Good News Week 64. Good News Of A Physical Resurrection


Good News

Well, we’ve reached the end of our journey thru the Gospel of Luke.
It has been a journey of Good News for the poor, broken, weak, burdened, hopeful, longing, needful.
It’s been Good News for men and women, young and old, black, white, brown, and every shade and hue.
It’s Good News.
It’s Good News for the 1st century Jew and Gentile and the 21st century man and woman from Jerusalem to Johannesburg, from Tokyo to Tijuana, from Milan to Mobile.
This is Good News for everyone.
Luke 24:46–47 CSB
46 He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
That’s the Greatest Good News in history.
All that Jesus did - all His miracles, all His teaching, the mission of His life was proved and confirmed by His resurrection.
His resurrection is what separates Jesus from every other mystic, teacher, religious figure, shaman, prophet, revolutionary, or miracle-worker.
The resurrection of Jesus is the validity to His claims of Messiah and LORD.
The Apostle Paul said this about Jesus bodily resurrection from the grave - 1 Corinthians 15:14-19
1 Corinthians 15:14–19 CSB
14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith. 15 Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified wrongly about God that he raised up Christ—whom he did not raise up, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Those, then, who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.
Think about this statement - this is a statement from a man who risked his life for the Gospel, a man who left his powerful position persecuting followers of Jesus.
This is a statement that basically says - if Jesus wasn’t raised we are all wasting our time and our lives talking about Jesus.
And Paul says that not 2000 years removed from the crucifixion and empty tomb but just a few years removed.
People who saw Jesus face to face, saw the crucifixion, and saw the empty tomb where still alive.
Paul, and as a matter of fact, the whole early church based their faith in Jesus because of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
We believe Jesus saves us from sin and death because of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
If Jesus isn’t raised from the dead we are hopeless, pitiful, gullible, souls just as lost as newborn without her mother.
It’s this bodily resurrection of Jesus that gives us hope, not just in this life but also in the age to come.
The resurrection proves that Jesus death really does deal with my sin and that the curse of death has been broken by Jesus sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection.
Much of this sermon series thru the Good News of Luke has been to point us back to Jesus.
Our faith is in Jesus.
His bodily resurrection is the proof that our faith is not vain, meaningless, empty.
I’m not a ChristIan because I believe the Bible.
I’m a Christian because I believe in the risen Christ Jesus.
I believe the Bible because I’m a Christian.
The Bible tells me about the risen Christ, but history also tells me about Christ.
DR William Lane Craig (a brilliant man, apologist and philosopher and theologian) says this about the historical reality of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Most people are happy to agree that God exists; but in our pluralistic society it has become politically incorrect to claim that God has revealed Himself decisively in Jesus.  What justification can Christians offer, in contrast to Hindus, Jews, and Muslims, for thinking that the Christian God is real?
The answer of the New Testament is:  the resurrection of Jesus.  “God will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed.  He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17.31).  The resurrection is God’s vindication of Jesus’ radical personal claims to divine authority.
So how do we know that Jesus is risen from the dead?   The Easter hymnwriter says, “You ask me how I know he lives?  He lives within my heart!”   This answer is perfectly appropriate on an individual level.  But when Christians engage unbelievers in the public square—such as in “Letters to the Editor” of a local newspaper, on call-in programs on talk-radio, at PTA meetings, or even just in conversation with co-workers—, then it’s crucial that we be able to present objective evidence in support of our beliefs.  Otherwise our claims hold no more water than the assertions of anyone else claiming to have a private experience of God.
Fortunately, Christianity, as a religion rooted in history, makes claims that can in important measure be investigated historically.  Suppose, then, that we approach the New Testament writings, not as inspired Scripture, but merely as a collection of Greek documents coming down to us out of the first century, without any assumption as to their reliability other than the way we normally regard other sources of ancient history.  We may be surprised to learn that the majority of New Testament critics investigating the gospels in this way accept the central facts undergirding the resurrection of Jesus.   I want to emphasize that I am not talking about evangelical or conservative scholars only, but about the broad spectrum of New Testament critics who teach at secular universities and non-evangelical seminaries.  Amazing as it may seem, most of them have come to regard as historical the basic facts which support the resurrection of Jesus.  These facts are as follows:
FACT  #1:  After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea.
FACT #2:  On the Sunday following the crucifixion, Jesus’ tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers.
FACT #3:  On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus alive from the dead.
FACT #4:  The original disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite their having every predisposition to the contrary.  Think of the situation the disciples faced after Jesus’ crucifixion:
1.  Their leader was dead.  And Jews had no belief in a dying, much less rising, Messiah.  The Messiah was supposed to throw off Israel’s enemies (= Rome) and re-establish a Davidic reign—not suffer the ignominious death of criminal. 2.  According to Jewish law, Jesus’ execution as a criminal showed him out to be a heretic, a man literally under the curse of God (Deut. 21.23).  The catastrophe of the crucifixion for the disciples was not simply that their Master was gone, but that the crucifixion showed, in effect, that the Pharisees had been right all along, that for three years they had been following a heretic, a man accursed by God! 3.  Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone’s rising from the dead to glory and immortality before the general resurrection at the end of the world.  All the disciples could do was to preserve their Master’s tomb as a shrine where his bones could reside until that day when all of Israel’s righteous dead would be raised by God to glory.
Despite all this, the original disciples believed in and were willing to go to their deaths for the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. Luke Johnson, a New Testament scholar from Emory University, muses, “some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was . . . .”4  N. T. Wright, an eminent British scholar, concludes, “that is why, as a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him.”
I’m a believer in the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
It’s the foundation of our faith.
It’s the proof of the claims of Jesus.
It’s why I live my life surrendered and submitted to the life and teachings of Jesus.
I’m not interested in following a moral code that has no real authority.
I’m not interested in following a rules and rituals that have no salvific power.
I’m not interested in following a god that isn’t revealed in the resurrected Jesus.
If Jesus is not raised and the resurrection not the reality than I have no use for religion.
I’m not interested in religion as a panacea for the masses - as a way to control a populace or keep a civic society.
I’m interested in Jesus - His life, His teachings, His miracles, His authority, His power, His ethic, His ethos, His character, His righteousness, His understanding of the law and prophets, His sacrificial love, His Truth, His mercy, His grace, His preaching, His prayers, His nature, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His promised return, and His promise to resurrect all those who have been made righteous thru His death..
I’m interested in Jesus.
As since I’m interested in Jesus, I’m interested in His bodily resurrection.
Again, it’s the lynchpin of this whole movement.
And that’s not just my argument, that’s the argument Jesus makes before His ascension.
Luke 24:36–52 (CSB)
36 As they were saying these things, he himself stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. 38 “Why are you troubled?” he asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” 40 Having said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 But while they still were amazed and in disbelief because of their joy, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 So they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.
44 He told them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”
50 Then he led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 And while he was blessing them, he left them and was carried up into heaven. 52 After worshiping him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

