James Merritt - Back From the Dead
Well, good morning. First of all, those of you who know me know that if you ever see me dressed like this, one of three things is true. Somebody is getting buried, somebody is getting married or it's Easter Sunday, okay? So I want you to know this is not normal attire for me, but it's kind of fun to do it. I want to welcome those that are overflow. We've got people who couldn't even get in here today and so I'm grateful for those of you in the overflow, for those who are at Mill Creek, those watching on TV, those watching online. Thank you for being here and know the big crowd does not get to my head 'cause I realize if I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big.
So I'm not really all that enamored. But, approximately 108.2 billion people have been born since the beginning of time but only one person's birthday is celebrated around the world. I mean, but people even believe in him, we don't even follow him. You know his name is Jesus. In fact, his birthday is the most celebrated birthday in the history of this planet. Over 100 billion people have died since the world began, but only one death is commemorated every year by billions of people, and that is the death of Jesus. Matter of fact, we even have a name for the day he died. We call it Good Friday. So it's incredible to me that billions of people around the world will stop everything they're doing and celebrate the birthday of one man and the death day of one man out of 108 billion people.
So the question is, why? Why would anybody's birth be so universally and popularly celebrated, much less somebody's death. And we we've even been trying to answer that question over the last three weeks in our church because we've been doing a series called "Why Jesus". As a matter of fact, we kind of narrowed it down and really ask the question, why only Jesus? Because of the 4,200 religions in the world, why would a guy like me get up here and say to a person like you, the only faith that will get you to God is faith in Jesus. No other faith will get you there, no other faith will work. Well, three things separate Jesus from every other person who's ever been born. One is the life that he lived. Because as of this day, this year, of all the 108 billion people who've lived, he is the only one who had the audacious boldness to say, "I've never sinned. I don't have any faults. I don't have any failures".
No blots, no blemishes. And oh, by the way, when he died, his family didn't deny it, his foes didn't deny it, his friends didn't deny it. By all accounts, he lived an absolutely perfect life. But then, there's not just the life that he lived, there's the death that he died. He was, of course we know, crucified on a cross. But it doesn't matter how you die, 100 billion people have died. Except, his death was different. Of all the 100 billion people who have died, he is still the only one who said, "By the way, I'm not dying for me. I'm dying for you. I don't have any sense to die for, I'm dying for your sins". And then to kind of cap it off, there are clinchers that believe that physically and permanently, he rose from the dead.
Now, if those three things are true, and I'm going to make that assumption, then you have to agree that Jesus lived and unequaled life, he died a unique death and he experienced an unmatched resurrection. Why is that a big deal? Because every other religion in the world can point to a founder who lived and died. Many of them can even point to the grave or the monument where their founder is today. We're the only faith, Christians are the only people who point to an empty tomb and say, "Our founder is alive".
So, if that be true when it comes to Jesus, it's not enough to stop what you're doing in December, sing a few carols and exchange some gifts. It's not enough to stop every now and then and go to what we call the Lord's supper and commemorate his death. Because at the end of the day, there's one thing you can't do when it comes to Jesus. You can't bypass the resurrection. You can't get around the resurrection. You can't ignore the resurrection. You can't pretend the resurrection didn't happen. You can't say, "Well, I'm just going to kind of stop right there". As a matter of fact, in the debate over every other religious faith and every other religious leader in the world, nothing outweighs or compares to the battle that was fought and has been fought over a little small plot of real estate in Jerusalem where death moved in on a Friday afternoon and life came out the front door on a Sunday morning.
So today, I want us to listen to a man who lived 2000 years ago. He wrote over half of the New Testament. But what makes this man so amazing is, there was a time in his life when he absolutely hated the name of Jesus. As a matter of fact, he made it his life's work to stamp out Christianity and stop it dead in its tracks. But something happened, and it was so powerful that to the day that he died, to the day that he had his head chopped off, he would not deny that he had met Jesus alive. He had met the risen Lord and he became the all time champion of answering the question, why Jesus? If you brought a copy of God's word, I'm in the book of Acts chapter 13, it's one book past the four gospels. I'm in Acts chapter 13. This man we're talking about, his name was Paul. He's talking about Jesus to some people in an era where people were first called Christians, and he's telling them why he believed in the resurrection, why they ought to believe in the resurrection, and oh, by the way, why we ought to believe in the resurrection.
