Easter Evidence

The Easter Challenge  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:19
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There are not too many crime dramas that I haven’t seen over the last 20 years. CSI, CSI Miami, NCIS, NCIS New Orleans, SVU, Criminal Minds and I could name others. They all look for one thing to make their case and that is the evidence. You have no chance of winning a case in court without the proper evidence. If someone pleads not guilty, and you want to prove they did it, then you have to collect all the evidence that points to them. If you don’t know who the perpetrator is, then you have to collect the evidence to find out who did it.
The definition for the word evidence is something that furnishes proof.
First, let me begin by saying that I believe in the resurrection of Jesus. I believe that Jesus went to the cross. I believe that He died on that cross. And I believe that on the third day that weekend of the Passover He rose from the grave. Here is my evidence.
Jesus claim in John 14:6
John 14:6 NIV
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Without the Resurrection, this doesn’t make any sense. There are six items about Jesus life that proves He is the Son of God.

1. His Virgin Birth 2. His Sinless Life 3. His Miracles 4. His Substitutionary Work on the Cross 5. His Bodily Resurrection From the Dead 6. His Exaltation to the Right Hand of God

If you the resurrection did not happen, then Jesus is not the Son of God, then He is not the Messiah, and we are still waiting on the Messiah’s return. That is if the resurrection did not happen.
Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:17-18
1 Corinthians 15:17–18 NIV
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
Here is the events that happen after the sabbath.
After six o’clock on Saturday, “when the sabbath was past”, Mary Magdalene and the other women purchased spices and planned to complete the preparation of the body “very early” on the following morning, the first day of the week. When they visited the grave at dawn and discovered that the stone had been rolled back from the doorway, they were puzzled and alarmed. Mary Magdalene, assuming that the body had been removed, took off to notify the disciples, while the other women approached the tomb more closely. Upon entering, they were accosted by an angel, who informed them that Jesus had risen and the angel pointed out the place where He had been laid, evidently still marked by the graveclothes. Frightened and unnerved by the surprising news, they returned to Jerusalem only to meet Jesus, who instructed them to tell His disciples to proceed into Galilee, where He would rejoin them. Mary, in the meantime, informed Peter and John who ran to the tomb to investigate. John, having observed the graveclothes, evidently concluded that although the tomb was open, the body was still inside. Peter, following a few steps behind his companion, entered immediately and discovered that the body was missing. Puzzled by the strange phenomenon, and convinced that some unusual event had taken place, the disciples returned to their own group.
Paul gives us a list of those that Jesus appeared to after his resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
1 Corinthians 15:3–8 NIV
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
Jesus appearing to all of these people after his resurrection changed their life. There was a change that took place. There was a hope that began to spark something inside them that would change their life forever.
Can you imagine Peter’s reaction?
What about the other disciples?
Then Paul says there were more than 500 others.
Then Paul mentions James. This is Jesus’ brother. This is also the same guy that wrote the Book of James in the New Testament.
John7:5 tells us...
John 7:5 NIV
5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
Can you imagine the kind of family reunion they must of had after Jesus rose from the dead? And it wasn’t just James that believed after His resurrection, but look at Acts 1:14
Acts 1:14 NIV
14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
James became a great leader of the church in Jerusalem. As you read the book of James you will see that James gives us timeless truths that we as Christians must use to put our faith into action.
Then there is Paul. Paul felt unworthy to be called an apostle of Christ. Paul had felt first hand the Grace of Jesus Christ. Paul was on his way to persecute more Christians when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. He struck him with blindness and told him to stop persecuting him and go and tell others about His story. Paul was a witness to the Grace of God. He experienced his grace.
Before the crucifixion, every single one of the twelve disciples deserted Jesus and ran away. After the Resurrection, all eleven of the surviving disciples boldly proclaimed the message of His death and Resurrection. Something happened to them that can only be explained through their first hand witness of the Resurrection of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
If you have not experienced the transformative power of the Resurrection in your life, today is the day to enter into it. If you have already put your faith in Jesus, today is the day to move forward in its power to make you bold and make you free.
Think about this for just a moment. When you think of a relaxing place, probably none of us will raise our hand and suggest that we go take a nap at the graveyard. That is the last place that most of us would go to find hope. But the Resurrection does more than put a nice stamp on a tombstone. The Resurrection transforms the meaning, impact and result of the grave itself. Now the cold tomb is for us, a symbol of hope and life. Hope is now found in the tomb because Jesus was not found in the tomb. He died for our sins, and three days later, He rose again from the dead. And that changes everything!
I like what Author Clarence W. Hall said. He said,

“The resurrection of Jesus changes the face of death for all His people. Death is no longer a prison, but a passage into God’s presence. Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.” —Author Clarence W. Hall

The Resurrection completely transforms death. Without the Resurrection, death is the tragic ending to life. With the Resurrection, death is just the beginning of eternal life. Without the Resurrection, death is where our strength finally runs out. With the Resurrection, death is where our eternal glory begins.
A Christian’s life is now complete.

Watchman Nee said, “Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.”

The four Gospels are filled with evidence that Jesus was born of a virgin, He lived a sinless life, He performed miracles while living on this earth. It is filled with proof that He died on the cross as a substitute for us. And yes He rose from the dead. The grave could not hold Him any longer. And the fact that He ascended to the right hand of the father and today He is interceding there for you and me.
The evidence is there. The only other that is left for me to tell you is what Jesus did for me. Jesus loved me a sinner. I was not worthy to be called His child, but when I surrendered my life to Him, He was there with open arms to take me in and now I am set free.
That is what the Resurrection has done for me. The resurrection can bring you hope as well.
How many of you wear a cross around your neck? It is a very popular symbol in today culture. You have never seen a person wear a cross back during Jesus’ time. You would be the equivalent of us going around wearing a miniature electric chair around our necks. It just wouldn’t happen.
It just reminds us that God took something so grotesque and dark and broken and He resurrect it into something beautiful. That is what the Resurrection did for the Cross. Today I want to give everyone an opportunity to join in on the Resurrection right now. I want everyone to experience what it means to have your most ugly moments transformed into a story of God’s forgiveness, love and grace.
That change begins with prayer. But it doesn’t end there. Praying this prayer from your heart means that you want to live in the Resurrection for the rest of your life—and all eternity. It means that you will ask Jesus to forgive your sins and to guide your life. When you make this decision through this prayer, you will be changed—whether you feel it or not. You will be forgiven. You will be a child of God. But it’s not the end. It’s the beginning of lifelong transformation where the Resurrection works deeper and deeper into your heart as it comes out through your life. Whether you pray that for the first time right now or if you’ve given your life to Jesus years ago, I want to challenge you to come back and join us here next week and to take the next step in that journey.
So, if that’s the journey you want to begin, if you want to accept God’s invitation, pray this Resurrection prayer with me right now.
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