Comforted & Confronted By Christ’s Resurrection…

Resurrection (4-17-17)

  1. One of the biggest challenges each year is finding “new” or “catchy” or “entertaining” ways to teach about the Lord Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. But it’s a trap, it’s not necessary: Good News is Good News—when you reminisce about great memories from the past, you don’t need to do anything but remember as accurately as possible what happened—you don’t need to remember while you are skydiving or sitting on a tropical beach…that doesn’t enhance the memory! The actual events are so amazing that they speak for themselves. Just remember them!
  1. And so this post, we are going to let the Bible—specifically Luke’s perspective—speak for itself about Resurrection Sunday. Many of us have heard people talk about Easter many times but haven’t ever or in a long time read through God’s Word about the details of the actual event—they’re amazing!
  2. Whether we have heard about Easter 1,000x or never before, may we listen to what God is saying to us through His Son’ Jesus’ victory over death. We must reflect, loved ones, we must not just believe intellectually in the Resurrection but by faith we must apply the Truth of the resurrection to our personal lives: that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God, that He died in my place for my personal rebellion against God, that He went to a device of torture in my place, and that He rose again and conquered death itself so that all who trust in Him will conquer death as well. Is the physically resurrected Jesus your hope each day, on earth and in eternity? That is one of the questions that God both comforts & confronts us with through the Resurrection, & it is our only proper response to His grace & Truth, loved ones…

Reading #1: The Burial of the Lord Jesus: Luke 23:50-56 (please click HERE)

So much gold in these seven verses!

First, please notice that Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God.

What does that mean? How do we do that? Almost certainly, Joseph was…

  • eagerly desiring for God’s promises to come true
  • thinking often about the kingdom of God
  • reading through the Bible (OT) to look for the signs of its arrival
  • focused on God’s will being done on earth as it is done in heaven

Are we?

  1. Do we realize that one of the most amazing promises of the Bible is that Jesus will return, not as a baby or a suffering servant but the Conquering King?
  2. Do we only believe in the Lord Jesus in an intellectual way, the way we believe in the planet Jupiter, though that belief does nothing to change our daily lives?
  3. Have we surrendered to the Lord Jesus as our Savior, to forgive my and your personal rebellion against God? Do we claim Jesus as our KING, or just as our consultant to give us tips for a more successful life? Do we see ourselves as obedient & focused subjects in His Kingdom, or simply as casual fans in His club?
  4. Do we realize that many times in the Bible, Jesus tells His followers to be ready, to watch, to wait, to prepare for His return?
  5. Are we excited at all about our King’s return, or are there other things on our bucket list that we want to get to first?

But this isn’t a passive waiting…it is an active waiting!

  1. Oftentimes at a doctor’s office, when we find ourselves waiting, we want something to “kill time” so we may read a magazine about celebrities & what they had for lunch yesterday & who they started dating recently. That is not the kind of waiting Joseph did & Jesus wants us to do.
  2. Oftentimes when I was a kid in school, if the teacher wasn’t in the room, many students (sometimes myself included!) seemed to think that gave them permission to go nuts and be as crazy as they wanted!
  3. But a few students realized that, in the absence of the teacher, they were to do the same things they would do as if the teacher were in the room. When you don’t know what to do, do what you know: They were to prepare for the teacher’s arrival so that, when the teacher did arrive, they could hit the ground running and not lose any time and continue where the learning left off the previous day.

Friends, THAT is the active waiting God wants us to do in preparation for the Lord Jesus’ return…that is the “waiting for the kingdom of God” that Joseph was doing…

  1. Making certain we are truly reborn: repenting of our sinfulness & crying out to the Lord Jesus to be our Savior and our King!
  2. On our own & with other Christians though a local church, learning to get undistracted and focused on knowing the LORD, becoming like Him in our character, and representing Him in society in grace and in Truth
  3. Not just killing time but faithfully living in the brief time on earth that God has given us, making the most of every opportunity that we have to think about Jesus’ return, learn about its details, enjoy His presence & share the Great News of Jesus’ victory over death with anyone who will listen. That is Biblical waiting…(for more on this, please click HERE)

Finally, Joseph was not ashamed to be publicly associated with the crucified Christ.

  1. He was for a while—there was a lot to lose, in an earthly sense, to be a public disciple of Jesus.
    John 19:38-39: 38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.
  2. The Lord Jesus, by Good Friday, was hated by both Pharisee and peasant alike—He didn’t teach & do what they approved of, He wasn’t meeting their expectations—they all shouted “Crucify Him!” Joseph and Nicodemus potentially faced execution as well, or at least the loss of their reputation and social standing in society, to be known not only as sympathetic towards or agreeing with Christ’s teaching but following Him as their Messiah & Savior.