So, we're going to go quickly today. I want to tell you three reasons. Number one, Paul said we have an empty tomb. We have an empty tomb. Now, something happened, nobody denies this. Something happened 2000 years ago. It was so dramatic, so transformational. It was so life changing that 11 men's lives were so different, that every one of them died a violent martyr's death. Except one who was exiled on a pile and to starve to death, every one of them died a death because they would not deny that Jesus was alive. Something happened that was so unbelievable that four men sat down and wrote four gospels about the life and the death of this one man. Something happened that was so unreal that a movement began in a little town called Jerusalem, and it began to spread in concentric circles until it encircled the entire world over and over and over.
And when you put all of that together, that's what makes this statement so amazing. Because remember, the man that's about to tell you what he's about to tell you, detested the very name of Jesus. He despised the movement called Christianity, he devoted his life to destroying the church that we're in right now, and this is what he said. When they had carried out all that was written about him, that is, he's tomb after crucifixion. They took him down from the cross, laid him in a tomb, but God raised him from the dead. Now, Paul's referring to an empty tomb. Now, let me just say something. If you're here today and you are at Mill Creek, or you're at the overflow room, you're watching by computer, whatever, you're not a believer. You're not a Christian. You're honest enough to admit it. I'm just not into all this Jesus stuff.
Let's just understand one thing for absolute certain. There's one thing nobody would dispute. If that tomb where Jesus was buried had not been empty, we wouldn't be celebrating today. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing right now. You wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting right now. I'd be doing something else, you'd be doing something else. As a matter of fact, this building would still be a hollowed out missile factory with kudzu climbing the walls. Because the one thing that would have stopped Christianity dead in its tracks, the one thing that would have absolutely made sure it never got off the ground, that would have crashed and burned before it ever took off would have been in an empty tomb.
So let me give you a universal illustration. I want you to imagine you're on trial, and you're on trial for murder. And you have pled innocent. You've said, "I didn't murder this man. You said I've murdered, I know you've accused me. I don't care what the evidence tells you, I did not murder this man. I am innocent". So, the trial begins and the prosecutor attorney lays out all these circumstantial facts about why you committed this murder. The problem is there's no dead body. Nobody's produced the body of this man and you still maintained your innocence. Let's imagine the prosecution, Wrestler case, the defense attorney is about to get up and all of a sudden, the door to the courtroom opens and the man that you are accused of murdering walks in that door. Guess what? The trial is over. Case dismissed. There is no way you can murder a man that is still alive.
Now, to be sure, the empty tomb, let me make sure you hear this. The empty tomb alone does not prove that Jesus rose from the dead. Okay, I get that. However, for 11 men who denied Jesus and ran away from Jesus out of fear the one time he needed them the most. For 11 men who spent the next two days, three days in hiding out of fear, they would be killed for following Jesus. For those 11 men, three days later to go out into the streets of Jerusalem and begin to preach and to proclaim to anybody that would listen, that Jesus had been raised from the dead. If they had done that while he was still in that tomb, that would have been suicidal, it would have been foolish, it would have been stupid.
So, in other words, if like every other grave and every other tomb the body was still there, then for anybody to talk about a resurrection would be just preposterous. However, if the tomb is empty, you have to at least say, "Well, his resurrection is possible". But then when you examine the evidence, you say, "You know, it's maybe plausible". And then you examine the evidence and you say, "You know, it looks like the best explanation for the empty tomb, is he was raised from the dead". And I'll tell you why. Any serious student of whatever happened 2000 years ago doesn't deny two things. If you don't believe in Jesus, that's fine. You don't believe he was the son of God, you don't believe he was the Messiah, you don't believe he's resurrected, that's fine. You won't find any historian anywhere, you won't find anybody who knows that stuff anywhere that will deny two things happen 2000 years ago.
There was a man named Jesus who died on a cross and there was a man named Jesus that was buried. Nobody denies those things. I haven't found anybody yet that really, if they examine they ever say, "You know, no that really didn't happen". So, if Jesus died and if Jesus was buried but the tomb was empty, then there are only two possibilities. He rose from the or somebody took the body. Well, let's just lay aside the resurrection for a moment. Let's kind of do our forensic analysis. Okay, somebody must have stolen the body. Well, there's only two groups of people that could have done that, right? His foes or his friends. But then when you examine the evidence you say, "Okay, his foes wouldn't have taken it and his friends couldn't have taken it".
