Dr. Ed Young - Resurrection Truth
It was probably about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Friday. The announcement was made: Jesus is dead. I'm sure the whisperers went out everywhere. He's dead. He's dead. Jesus is dead. Normally, when a criminal was executed in such a shameful fashion on a cross, stripped, beaten, carried out, those spikes, hands and feet, they would take him down from the cross and take the body and throw it into Gehenna, which were to the garbage dump for Jerusalem and they would throw the body in the fire, and that would be the end of that, but something unusual happened.
Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate, the pro-Council, the leading proponent of Rome and all of Israel to ask for permission to take down the body of Jesus and give him a traditional, Jewish, respectable burial, and Pilate consented. I think he consented primarily because the guilt he felt. Jesus had come before him, he said, I find no fault in this man, and still he gave him over to the passionate crowd who said, "Crucify, crucify, crucify". So Pilate sort of trying to quench some of that guilt gave permission for Joseph Arimathea who was a member of the Sanhedrin, and Nicodemus, who was a member of the Sanhedrin, they had voted for this execution, but these two voted no, but there they were and they had only three hours from 3 o'clock in the afternoon to 6 o'clock at night, because 6 o'clock on Saturday would begin the Sabbath.
No, no, burial then so they made haste, and they took the body down and washed it, wrapped it in cloths, and Joseph put that body in a tomb he already had carved out of the mountain and put Jesus in that tomb. The stone was put in place. The Roman seal was put around it, and... He's dead, stone-cold, absolutely dead, finished, the end, finished, dead, and this one person whose heart seemed to beat more than any other person who'd ever live with a very heart of God, that heart beat stopped. The battle between life and death, which has gone on since the beginning of time. It was an intense battle, and if anyone seemed to have a way to defeat death, it would be this Jesus, but once again, as always, death had won the war, and all the words that Jesus said.
All the I am's, I am, I am, I am, I am. I'm the bread of life. Oh no, the bread has molded. I am the light of the world. No, the light has gone out. I am the way. Doesn't seem like the way to me. The truth, no, not the truth, and the life, no, death, like everybody else, and all the I Am's became the I was. It's over. I wonder how the news of his death affected Bartimaeus, who had been blind and he touched him now he could see, and he heard he's dead? The woman at the well, made his way to Samaria, I wonder what she'd thought.
Now I have a clean life and, he's dead? Demoniac of Gadara, my goodness, out of his mind, a maniac and healed and made sound and whole again, you mean to tell me that one who healed me is dead? And so the news went all around even but got to Lazarus, not far out of Jerusalem and Lazarus, his buddy, his pal who was the head of his second home on this earth. He said, "Why, I was dead four days, and he brought me back to life. You mean to tell me that he is dead"?
Final, final touch there. Faith, hope, charity. Faith. Hmm, disbelief. Hope. Despondency. Love, charity. No, hatred had won. It's over. The decision's been made, but you can imagine in the darkness of that Friday night. The silent Saturday that was there, and then you move into Sunday, and despair, except, except. Early in the morning, there was a stirring, and the rock was rolled away, and suddenly, the living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is alive. Christ is risen. Christ is risen, but that profession of faith, that Easter word is our thesis this Easter morning. It is our word of truth.
It's our word of proclamation. It is our word of witness, but a lot of people are stuck right there as far as Christianity is concerned because they say, "You know, I can buy into his wonderful birth, Bethlehem, his magnificent teachings, his miracles, and certainly the sermon on the Mount, those great, profound words, and his triumphal entry the first of Holy Week and all that transpired, the cleansing of the temple to get all the chicanery folks who are under the name of religion were conning, but I'd buy all that even the crucifixion, as dark as it was, I see that, but we come to the Resurrection".
Oh, wait a minute, wait a minute. I get stuck there. I've got a barrier here. I trust some people who are stuck on the fact of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus. This Easter very simply and plainly, I hope that God will speak to your heart and my heart and all of our hearts here and some will get unstuck, begin to see the validity and the irrefutable truth of this moment in history. This is the foundation, the foundation of Biblical truth.
