One of the key fundamentals of the Christian faith.
We need to look at it carefully.
We need to understand its importance and significance.
It is life changing.
The obvious place to start: did the resurrection happen?
Where is the evidence?
Proof #1 that the resurrection happened:
The empty tomb.
Luke 24:2,3 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
If the tomb into which the body of Jesus was placed is
empty, where was the body?
Satan knows how key the resurrection is which is the reason he
has invented so many theories to explain its disappearance.
Maybe Jesus fainted on the cross and never really died?
John 19:32,33 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
The Roman guards themselves didn’t break Jesus’ legs
when He was on the cross because they could see He was already
Scratch that theory.
What about the empty tomb theory that Jesus’ disciples stole the
body? You mean Jesus’ disciples were able to outwit the Roman
guard and move the stone – that gigantic stone – in their own
strength? The disciples defeated the well-trained Roman
Scratch that theory.
Well, let’s have the Jewish religious leaders steal the body.
But surely if they had stolen the body, without a doubt, they
would have been motivated to display the body and declare
Christianity a fraud.
Matthew 28:11-15 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.
The Jewish leaders in fact saw the missing body as a major
problem and bribed the soldiers to lie.
Take any theory Satan dreamt up to explain the disappearance of
Jesus’ body, and a careful reading of the Bible will demolish it.
Proof #2 that the resurrection happened:
The staggering number of witnesses.
Look at all of them!
1 Corinthians 15:5a he appeared to Cephas
Cephas is Peter’s name in the Aramaic language that many Jews
used. Peter was the undisputed leader of the 12 so no surprise
he is mentioned first.
:5b then to the twelve.
Not too surprisingly that the group that Jesus poured His life into
would be mentioned next.
:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep
Most of the 500 are still alive when Paul writes.
But a few have died (or put more delicately – fallen asleep).
How would you like to be on a jury and be forced to listen to 500
Witness #1 – did you see the risen Jesus?
Witness #33 – did you see the risen Jesus?
Did you see the risen Jesus?
Isn’t 500 going a bit overboard?
Not when we are talking about the most important event to
happen on planet earth since the Garden of Eden
and the only event that gives man a path to heaven.
Having a massive number of witnesses strengthens your case,
inspiring one scholar to write,
“ The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most certain fact of
:7a Then he appeared to James,
James – the brother of Jesus.
:7b then to all the apostles
Apostles are responsible for laying the foundation of the early
:8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
Paul: untimely born or abnormally born.
Literally it refers to an abortion or stillbirth.
Figuratively it refers to something horrible or freakish.
That seemed to be how the Corinthian church viewed Paul
as they seriously questioned his right to be a spiritual leader.
To some extent Paul agrees with them.
Paul is part of this massive group of witnesses to the
1 Corinthians 15:11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Paul and other evangelists all had the same message.
That message is that just as Jesus was dead and buried
so He was raised from the dead bodily.
The resurrected body of Jesus was no ghost,
not some sort of “spiritual existence divorced from the physical”.
The empty tomb means His resurrection was physical.
His post resurrection body could be touched, could be recognized,
could come and go through locked doors, could eat, could drink.
Paul didn’t consider the Jesus they saw to be a vision but the real
And this staggering number of witnesses of the resurrected Jesus
is meant to – rightfully – silence all deniers.
In our search for proof of the resurrection of Jesus
we’ve looked at proof #1 the empty tomb.
Then we looked at proof #2 the staggering number of witnesses
to the resurrected Jesus.
Proof #3 that the resurrection happened:
Lives transformed into Christlikeness.
When we first met this James, he showed Jesus little respect.
John 7:3-5 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him
But after the resurrection we find James had become a Christian
when we meet him again in Acts 1, and he emerges as the leader
of the church in Jerusalem. That is a life transformed into
1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God
Paul started out hating Jesus. No cover up here.
No attempt to hide his past.
1 Corinthians 15:10a But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.
He is an apostle of Jesus Christ because of God working in his life.
Grace is the power of God flowing into an undeserving life.
Paul certainly was an undeserving life and in gratitude
1 Corinthians 15:10b On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
Paul worked hard, extremely hard.
Paul might have the worst background of any of the apostles,
but once he committed his life to Christ no one worked harder
than he did.
His record of suffering for Christ is impressive. All this work for
God could not compensate for Jesus saving him from his sins.
All that work was done out of gratitude to God.
Did you notice that grace is in :10 3x? Why?
Because now that he is a believer he lives and travels and works
totally dependent on God.