Let me tell you why, think about this. To make sure that nobody would steal that body, to make sure that wouldn't happen, the moment Jesus' body had been brought and been put in the tomb, the Pharisees go to the Romans, the guys in charge. They said, "Look, we want to make sure nobody steals the body, can you help us"? They said, "Oh yeah, we got this thing covered". Number one, we're going to give you what would be in the day, we'd call them the Navy Seals, the Army Rangers, the Green Berets. They gave them a crack Roman battalion to guard that tomb. Then they rolled this big heavy stone across the entrance to seal that tomb. Well, let's suppose the Pharisees changed their minds, say Saturday night. And they said, "You know, we got a better idea. To make sure they don't take the body, we'll take the body".
So let's just kind of save, just play along with me. Okay, the Pharisees took the body. Then all they had to do was stop Christianity. They could just produce the body. They wouldn't have gone to the trouble of arresting the disciples, which they did. They wouldn't have gone to the trouble of flogging and beating and torturing the disciples, which they did. They wouldn't go to the trouble of having the disciples killed, which they did. All they had to do to bring this Christianity business to a fatal end, was just produce the body. Well, since they didn't produce the body, there can only be one reason why they didn't produce the body, okay? They didn't have the body. Because if they had had the body, they would have produced the body, but they didn't produce the body and they couldn't produce the body because they didn't have the body. So we got to put them aside.
Well, what about his friends? Maybe his friends took the body. With all kinds of reasons to prove that they couldn't have done it even if they wanted to. But the one thing it's telling is this: Every one of these 11 disciples not only were willing to die for their belief in the resurrection, they did die because they believe in the resurrection. I've lived a long time and I will tell you something, people will die for convictions. They won't die for concoctions. People will die for what they believe is true. Nobody will die for what they know is a lie unless they're trying to protect someone that they love. And oh, by the way, you know it was kind of interesting when you go back and read the gospels and you read about that Sunday morning, do you realize that there was not one disciple, there was not one follower of Jesus that was expecting Jesus to come back out of that tomb?
Nobody camped out on Sunday morning. Nobody camped out on Saturday night. They weren't cooking hot dogs and marshmallows saying "Man, can't wait. It's about time to come out". No, no. They were hiding out. They were not expecting him. They were not expecting him to come out anywhere at all. Well, why weren't they? Because nobody believed he was coming back from the dead. As a matter of fact, back in that day, neither the Jews nor the Greeks nor the Romans ever believed in anybody being raised from the dead as one individual. Now, the Jews and all fairness, believed at the end of time, God would raise all the people up that were righteous together to live with him forever. But nobody believed that right in the middle of history, God would raise one single person from the dead.
So when they put Jesus in that tomb, Peter, James, John, Andrew, Bartholomew, Mary, his brothers, they said, "He's gone. Stick a fork in him, he's done. We will never see him again on this earth". But the empty tomb changed everything. So William Wand, a former professor at Oxford University put it this way, "All the strictly historical evidence that we have is in favor of the empty tomb. And those scholars who reject it ought to recognize that they do so on some other ground than that of scientific history". So, here is what he was saying, and I want to just kind of say it with him. You may not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. You may not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. You may not believe in the sinless life of Jesus, but there's one thing you cannot deny. Sunday morning, that tomb was empty.
So we have an empty tomb. But Paul said, "We have a stronger case than that". Because we not only have an empty tomb, we have eyewitness testimonies. Now, there are two bookings to the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Yeah, you've got the empty tomb, but you've also got eyewitness testimonies. See, there are two facts that form a resurrection shaped dent in history. And this is what Paul is referring to when he says this: And for many days, he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. My son is an attorney. My son will tell you that if you're an attorney and you're trying a case, the best truimph cards you can have in your pocket, the ace in the hole you can have your hand is if you've got good solid eyewitness testimony and the more the better. The more credible witnesses you have and the more they corroborate each other's story, the stronger proof that you have.
Well, when you combine the empty tomb with eyewitness testimonies, even skeptics try to say, they kind of call a time out and say, "You know what? We need to take a look and kind of see what happens". What did really happen? Because again, no one disputes the fact that there were significant numbers of men and women who claimed to be our witnesses to the risen Jesus. By the way, which is attested to by every single one of the 27 books of the new Testament. Two gospels, Matthew and John were written by two men who were disciples who live with Jesus for three years. They claimed to have seen the risen Lord and they died for that belief, and they died for that conviction incidentally.
