Now I know this message sounds kind of like a downer, but the darker the dark the brighter the light.  Notice the next eight words:  "But now Christ is risen from the dead. . ." (v.20)  I've got great news for you today.  We do have a message--Jesus is Alive.    We do have a mission; we are to tell everyone we know that Jesus is alive.  We do have a ministry; because Jesus is alive we can offer life to the dying and hope to the living.

  Arnold Toynbee, the eminent British historian, once said, "If the body of one Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, can be produced, then Christianity will crumble into a lifeless religion."  Toynbee was right.  The only problem is nobody has found the body and nobody will find the body, unless you look for it sitting at the right hand of God the Father.

  As much as I marvel at the virgin birth of Jesus; as much as I wonder at the sinless life of Jesus; as much as I glory in the cross of Jesus; it is the resurrection of Jesus that makes Christianity unique among all of the world religions.  Confucius died and he was buried.  Lao-tzu, the father of Taoism wandered off into the wilderness and died with his water buffalo.  The Buddha rotted away with food poisoning.  Muhammad died in 632 and his body was cut up and spread all over the Near East.  But Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.  On that single statement hinges the only hope of the human race, both in this life and in the life to come.

A Buddhist in Africa was converted to Christianity.  They asked this Buddhist why did you change your faith?  Here's what he said:  "It's like this:  If you are walking along and came to a fork in the road and two men were there, and one was dead and the other was alive, which man's directions would you follow?" 

That really is the question.  You have the right and you have the freedom to choose a dead Muhammad, a dead Lao-tzu, a dead Buddha, a dead Confucius.  But I say loudly and I say proudly I choose to follow the only One who is raised from the dead and lives forever and his name is Jesus. 

Endnotes

1 RICHARD N. OSTLING, "JESUS CHRIST, PLAIN AND SIMPLE," TIME, 10 JANUARY 1994.

2 THOMAS JEFFERSON, THE JEFFERSON BIBLE (BOSTON: BEACON PRESS, 1989), 147.

Sermon courtesy of:  www.sermonsearch.com.


Dr. James Merritt is pastor of Cross Point Church near Atlanta and host of the television broadcast "Touching Lives." Sharing God's powerful message through a powerful medium, Dr. Merritt's purpose remains to bring lost souls to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. In June of 2000, Dr. Merritt was elected as President of the Southern Baptist Convention which currently hosts a membership of well over 15.8 million individuals and over 40,000 churches across the United States.