Gather+ Outline 04.16.2017 RADICAL: Cross and Resurrection #6
Pastor David Staff
Radically Victorious: The Resurrection of the Savior Here’s an important question: How do you study the Bible? What’s your approach? One very interesting way to study God’s Word is to look for all the questions which everyday people ask of God. Get on your computer, go to biblegateway.com, type in the word “WHY” in the search box and hit SEARCH. You’ll be amazed. You’ll find that people are not afraid to ask God important, tough questions. Here’s a sample. When Jacob and Esau were struggling within the womb of Rebekah, she asked God, “Why is this happening inside of me?” Gen. 25:22 Job asked God, “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” Job 3:11 David asked God, “Why are You so far from helping me?” Psalm 22:1 Habakkuk asked God, “Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look when wrong is happening?” Habakkuk 1:3 The truth is that questions challenge us to focus on what is important, and the answers to the most important questions can/should change our lives. On Easter Sunday morning, there are two questions about which we MUST have clear answers. Here’s the 1st #1 Is Jesus, the crucified Christ, alive? It was a medical doctor from the city of Philippi in upper Macedonia traveled to Palestine in the 1st century to do his own research on Jesus of Nazareth. His objective was to write a thorough account of the things that happened there for his friend Theophilus.i In the 24th chapter of his research project, he records: Luke 24:1
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 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. 4
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. Luke wrote this research project 20 years after the event. If there was any other substantiated explanation why the tomb was empty, he would have investigated it and recorded it. 1|P a g e
RADICAL #6 The Resurrection of our Savior
Jesus, the crucified Christ – the Nazarene son of Mary and Joseph who was stripped, beaten, abused, crucified, wrapped, buried and sealed in a stone tomb – Jesus the crucified Christ suddenly, 3 days after his confirmed death, was now alive in his flesh-n-blood body and making himself known to people. What a magnificent, radical development! Three year old Nicole – a pastor’s daughter -- was as anxious for Easter to come as she had been for Christmas to come. Her mommy was expecting a 3rd child in just a few weeks; church folk were stopping by with gifts for the new baby. Nicole had picked out a new dress and mom had given her a new white bonnet. One final stop at a store to pick out a new pair of shoes, and once again Nicole said, “I can’t wait for Easter, daddy!” A bit concerned, her daddy asked, “Do you know what Easter means, honey?” She replied, “Yes!” “Well,” her daddy pressed, “What does Easter mean?” In her own sweet 3 year old way, with arms raised, a smile on her face, and at the top of her voice, she said, “SURPRISE!!!” Her daddy thought this: That’s the perfect word to sum up the meaning of Easter? Surprise, death! Surprise, sin! Surprise mourning disciples! Surprise, modern man!
Someone came back from the dead! Someone has reversed the finality of death. Someone has surprised the world! Jesus, the crucified Christ, alive! Others were surprised too Luke 24:13-32 The two men who walked with Jesus 6-7 miles and ate a meal with Him Luke 24:33-42 The eleven disciple/apostles who, as they were hearing that story, had Jesus stand bodily in their midst and ask them “Why are you startled?” and “why do doubts arise in your hearts?” 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 o Appeared to Cephas o Appeared to the 12 o Appeared to over 500 men/women at one time o Appeared to James o Appeared to all the apostles o Appeared to Saul, who would become Paul The bodily resurrection of Jesus the crucified Christ is the only, truly logical explanation for the empty tomb. The bodily resurrection of Jesus the crucified Christ is the only historically valid conclusion for the empty tomb. The bodily resurrection of Jesus the crucified Christ and the empty tomb is the only sufficient vindication for the the radically changed lives of the disciples. Skeptic after skeptic have looked into the available evidence, seeking to discredit Jesus and all of Christianity, only to end up on their knees worshipping the Living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus the crucified Christ, is alive. Radical. #2 So what? Why is the fact that Jesus the crucified Christ is alive so important? The great theologian and Church History Jaroslav Pelikan put it like this just a short time before he died at age 89.