A life of massive achievement – but only because God was
working through Him. That is a life transformed into
By the way, if you think today that your past was awful,
Paul is telling you how to deal with it:
agree with God that you are in fact a sinner,
receive Jesus as your Savior to forgive your sins,
and in gratitude – work hard for him.
Now let’s look at the change the resurrection message
brought to one church. Corinth.
What were some of the people in the Corinthian church like
before they got plugged into Christ?
1 Corinthians 6:9,10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
But after they repented and began to follow Christ, what
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
They received the Good News of Jesus
They stand in the Good News
They are saved by the Good News.
A dead Savior can’t help anyone. The drastic change in their lives
is proof Jesus is alive.
Think about it. What did Jesus say the cross was for? For Him to
pay the penalty of our sins so we could have forgiveness of sins
and new life.
Right in front of us in Corinth are a bunch of people who
yesterday were fornicators and adulterers, thieves, swindlers,
drunkards, revilers, but now are called saints at the beginning of
this letter. Something drastic had happened in their lives.
They are now on a totally new path.
They are part of a new family called the family of God.
They are active in a new organization called the church.
They are learning all sorts of wonderful truth like the value of
worship and obedience and prayer and giving and serving.
The cross/resurrection works. The cross/resurrection gets results
when we put our faith and trust in it.
Every Christian is a walking advertisement that the
1Corinthians 15:1a Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you,
What is he saying? He is telling them that what he is sharing in
this letter is what he told them when he visited them in the past.
There is no new news here. His messages has not changed an
inch since they saw each other face to face.
Truth doesn’t need a facelift. It doesn’t need to be updated.
His message was life-changing in the past. His message is life-
changing right now. His message will be life-changing in the
future. Don’t tinker with it.
Look at this evidence. Study it. Poke it. It’s solid. We are not
going to be let down by it. We are on the winning side. We have
something solid to offer friends.
Paul traveled all the way from Jerusalem to Corinth –
and not by jet – to give this Good News out. How energetically
will you tell the person next door about Jesus?
OK. That is an intimidating amount of proof for the resurrection.
Why is the resurrection important?
- The resurrection of Jesus is foundational to the authority of Jesus.
Romans 1:1-4 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David[b] according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
If the resurrection had never occurred, there might have been a
memorial service for Jesus son of Joseph, but you and I would
never have heard of him.
This Bible passage says otherwise. Take a good look at it.
We are not told here that Jesus was made the Son of God by the
resurrection. He has always been the Son of God, so the
resurrection didn’t change that at all.
It says declared to be the Son of God. Jesus is put in a special
category by the resurrection. “Just as the horizon serves as a
clear dividing line between earth and sky, the resurrection
separates Him from man and from every other teacher or
religious leader this planet has ever seen.” The resurrection lifts
Him into an entirely different category.
During the approximately 33 years in which He was here on
earth, He turned down the amps. When He walked down the
street, He didn’t glow. He didn’t walk around with a halo over
His head so that people walked up to Him and said, “Wow, are
you the Son of God?”
For 33 years He was the Son of God in humility and lowliness.
He had a day job in a carpenter shop. Without grumbling He
submitted Himself to shabby treatment and abuse that men gave
Him. But with the resurrection, heads up, world! The amps
have been turned up all the way. Jesus emerges in all His glory in
a new role as the resurrected Lord.
It’s as if you can hear the trumpets blasting,
“Move aside, all false gods!”,
“Don’t open your mouths, cults”.
“Men and women of planet earth, end your rebellion!”
“Behold your God.”
When the resurrected Jesus Christ stands before us,
declared to be the Son of God is there anything for us to do but
drop to our knees in reverence and silence and awe and fear.
The resurrection is the top credential of Jesus.
All our worship of Him flows from it.
- The resurrection is foundational to the truth of the
Pull the resurrection out of the Bible, and it collapses
which is exactly what 1 Corinthians 15:13 -19 are telling us.
Six catastrophic blows to the Bible if there is no resurrection:
Consequence #1 :14a And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain
Telling people to put their faith and trust in Jesus would be
nonsense. Why trust a dud?
Consequence #2 If there is no resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:14b and your faith is in vain
Do not waste your own time trusting a fraud.
Consequence #3 If there is no resurrection
evangelists and preachers would be liars.
1 Corinthians 15:15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
Consequence #4 If there is no resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
There is no escape from sin. Forever and ever you and I would be
enslaved to sin.
Consequence #5 If there is no resurrection,
1 Corinthians 15:18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished
Believers in Christ who are now dead would have no hope of
going to heaven.
Consequence #6 If there is no resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Christians would be the most stupid, pathetic people this planet
has ever seen.