A Ghost Does Not have Flesh And Bones

A ghost does not have flesh and bone.
Luke records these words from Jesus.
And this claim of bodily resurrection is repeated over and over by the Apostles in their sermons and in their letters to the church.
But it’s not a claim invented by the Apostles.
It’s a claim made by Jesus.
A spiritual resurrection or a metaphysical resurrection or a metaphorical or allegorical resurrection would have been an easier sell if they were inventing a story or a movement.
A spiritual resurrection could be ethereal and easy to get gnostics and Jews to believe.
They could say, just like His spirit was raise so will your spirit be raised.
But what kind of allegory would a bodiless resurrection be?
What would it allegories if it wasn’t based in a reality.
Convincing people to believe a man whom they had seen crucified was alive, that’s a harder sell.
But it the story they were convinced was true.
Over and over the Apostles talk about not just a spiritual resurrection for those who put their faith in Jesus but an actual bodily resurrection for believers in Jesus.
A ghost does not have flesh and blood.
Jesus claims to have flesh and blood.
Jesus also can appear from seemingly nowhere.
His body is supernatural.
It’s natural and super.
It’s resurrected.
The bodily resurrection matters.
Dr. Benjamin C F Shaw puts it this way,
“Jesus’s resurrection is “of first importance” for the Gospel message (1 Cor. 15:1–3). Through this event, Christians are justified before God (Rom. 4:25) and are able to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:15; Eph. 2:1–10; Col. 3:1). Additionally, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead will also raise believers (Rom. 6:5, 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:14; Phil. 3:20–21; 1 Thess. 4:13–14). But without the resurrection, we are still in our sins, have lied about God, have a worthless faith, and are most to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:12–19, 32–34).
Given its centrality to the Christian message, it should not come as a surprise that Jesus’s resurrection is also found throughout the sermons in Acts (2–5, 10, 13, 17). In these sermons, the apostles would point out that they were witnesses to the resurrected Jesus (2:32, 3:15). Paul refers to the resurrection as the proof that a day has been fixed when man will be judged (17:31, cf. 10:42) and those who believe and follow after Jesus receive forgiveness of sins (10:43, 13:38).”
In an article on the reality of the resurrection, Zach Zavada says
“Archaeological discoveries continue to support the Bible's historical accuracy. We tend to forget that the Gospels and book of Acts are eyewitness accounts of the life and death of Jesus.
Further nonbiblical evidence for Jesus' existence comes from the writings of Flavius Josephus, Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, and the Jewish Sanhedrin.”
He then lists 7 evidences of the resurrection. I want to share them with you. Write them down.

