The Resurrection: The Foundation of the Gospel
Earlier this year, South African televangelist Alph Lukau created an international stir when a video of him reportedly resurrecting a dead man went viral. Controversy ensued when the resurrection was revealed to have been fabricated. Several of the participants were later arrested and charged in connection. For many, this was just another example in a long list of foolish and unbelievable claims made by Christians.
Miracles are by definition supernatural. That means that they cannot be explained or understood according to the natural laws of the universe. Many opponents of the Bible view the supernatural phenomena that are described in its pages (the parting of the Red Sea, the virgin birth, the resurrection of dead, etc.) as nothing more than mythology. To them, the resurrection of Jesus is no different than the publicity stunt that took place earlier this year.
If this is true, says the Apostle Paul, then we as Christians have a futile hope and should be pitied most of all (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). Paul's argument is quite simple, either Jesus was who he claimed to be (the incarnate God) and did what he claimed he would do (die and resurrect in three days) or everything we believe is of no value. The entirety of the Christian faith revolves around the resurrection. There really is no room for debate here.
As Justin mentioned in his message, in his resurrection, Jesus made death's bed. By overcoming death, he has made a way, through faith, for us to overcome it too. This is no trivial matter. Death is a reality of the human condition. To be human is to be mortal. Sin had plunged mankind into the grip of death, but the resurrection has set us free.
Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says, "In Scripture, the resurrection of Christ is no small thing, and that is certainly an understatement. The entirety of the Gospel depends on it: not merely the fact of Christ’s resurrection as important as that is, but the truth and the theology of the resurrection. Christ’s bodily resurrection in history means something specific in God’s eternal plan and what it means is that Messiah Jesus, God the Son incarnate, is none other than the sovereign Savior, Redeemer, King, and Judge."
What you truly believe about the resurrection is foundational to everything else you believe. Many so-called "Christians" pay lip service to the resurrection. We like what Jesus' promises mean for us, so we buy in at least to the extent that we get "what's in it for us" at minimal cost to our own way of life. However, if we truly believe that the tomb is empty - that Jesus is alive - then how can we not pour out our very lives in the pursuit of knowing him and making him known.
Alph Lukau fabricated a resurrection scheme because he wanted to trick people into believing that he was something he is not...to make much of himself. Jesus, God in the flesh, humbly subjected himself to a criminal's death in order to, by his resurrection, overcome death for the sake of many.
If you missed this week's sermon (or just want to listen again), follow the link below to listen. Or subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.
Part 3 - Thank You Jesus For Your Resurrection
Questions discussed in this sermon:
1. How did Jesus' followers respond to his death?
2. How does the empty tomb produce confidence in our faith?
3. How should we live in light of Jesus' resurrection?