He is Risen!
Today, Easter Sunday, Pastor Ed Allen preached to a large and joyful congregation about the most significant event in human history.
We looked at I Peter 3:18 for the declaration that Jesus was raised from the dead.
Why do we believe Jesus rose from the dead?
Our objections are quite reasonable: It's not medically possible, and I've never seen it.
Christianity agrees that it's not medically possible. It was a supernatural event.
As far as the fact that I've never seen anyone rise from the dead -- We have trouble believing 2000-year-old witnesses.
We do have testimony that there were a host of witnesses. How do we explain them?
Maybe they were lying. But they radically changed their lives. The disciples were tortured and killed for this belief. They wouldn't have stood for this if they were lying.
Maybe they were deluded. But large crowds saw Jesus. Were "more than 500" deluded at one time? They had very little to gain from believing this story. (See mention of being tortured and killed.) If it was a delusion, who was behind the hoax, anyway?
Maybe the story was embellished over time. That's possible, but there's no actual documentary evidence for this. Paul's letters were written barely 30 years after Jesus' death. Same with the earliest biographies of Jesus. Witnesses were still around when they were written. The empty tomb also speaks against this. The enemies of the church could have easily produced Jesus' body to refute this -- if Jesus' body were still there.
A real resurrection is not an unreasonable idea.
If it's true, it's the most significant event in human history.
Why is it universally the most important event in human history?
Because of who Jesus was.
He is holy -- in a category all by Himself.
God is not just a bigger, better version of you.
We looked at Mark 4:35-41, one of Pastor Ed's favorite stories of Jesus, where he calmed the storm.
When the storm ceased at Jesus' word, the disciples were terrified.
This is a stronger word than what they felt from the storm they thought would kill them.
"What kind of man is this?" We don't even have a category for this.
Easter is universally applicable because of who Jesus' was.
That's why, after Jesus proved to Thomas that He was really Jesus, resurrected, Thomas fell on his knees and said, "My Lord and my God!"
That's why Jesus reinterpreted the Passover meal which had been celebrated for 4,000 years.
** Here we celebrated the Lord's Supper **
Jesus said, "This cup is my blood, which is poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins."
Why is the Resurrection so personally significant?
We looked at I Peter 3:18 again. Christ died for sins, once for all,
"in order to bring you to God."
Jesus did this to bring you to God.
As Peter says in chapter 2, "Now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls."
He is Risen indeed!