It is not the four gospels that explained the resurrection, it is the resurrection that explains the four gospels. Because if Jesus Christ had not been raised from the dead, listen to this, we don't have Christmas. We don't have Easter. We don't have the Lord supper. We don't have a church. We don't have the New Testament. Everything rises and falls on the new Testament. As matter of fact, it's the resurrection that explains, not the four gospels, but the entire new Testament. If you take the birth of Jesus, if you took that away, it only affect two books in the Bible, Matthew and Luke. They are the only ones that refer to his birth. But if you take away the resurrection of Jesus, you will take away the entire New Testament. Let me tell you this, this really gets even better. One of my favorite books in the Bible is a book called James. It's in the New Testament.
The reason why I love that book is because it has a great name to that book, okay? It's just one of God's coincidence is okay, but James wrote a book in the Bible, really is one of my favorite books. Now, you probably don't know this about James, but let me clue you in. James was the brother of Jesus. And you might say, "Well, of course he wrote one of the books in the Bible. He was one of his brothers". Oh no, wait a minute. He didn't believe in Jesus when Jesus was alive. He didn't buy into all this stuff about Jesus being the son of God. He grew up with him. He went to school with him, probably slept in the same bunk bed with him. He said, "I don't believe it". As a matter of fact, none of Jesus's brothers bought into it. Nobody. If later on, John said this about Jesus' own brothers. He said, "For even his own brothers did not believe in him".
Now, let me just stop. How many of you have a brother? Okay, you can kind of sympathize with this, right? I mean, really, you got a brother? So, you're eight years old, your brother is 12 years old and your brother comes to you one day and says, "Hey, don't don't tell mom and dad, but I'm the son of God". So you're thinking, "Okay, you've had too much Capri Sun, and you've been sniffing some glue". They didn't buy it. They didn't believe it. Lived with Jesus for 30 years, never bought into it. Hey, have you thought about this? Jesus had 12 disciples, not one brother was a disciple. Not one. Not his own brother. They didn't buy it. They didn't believe it.
Listen, it's worse than that. His family thought he was crazy. I'm not making this up. His family thought he was nuts because Jesus is walking around claiming these incredible things. I'm the Messiah. I'm the son of God. I'm God in the flesh. I came from heaven. I'm going to die for the sins of the world. I'm going to be raised from the dead. And they absolutely thought he had lost his mind. Mark tells us about it. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him for they said, "He's out of his mind". His family says, "Get the white coat. Call the doctor. Get him down to this institution. This boy needs help". And yet just 40 days after his crucifixion, there's a hundred people up in a room. And you know what they're doing? They are worshiping Jesus and they're praising Jesus and they are glorifying Jesus and they're exalting Jesus.
Take a guess who's in that room. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. You've had a brother, so you know this. Weren't it sweet when Jesus looked at them and said, "I told you". "Tried to tell you guys. Mom, I tried to tell you". And oh, by the way, the apostle Paul, remember who's speaking these words? He had a very unique experience with Jesus. All these other witnesses to the resurrection, they saw Jesus when he was physically alive. They saw Jesus when he was on planet earth. They saw Jesus before he ever went to the cross. Paul, he's the only one who ever encountered Jesus after he had physically left this planet. He never saw Jesus perform a miracle. He never saw Jesus walk on water. He never heard Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mount. He never saw Jesus crucified. He never even laid eyes on the empty tomb.
And oh, by the way, everyone else that believed in Jesus, well, they loved Jesus. They respected Jesus. They revered Jesus. They admire Jesus. They wanted Jesus to come back from the dead, not Paul. He hated Jesus. He was hostile to the name Jesus. He absolutely despised the church. He wouldn't even consider the possibility of a resurrection. And yet something happened that was so unbelievable in his life that he sat down in a Roman prison knowing he was going to die. He wrote over half of the New Testament and died by beheading saying, "Jesus Christ is Lord". So, no other religious leader, no other philosophical leader of any of the world's religions or philosophies have ever been proclaimed as a risen savior. None of them.
