The Resurrecting God

The God Who Is  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:25
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The unique death of Jesus accomplished something that is often misunderstood. The triumphant resurrection demands an appropriate response.

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Each of the 4 gospels is written from a unique perspective and contain or omit certain scenes from Jesus life. No one gospel contains all of Jesus’ life events. Mark says nothing about his birth, Matthew alone tells us of Herod’s plot to kill all the babies and the flight to Egypt. Only Luke tells us of Jesus’ presentation at the Temple on the eighth day when he would have been circumcised (Lk 2:27).
But there is one series of events that appears in all 4 gospels with various details: the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This morning we will focus on 2 texts; the crucifixion from Matthew’s account and the resurrection according to John.

Matthew’s Ironies of the Cross (Mt 27:27-51)

The Truth in the Teasing (MT 27:27-31)

Matthew 27:27–31 ESV:2016
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.
1. Beatings before crucifixion were common. But the crown of thorns, the purple robe and the teasing are unique.
2. Matthew’s purpose throughout has been to document the Kingly nature of Jesus.
3. Not a kingdom of POWER, but of SERVICE.
In my opinion the reason that our country is so divided politically, and the reason 3rd-party candidates do not have a chance in national elections, is because our main parties have lost a focus upon serving and exchanged it for a force of power.
In the mid 1970’s there was a triad of statements that appeared in several political discussions ranging from crop production to Child abuse prevention to problems of the elderly.
This triad has been labeled as the “Three most unbelieved statements in the world” or the “Three biggest lies in the world. The 2nd statement varies, but the first and third are the same in all three accounts:
1) The check is in the mail
2) Next year your taxes are going to be lower
3) I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
The reason this statement is unbelieved is that too many politicians (not all, but too many) believe, just as the soldiers in Mt 27, that a kingdom is primarily about power, rather than service.
Hear me clearly when I say not all. 1. Because I have not met all politicians and I am unqualified to make such a statement. 2. Because I don’t want to paint all government as evil. There are many who hold office or employment from school boards to federal departments who do so because they truly want to make like better for their constituents.
4. Jesus was not recognized as a king because he had come to serve and had said the greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves selflessly. This message did not mesh with the image that the soldiers had of a king.

Apparently Passive, but Absolutely Powerful (Mt 27:32-40)

Matthew 27:32–40 ESV:2016
32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
1. Beatings were used to accelerate crucifixion
2. Crucifixion ended by suffocation, not exsanguination. (loss of breath, not loss of blood)
By trade a carpenter, Jesus is now so weak he cannot lift a piece of wood, so they have to conscript somebody else to do it for them, a man identified as Simon from Cyrene.”[i]
4. V.40 is a reference to the previous chapter (Mt 26). The Temple was the meeting place between God and man. Jesus redefines “temple” as his own body. But the mockers do not make the connection, for they are indeed participating in the very prophecy that what they are destroying will be rebuilt in 3 days.

The Sacrificing Saver (Mt 27:41-42)

Matthew 27:41–42 ESV:2016
41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.
1. What does it mean “To save”?
a. To stockpile money.
b. To prevent a ball from entering the goal or a puck from entering the net.
c. To preserve data for future use
d. 3 weeks ago I spoke about the name Joseph was to give the babe when God became a man. He was to be called Jesus/ יְהוֹשׁוּעַ/ Ἰησοῦς/YHWH saves because “he would save the people from their sins.”
2. The mockers think that saving himself would mean shortening his suffering or avoiding death. But Jesus knew, Matthew knew, and conscientious readers know that by staying on that cross until death was complete was the ONLY way for Jesus to be a true Savior.
3. “If he does save himself, I am damned. It is only by not saving himself that he saves me.”[ii]
Those who mocked Christ for not coming off the cross misunderstood the character quality that we now consider heroic. Play video of National Medal of Honor recipient

Confidence that appears as Despair (Mt 27:43-51)