Now, we gotta ask the question that Paul was answering here in this chapter. Is it true? Is it true? Or was the Resurrection some kind of myth, a hoped-for legend, a spin, a hallucination. You know, it was just sort of a spiritual, mystical thing. Is it absolutely, positively, positivity, historically true that God raised Jesus his Son, who was dead, stone-cold dead, and brought him into a resurrected life? Is that historically true? And we sing he lives. We say, well, he lives in my heart. That's fine. A lot of people came to Christ with a rush of emotion, but this Easter, I want all of us to have not only a rush of emotion but a rush of reason, a rush of reason.
So, how do you prove history? Give you some general observations. First of all, you look at the whole evidence of facts. Don't just take this little fact and that little fact, and try to prove, that take all the evidence of fact and put together. That's where you had to begin. Don't get parceled out here. The second thing, you have to be objective, and nobody can be purely, totally objective. We try to be, we want to be, but you start with that premise. I'm going to look at this with blind eyes and see if this is really true. The totality of facts and with a effort to be totally objective, that's where you begin, and then we go and we say well, what is the next step? How do you present evidence, and let's look at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Let's look, is there evidence here. There is forensic evidence, circumstantial evidence. Let's look at some of it. We could spend a day looking at it. Well, first of all, that Easter morn, the stone was rolled away, 1 1/2 tons, and the Greek tells us it was rolled uphill, which even makes it a greater challenge. How did that happen? And the Roman seal was pierced. You know the penalty for breaking the Roman seal without the official permission of the Roman government, was you were to be immediately buried alive.
So, they didn't have any problem with the breaking of Roman seals, let me assure you of that, but the seal was broken, and you go in the tomb and you see the wrappings of Jesus, a little indentation there. Chrysalis like there, and there's no body, what happened? And then I love the fact that over there there was a napkin, which had covered his face and that napkin was folded. What does that mean. Men, let me give you a little lesson in etiquette. The Middle Easterns, they knew this. That little folded napkin was very important. When we're eating, gentlemen, if there's a napkin by your plate, pull it down, and put it in your lap. I'm not going too fast for anybody, am I?
Now, proper etiquette is when you take, when you get up and you take that napkin and you are through eating, you take the napkin, you either put it in your chair or you put it over to the side. You don't fold it again, but if you fold the napkin to go and talk to somebody else, that tells anybody that you're going to come back and eat some more. You gonna come back. When you look in the tomb of Jesus Christ and you see a folded napkin, the Middle East would say that means he's coming back. Forensic evidence, forensic evidence, and then you got those guards, those Roman guards there. Here it is, the humor of Easter to me. I've got a twisted humor.
Can you imagine Pilate, the Pro-Council of Rome, and Caiaphas the religious leaders after Jesus was dead in the tomb, Roman seal. Caiaphas goes to Pilate, says, You know, I want you to get some Roman guards, and I want you to guard that tomb. Somebody might Mickey Mouse with the body. You go and get some Roman guards and guard that tomb, and Pilate must have thought. You know, how many guards do you need to keep a dead man dead in a tomb? And Pilate must have looked at those Jewish leaders and say you Jews are absolutely religious kooks. Guards to keep a dead man in a tomb, sealed in that manner.
How many Roman troops are they gonna need to keep there 24/7 to make sure he doesn't get out? And then we look at what happened, another bit of forensic evidence. Here are those apostles who were in hiding. Judas had killed himself in shame. Peter was so bombastic drew his sword and cut off the ear, and I'm going to stand and give my life. He was nowhere to be found. He ran when a little maid there by the fire while Jesus was in trial. He took off and was AWOL without leave. He wasn't hiding in disgrace. All the other apostles, where were they? They didn't show their faith. Luke says a women were at a distance, but just a few weeks later, this same group were right in the middle of the temple, the synagogue in Jerusalem, and they were proclaiming for everybody to hear that Jesus is alive.
They were proclaiming Christ is risen, and by the way, who said that? That phrase we're proclaiming was said by women. That's exactly what they said. And then the rest of it is, he is risen, he is risen indeed, and he is going to talking with Peter. He's talking with Peter. What a... friends, you've got, a lot of it, we just touched on it, but what's the best evidence you can have? Let's go to a court of law. Let's see how we do the best evidence you can have to prove a historical fact is eye-witness evidence. Let's see if we have any of that. Oh, this is beautiful. You go for a court of law. You're trying to prove that Christ is risen and you go before the court, you give all the forensic evidence and said I wanna give you some eye-witness evidence, and so you would bring these witnesses up, and let's listen to them.
