Friday, December 31, 2010

JESUS—HIS death, burial, and RESURRECTION

I Corinthians 15: 12-19

“Welcome friend to our program of Bible study, In Search of the Lord’s Way to become and to be a Christian. So very much of that depends on whether Jesus actually arose from the grave. The Bible says He proved Himself to be what He claimed to be by His resurrection. Did He really rise from the dead? What evidence do we have of it? Phil Sanders has prepared a response to those and other questions you might have. Oh say, you’re going to want to stay tuned for this!

Thank you, Mack. Hello, I’m Phil Sanders and we’re here to search God’s Word for the Lord’s Way. The Bible always teaches us the truth; you can trust your Bible, and that’s why we go to it again and again. Thanks for spending this time with us. We love to hear that you’re watching or listening, and we want to be a part of your life each week.

Christianity is first and foremost a belief in the Deity of Jesus Christ, that He is the Lord, the Son of God. According to Romans 1 and verse 4, God declared with power that Jesus is the Son of God through His resurrection from the dead. We believe Jesus arose from the dead, according to the Scriptures, and today we want to tell you why we believe!

Jesus predicted in Matthew 20, verses 18 and 19, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.’ Now, this is a rather bold prediction. Jesus not only told us how He would die but what He would be, that He would be raised. Now, if this happened the way that Jesus predicted, He is everything that He claims to be.

If there was a resurrection, then Jesus is certainly worthy of our love and loyalty. He truly is Lord! We can believe what He says and know that He has power over our lives. If Jesus is a risen Lord, then His commandments are binding on us. The question of the resurrection is crucial to our lives, so we want to take the time to see if Jesus arose from the dead.

We offer the information on this program free. And if you would like a printed copy, a CD or tape of our study, mail your request to In Search of the Lord’s Way, P.O. Box 371, Edmond, OK 73083 or e-mail us at Or, if you like, call our toll-free telephone number. We’ll pay for the call, and that number is 1 (800) 321-8633. We also stream this program on our website at Well, Ken Helterbrand’s going to lead the Edmond Church of Christ in song, and then we’ll read from 1 Corinthians 15, verses 12 to 19. Our reading today comes from 1 Corinthians 15, verses 12 through 19. ‘Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.’ That’s from God’s Holy Word. Let’s pray together. Father, we’re grateful that in Your love You raised Jesus from the dead and gave proof to us through His resurrection that He is the Son of God. We’re thankful for that and we pray You will bless our study together today. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

The New Testament is clear and consistent that Jesus arose from the dead and is Lord of all. Matthew, John, Peter, and Paul said they were eyewitnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. Paul said that Jesus ‘appeared to Cephas (that is Peter), then to the twelve. And after that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom,’ Paul says, ‘remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.’ (1 Corinthians 15, verses 5 to 8) Paul had spoken to many witnesses personally and made it clear that people could find out for themselves about the appearances of Jesus.

We can believe the books of the New Testament. They were given at a time when people who were living could judge and verify the facts that they presented. And I’ll have more to say about the trustworthy character of the four gospel accounts on another program. If Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John had lied to us, why the early church would have known it and rejected them. But the early church universally regarded these four books as inspired of God, inerrant and authoritative; and they quoted from them repeatedly.

Jesus did indeed arise from the dead, and Luke said in Acts 1 and verse 3 that Jesus ‘presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days.’ The New Testament records nearly a dozen appearances. Jesus appeared to women and men, to people alone, to two disciples, to the ten disciples in the upper room, and then to the twelve, to the seven by the lake and to more than 500 at one time.

The appearances occurred in different places and under different circumstances. And not one person who witnessed the appearances ever denied what he saw, heard or when he touched the Lord. Jesus proved his resurrection to them. And so convinced were they of the resurrection that they would endure persecution, prison, and even death for what they believed.

Those who saw Jesus alive after the crucifixion became convinced of his resurrection. And one has to account for such conviction, and the only reasonable conclusion for such conviction is that they saw and believed, and what they believed was the truth! They were the ones who knew Jesus best. The apostles had lived and worked with Jesus for three and a half years. They knew him well. They knew his speech, his laugh, his walk, and his appearance. They were certain that the Jesus who endured the cross was the same person who arose from the dead.

Now at first the disciples doubted. You see they had to be convinced. In fact, when the women told the apostles Jesus was risen, the disciples thought it was nonsense. Jesus had to prove himself alive to His apostles. In Mark 16, verse 14, Jesus rebuked his disciples ‘for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after His resurrection.’