Matthew 27:43–51 ESV:2016
43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
1. Jesus quotes the first line of the first verse of Ps 22. Due to the weakness from blood loss and pulling himself up for every breath, I’m sure that his speech was not as clear as when he preached to the crowds. Because his words are not what one would expect, the crowds misunderstand his words.
2. Mark transcribes the Hebrew (Eloi) while Matthew transcribes the spoken Aramaic (Eli).
3. PS 22:1-8 are words of deep anguish in apparent abandonment and mockery. Then in vv.9-10 the psalmist expresses confidence throughout life.
Psalm 22:9–10 ESV:2016
9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. 10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
4. The psalm speaks in the next few verses about the anguish of a person who is near to death. Then the tone changes in vv.27-28
Psalm 22:27–28 ESV:2016
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. 28 For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
5. “Why have you forsaken me” is not an indictment against the Father. It is shorthand for “consider this psalm because it reminds us that after Anguish and pain, God ultimately receives worship.
Transition: The message of the cross of Calvary sets Christianity apart from all other world religions and worldviews. Neither Moses, Muhammed, Buddha, or Confucius, nor ANY politician or philosopher has ever claimed to die in your place. This makes the claim that all religions lead to the same place, an idea that is ludicrous. This idea is rooted in a total misunderstanding of who Jesus is and what He did for you.

Jesus bore the FULL power of Temptation

Imagine a soldier who is captured and taken to a POW camp. Day after day he is mistreated and interrogated. He remains faithful to his oath of allegiance and offers only name, rank, and serial number.
But weeks turn into months turn into years and finally one day the lies and torture become too great and he surrenders to the demands of the guards.
What the soldier did not know is that peace talks were underway and the enemy knew that a surrender was imminent, but they remained relentless in their techniques.
The following day, before the US forces have opportunity to liberate the camp, the enemy torch the entire prison killing all the POWs.
Only those who endured until death could be said to have endured the full extent of the enemies attack.
Transition: When Jesus remained upon that cross, amidst all the taunting and jeering, he was bearing the full weight of temptation. Not 95%, Not 99%, but the full temptation that Satan could hurl at him. Then three days later something miraculous happened. As important as the Crucifixion is, the Resurrection is equally true.

Disappointment and Doubt get Reversed (John 20:24-28)

In addition to all the appearances of the resurrected Christ recorded between the resurrection and ascension, perhaps a more convincing proof is that the witnesses went to their graves, many of them martyrs, proclaiming that Jesus had been raised.

Doubt that comes from Hurt (John 20:24-25)

John 20:24–25 ESV:2016
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
1. He had gone “all in” on following Jesus and he did not see it all ending in beating and crucifixion.
2. He thinks he has been fooled once and he wasn’t going to be fooled again simply on the word of someone else – even 10 someone elses.
3. Notice that Thomas is identified as a “twin”
Perhaps Thomas and his brother had pulled tricks on other people intentionally with one pretending to be the other. Perhaps Thomas had mistakenly been identified as his doppelganger. With this history, Thomas wants to make sure that whomever the others had seen not only looked like Jesus, but actually was Jesus.
4. He wanted to make sure that the same body that went into the tomb was the same body that they say came out of the tomb.

Doubt that Turns to Devotion (John 20:26-28)

John 20:26–28 ESV:2016
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
1. How did Jesus come to know the requirements that Thomas had uttered to the others?
2. Notice the time indicators. A week passes between vv. 25 & 26. The others are telling Thomas what they saw. Thomas is reviewing in his mind the 3 years prior to the Cross. He is evaluating the miracles and teachings of Jesus, when Jesus appears and answers the very demands that Thomas had specified.
3. Thomas synthesizes all that he had seen and heard and he reconciles these scenes with the body standing before him. This moves Thomas to a declaration of submission and worship.
Transition: Over the last hour we have sung songs that honor our God. We have shared in bread and the fruit of the vine as a testimony of the death of our Messiah, and we have studies the holy revelation of God describing the event that we commemorate in communion.


As Jesus stood before Thomas, it demanded a response.
As the spiritual presence of Jesus fills this room, it demands your response. What will you do with Jesus?
Will he remain as he was in the mind of Thomas on that first Sunday? Someone who did good things and was crucified and buried. Or will you confess along with Thomas from the following week? The one who went into the tomb is the one who came out of the tomb, and He is my Lord and my God.
He is the one worthy of my devotion. He is the one I worship as the Creator and Judge of all that lives.
[i] D. A. Carson, The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010), 157.
[ii] Ibid., 159.
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