First witness, eye-witness, post-Resurrection saw Jesus, Mary Magdalene, John 20:10 to 18, the other women, Matthew 28:8 through 10. Josephus, the other disciple on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:13 through 32, they heard Jesus is dead, they thought it's all over. He appeared to them. To 11 apostles and others, Luke 24:33 through 49 to ten apostles and others with Thomas absent, John 20:19 through 23, to Thomas and the other apostles, John 20:26 to 30, to seven apostles John 21:1 through 14, to the disciples, Matthew, Matthew 28:16 through 28. He was with the apostles at the Mount of Olives, made his announcement, his ascension, Luke 24:53, Acts 1:4 through 9, Matthew 28 through 10, he was meeting with 11 apostles in which he gave them the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:16 through 20, he's meeting with the disciples in John 20:19 to 23, he showed them his hands and his side and you bring all those up. He'd seen over 40 days, and they gave their witness and their testimony, and they were cross examined, let's say about 15 minutes per witness, it would take from breakfast on Monday all the way to dinner on Friday night, 24 hours a day, you'd have about 129 hours in that court of law. People say firsthand cross examine he was dead, and I saw him alive.
Now, if that's not enough, there's 500 men, and I don't know how many women they didn't count the women in that day and teenagers and young people, who saw him alive, let's bring those 500 up and let's really have a trial, and you bring them up in six minutes apiece, and you hear their testimony of what they saw with 500 in a crowd, and they give their witness for it. That's another 30 or 40 hours of personal eye-witness testimony. So you take forensic evidence, you take eye-witness evidence, and you present all this, and I'd turn over to my counsel on the other side and say, "Okay, counselor, you proved to me this is not a historical fact".
You'd lose every single time, because Christ is risen! Absolutely, absolutely. Now... we've established that, and by the way, I have spent a lot of time reading the Passover plot. I've heard the delusional theories. I've heard the idea they weren't the Jews could've done, what the Romans could've done, I have looked at all that adinfinitum, and it just doesn't stand up even a scintilla to refute the fact that Christ is risen. Okay, we agree. Why is that important? Oh. First of all, it's important because Paul says it right here in Corinthians. It's the axis upon which all of Christianity revolves. He said if Jesus was not resurrected from the dead. Everything about Christianity is invalid.
You can take the life of Jesus Christ and you can put it down and you can put on top of it, fiction! Stamp it fiction, says Paul. Therefore, it is the heart of what we have if Jesus Christ did not defeat death, Christianity is invalid, says the Bible, and we have seen, tremendous evidence, overwhelming evidence that gives us complete assurance, but it's not only important because it's the very foundation of Christianity, but it is important to all of us, to everybody, because there's not anybody here, unless you're very very very young, who hasn't known someone who's taken their last breath and they've left this earth.
My dad left this earth. My mother left this earth. My younger brother suddenly died, left this earth. Jo Beth, high school sweetheart, married 58 years. Three sons, eleven grandchildren left this earth. My granddaughter Lee Beth, only 34, suddenly, without warning left this earth, but the thing that hurts most in my life all of those, especially I think of Jo Beth, I mean goodness, and if the Lord personally visited me and I would ask him what a lot of us would ask. We'd say, "Why"? We'd say, "Why"? And I think the Lord would answer very, very gently and say.
Edwin, did I raise my son from the dead? I'd say, Lord, yeah I know that that's absolute historical fact, I've looked at it I'm confident I don't have a scintilla of doubt yes, but Lord I want to add... Edwin, did I raise my Son from the dead? Yes, and then he could added, he said if I live, Jesus, then you, too, shall live. To be absent from the body is be present with the Lord, this resurrected body. I know, Lord, but what about my granddaughter I mean listen.
Edwin, did I raise my Son from the dead? Yeah, I got it Lord, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the answer to this dark moment of life, because we know on the other side there is glory and glory and glory and a fullness of life and in that resurrection body that is out of this world.
Lot of people who do not believe in spite of overwhelming evidence, you know one of the problems with believing and knowing and standing on the truth of the Resurrection is that when you know for sure this happened, it means that everything else Jesus said and did is truth. It means the church is a repository of this truth. It means it changes everything about your life and my life. If we simply understand this is true, true truth, you see? That's a whole new beginning of life here and life forever.