CONTEMPT, CURIOSITY, CONVICTION
1 CORINTHIANS 15:3-19; ACTS 17:32-34
There are a number of Old Testament references (Isaiah 53; Psalms 16; Hosea 6) just to name a few and over a hundred references in the New Testament to the resurrection and it is a theme found throughout the entirety of the New Testament. We have the Gospel accounts themselves, such as the one we read in the opening service. And then we have the Book of Acts which is largely a book about the
early church’s proclaiming the resurrection of Christ. Then we have the epistles, letters written based on the fact of the resurrection and then finally the Book of Revelation tells us of the now risen Christ reigning from heaven, and so the entire New Testament proclaims the truth of the resurrection. However, it is sad that today, we have people who still doubt the validity of the resurrection.
There is an article titled “Can the various resurrection accounts from the four Gospels be harmonized?” This is a profound question. The article concluded that “in the battle with skeptics regarding Jesus’ resurrection, Christians are in a “no-win” situation. If the resurrection accounts harmonize perfectly, skeptics will claim that the writers of the Gospels conspired together. If the resurrection accounts have
some differences, skeptics will claim that the Gospels contradict each other and therefore cannot be trusted. The truth is that when it comes to skeptics, Christians are in a “no – win” situation.
BUT here is the truth, however way you want to look at it, if Jesus hadn’t resurrected, then the entire Bible will be just a book, like every other book, maybe a good history or story book, or a good moral book, but not a book that can answer the real deep questions: Origin – where did I come from? Meaning – who am I? Purpose – why am I here? Morality – how should I live? Destiny – where am I going? If Jesus
hadn’t resurrected, then Christians are the most foolish people on earth. Apostle Paul puts it this way: “If Christ be not raised, then we are to be pitied more than all men.” If every part of the gospel is not true, then we will have spent our days pursuing a God who will not benefit us beyond the grave.
If Jesus truly is risen, then 3 profound questions are answered.
1. Does God Exist?
If Jesus has risen from the grave, and truly conquered death 2,000 years ago, then this seems to be powerful evidence for the existence of God. After all, a resurrection would require an enormous amount of power and an enormous amount of knowledge.
There must be a supernatural explanation. Only God can conquer death. If Jesus rose from the grave, then it seems to provide a positive answer to one of the most pressing issues humans ask—Does God exist?
2. Which Religion Is True?
If the resurrection actually took place in historical space-time, then all other religions and philosophies for coping with life fall short. It is true that many religions offer profound insights about life. But on core issues—the nature of God, salvation and the afterlife—Christianity is uniquely true. And on the flip side, as Paul observes, if the resurrection is not true, then Christianity is utterly false (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17).
3. Is There Life After Death?
If we want to know what’s on the other side of life, we should ask someone who has been there and come back. If the resurrection is true, then Jesus has actually returned from the dead and can confirm that there is life after death. In John 14:3, Jesus says to his disciples, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. In other words, Jesus can testify about life after death because he has died, and then returned to life as a witness. Thus, if the resurrection is true, then life continues after death, just as Jesus taught.
Can you see how important the resurrection is? Again, either it is a colossal fabrication, or it is the most important event in history. There’s no middle ground.
Now what is your response?
People’s response to this historical event fall under 3 categories. Acts 17:32-34
1. Contempt – “Some of them sneered”
“Nobody in their right mind would believe this!” “How could anyone believe in the physical, literal bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the grave?” But was there really an alternative?
2. Curiosity – “Some of them wanted to hear more”
It is true that some people need more time to think and ponder on what the resurrection story mean, because one can’t simply push aside unbelief and put on faith at will. Belief often takes time and consideration. Those who find themselves in this place of inquiry should continue considering all that God has revealed in His Word. And by God’s grace, transformation will come as He reveals Himself, because
ultimately, it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that anyone comes to saving faith.
3. Conviction – “Some of them believed”
John 11:25-26 In God alone is the power of resurrection from the dead. So Jesus asks the same question of each of us: “Do you believe that I am the resurrection and the life?”
Lewis’s trilemma: The Lunatic, Liar or Lord argument… “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.”