The Resurrection Proof #1: The Empty Tomb of Jesus

The empty tomb may be the strongest proof Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Two major theories have been advanced by unbelievers: someone stole Jesus' body or the women and disciples went to the wrong tomb. The Jews and Romans had no motive to steal the body. Christ's apostles were too cowardly and would have had to overcome the Roman guards. The women who found the tomb empty had earlier watched Jesus being laid away; they knew where the correct tomb was. Even if they had gone to the wrong tomb, the Sanhedrin could have produced the body from the right tomb to stop the resurrection stories. Jesus' burial cloths were left neatly folded inside, hardly the act of hurrying grave robbers. Angelssaid Jesus had risen from the dead.

The Resurrection Proof #2: The Holy Women Eyewitnesses

The holy women eyewitnesses are further proof that the Gospels are accurate historical records. If the accounts had been made up, no ancient author would have used women for witnesses to Christ's resurrection. Women were second class citizens in Bible times; their testimony was not even allowed in court. Yet the Bible says the risen Christ first appeared to Mary Magdalene and other holy women. Even the apostles did not believe Mary when she told them the tomb was empty. Jesus, who always had special respect for these women, honored them as the first eyewitnesses to his resurrection. The male Gospel writers had no choice but to report this embarrassing act of God's favor, because that was how it happened.

The Resurrection Proof #3: Jesus' Apostles' New-Found Courage

After the crucifixion, Jesus' apostles hid behind locked doors, terrified they would be executed next. But something changed them from cowards to bold preachers. Anyone who understands human character knows people do not change that much without some major influence. That influence was seeing their Master, bodily risen from the dead. Christ appeared to them in the locked room, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and on the Mount of Olives. After seeing Jesus alive, Peter and the others left the locked room and preached the risen Christ, unafraid of what would happen to them. They quit hiding because they knew the truth. They finally understood that Jesus is God incarnate, who saves people from sin.

The Resurrection Proof #4: Changed Lives of James and Others

Changed lives are yet another proof of the resurrection. James, the brother of Jesus, was openly skeptical that Jesus was the Messiah. Later James became a courageous leader of the Jerusalem church, even being stoned to death for his faith. Why? The Bible says the risen Christ appeared to him. What a shock to see your own brother, alive again, after you knew he was dead. James and the apostles were effective missionaries because people could tell these men had touched and seen the risen Christ. With such zealous eyewitnesses, the early church exploded in growth, spreading west from Jerusalem to Rome and beyond. For 2,000 years, encounters with the resurrected Jesus have changed lives.

The Resurrection Proof #5: Large Crowd of Eyewitnesses

A large crowd of more than 500 eyewitnesses saw the risen Jesus Christ at the same time. The Apostle Paul records this event in 1 Corinthians 15:6. He states that most of these men and women were still alive when he wrote this letter, about 55 A.D. Undoubtedly they told others about this miracle. Today, psychologists say it would be impossible for a large crowd of people to have had the same hallucination at once. Smaller groups also saw the risen Christ, such as the apostles, and Cleopas and his companion. They all saw the same thing, and in the case of the apostles, they touched Jesus and watched him eat food. The hallucination theory is further debunked because after the ascension of Jesus into heaven, sightings of him stopped.

