Resurrection Day 2023

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Here we are, another year and another Resurrection Day message.
I don’t mean to say that the Resurrection is boring,
But how many times can I extol the wonder of the Resurrection without simply repeating myself over and over again.
Like some bad Groundhog Day knockoff?
After all...
Lamentations 3:22–23 NKJV
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
So every year I want to learn something new about the resurrection.
And each year that seems to get harder and harder.
This year, God gave me another view which I hadn’t thought of before.
But let’s start from the beginning...
The resurrection starts with the crucifixion.
The meaning of which we find well described in Isaiah 53
Isaiah 53:3–7 NKJV
He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
The crucifixion is not only about Christ’s pain and suffering,
But why He was willing to suffer so.
We despised Him, we rejected Him, yet He suffered for us.
Jesus was acquainted with grief and sorrow, and bore our sins.
He was stricken by God for us, He was afflicted FOR US.
He was wounded to pay for our transgressions, and bruised for our shortcomings.
And by His pain and suffering, we ARE healed.
We did not earn it, we do not deserve it,
Yet He did it anyway.
He was slaughtered like a sheep, silently paying for our sins.
And if the story stopped there, where would we be?
I believe we would be dead, but not punished.
But that is NOT the end of the story.
There were several resurrections recorded in Scripture before Jesus’.
The most famous of which is probably Lazarus.
When his sisters confronted Jesus,
Confused about why He did not heal their brother,
They looked forward to a future resurrection,
But Jesus was looking much closer.
John 11:24–25 NKJV
Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
Martha knew that her brother would rise again, but she was missing the point.
Jesus IS the resurrection and the life.
In Romans, Paul gives us a clue about why the resurrection is important.
Romans 1:4 NKJV
and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with the power of the Spirit by His resurrection.
How many people have died to save others,
But they were not the Son of God.
Because God the Father did not declare them to be.
Jesus did not resurrect Himself,
God the Father resurrected Him.
Luke 23:46 NKJV
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.
Jesus handed over his spirit to God the Father,
He trusted Him with His resurrection.
Why is this so important to us?
Romans 6:5 NKJV
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
If we have been joined with Jesus in His death, we are also joined in His resurrection.
His resurrection, which we celebrate today, in the proof of our future resurrection.
It is not only important that we understand that our resurrection is proved by His,
But that Christ’s resurrection is real.
1 Corinthians 15:12–15 NKJV
Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise.
Think of how much weight we put on our eternal life,
But without a resurrection, what is that life?
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are placing our trust not only in Him, but in His resurrection.
If Christ is not risen, why should we believe we will be?
And what a pitiable state that would leave us in.
1 Corinthians 15:16–19 NKJV
For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Think about it,
How many brothers and sisters in Christ are we looking forward to seeing?
How much of you done because you expect to meet Jesus, either directly from this earth or after the resurrection?
If Christ was not risen, then our lives would be futile.
Because when we die, there would be nothing left.
No homes in heaven.
No streets of gold.
No life eternal with God.
Thank God, we are not left in such a pitiable estate.
1 Corinthians 15:20 NKJV
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Jesus is the first of those raised from the dead.
Which means there will be more.
But Paul, you’ve already said there were resurrections before Jesus.
How can He be the first?
Because Lazarus and the others were raised to life.
Jesus was the first raised to eternal life.
Lazarus’ body died again,
He went the way of all flesh.
But because of Jesus’ death and resurrection,
Lazarus, Martha, and Mary could be raised to eternal life.
And so can you.
1 Corinthians 15:21–23 NKJV
For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
Adam brought death into the world by ignoring God’s command.
Jesus brought life into the world by obedience to God’s will.
Mark 14:36 NKJV
And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
That act of obedience,
The trusting of God the Father with His spirit,
Was not only the event that led to Christ’s resurrection, but our own.
By celebrating Christ’s resurrection, we are also celebrating our future resurrection.
Or as Peter put it...
1 Peter 1:3 NKJV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Our hope comes through the resurrection of Jesus.
We can hope for eternal life because the Father resurrected Jesus,
And He has promised to do so for us as well.
We have hope, that in God’s time, we will see Him again,
In the flesh.
Revelation 20:4–6 NKJV
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
This understanding,
That no matter what happens to us here in the world,
Our future is secure.
Because God the Father proved it through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.
That since He has risen, we to shall rise in our proper time.
This should lead us not only to a stronger faith,
But a stronger walk through this world.
I’ve often wondered about the life Lazarus led after the resurrection.
Part of me imagines him walking around with a t-shirt that says:
“DEATH: Been There, Done That. Here’s the T-Shirt!”
In reality, it was probably more like Paul’s witness to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 15:55 NKJV
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
If you know you will be resurrected, what is there to be frightened of about death?
There’s another example in:
Acts 4:18–20 NKJV
So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Imagine the bravery to stand before the court and say,
Whether you are right or wrong, I must do what my Lord has told me.
I can only see that coming from someone for who death no longer has a sting.

Conclusion

Today is a day of celebration.
Or as I heard one commentator put it, the Festival of the Resurrection.
A day to not only remember the resurrection of our Lord, but to look forward to our own resurrections.
To renew our faith in our eternal future with God.
And to stand and say:
1 Corinthians 15:55 NKJV
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
We can make such a statement only because our Lord and Savior has made a way for us.
First by paying for our sins.
Then, by trusting in God the Father for His resurrection.
As you go home and celebrate this day with your families,
Let it now be about bunnies, eggs, and chocolate,
But about the greatest gift ever given to man.
Eternal Life!