John chapter 20, verse 19 has the disciples in the upper room with the doors shut for fear of the Jews. And you remember that Thomas, one of the apostles said, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I’m not going to believe.’ Now, Jesus knew what Thomas said and a week later said, ‘Reach here your finger, and you see My hands; and you reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ (John chapter 20, verse 27) Well, when Thomas saw that Jesus truly was alive, he exclaimed, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’ (John chapter 20, verses 28 and 29)

Jesus was not afraid to prove to His disciples that God had raised Him up. On the following Pentecost, less than 50 days later, all the apostles took their stand before thousands, saying, ‘This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.’ (Acts 2 and verse 32) They further said, ‘. . . let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.’ (chapter 2, verse 36) The frightened disciples became bold. And when the Sanhedrin, that is the Jewish Supreme Court, gave the apostles ‘strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet,’ they said, ‘you have filled Jerusalem with His teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.’ That’s what they accused them!

But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you put to death by hanging Him on a cross.’ (Acts 5, verses 28 to 30) You see, they could not ‘stop speaking about what they had seen and heard.’ (Acts 4 and verse 20) They changed from fear to faith, from unbelief to knowing for certain that God had raised Him from the dead. And nothing but a real resurrection can explain the change in the disciples. And not one, not one of the disciples ever denied the resurrection; they died preaching that Jesus arose. Now, according to tradition, the twelve were all martyred for their faith except John, who was said to have been boiled in oil and survived.

Now, think with me: Would you die preaching something that you knew was a lie? Would you endure beatings, imprisonment, and death to proclaim something that you knew was false? It’s certainly not in the character or the teachings of Jesus that one should tell a lie. These men held to the gospel story because they witnessed Jesus resurrected from the dead personally. They knew He arose! They knew that He was indeed the Messiah and Lord! They knew that He was really raised. And they died for Him!

I also remain amazed at how the enemies of Jesus took His resurrection seriously. After Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, some of the witnesses went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. (John 11: 46) And therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council; and were saying, ‘What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs (that is miracles). And if we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’ (chapter 11, verses 47 and 48)

You see, so afraid were the leaders that Jesus would rise again, they went to Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘Well, after three days I am to rise again.’ Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, He has risen from the dead, and then the last deception will be worse than the first.’ Well, Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard; you go, and make it as secure as you know how. And they went and made the grave secure, along with the guard and, of course, they set a seal on the stone.’ (Matthew 27, verses 63 to 66) Now, the Jews would not have been satisfied with having one or two Roman guards; they wanted the tomb so secure that no one could steal the body of Jesus. Some scholars estimate there were as many as thirty guards around the tomb.

Now, a door or tomb was sealed by stretching a cord over the stone which blocked the entrance, spreading clay or wax on the cord, and then impressing it with a seal. And the seal would make any tampering obvious. Well, with such precautions, the only way the tomb could be emptied would be for Jesus to rise from the dead. The chief priests and Pharisees failed to understand that no rock, no seal, no guard, and no army could keep the tomb secure. Nothing could prevent the Son of God from rising again.

Now, some people think that Jesus didn’t really die but just revived in the cool of the tomb. But even a revived Jesus would be very weak after the loss of so much blood from his beatings and the crucifixion. That Jesus after being beaten and crucified could have revived in the tomb enough to roll that very heavy stone away, breaking the seals, and then frightening these hardened soldiers is a conjecture harder to believe than the resurrection itself.

How could Jesus endure so much in a day when there was no medical help, as we know it today, how could he recover to the point that he could move a stone so large that it required several men to move? He had lost a great deal of blood from the scourging and crucifixion; a spear pierced His side; He had been sealed in the strips of linen filled with the myrrh and aloe. And if he had not died from his wounds, the burial process would have killed Him. Jesus did not revive on His own; He was raised from the dead by the power of God.

And when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and the other women came to the tomb, they didn’t expect to find the stone rolled away. They were wondering who would help them roll that very large stone away, so they could anoint the body of Jesus with their spices.

Well, the soldiers were in the presence of an angel that morning. And Matthew said that, ‘The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.’ (Matthew 28: 4) The angels said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, and see the place where He was lying.’ (chapter 28, verses 5 and 6) What would lead the soldiers to be so scared?

When Peter and John ran to the tomb, they entered it, they saw ‘the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.’ (John 20, verses 6 and 7) They saw the empty tomb and the linen wrappings that had been on his body and the Bible says they believed. If Jesus’ body were stolen, as some have suggested, why did they leave the grave clothes behind?

