Sermon:  Resurrection of Christ (pt 1)

Summary:  Christian faith is not believing in what you know ain’t so, but an active 
commitment to the truth of the resurrection of Christ not as some sort of metaphor, 
but a historical fact of the bodily resurrection that gives good, strong hope.

Know:  The resurrection of Christ is an established historical fact that verifies 
the authority of his message and call on us to be faithful disciples

Feel:  Confidence in the announcing, sharing, and teaching of the resurrection

Do:  Discussion lessons on the nature of Christian faith and how faith in the 
resurrection of Christ affects your daily life.

Text:  Jn 20.1-31

Scripture Reading:  2 Tim 2:8-13

1. What is faith?
	a.  This word is popular today in media, movies, books, etc.
	b.  Teacher ask what faith is – Student “Believin in what you know aint so!”
	c.  Many wouldn’t put so crudely, but sums up what they say -  subjective
2.  Text this morning will demonstrate that “Christian” faith is not like that
	a.  Christian faith has an objective basis
	b.  It is not just some vague feeling
3.  Text:  Jn 20.1-31
	a.  Concludes with a purpose statement of belief
	b.  This text tells us something of the nature of Christian faith
	c.  At the center of Christian faith is the resurrection
4.  Here is what we learn about Christian faith:

I.  It is rooted in history
	A.  The resurrection of Christ is not a metaphor
		1.  Some liberal scholars claim that the resurrection is a metaphor
			a. John Dominic Crossan, Bart Erhman and others
			b. They claim that faith is not dependent on historicity
			c. Claim to be Christian, but deny all miracles in scripture
				- To them, Christian faith is not rooted in fact
				- To them, Christian faith is found only within
				- To them, Christian faith is individual and subjective
			d.  They claim that the resurrection is a metaphor about 
			     some sort of new existential meaning in life when   
 			     becoming a Christian – Hogwash!
		2.  Of course, the media touts them as the “authorities” on the Bible
	B.  How do we know that the resurrection is not a metaphor?
		1.  They actually saw Jesus and spoke with him
			a.  There is no indication that the resurrection was metaphor
			b.  The Apostles and early church did not understand it as a 
		2.  They touched his body after he arose
			a.  Several people did
				- Mary clung to Jesus
				- Thomas touched his scars and wounds
				- In Luke, two disciples ate with Jesus
			b.  The resurrected Jesus is not a metaphor
				- You can’t physically touch metaphors
				- Metaphors don’t eat real food (maybe they had a 
				  metaphorical meal?)
				- Metaphors don’t have wounds you can touch
		3.  If they saw just a ghost or phantom, no big deal
			a.  Would mean Jesus did not raise from the dead
			b.  Like anyone else, Spirit leaves the body, they saw it
			c.  But every indication is that this was not a “spirit” they saw
		4.  They saw Jesus, touched him, ate with him, he was alive again!
	C.  Jesus is like no other
		1.  Other religious leaders and founders not like him
			a.  Mohammed – No miracles, he died, and is still dead
			b.  Buddah – He died as well, and is still dead
			c.  Confucious – Lots of good philosophy, but he is still dead
			d.  Death defeated every other so-called religious leader
		2.  If you want to go honor Jesus at his tomb, what do you find?
			a.  The tomb is empty!
			b.  You cannot go to his grave and honor him!
			c.  Jesus is the only one who defeated death for all time!
	D.  The resurrection is a historical fact
		1.  It is deep with meaning, but it is not a metaphor
		2.  Jesus rose bodily from the grave

