Why is the Resurrection of Jesus so Important?
Matthew 28:1-10 (Pastor Heo)
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; HE HAS RISEN, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
The first four books of the NT are “gospels” = “good news”.
All four end with the story of the crucifixion and resurrection. Therefore, this is the CORE message of the gospels – no doubt.
Before today’s topic, review last week’s “What does the cross say?”
Four things from last time:
- If a man was on the cross, he was TERRIBLY SINFUL and GUILTY. Jesus’ cross said, Jesus was innocent and blameless.
- A man was POWERLESS, Jesus was totally POWERFUL.
- A man was HARMFUL and SELFISH, Jesus was SACRIFICIALLY GIVING.
- A man was a MAN, Jesus was FULLY GOD.
- A man going HIS WAY – ALONE – separated from his loved ones, his family, his friends, relatives, neighbors. No one could be his company. Jesus EMBRACED ALL SINNERS in his heart, bringing ALL MEN to him.
Please see these spiritual truths now.
- Heb 1:11 “Faith is being sure of what we do not see.” Faith is power to see the invisible reality of the past, present, future. Ex: The sun rises every morning and sets every evening. Yes, it looks like this is true. But in the invisible reality, the sun is there ALL the time, in its place, fixed, and unmoving. Like this, in the spiritual world, in the sin phenomenon, we started to BE from our physical birth – yes, this is true – but spiritually speaking, we started to BE in the heart of God from the Creation of the world.
- Eph 4:1 “God chose us from the Creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”
Like this, invisible phenomenon, when Jesus was crucified 2000 years ago, we were not there, but in the unseen, spiritual world, WE WERE THERE WITH HIM – in his heart, when he died on the cross.
Yes, we know he was sinless, guiltless, blameless. Then, WHY did God forsake him? Jesus himself cried out in this manner. WHY? Because all sinners were gathered IN Jesus, and were punished. In the physical world, the Romans crucified Christ, but in the spiritual world, GOD crucified Christ.
- Gal 2:21
- Romans 8:6-8 “If we died with Christ, we believe we will live with him as well in his resurrection.”
What’s so important about it? (It’s the crux of our faith…)
This is THE central fact of Christian history. On the resurrection of Christ, the church is BUILT. Without this resurrection, there would be NO church today – none whatsoever.
Yes, there are other religions, they have their own ethics, doctrines, ideas, concepts about paradise. But only Christianity has a God who became human who became man, died for his people, and rose in glory to rule his people in power today.
The theme of Matthew = Kingship.
If ANYTHING proves the Kingship of Christ, it is his resurrection. The final chapter of Matthew is the Record of His Victory.
Two Mary’s came. Actually, they were not permitted to travel on the Sabbath, so they had to wait until after the Sabbath. These two had been there at the crucifixion AND when he’d been put into the tomb. And as dawn approached, they came to the tomb to anoint Christ’s body with perfumes (this was a sign of love, devotion, and respect). This would be like us bringing flowers to the tomb today. They were the FIRST to see the joy of the resurrection.
You remember, three days ago, there was an earthquake.
Wow, again on this morning, there was another VIOLENT earthquake. The angel came from heaven and removed the HUGE stone from the entrance of the tomb. (Why? – Not for Jesus to come out – he didn’t need that – but for the people to go IN – to SEE – he was risen).
“Good news of great joy!” once more:
1. “Don’t be afraid.”
(Jesus also said this to them at their FIRST meeting)
Are you afraid of something? We must remember the empty tomb. The reality of the empty tomb brings JOY, not fear.
33 years ago, there was the announcement of “good news of great joy” and this first message was “do not be afraid” – “TODAY a Savior has been born to you.”
2. “He is not here; he has risen – just as he said.”
Jesus was not to be looked from among the dead because he is alive with his people.
3. “Come and see.”
The tomb still is empty. This is a historical fact – if it were not empty, it would be a huge tourist spot – just like all the other prophet’s tombs.
4. “Go and tell.”
If we see that Jesus is resurrected, we must tell others. This is the normal course of a Christian’s life.
“Come and see; go and tell.”
Come to church, come to God, come to Christ, and SEE (many meanings – 30 meanings in the English language – understand, grasp, enjoy, believe, witness with your eyes, experience with your life).
Then, go to the world and TELL.
WHY is this resurrection SO important? There is MUCH to say, let me give you 4 points:
1. It is the fundamental doctrine of Christianity.
Without this, there is no church. Even today, many admit the necessity of the DEATH of Christ even if they don’t agree with his resurrection. Yet, this is VITALLY important – there is abundant evidence for it.
1 Cor 15 “The resurrection chapter” – shows that EVERYTHING in this world stands or falls on the resurrection. “If Jesus has NOT risen again from the dead, then ALL my preaching is a LIE – and we are ALL still in our SINS – and our faith is in VAIN – and all who have fallen asleep in Christ have PERISHED. So of ALL men on earth, we should be the MOST pitied IF Christ has not risen.” Also, if Jesus has not been raised, then the entire New Testament is worthless. The entire thrust of the book of Acts is emphasizing his resurrection.
2. It is important in the application of salvation.
Are you saved? “There is no other name under heaven be which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “God exhalted him to the highest place that Jesus might be the head of his church.” It was absolutely necessary that Jesus rise before he could baptize his believers in the Holy Spirit. All these are preparatory for his bestowing gifts on mankind.
Romans 5:10 “If when we were God’s enemies, we have been reconciled to God through the death of Christ, then HOW MUCH MORE shall we be saved through his LIFE.” His death saves us; His resurrection PERFECTS our salvation.
3. This is an exhibition of the divine power. (miracle) –
This is the performance of God’s power. In the OT, the standard of the divine power was often expressed in the way that God brought Israel out of slavery in Egypt.
In the NT, the standard of the divine power is expressed in the way that God brought us out of slavery to sin through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Phil 3:10 “I want to know Jesus Christ and the POWER of his resurrection, and the fellowship with sharing in his suffering…”
Remember, still today, this kind of power revealed in the resurrection is AVAILABLE for us to experience through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
4. The resurrection GUARANTEES our resurrection.
(He is the first fruits of many). Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me will live even though he dies.” (John)
Romans 8:11 “If the spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead is living in you, he will also raise you and give life to your mortal bodies.”
Jesus is the FIRST fruit. So we expect second fruit, third fruit, continual fruit. This is very logical and natural.
Last time, in #5, when Christ was crucified, we were WITH Christ. Our OLD self DIED with him on the cross. So when Christ ROSE, we also ROSE with him.
- Eph 2:5 “God who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our sins and transgressions. He has seated us (already) with Christ in the heavenly realms – so that he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed to us in Christ.”
Jesus resurrection body = a model of our own resurrection body we will receive someday soon.
- It will be REAL, tangible, touchable, recognizable as the SAME person.
- It will be a heavenly, imperishable, immutable, powerful, glorious, eternal body.
This is the power of the resurrection we can enjoy and experience even now and here in the name of Jesus Christ.
God bless us all with the power of the resurrection of Christ, now and in our daily lives.