must mention the fact that the tomb was guarded and that this theory is psychologically improbable. The disciples were depressed and disillusioned at the time of Jesus’ death. Something extraordinary would be needed to transform the apostle Peter into the man who preached at Pentecost when 3,000 people were converted. Also, if you think of all that the apostles had to suffer: flogging, torture and even death for some, it seems unthinkable that they might be prepared to face all this for something that they knew was not true.
  1. Some others said that the authorities had stolen the body. This seems to be the least probable of all. If the authorities had stolen the body, why did they not show it when it was rumored that Jesus was risen from the dead? Perhaps the most fascinating test of evidence related to the absence of Jesus is the description of the clothes of Jesus in the tomb that John does. The term “empty tomb” is actually a misnomer. When Peter and John go to the grave they found his clothes there. It is as if Jesus had passed through his clothes. It is no surprise that John saw and believed (Jn 20:8).
  1. His appearances to the disciples – were they perhaps hallucinations? Hallucinations usually occur in highly accelerated, highly imaginative and nervous people or who are sick or on drugs. The disciples do not fit into these categories. Rough fishermen, tax collectors and skeptics like Thomas are unlikely to hallucinate. Also, people who hallucinate often tend to stop doing it. Jesus appeared to his disciples on eleven different occasions over a period of six weeks. The number of times and the sudden end make it unlikely that they were hallucinations. In addition, more than 500 people saw Jesus. One person may hallucinate, or even two or three. But it is unlikely that 500 people have hallucinated at the same. Also, hallucinations are personal things, none of them is an objective reality; it is like seeing a ghost. But Jesus could be touched. He even ate fish (Luke 24:42,43) and once made breakfast for his disciples. They ate and drank with him, (Acts 10:41) and he had long conversations with them, teaching them many things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
  1. The immediate effect. The effect of Jesus, having risen from the dead, as one might expect, had a dramatic impact on the world. The church was born and grew at an incredible rate. It grew from a handful of fishermen to ‘conquering’ the Roman Empire after three hundred years.

f. The Christian experience. Millions of people, for many ages, have experienced the risen Christ in their lives. It has occurred to people of every race, social class, economic situation or intellectual capacity.

We can share what CS Lewis said: I am trying here to stop anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I have no problem to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I do not accept his claim to be God. “

That’s the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not have been a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who claims to be a scrambled egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can dismiss it as crazy, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He did not leave this option to us. It was not his intention”.

If someone would say today that there is still no demonstrable evidence that Jesus rose, I would not need this, because I know that Jesus lives in me, because I feel Him, I experience Him and I talk to him every morning and evening. If you want the evidence that Christ rose, you are invited to accept Him, to believe in Him and to begin to trust him and you will have the strongest proof that he is alive. You can experience His love, His power and the reality of a relationship that convinces you that he really is alive.

That is the good news of the Easter Resurrection. Do not look for Him only on the human side, look for Him on the spiritual side and you will experience the resurrection in your own life. Amen.

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