If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen—nothing else matters. What
2|P a g e
RADICAL #6 The Resurrection of our Savior
does such a saying mean? #1 Since Jesus the crucified Christ is alive, He is EVERYTHING the Scriptures reveal about Him. Former atheist C.S. Lewis puts it like this: The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this.ii In the Christian story, God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature He created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him.iii One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great, complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on His shoulders. Christians are not claiming that simply “God” was incarnate in Jesus. They are claiming that the one true God is He whom the Jews worshipped as Jahweh, and that it is He who has descendediv…He has tasted death on behalf of all others. He is the representative “Die-er” of the universe, and for that very reason the Resurrection and the Life.v #2 Since Jesus the crucified Christ is alive, your faith and commitment to Him will change and determine your eternity. Jesus’ own teaching could not be more clear, cannot be improved upon (14 times): John 14
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 6:40
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:47
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me…I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
John 12:44, 46
He is EVERYTHING the Scriptures reveal about Him, and by His own word, your and my faith and commitment to Him, today, will determine everything about tomorrow. #3 Since Jesus the crucified Christ is alive, our sure hope is that death and sin lose, and life in Jesus wins. Joni Eareckson Tada, “Just think: Every promise God has ever made finds its fulfillment in Jesus. God doesn’t just give us grace, he gives us Jesus, the Lord of grace. If it’s peace, it’s only found in Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Even life itself is found in the Resurrection and the Life. Christianity isn’t all that complicated…It’s Jesus.”vi
Our sure hope is that death and sin lose, and life in Jesus wins. As so many of you know, Ames IA is one of the best places to live in all the country. It’s a beautiful place, full of beautiful spaces, like the one 3|P a g e
RADICAL #6 The Resurrection of our Savior
we all can find just about a mile and a half east of our campus. It’s called Ada Haydenvii Heritage Park (City of Ames), named for a dedicated botanist who served Iowa State University. Ada was the first woman to receive a doctorate from the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. The park is 430 acres, full of encircling walking/running/biking trails. An absolute delight. What you may not know is what you can find at the far northwest corner of the park, up on a hill, looking east. A wellcrafted pergola, set in concrete, with an inviting swing to enjoy. But there’s a reason to look closer. In the middle of the swing you’ll find this. Four years ago, Sandi’s husband David lost the love of his life to cancer. For a number of years, David and Sandi served the mission of Christ Community Church. And when Sandi died…well, anyone who has lost someone you deeply love, you hurt, you cry – maybe even weep – but how do you do this? Why can you do this? Why do we have any confidence at all that death in this life is NOT the end, and that it CANNOT separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus? How can we say – truly say – that we are more than conquerors? N.T. Wright, “We are not surprised if living as Christians brings us to the place where we find we are at the end of our own resources, and that we are called to rely on the God who raises the dead.”viii Copyright 2017 © David A. Staff All rights reserved
Cf. Luke 1:1-4 C.S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1947, 1960), 108. iii Ibid., 110. iv Ibid., 114. v Ibid, 130. vi Joni Eareckson Tada, Lamp Unto My Feet vii Ada Hayden (14 August 1884 – 12 August 1950) was an American botanist, educator, and preservationist. She was the curator of the Iowa State University Herbarium, which was renamed the Ada Hayden Herbarium (ISC) in her honour in 1988. https://www.google.com/#q=who+was+Ada+Hayden&spf=385 Ada Hayden Heritage Park is a large complex at 5205 Grand Avenue in Ames, Iowa. Located along Hwy 69, the park is the former site of Hallet’s Quarry, whose ownership was taken over by the City of Ames in January 2002, to develop as a park area. The park is named in honor of Ada Hayden, the first woman to receive a doctorate from the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, now known as Iowa State University. Formerly, a part of the park area was owned by Hayden's parents; the area was her playground during her childhood days, and an outdoor laboratory for her classes in botany and ecology during her college days. Spread over 430 acres, the park was opened to the general public in July 2004. The park's focal point is two lakes with a combined surface area of about 125 acres. The lakes serve as a secondary water source in times of drought, and provide excellent opportunities for fishing and boating. A ramp is available for boating launches. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h2751.html viii N.T. Wright, Following Jesus i
4|P a g e
RADICAL #6 The Resurrection of our Savior