Now, every other religion speaks of a leader who was alive but is now dead. The New Testament doesn't talk about a Christ who was alive and now dead. The New Testament and these eyewitnesses talk about a Christ who was dead but is now alive. And they not only wrote that down, they not only told anybody that would listen, they sealed it with their own blood. So except for Christianity, every religious or philosophical belief is either based on somebody's personality or somebody's philosophy who is still dead. So let's just kind of bring it down to earth. Let's take the three of the four major religions. Let's take Judaism. Judaism's founder is Abraham. Every Jew will tell you Abraham died and Abraham's dead. Buddhism. The founder of Buddhism was Buddha, Gautama Buddha. We know when he was born, we know when he died. Every Buddhist will tell you. Buddha died, Buddha is dead.
Let's take Islam. Muslims say that the founder of their religion is the prophet Mohammed. They will all tell you Mohammed died, Mohammed is dead. Christianity is the only belief in the world, it's not based on somebody's personality, it's not even based on somebody's teachings, it is based on the historical fact of a resurrection evidenced by an empty tomb and eyewitness testimony. And listen, the evidence is compelling. The evidence is overwhelming and I want you to take my word for it. If you're an attorney, you'll appreciate this. As a matter of fact, if you're an attorney, you may know on my who I'm about to talk about.
There was an Englishman, his name was John Singleton Copley, better known as Lord Lyndhurst. If you go to England today, go to any lawyer, go to any judge and ask them this question. Who is the greatest legal mind in the history of great Britain? They'll tell you universally, Lord Lyndhurst. He is an icon. He is the only guy on the Mount Rushmore of legal judicial experts in all of great Britain. He was at one time the Solicitor General of the British government, the Attorney general of Great Britain, the High Chancellor of England, and the High Steward of the University of Cambridge. So in one lifetime, this man held the highest offices ever conferred on any judge or any attorney in the history of Great Britain. The guy knows his stuff. And here's what he said: "I know pretty well what evidence is, well, do tell. And I tell you such evidence as that for the resurrection of Jesus Christ has never broken down yet".
So, let me tell you how certain I am. You're not a believer. You're a skeptic. You're not buying what I'm trying to give away. I'm not even try to sell it, I'm just trying to give it away. Just now, I'm not buying it. Okay. I'll defy you. I will buy your lunch, I'll buy your dinner as long as we go to McDonald's. You give me a better explanation for that empty tomb. You give me a better explanation of those are witness testimonies. You give me a better explanation of why there are billions of people and I'm one of them. There's a lot that I won't die for, but I'll tell you one thing I'll die for. I will die before I'll deny that Jesus Christ is alive. So, but there's one last thing. It's kind of like the capstone, it's is kinda like, you know, the coup de grâce.
Paul says, "Look, we not only have an empty tomb, you can't deny the tomb was empty". And we got these eyewitness testimonies, not just one or two. We've got hundreds of them who said, "I saw the guy. I felt the guy. I touched the guy. I heard the guy". He said, "We have an eternal transformation". You've got all these changed lives, all of them. So Paul concludes with these words: "But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay". There's a reason he says that. "Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him, everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you are not able to obtain under the law of Moses".
Now, let me tell you what Paul is saying. The resurrection is unique in two ways. Remember he says here, "The one that God raised did not see decay". Why did he say that? Because he knew there would be people who knew their Old Testament and knew their Bible and they knew some things they had heard, just like you. And they would be saying, "Well, now, wait a minute. Yeah, Jesus was raised from the dead but he's not the only guy that was raised from the dead". As matter of fact, if you don't know your Bible, there was a famous man that we know who he is now because Jesus raised him the dead. We know about him, what was his name? Yeah, Lazarus. So we know that well, Lazarus was raised from the dead, yeah? And you go to the Old Testament and there was a son of a widow who Elijah raised from the dead.
So you may say, "Well, wait a minute. So what is so unique about the resurrection of Jesus"? It's real simple. Here's the difference. Everybody else who was raised from the dead, guess what? They had the die all over again. Had to do it all over again, same thing, right? So, in other words, they were raised with the same body they died with, same old decaying body. Lazarus was raised from the dead. You know where Lazarus is right now? I don't know where, but I know what, just a bunch of ashes. But Jesus, when he was raised from the dead, he was given a different kind of body. A new kind of body. A body one day we will have. A body that's impervious to disease and death and decay. But Jesus' resurrection also gives us two things that nothing else and no one else can give us. These are two things, by the way, we need more than anything else.