The Resurrection Proof #6: Conversion of Paul

The conversion of Paul records the most drastically changed life in the Bible. As Saul of Tarsus, he was an aggressive persecutor of the early church. When the risen Christ appeared to Paul on the Damascus Road, Paul became Christianity's most determined missionary. He endured five floggings, three beatings, three shipwrecks, a stoning, poverty, and years of ridicule. Finally the Roman emperor Nero had Paul beheaded because the apostle refused to deny his faith in Jesus. What could make a person willingly accept—even welcome—such hardships? Christians believe the conversion of Paul came about because he encountered Jesus Christ who had risen from the dead.

The Resurrection Proof #7: They Died for Jesus

Countless people have died for Jesus, absolutely certain that the resurrection of Christ is an historical fact. Tradition says ten of the original apostles died as martyrs for Christ, as did the Apostle Paul. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of early Christians died in the Roman arena and in prisons for their faith. Down through the centuries, thousands more have died for Jesus because they believed the resurrection is true. Even today, people suffer persecution because they have faith that Christ rose from the dead. An isolated group may give up their lives for a cult leader, but Christian martyrs have died in many lands, for nearly 2,000 years, believing Jesus conquered death to give them eternal life.

What the Bodily Resurrection Means For Us

Luke 24:48–49 CSB
48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”
So what does the resurrection mean for us?
Why does the bodily resurrection matter?
Listen, I know I’m giving you a lot of information, but this is important.
This is why we are Christians.
And the bodily resurrection has big implications and even bigger blessings for us.
Because of the bodily resurrection of Jesus we have

An Eternal Savior. 

Romans 6:9 CSB
because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over him.

Forgiveness From Sins

Acts 5:31 CSB
God exalted this man to his right hand as ruler and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Living Hope 

1 Peter 1:3 CSB
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Our Sin Guilt Removed

1 Corinthians 15:17 CSB
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

The Holy Spirit. 

Acts 2:32–33 CSB
“God has raised this Jesus; we are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since he has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, he has poured out what you both see and hear.

Our Condemnation Removed 

Romans 8:34 CSB
Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

The Promise Of Jesus Presence

Matthew 28:20 CSB
teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Proof of Righteous Judgement

Acts 17:31 CSB
because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Rescue & Reconciliation 

1 Thessalonians 1:10 CSB
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Romans 5:10 CSB
For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.

Bodily Resurrection From The Dead. 

1 Corinthians 15:20 CSB
But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 6:14 CSB
God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
Romans 8:11 CSB
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.
2 Corinthians 4:14 CSB
For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you.
To repeat Paul, if Christ had not been raised we are most miserable.
But praise be to God, Jesus has been raised to life on the third day as spoken by the prophets.
And our response to the bodily resurrection of Jesus should be the same as the disciples as they watched this Jesus who was dead but is alive ascend to the heavens - WORSHIP & JOY
Luke 24:50–52 CSB
Then he led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. And while he was blessing them, he left them and was carried up into heaven. After worshiping him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

Our Response To The Resurrection

These disciples who had been hiding out, confused, uncertain of what would happened to them after the crucifixion of Christ were transformed.
From worriers to worshippers.
From despair to joy.
From fear to peace.
From chaos to calm.
From defeat to victory.
From death to life.
Everything changed because of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
If youre one of the disciples that day why would you not worship and be by joyous.
If Jesus has been raised from the dead what is there to fear?
Jesus has proven true his statement to Martha at the death of Lazarus is true, John 11:25
John 11:25 CSB
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.
If Jesus has been raised from the dead then why worry about persecution, or imprisonment, or death, or exploitation, or poverty, or sickness… You saw a dead man raised to life - nothing is impossible.
Jesus had been raised to life, nothing can stop God’s love.
Romans 8:31–39 CSB
31 What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? 33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. 35 Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our joy isn’t a denial of our suffering.
Our joy is in the reality of the resurrected Christ Jesus.
Because Jesus was raised to life, like Paul, I am convinced, I am persuaded that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.
So we worship.
And we find joy in the reality of the resurrected Christ.
As Tim Keller said while fighting his battle with cancer, “If the resurrection is true, then everything’s going to be alright.”
“If the resurrection of Jesus Christ really happened, then ultimately, God is going to put everything right. Suffering is going to go away. Evil is going to go away. Death is going to go away.”
TIM KELLER, 1950-2023
This is our hope.
This is our confidence.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more