We face various consequences today as well:

  • it is not “modern” and “with the times” to believe in a God we cannot see/measure with our five senses—many will laugh;
  • it is culturally scandalous and offensive to believe all of the specific Truth taught in the Bible—many will get angry at us for doing so. Thus, many distance themselves from those parts, professing only what is culturally acceptable, perhaps only viewing Jesus as someone to help them be kind…watering down the medicine to improve the taste only lessens the potency of the cure–we do not get healthy. The offense of the cross–and it’s exclusive path to the Father–is taken away…

Do we think there is such a thing as a “camouflage Christian”?

Are we willing to publicly align ourselves with all of Christ–the Biblical Jesus,
not the cultural build-a-jesus–the one that others approve of?

  1. Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
  2. Mark 8:38: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.
  3. 2 Timothy 1:8: So do not be ashamedof the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.

By the grace of God, Joseph, Nicodemus, and Paul were not ashamed of the Biblical Jesus and were willing to suffer for the Gospel…are we?

May we cry out to Christ Jesus and ask Him:

Is the way I spend my time what You died and rose again for me to do?

Were You dedicated to forgiving, ransoming & redeeming me
so that I could be dedicated
to what I do in an average week/month/year?

Help us to actively wait and expect Your return at any moment,
help us to boldly & without fear make known to all that we belong to You,
the Biblical Jesus!

Those are some of the questions that the LORD confronts us with through the Resurrection…

Reading #2: The Tomb Is Empty: Luke 24:1-12 (please click HERE)

Early in the morning the women went to the Savior’s tomb with their spices, to continue in devotion to Him even as they continued to mourn, they got up early to honor Him with their time, energy, and with expensive spices that they probably could have sold to help make ends meet.

  1. Will we ask the Lord Jesus to help us honor Him in these ways today?
  2. Are we willing to show Jesus how much He means to us—how thankful we are for His free forgiveness—in ways that cost us sleep, in ways that cost us energy, in ways that cost us money? Are we willing to honor Jesus with those things in our lives that are most dear and precious to us?

The women also started to understand what was happening when they “remembered Jesus’ words” (verse 8). They started to have stability and even excitement in their grief when they remembered Jesus’ amazing words of Truth.

  1. Loved ones, the only way for us to have that same anchor—Jesus’ words—in our storms is to also remember His words. Psalm 119 is a GREAT Psalm to read through regarding the benefits of knowing and clinging to God’s Word.
  2. But the only way we can remember Jesus’ words is to read them/hear them in the first place—you cannot make a withdrawal tomorrow if you don’t make a deposit today.
  3. Will we ask our King to help us to read His Word, to take in His VITAMIN B(ible) on a daily basis, both by ourselves and with other Christians?

Finally, what emotions must the followers of Christ Jesus—the men and the women—have felt as they saw the empty tomb and remembered that Jesus precisely said that this is what would happen? Their grief, slowly turning into understanding, their mourning, slowly but clearly turning into a mission, the ultimate “SHOW AND TELL” of the universe—that we are to show and tell anyone who will listen that death has been conquered, death has lost its sting, death itself has died, never to return, for anyone who repents of their sinfulness & by faith alone receives the Lord Jesus as their Savior…YES!

Reading #3: The Lord Jesus Reveals Himself: Luke 24:13-35 (please click HERE)

Like the two followers of the Lord Jesus in this passage, how often do we miss Jesus in our midst—right in front of us!—on a daily basis? Like Jacob waking up in a very normal field after a vision from God: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16). Do we look for the Lord Jesus’ presence with us everyday, wherever we go? Do we treat Him as if He really is with us?

  1. in the car with us,
  2. in the bathroom with us,
  3. at work with us,
  4. at the store with us,
  5. watching t.v. with us,
  6. on social media/the internet with us,
  7. at school with us,
  8. at the gym with us…
  • Guiding us
  • Comforting us
  • Encouraging us
  • Teaching us
  • Warning us
  • Disciplining us?

These same two followers of Jesus were talking together about everything that had happened recently, the events of the Lord Jesus, what He said and did—they were in a kind of small group together!!!

  1. Do we share with other Christians what our King is teaching us?
  2. Do we admit what we He is disciplining us for?
  3. Do we announce the victories the LORD is helping us have?
    Our defeats when we stray?
  4. Do we discuss what God is saying to us through the Bible as we daily read it?
  5. The Savior Personally met with these two men as they discussed “these things,” the actions & words of King Jesus…what if the Lord Jesus wants to do the same with us but is waiting for us to truly meet with other Christians regularly to seek & talk about Him?

Christ helped them understand everything that was written about Him in the Old Testament…it all points to JESUS!

