BECAUSE HE LIVES
Passage: 1 Corinthians 15:3-6
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…
Losing a family member is one of the most difficult situations in life. Have you ever experienced this? I have led the funerals for two of my grandpas- one was a pioneer in the field of open-heart surgery and the other one was a paratrooper who fought in the Battle of The Bulge in World War II. I used to call one of my grandpas every Friday (which was my day off work) to talk and pray together. There are so many days when I miss my grandfathers and would just like to talk with them again. I admire my grandpas, and their deaths remind me that this life is not our full story. We can know where we are going after we die. It is not a false hope but a promise that is backed by solid evidence.
There are many things that are important in the Christian faith, but this is the most significant. We often hear the word “gospel,” which literally means “good news,” but we aren’t sure what it means. The gospel is the heart and crux of Christianity. The good news has two sides: 1) Jesus died for your sins and 2) Jesus is alive, because He has risen from the grave. When you consider what Christ has done for us, His grace is overwhelming both on the cross and in His victory over death. His power over the grave has historical evidence, as there were many witnesses; and it also leaves us in awe of His supernatural power and grace.
Paul concludes, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, that if Jesus is not risen: 1) Christianity is a lie, 2) your faith is worthless, 3) your loved ones can only perish, and 4) Christians are pathetic. In other words, our entire faith is on the line when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus.
God has provided us with historical details that support the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:5-8):
1) Eyewitness reports: There were over 500 people who actually saw the risen Lord!
2) The disciples make a U-turn: The disciples were discouraged and afraid until they saw Jesus alive again.
3) The level of conviction: Ten of the twelve original disciples were killed (John had a natural death and Judas killed himself). Would anyone ever die for a lie if they knew it wasn't true? The disciples were convinced because they experienced the risen Lord.
4) The guarded tomb: Roman soldiers were guarding Jesus' tomb and would be killed if they let anyone take His body. They made certain that no one was allowed to remove Jesus’ body after burial.
5) The empty tomb: There is only one religious leader who overcame death, and He is not in the grave.
6) The historical details: In a male-dominated culture where, sadly, women were usually viewed as second- class citizens, women were the first to discover the risen Jesus. This encounter was from God.
7) The rapid growth of the church: In Jerusalem, the place where Jesus was seen alive again, the church exploded in size. About 3,000 people began to follow Jesus in one day (Acts 2:41).
1) Why do you think people reject Jesus despite all of the evidence?
2) Which of the seven reasons above stands out to you the most?
3) Who can you share the evidence with this week?
John 20:1-31. Jesus wants people to look at the evidence of
John 11:17-44. Death was not and is not difficult for Jesus to overcome.
Revelation 1:4-8. Jesus is in Heaven now, but His return will be visible to all.
Acts 1:1-11. The gospel spreads through relationships.
Almighty God, even death can’t stop You. Your plans prevail and Your love has been proven historically. Thank You for all of the clear evidence You have given for Your resurrection miracle. Thank You that our faith is supported by facts. Help me to spread the good news with courage and intelligence. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.