Jesus would be nothing but a con man promising what He was
not capable of delivering which would make believers into the
most deceived people on planet earth.
All of those consequences would mean the total unraveling of
basic Bible truth so that nothing is left. That is how key the
resurrection is to the dependability and trustworthiness of the
The only book in the world that has consistently endorsed the
resurrection and carefully documented the resurrection
and defended the resurrection passionately should be priority
one in our reading.
This second key use of the resurrection should lead to a very
definite action step:
more trust in the Bible, more respect for the Bible,
more time in the Bible, more sharing of the Bible.
God is in the construction business. The business of building and
remodeling lives. The Bible is one of His key tools. If we build our
lives on the truth of the Bible, no one will ever be able to pull us
It all starts with His book –
It is truth.
Build upon it.
Be amazed, but not surprised, at the result.
Well, so far we’ve been reminded
- The resurrection is foundational to authority of Jesus.
- The resurrection is foundational to the truthfulness of the Bible.
- The resurrection is foundational to power in your lives.
When you put your faith and trust in Jesus to save you from your
sins, the benefits package that God gives you is incredible.
Here is one of the awesome freebees God gives us:
Ephesians 1:19,20 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places
Underline these verses.
Draw a circle around them.
Put a star in the margin.
Bend over the top of the page.
And in the process be careful your jaw doesn’t dent the floor.
This is saying exactly what it appears to be saying:
The exact same power that was used to raise Jesus Christ from
the dead is given to everyone who trusts Christ.
Did you notice the words used here to describe the greatness of
Power – the Greek word is dynamite
And this power has been available to all believers 24/7/52?
Kind of get the idea we are being pushed to ask ourselves,
“We have access to the same power that raised Jesus from the
dead, and we’ve done what with it?”
Once a month I get a bill from the electric company telling me
how much electrical power I used the prior month. If God would
send out statements telling us how much of His power you used,
how would your statement read?
Did we use God’s power to control our tongues?
Did we use this power to love the hard to love?
Did we use this power to turn away from bad thoughts?
If your neighbor refused to turn on the lights or TV or refrigerator
last month in order to avoid using electricity (and he has
money) you might think him odd.
What about us when we have access to the power of
God but don’t use it? Need a reminder of what this power can
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us
A verse that we should want to put to the test. The resurrection
of Jesus Christ sent Him back into the world in a new form.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ sends us back into the world in
new form when we trust Him as Savior and Lord.
We don’t need to pray for power. We need to use the power we
What action step does this demand from us? Turn the power
loose! Experience the mighty inner strengthening of the Holy
Spirit as we rely on Him daily.
Don’t pray for power to do God’s will. You already have the
Don’t pray for power to break bad habits. You already have the
Don’t pray for power to tell others about Jesus. You already have
Don’t pray for power to defeat fear in your life. You already have
Don’t pray for power to deal with discouragement. The power is
already yours – if you have put your faith and trust in Jesus
The only action step that makes sense is to turn the power loose.
Ask God to help you use what you already have.
Use your resources – the power of God in your life.
If we are weak Christians and have been believers for a while,
whom do we have to blame?
What can motivate you to let that power work through you?
Two statues in a major city can be of great help.
There is a Christian in that city who wants to encourage
other Christians to yield their lives to the Lord. He found a
simple, visual way to do that.
He encourages them to walk with him to one office building
in the heart of the business district. In the entrance to that
building is a gigantic statue of Atlas- that mythological figure who
looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger at his best. Bulging muscles
That muscular Atlas is carrying the entire world on his back
and such significant weight makes it difficult for him to
stand. You can see the sweat, the strain, and you wonder
when he’ll collapse. If he could talk he’d be grunting and
groaning in agony.
After viewing that statute you can cross the street to a large
church where there is a statue of Jesus carrying the entire world
in one hand. No problem. No sweat.
So, what’s it going to be?
Want to try carry all of your problems around with you on your
back and make life miserable for yourself? Lots of Christians
choose to do that, and look what they have to show for it.
Or will you yield your life to the Lord
and let Him help you rise above yourself,
achieving great things you never thought possible.
Christian, Jesus cries out to you, “You’ve now got access to the
exact same power that raised Me from the dead.
What on earth is keeping you from using it?”
Without the resurrection, Jesus crumbles.
Without the resurrection, the Bible crumbles.
Without the resurrection, you crumble.
With the resurrection Jesus has authority as Lord of all to be
worshipped and obeyed.
With the resurrection the Bible is trustworthy to be
the blueprint for our lives.
With the resurrection believers have all the power they need.
The opportunity before us is clear.