If you were stealing a body in front of a number of Roman soldiers whose job it was to guard the tomb, why would you take the time to undress the body? Why would you take the time, after you had undressed that body to take the head piece and roll it up again and lay it to a place by itself? Why no thief would do that! But if Jesus were alive again, He would take those wrappings off. Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God! And nothing else could explain the empty tomb or the linen wrappings!

The Roman guards could have been punished with death if they had allowed Jesus’ body to be stolen by the disciples. The Roman guards fled. They left their place of responsibility. How can their attrition be explained, when Roman military discipline was so exceptional? All the Jewish and Roman authorities had to do to disprove the resurrection was just produce the dead body of Jesus, but they didn’t do this. Why? They couldn’t! Paul argued in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 6 that Jesus appeared to more than 500 brethren at one time and that many were still living to verify his claim. My friend, the evidence is so strong that no one can dispute it. Jesus arose from the dead!

Then there’s Saul of Tarsus, the man who fought Christianity with all of his might. He persecuted the church savagely; he held the garments of those who stoned Stephen; he imprisoned men and women; he confiscated houses in order to put a stop to Christianity. He traveled to Damascus to imprison some who had fled there. It was on the road that the risen Jesus appeared to Saul. And from that time forward Saul of Tarsus became the apostle Paul, the apostle who gave his life preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why the change? Well, the only credible answer is that Saul believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And when he faced the facts, he understood that Jesus is Lord, risen from the dead and the one who will judge the world. I hope that you will come to that belief as well. Let’s pray. Father, we are grateful for the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and may it sink deep into our hearts. And may our hearts be convicted to want to serve You always. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

The resurrection of Jesus Christ matters greatly. If Jesus arose, we should call Him ‘Lord’ and obey His every teaching. If Jesus arose, His promises are true, His commandments are binding, and He is the only way to heaven. We ought to bow the knee to Him and Him alone. If Jesus is Lord, He’s not merely another moral teacher or just another prophet; He is the Son of God. We must one day stand before Him to be judged for our deeds, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5 and verse 10)

And I hope that you regard Jesus as Lord and live in a way that honors Him and shows that you love and believe in Him. The gospel is indeed good news. And that’s why we need to obey it today! The gospel is the story of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1: 16 says that the gospel is God’s power unto salvation.

One obeys the gospel by believing that Jesus is the Christ with all one’s heart, repenting of every sin, confessing the name of Jesus as the Christ and Lord, and being baptized in water. You’re baptized into Christ, and in baptism, a person dies with Christ; he’s buried with Christ and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life and it’s at that time that he’s freed from sin. (Romans 6, verses 3 to 7) Without the gospel none of us has any hope of being raised from the dead and living eternally with the Lord.

The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, verses 16 to 19, ‘For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.’ But Christ has been raised, and we can rejoice in that. It means we can trust the Lord Jesus to fulfill every promise of our resurrection and to be able to live with Him forever in heaven. And I pray that you have obeyed the gospel so that you can share the promises.

We sincerely hope you’ve been blessed by today’s study of God’s Word. If you want a free printed copy, a CD, or tape of this message that, ‘Jesus Arose,’ mail your request to In Search of the Lord’s Way, P.O. Box 371, Edmond, OK 73083 or e-mail us, Or, call the Search office toll-free at 1 (800) 321-8633. Now all our programs also appear on our website, that’s You can access it or download it in a printed, audio, or video format. We also now offer free study sheets and Bible correspondence courses. You can get those free just by calling and asking for them, or the study sheets can be downloaded. Now, they’ll help you study God’s Word.

Please come and worship with one of the churches of Christ in this area; they’re the reason we never ask for money. They love guests, and you’ll be glad that you visited. Well, Mack and I will be back next week, Lord willing. Keep searching God’s Word with us and tell a friend. God bless you and we love you from all of us at In Search of the Lord’s Way.”

After the CREATION of the universe by GOD, because there would be no history if not for the creation, the death, burial, and RESURRECTION of JESUS, the SON of GOD, is the single most important event in the history of the world. If JESUS was not resurrected, we are still in our sins. We can not be saved. Praise GOD! HE has been resurrected!

Christians have the hope, have the promise of eternal life with GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT! That hope and promise should sustain us, should motivate us in the coming New Year. I pray all will have a great New Year. However, that is only possible through GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT!