Today Pastor Ed preached the culminating message in his series, "Fantastic - Incredible Stories from Jesus' Life and their Significance for Us." Because many stories about Jesus are fantastic, but his Resurrection tops them all.
The service started with a moving testimony from Gateway member Kevin Hom. His mother recently died, and he was having trouble dealing with her suffering at the end, and he was asking God "Why?" He felt that God answered his prayer, telling him, "Kevin, I know how you feel. I've been there before."
This has many implications, but he tied it to Jesus' death, giving it extra significance at Easter.
And then we talked about the Resurrection.
What if all of the Old Testament, all of human history, and even all of our own heart cries point to Jesus?
If this is what everything points to, we should know the truth of the Resurrection story, the context of the story, and the meaning of the story.
1) The Truth of the Resurrection
In a nutshell, some reasons to believe are:
The lives of the disciples suggest something very dramatic happened to them.
There's no good explanation for the resurrection story except that it literally happened. (The Jews wouldn't have made it up -- that wasn't what they were looking for. The swoon theory doesn't fit. That the disciples were lying for years and years doesn't hold water -- even if they could pull it off, they had little to gain and much to lose.)
The New Testament documents were written too early for myth to have developed around Jesus' life.
There is no truly scientific reason for disbelieving it.
2) The Context of the Resurrection.
The Bible is not a series of disconnected stories. The Old Testament sacrificial system was an elaborate audiovisual aid to remind God's people that sin is costly.
The Day of Atonement in Leviticus recognized that sin is costly. They found an unblemished lamb. Killing a lamb was a great reminder, but they had to do it every year.
3) The Meaning of the Resurrection.
We spend our lives looking for alternative meaning and hope. Our souls long to be in a love relationship with God. We're bound up in the consequences of our sin.
Jesus was the perfect lamb.
The Resurrection finishes God's Victory!
What if the Jesus story is what everything points to?
If that's true, it would be utterly Fantastic!
This story tops them all.
It's the most important story in our lives.
If it's true, you and I must fall down and worship.
I pray that the whole Gateway family got to worship God today and thank Him for His Fantastic Gift.
He is Risen!