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The Easter Gospel!
1 Corinthians 15: 3,4
Of all the events of history no event is more tremendous than the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Without Christ's resurrection, His crucifixion and death would have been in vain.
These two fundamental facts cannot be separated.
Christ's cross, purposed from all eternity, prophesied through the ages found its complement
in the empty tomb.
The unthinkable had happened.
Christ was dead!
The disciples had never believed it would end like this.
But here He was -- nailed to a cross -- dying!
And while each variety of misery continued, gradually increasing was the intolerable pang
- The unnatural position made every movement painful.
- The lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant agony.
- The wounds, inflamed by exposure, gradually gangrened.
- The arteries -- especially at the head and stomach -- became swollen
and oppressed with surcharged blood.
of a burning and raging thirst.
And all these physical complications caused an internal anxiety, which made
the prospect of death a sweet release.
And Christ cried out with a loud voice, "It is finished."
They pierced His side with a spear, and the blood and water were proof positive
that Jesus was already dead.
He was dead, and Joseph of Arimathea was allowed to take away the body for burial.
- Everybody, remembering that dread day when the sun went down at noonday
behind a blood-splotched cross on a bloody hill, said, "He is dead."
- The curious crowd, stupidly unconscious of the eternal value of things, said, "He is dead."
- The prating and precise Pharisees and the smug elders,
whose hypocrisy He had condemned, said, "He is dead."
- The Sadducees, ignoring the supernatural, denying a divine hope for the travail of the ages,
said, "He is dead."
- The head-wagging mob, mocking His dying agonies said, "He is dead."
- Mary, the prophetic sword of Simeon, piercing her soul, said, "He is dead."
- His disciples, stunned and staggering under Golgotha's horrors, said, "He is dead."
- All those who knew Him and the women who followed Him from Galilee,
beholding Him from afar, said, "He is dead."
- The soldiers, who supervised the crucifixion butchery said, "He is dead."
"He was buried."
The kingdom about which the disciples had dreamed had shrunk to the narrow dimensions of a grave.
The regal robes they had hoped to see Him wear were now a shroud.
The throne they had hoped to see Him occupy was now a tomb.
He was buried and His disciples mourned and wept. (Mark 16: 10)
They were weeping because they had faith in Him -- had been with Him -- had believed in Him
-- had left all and followed Him.
Now, He was dead and buried!
- They heard Him preach and teach, and He had won their hearts.
- They saw Him work miracles.
- They believed that He was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.
The disciples had intense sorrow as they thought back to what He had meant to them.
You might imagine their conversations:
Then, they must have thought of how they had treated Him:
- You might hear John say, "And I saw them pierce His side and out came blood and water."
- Simon Peter might have said, "I saw them scourge Him. I could not bear to watch."
- Another might say, "From a distance, I heard Him cry, 'I thirst.' "
- Another: "I heard Him cry, ' My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me. ' "
"Oh, how we must have grieved Him when we disputed among ourselves
as to which of us should be greatest."
Then Simon Peter would cry,
"But it was I who with oath and curses denied that I ever knew Him."
And then Simon would weep, and they all would weep as they would say,
"But Simon, remember, all of us deserted Him, and ran away in fear."
And John: "I was asleep in the garden that night when He said,
'Could you not watch with me one hour.' "
One after another would cry out:
"Why didn't we rally around him?"
"Why didn't we stay with Him when they took Him away.
At least why did we not stand around the cross and whisper comfort -- even if
we could not have done anything else."
And when you and I think of the death of Christ, must we not feel much the same
as those disciples did?
" 'Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were;
Each of my crimes became a nail,
And unbelief, the spear."
It was our sins that put Him in the grave.
We ought not to have treated Him as we did, even we, who have known Him longest,
and who have loved Him best.
What poor excuses as Christians we have been.
How little we have given to Him.
How little we have done for Him.
What few hours in prayer have we spent with Him.
How few have been our testimonies.
I, for one, feel so ashamed, and say,
"Thus might I hide my blushing face,
While His dear cross appears.
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness
And melt my eyes to tears."
Three days have passed -- and then came Sunday!