II.  It is based on evidence
	A.  Remember the trial motif in John
		1.  Jesus is on “trial” in John 5
		2.  Jesus gives “evidence” for his origin and message
			a.  From John the Baptist
			b.  From his works
			c.  From the Father
			d.  From the scriptures that testify of him
		3.  In a sense, Jesus has been on “trial” the whole time
		4.  The greatest and final piece of evidence – his resurrection
	B.  Close look at the evidence in the chapter
		1.  The testimony of eyewitnesses
			a.  They give vivid historical details
			b.  Vivid details an indication of eyewitnesses
			c.  (1 Jn 1:1-2) – What eyes have seen, hands touched, etc.
			d.  But there is more than the Apostles
				- Many saw the resurrected Christ
				- In Luke 24:13f, disciples to Emmaus saw him
				- 1 Cor 15:6 – More than 500 people saw him
		2.  The condition of the burial clothes
			a.  If they stole the body, the clothes wouldn’t  be there
			b.  The unwrapping was not done in haste
				- Clothes were still lying there, not in a mess on the 
				- The face cloth was neatly folded 
		3.  Then there is Thomas, who needed “proof”
			a.  Jesus invited him to touch his wounds
			b.  Learned that they were not just seeing things
			c.  Learned that Jesus was not a phantom
		4.  Stand back and take a look at the totality of the evidence
			a.  The “signs” he performed throughout his life
				- In Cana
				- At temple
				- Healing
				- Feeding of 5,000
			b.  Now we see the greatest sign – the resurrection
			c.  Apostles died for this
				- People would not die for a lie
			d.  Following the rules of evidence, multiple witnesses, there 
			      is more than ample evidence for the bodily resurrection
	C.  Yet people have been ignoring the evidence and try to disprove the 
		1.  Documentary:  The supposed lost tomb of Jesus
			a.  Found a family tomb in Jerusalem
				- Several ossuaries in tomb - Here is what they claim
					-- One reads - Jesus son of Joseph
					-- Others read: Mariamne E Mara, Mary, Judah 
					    son of Jesus, Matthew, and Joseh
					-- They found the tomb of Jesus and his family
					-- Of course, if his ossuary is there, he wasn't 
					    raised from the dead
				- Any problems?
					-- Ignored everything from the biblical account 
					    except for some names
					-- Jesus and family not from Nazareth, that why
					    a borrowed tomb, never married-no kids
					-- Normal practice was to write down city of 
					    origin if NOT from Jerusalem - Should have 
					    said Jesus son of Joseph of Nazareth
					-- Jesus and Joseph were common names
				- Most inscriptions were clear, but the supposed 
				  Jesus one was so garbled, could only make out a 
				  couple of letters
				- Jesus, Joseph, and Judah common names, like 
				  George, Bob, etc.  - If found a gravestone 2000 
				  years from now that said Amy, daughter of Jimmy 
				  with no other info, would you declare it to be the 
				   grave of Jimmy Carter's daughter Amy?
				   Note: more at -
			b.  Over 500 people saw the resurrected Christ
			c.  If Jesus was buried, all the Romans and Jews would 
			     have to do is produce to the body of Christ to show he 
			     wasn’t raised to put a stop to Christianity
		3.  Other supposed “gospels” that portray a different Jesus
			a.  Many are Gnostic writings 
				- Gnosticism didn’t come into full being until 2nd 
				- Gnosticism took a little from many religions
				- Gnostic writings, including these so-called gospels 
				   date much later than the biblical gospels
				- Some Gnostic gospels are nothing more than a 
				  collection of sayings, edited to suit Gnosticism 
			b.  The early church was unanimous in rejecting them
				- They were never considered Christian
				- Their source was a different religion borrowing from 
				   other religions
			c.  The only people that take them seriously today are those 
			       who want to try and discredit the Bible
		4.  There are always new sensationalist things that claim to rock the 
		     foundations of Christianity
			a.  This is nothing new
			b.  People have been doing it since the 2nd century
			c.  But Jesus said the gates of Hades would not prevail
	D.  According to rules of evidence, the resurrection is an established fact
		1.  Apostles all saw him
		2.  Over 500 saw him
		3.  Apostles died preaching the resurrection
			a.  People would rarely die for a lie
			b.  All but one of the twelve died preaching the Gospel
			c.  Only John apparently died of natural causes.

