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Overnight, thousands of Jews abandoned hundreds of years of heritage, teaching, tradition and religion and embraced Christianity, not because of a teaching, but because of an event!

We are celebrating Easter, the resurrection of Jesus, with over 2.3 billion Christians all over the world, approximately a third of the world’s population! Let’s take a look at what the Scriptures say about Jesus’ resurrection.

In Matthew 28:1-8 (NLT) it says,
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.’ The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message.
First Corinthians 15:3-8 (NKJ), says:
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”
I have nothing new to tell you. My task is not to make the Resurrection more exciting. You knew that I was going to tell you that “Jesus is alive,” yet you came… again! It sounds good every time! We like the sound of it. It rings true in our hearts.

In the world today, Christianity is considered to be one of many “world religions.” Some are surprised that we would suggest that there is only one way to God, when the reality is, we all should be surprised that there is “a” way to God! Jesus is that way, the only way!

What makes Christianity different? There is a huge difference and distinction from other world religions. The difference and distinction goes way beyond that it is practical — and it works. (EXAMPLE: marriage, kids, problems, and real life.)

The foundation of all other world religions is someone’s teachings (follow a teaching or philosophy of some prophet, teacher, or leader). The teachings of Jesus are the greatest but they’re not our foundation. The foundation of Christianity is an event: one event — one morning — Jesus Christ rose from the dead! That’s our foundation, not His teaching, good works, miracles, or even His death.

In all other religions, when their leaders died, the followers rallied to spread teachings and keep the dream alive!

When Jesus died, His followers went fishing! They scattered and hid. They had to make a living, so they went back to what they did before… fishing.

The problem? If Jesus had only taught them how to treat one another, to forgive, how to know God… then His followers would have carried on and spread His teachings!

But, Jesus went way too far with His claims! “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” “I and the Father are one.” “The only way to the Father is through Me.” “I will die but will rise from the dead on the third day.” His claims were too “exclusive” and closely aligned with God. He even claimed to be God. So when Jesus died, the “dream” died and His “claims” died with Him!

But here’s what happened: on the third day, he rose from the dead, just like He said He would. Now, all of a sudden, the discouraged, the cowardly followers, come back out, fired up, and ready to change the world. And 2,000+ years later, we’re here talking about it…

· …not because of what He taught (they still went fishing).

· …not because of His miracles (they still scattered and hid).

· …not because of His Crucifixion (they still withdrew, unmotivated, unorganized).

What sent them out with hearts on fire is that they saw a dead man walking!

Overnight, thousands of Jews abandoned hundreds of years of heritage, teaching, tradition and religion and embraced Christianity, not because of a teaching, but because of an event! That event is our foundation. They could not pretend that it didn’t happen! When a guy rises from the dead, I don’t care what he taught… I’m with Him!

Acts 3:14-15 (NKJ): “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.”
Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
(Acts 4:1–4)

Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
(Acts 4:10)

So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.'
(Acts 4:18-20)

And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
(Acts 4:33)
The Resurrection of Jesus was the theme. Many of these guys were tortured and faced death, not because of what they believed but because of what they saw.

First Corinthians 15:17 says, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!”

By rising from the dead, Jesus:
  1. Verified his identity. “I AM who I said I AM!
  2. And He validated His teachings, promises, and our faith.
It's all credible because of an event! Jesus rose from the dead… just like He said He would… sign me up!

Meadowbrook Church
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tim Gilligan
Web site: Meadowbrook Church Ocala
 
Tim Gilligan founded Meadowbrook Church of Ocala in 1989 with an urgent desire to minister to the people of Central Florida. Over twenty years later, Tim continues to practically and passionately share the uncompromised truth of God’s word. He earned his BA in Theology and Ministry from Sterling College, a Master of Arts in Ministerial Leadership from Southeastern University, and is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry from AGTS. He’s authored five books.
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