George Creel puts these words into the mouth of a Roman soldier
who stood guard at the tomb, as he related to his wife what had happened:
"This morn, it was, just ere dawn,
The heavens parted wide;
The whole earth shook;
With palsied tongue our grief could not be cried.
And when at last we raised our heads,
The stone was rolled aside,
The ponderous stone was rolled aside,
The angel sat thereon;
The glory of his countenance
Like lightning shot the dawn.
We pierced the tomb with streaming eyes,
And saw His body gone."
And then came the truth that floods our souls with joy -- "He is alive!"
Mary came with the best of news to the disciples: "I have just seen Jesus."
First, I saw an angel, and he told me that Christ was not there for He is risen;
and I ran to tell you that good news.
"I saw Him!" "He is alive!"
I saw Him. I heard Him speak. I touched Him! "He is alive!"
He... arose a victor from the dark domain -- proving His words:
"I am He that liveth, and was dead;
and behold, I am alive forevermore, amen;
and have the keys of hell and of death."
His resurrection -- a fact mentioned more than 100 times in the New Testament.
- His resurrection is the foundation of Christianity.
- His resurrection is the greatest evidence of Christianity.
- His resurrection is the greatest truth of the gospel.
A fact as fully attested as any other historical fact in all history.
He was on the earth for 40 days after His resurrection with as many as 13 appearances,
and appeared to as many as 500 at once.
There is no question -- "He lives!"
"Now is Christ risen from the dead."
And His resurrection is a pledge of our resurrection.
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life;
he that believeth on me shall never die." (John 11: 25)
"The Lord is risen indeed
The grave has lost its prey
With Him is risen the ransomed seed
To reign in endless days."
I still live with the Christ whom I trusted and who died for me and who rose again.
- Daniel Webster, in the delirium of his last moments to those who stood around his bed
and wiped the death dew from his brow, slowly but distinctly uttered the words,
"I... still... live."
- And the Christian, not in the delirium of death's struggle, but in his right mind,
and in assurance of victory over sin, Satan, hell, death, and the grave,
to all who watch or weep at his bedside, will be able to say, "I still live."
- And as the Christian comes to and crosses "death's cold, sullen stream,
" can whisper, "I still live."
- As the Christian places his feet on the evergreen shore, he can shout, "I still live."
- And as he walks with Christ the streets of that heavenly city,
where sin and sorrow and death are no more, he can shout, "I still live."
- And when he greets again the redeemed loved ones gone on before,
he can say, "I still live."
And throughout "Ten Thousand times ten thousand years bright shining as the sun,"
the Christian can join with the blood-washed throng and sing, "I still live."
The resurrection of Jesus confirms our living forever.
"Because I live," Jesus said, "Ye shall also live."
The need of the hour is to make the resurrection not simply a historical fact,
but a real truth in the heart and conscience manifested through a heart
trusting the crucified and risen Saviour.
Romans 10: 9-10: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth and believe in thine heart
that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. "
Look away from the present world, which is passing away,
and set your eyes upon the world to come which will never pass away
Come to Christ!
He will take away your death and give you life.
You have said, " Tomorrow, I will confess Christ as my Saviour,"
Tomorrow is here!
and today is the tomorrow -- it is here!
- You have said, "Because I have trusted Christ, I will follow Him in baptism."
- You have said, "Tomorrow, I will let the world know I am not ashamed,
nor afraid, to confess Him before the world. "
Do it now!
Hundreds saw Jesus after He rose from the dead.
Let us -- like Mary and these witnesses tell the glad news to others as often as we have the opportunity.
- They could not be deceived.
- They knew Him too well.
- They saw him, and they told the world of the resurrection, and they died for it.
"Christ is risen!"
- Tell your children: "Christ is risen!"
- Tell your parents: "Christ is risen!"
- Tell your neighbors: "Christ is risen!"
Tell them while there is yet time -- "Jesus lives!" "Jesus Saves!"
- Tell them that Jesus will save them from a horrible hell.
- Tell them that Jesus will save them from death.
- Tell them that Jesus will give them life forever.
Tell them that Jesus loves them.
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at firstname.lastname@example.org