III.  It is Active Commitment
	A.  Not just a mental agreement, but the doing of it
	B.  Look at what the text says
		1.  The reactions of the various disciples
			a.  1st was the “disciple,” who we understand to be John
				-  He did not actually see the resurrected Jesus yet
				-  He did not touch him yet
				-  He saw the empty tomb, and believed
			b.  Mary
				-  She heard and saw the resurrected Jesus
				-  She cried “Rabboni” and clung to him
				-  She went and told the others that she saw him
			c.  The other disciples
				-  He appeared among them
				-  Commissioned them, they became Apostles
			d.  Thomas
				- Wanted more than eyewitness testimonies
				- Response:  “My Lord and my God!”
				- Jesus pronounced a greater blessing on those who 
				  did not see yet believed  - That is us!
					-- Greater blessing because faith is stronger 
					    than sight
					-- Thomas now has sight, not faith
				- Jesus words shows that faith is a decision, a 
				   commitment to believe due to the evidence
		2.  Faith in John is almost always pisteuw, a verb, rather 
		     than pistis, noun
			a.  The verb is used almost 100 times in John
			b.  The noun is almost never used
			c.  Faith is a verb, it is a commitment, a “doing” of it
		3.  People in the text are at different levels, but all result in 
			a. Thomas at the lowest level, needed proof – Called Jesus 
			b.  Mary saw him and clung to him – Called him teacher
			c.  Disciples saw him in upper room, became his Apostles & 
			     went on to preach him risen from the dead amidst 
			d.  John saw just an empty tomb, and believed
 	C.  ILL:  Some stories, negative and positive examples
		1.  Shawn – Grew up together.  For years was a marginal Christian
			a.  His dad died, and had become a dedicated Christian
			b.  Shawn decided shortly after his Dad died to be dedicated
			c.  Went to Harding with his wife and son to be a preacher
			d.  Only lasted a semester – It was too much for him
				- Got angry with himself for selling his house 
				- Went back to try and get his old job back
				- When he returned, he commented that there was 
				  too much religion in Searcy, Arkansas
				- He eventually quit church, now he drinks too much 
				   and his marriage has been in and out of trouble
		2.  Then there is Shawn’s Dad
			a.  Regular church goer, but then heart attack, then surgery
			b.  Made a conscious decision to be sold out for God
				- Helped anyone he could, more involved in church
				- Even began to go door to door with the Gospel
			c.  One day he told me that he wished he had been more 
		     	     committed when younger for sake of his kids and family
			d.  Went on for two years, then a 2nd heart attack
				- This one debilitated  him
				- Family did everything they could to get him to have a 
			  	  second operation on his heart, but he decided no
				- Tried to be a lesson to his family, showing his 
				   passion for going to meet the Lord 
				- This had impact at hospital on his oldest son Scott, 
				   who decided to rededicate himself to God
		3.  One that hits closer to home for me is my Dad
			a.  For years, he searched for God’s truth.
			b.  Encyclopedia article directed him to Churches of Christ
			c.  Since then, has always been involved
			d.  Spends retirement with We Care and Disaster Response
				- Told me that retirement is a great blessing
				- You don’t retire from serving God
	D.  Faith is active commitment
		1.  Yes, Jesus rose from the grave.  So what?
		2.  I’ll tell you what, he demonstrated that he is Lord
		3.  Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!”
		4.  If I believe in him, then I will be committed to him

1.  So, faith is not believing in what you know ain’t so
	a.  Christian faith is rooted in history
	b.  Based on evidence
	c.   Involves active commitment – we call that “faithfulness”
2.  The Gospel is a historical fact (inv)
3.  Our response is to believe, to be sold out
	a.  To cling to him as our teacher, as Mary did
	b.  To say, “My Lord and my God!” as Thomas did
	c.  To tell others of him, of the Gospel, as the Apostles did
4.  He is risen – How will  you respond?
	a.  The question is not, “Should I respond?”
	b.  The question is, “How will I respond?”
5.  1 Cor 15:53-58 – Look at the last verse

Small Group Questions:
Summary:  Christian faith is not believing in what you know ain’t so, but an active commitment 
to the truth of the resurrection of Christ not as some sort of metaphor, but a historical fact 
of the bodily resurrection that gives good, strong hope.

- What is the hardest thing for you to believe?  The easiest?


1.  What is the point of this text?  What does it teach and aim to do?

2.  What evidence is given for the resurrection of Christ.  What other evidence is there besides 
what is in this text?

3.  All Gospel writers give an account of the resurrection.  How do we know the resurrection was 
physical and not a metaphor?  Why is this important?

4.  One at a time, discuss the various reaction in the text to the evidence or appearance of Christ.  
What lesson(s) are there concerning faith in these?


5.  Which of the characters’ faith in this story do you identify with the most?  Why?

6.  How do discussions like this strengthen your faith?

7.  In what ways should/does the resurrection of Christ affect you in your daily routine?

8.  Because of the resurrection, what must you commit to? (or what have you committed to?)