  1. Do we want to know the Bible this closely?
  2. Do we really want the Lord Jesus to show us how the Bible, starting at Genesis, ultimately all points to Him?
  3. Do we desire to learn how to meet with Jesus by reading the Bible, or do we look for other more “exciting” ways to spend our time?
  4. God invented colors, flavor & holy pleasure. Do we really think He wrote a boring Book? Resurrect our taste buds, God—Your Word is organic, all-natural honey in a world of high-fructose corn syrup! (paraphrase of Psalm 19:10)
  5. And what did the men say, what happened as a result of this Bible study with the Lord? “Were not our hearts BURNING within us as He…did a cool miracle [NO!]…opened the Scriptures to us!” Lord Jesus, open our minds to see the beauty and power in the Bible!!! (Psalm 119:18)

Reading #4: The Lord Jesus Appears & Gives Us Our Mission: Luke 24:36-49
(please click HERE)

The Lord Jesus offered His followers real PEACE—SHALOM—because that is what they needed. Not really cool products, but real peace. They didn’t need more money, a great physical body, or any of the other things we crave & lust for & pursue. None of those things would truly help His followers, none would give them what they really needed/desired:

not just pleasant situations but peace with God—forgiveness of our sinfulness, adoption into God’s family, brand new life in Christ not just an improved old life, no longer trying to be our own god but submitting to Christ as our God, no longer under God’s wrath but under His wings (Romans 5:1-2; Romans 5:9-112 Corinthians 5:18-21; Ephesians 2:1-13; asdfas.

Even as they physically saw the risen Jesus, doubts arose in their minds! Maybe we wouldn’t all believe if we could see Him with our physical eyes! Even though they physically saw Jesus, they had to still have faith–they may have thought:

  1. What if I’m dreaming?
  2. What if I’m hallucinating?
  3. What if I’m projecting this as a wish-fulfillment?
  4. They still had to have faith, and so do we.
  5. Jesus was PATIENT with them in their doubts & so is He with our doubts. But even in their doubt they worshiped Him & followed Him…

While we have an amazing physical heaven to look forward to, we have a mission until Jesus returns to bring us there:

  1. We who believe in Jesus, we who have received His death on the cross as our forgiveness, as our ticket to heaven, we are witnesses by faith of all that is written about in the Bible…
  2. And what is a witness’ main job?

TO TELL, loved ones, to tell…the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. To use our words (and actions, but words as well!) to introduce people to the One Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, to tell others what we have seen/witnessed by faith, nothing more and certainly nothing less. We are living witnesses, loved ones…who are we telling about the Lord Jesus’ eternity-changing Grace & Truth each day?

Reading #5: The Lord Jesus Returns To Heaven: Luke 24:50-53 (please click HERE)

As we close this post, the Lord Jesus blessed His followers—He has given us everything we need to BE who He made us to be and to DO what He made us to do. You lack nothing, my friends, at least nothing that matters (Ephesians 1:3). YES!!! You have been personally blessed by Jesus Himself—He prayed for you personally in John 17…YES!!! 🙂

  1. How could Jesus’ followers 2,000 years ago have been blessed when He went to heaven? He just rose from the grave, and now He was leaving them?
  2. He would still be with them through His Holy Spirit, living IN them and not just being NEXT to them.
  3. He went to heaven not for a vacation while we toil for Him on earth but to prepare our heavenly homes for us—in His Father’s house there are MANY rooms!
  • High rise buildings in Chicago–some condos cost $1,000 per square foot or more, so for a 500 square foot studio apartment it’s half a million dollars. Why would anyone pay that much for such a small space? Because of the builder’s reputation and the location (downtown Chicago, overlooking Lake Michigan).

My friends, our rooms in heaven will be much better than a studio apartment, but however large/small they are, our homes in our true Home will be amazing because:

  1. Builder: Jesus is the architect/interior decorator—YES!
  2. Location: HEAVEN—YES!

So by the grace of God, let’s follow the example of the Lord Jesus’ followers 2,000 years ago—after Jesus blessed them and went back to heaven, they didn’t moan and complain and question the LORD…they:

  1. Worshipped Him (even though I bet they still had unanswered questions & doubts!)
  2. Stayed at the Temple continuously, praising God together.
  3. Went out to the ends of the earth to tell about the Risen Savior!

Acts 4:33: “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all…”

Are you amazed at the resurrection? Are you amazed at the price Jesus paid for your sinfulness so that you don’t have to pay it?—please click HERE to watch this closing video…

Closing Challenge

Loved ones, by the grace of God we must believe that Jesus Christ conquered death and physically rose from the grave…The earliest Christians were eyewitnesses of this event—it is not just a story meant to inspire us to never give up in life, it is an event that is the only way for us to be made alive. The early Christians saw Him alive and many went to violent deaths proclaiming that Jesus is alive—they went from hiding in a locked room to being filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly proclaiming the Truth of the Resurrection!

1 Corinthians 15:12-21: But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.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. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

Do you believe this, loved ones? Have you applied this event to your life? Is the Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection the only nail on which you are hanging your hope & desire for eternal life?

Do you live as if the curse of sin has been broken in your daily life? Do you live in Christ as if you are new, are forgiven and will live forever with a new body after your earthly body dies? Does the resurrection make any difference in your Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday? Those and many others are the questions that God comforts and confronts us with through the Resurrection…HE IS RISEN! Let’s live as if it’s true, because it is!