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Kinetic: He Is Risen!

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Today, on Resurrection Sunday, Pastor Ed Allen preached a message from John 20:24-29, where Jesus appears to Thomas.

Why did John feature this scene as the focus of his story of Jesus' life?  Why is this the most important interaction in the whole book of John?

There's an important way Thomas is not like us at all:

Thomas is one of the apostles.

Thomas didn't need to see the resurrected Jesus in order to believe.  In a real sense, he already did believe, because he was still showing up; he was there.  Why did Jesus show up again for Thomas?

Thomas and the other apostles were specifically chosen to be eyewitnesses to the Resurrection.

The apostles had all actually seen the resurrected Jesus.

John is emphasizing:  This stuff actually happened!  We saw it with our own eyes!

When John saw the empty tomb, he believed.  Some of us are more like Thomas.

But there are two ways Thomas is like us:

1)  Many of us are just like Thomas in the way our faith is assaulted by doubt.

Doubt is common.  It is not the opposite of faith, which is apathy.

You can only doubt what you partly believe.

Trying to force doubt away doesn't work.  Trying to ignore it will lead you to apathy.

For some, your doubt is in danger of metastasizing into apathy.  Inactivity is how that happens.  Don't put your doubts on the shelf.

Thomas still showed up the next week.  Keep showing up.

Doubt your doubts! 

We are blessed here -- We have not seen, but we have believed.

2)  Thomas is like us in his faith.

He here makes the clearest declaration of faith in the entire Bible:  "My Lord and my God!"

This statement of faith is on what John's entire message is focused.

Thomas makes the ultimate faith declaration.  He proclaims the heart of the Gospel.

If Jesus' teaching was the point, if it were all about a code of conduct, Thomas wouldn't have needed this encounter.

Our faith rests on a historical event, which changes life as we know it.

It's about Jesus, not about us.

The point is the power of the resurrected Christ!

We touch on that when we can say with our whole hearts, "My Lord and my God!"

Reliance on the great teacher Jesus is about you.  We don't need a teacher; we need a Savior.

Jesus consistently claimed to be God.  No one in their right mind would follow a teacher who made those claims - unless they were true.

We don't need more information; we need a Savior.

John was saying, "You can believe us!  We barely believed it ourselves:  Check out Thomas!"

What now?

1)  Pay attention to the teaching of the Apostles.

Hear it from the eyewitnesses.  Read the book yourself.  (Start with John!)

2)  Take the next right step.

3)  Remember your own experiences.  Don't surrender ground to doubt unnecessarily.

4)  Look at his wounds.

We need a God who bleeds.

My Lord and my God!

***

We finished up sharing Communion together, and after the service, the children had an Easter Egg Hunt.

Celebrating the Significance of the Resurrection

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!

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