Bible Study

The Resurrection
 
1 Corinthians 15:12 – 19?  ?I heard about a grandfather who wanted to see how much his four-year-old granddaughter knew about the Easter story. He put her on his lap and asked, “Julie, why do we celebrate Easter?” Without hesitating, she said, “Jesus was crucified. After He died, His body was put into a grave. They rolled a big stone in front of the opening. A bunch of soldiers guarded the tomb. On the third day, there was a big earthquake and the stone rolled away.”??Grandpa was pleased with how much his granddaughter knew about the Easter story but then she continued, “When the earthquake happened, the entire town came out by the grave. And if Jesus came out and saw His shadow, they knew there would be six more weeks of winter!” At least she had part of the story right.??Opening Argument??Let me say it as strongly as the Apostle Paul said it in 1 Corinthians 15:17: “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” The Resurrection is either one of the most wicked, heartless, vicious hoaxes ever or it is the most fantastic fact of history.??I will show you overwhelming proof that Jesus Christ did exactly what He predicted He would do — that on the third day He rose from the dead. Acts 1:3 states that “To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:”??That’s what I intend to do this morning — I’m going to present three pieces of evidence, that when taken together, will provide convincing proof that Jesus rose from the dead.

I. Exhibit A: The Empty Tomb??

  1. The Bible teaches that after the executioners crucified Jesus, His body was placed in a solid rock tomb.
    1. His body was covered with spices.
      1. It was wrapped in strips of linen cloth.
        1. A very large stone, estimated to weigh about 2 tons, was then rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb.
          1. 16 Roman soldiers was assigned to secure the tomb.
            1. Matthew 27:66 tells us that in addition to the Roman guard, they put a tamper-proof official Roman seal on the stone. Anyone who happened to make it past the Roman soldiers would then have to break this seal, thus incurring the wrath of the Roman law.??In spite of all these precautions – the stone, the soldiers, and the seal – the tomb was empty that first Easter morning! When the first people arrived to look in, they saw only one thing: the blood-stained burial cloths, as if Jesus had materialized right through them.??The empty tomb serves as Exhibit A. It is a powerful testimony to the Resurrection of Jesus. Critics down through the years have not been able to refute the empty tomb.?Instead they’ve come up with other possibilities. Maybe the disciples stole the body? But this seems far-fetched when you consider that this group of cowards would have had to overpower armed soldiers, roll away a two-ton boulder, dispose of the body, and then manufacture a myth about His resurrection — a myth that they gave their lives for. That doesn’t seem possible.??II. Exhibit B: Multiple Witnesses??The early Christians did not believe Jesus had risen just because of the empty tomb — they believed because they saw Him with their own eyes. When they talked to others about Jesus, they did not say, “We found an empty tomb,” instead, they said, “We saw Jesus alive!”??The most outstanding proof that Jesus rose from the dead is that more than 515 eyewitnesses saw him on 12 different occasions. Acts 1:3 says that, “To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”??Jesus gave unquestionable proof that He was alive! After His resurrection, He made an appearance to a woman in the cemetery. Later that same day, He walked through a closed door and talked with his frightened followers who were huddled in Jerusalem. In the evening, he walked side by side with two men as they made their way down a road. He appeared to believers and doubters; to tough-minded people and tenderhearted souls. Several people saw Him on more than one occasion, some alone, and some with large groups; sometimes at night and sometimes during the day. The apostle Paul, when writing a letter to a group of new Christians, laid it all out in 1 Corinthians 15:4-8: “And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”
              1. Those who met the Resurrected Jesus have had their lives totally transformed.
                1. The Resurrection is validated by the changed lives of His followers.
                  1. Something happened to change this original group of followers.
                    1. After Jesus was put to death, the disciples scattered. The Bible tells us that they were gathered in a locked room on the top floor of a building. They were filled with fear. ?Jesus has changed my life. And, from talking to many of you, I know that He has changed yours as well. His life-changing power is just as available to us today as it was to that group of frightened followers on Easter Sunday night.
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