I'm gonna tell you what that is too. I don't have to know your name, I don't have to know who you are, I don't know where you're from, I don't have to know one thing about your life. But I'm going to tell you the two things you need more than anything else in this life and you need it before you leave this life, whether you realize you need it or not. We all need forgiveness of sins and we all need freedom from guilt. All of us. We all need forgiveness of sins, we all need freedom from guilt. I'll show you how this works. We really know this. If you're a parent, you have a small child or go back to when you were a small child, every parent teaches their children very early in life to learn to say two words. I'm sorry. You tell your sister you're sorry you pulled her hair. And now you tell your brother you're sorry you hit him in the head with a bat because he pulled your hair.
We've all done that, right? And even as a little child, nobody has to tell us. We start wondering, what's wrong with me? Why do I do things I know I shouldn't do? Why don't I do things I know I should do? Why don't I always mind my mama? Why don't always mind my daddy? And the Bible calls that sin. It's an old fashioned word, but it's still a good word. And if your conscious is healthy, even as a child, when you do things wrong, you feel bad about it. You know, you just feel so guilty. And you know you need to be forgiven. But then you get a little bit older and then you learn an even greater, more painful lesson. And here's what you learn. You learn that you do something wrong and yeah, you can be told you're forgiven and you can be assured that you're forgiven, but you still feel guilty. I hit this so often.
I'm not picking on divorced people, but I just want to use an example I have to solve with divorce people. I talk to divorce people so often and they feel so bad that they got divorced. They regret they got divorced. They just feel like a failure their marriage didn't work out. And they regret that it ever happened. Now they're forgiven. Divorce is not an unpardonable sin. God moves on, you move on, life moves on. But so many people like that, they say, "I know that, but I just feel so guilty". And so, we learn in life that there are times we do things and we want to be forgiven, and we need to be forgiven but even when we're told we're forgiven, we still need to be freed from guilt.
That's why the resurrection we're talking about this morning is not just a theological doctrine that Christians believe, it is extremely relevant to your life. Because I'm going to make the most dogmatic statement other than Jesus is love, I'm going to make today. You will never find full final forgiveness for your sins, ever. And you will never totally ever find freedom from guilt ever until you meet the risen Jesus. You try anything else you want to try. Yeah, give the Lord a hand. You can try church, you can try baptism. You can try penance. You can go to your pastor, you can go to your priest. You can go to the Pope, but you will never find complete forgiveness of your sins. You will never find the freedom from guilt that you're looking for until you find the only one that can completely, totally transform your life, that can totally cleanse your heart, that can totally get rid of all the skeletons in your closet and that is the risen Jesus.
So hopefully, we'll find how all of this now fits together, 'cause it really does. Jesus lived a sinless life. Because he lived a sinless life, he could die for our sins. And then to prove that he lived a perfect life and to prove that he died for our sins, he came back from the dead. So, Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, and the empty tomb is proof that God cashed the check. When God brought Jesus back out of that tomb, he said to all of us, "Don't worry about your sin debt. It's canceled". Paid in full. Set free. No more guilt. So I want to wrap up with this. If you know the gospel story, you know that when the women went to the tomb on that Sunday morning, there was an angel sitting by the tomb. And the angel said, "Ladies, sorry. He's not here, he's risen". And he left a note, he rolled away the stone.
Now, I've read that for years and years and years, never paid any attention to it. And I mean, I bet you've never thought about this before, but one day it hit me. Why does the Bible say the angel rolled away the stone? And why did the angel roll away the stone to begin with? I mean, I think you'll agree with this. I think if Jesus can walk on water and feed 5,000 people with a few loaves and a few fish, I think he can handle a rock. I think he don't need anybody to, I don't think Jesus on Sunday morning was going, "Let me out"! In fact, Jesus could have walked through that stone. So if you have thought about this, so why does it tell us that the angel rolled away the stone? This will be worth coming for. He didn't roll away the stone to let Jesus out. He rolled away the stone to let unbelievers in so they could see for themselves he is alive.
So, where does that leave us today? Well, I'm going to leave you with this and then we're going to pray and we'll be done. So we live in this world where there is this religious buffet. And you got 4,200 choices before you. You can choose one of them, you can choose none of them. You can choose one, leave all the rest. But you remember your choice. So when you come to the end of your road, which you will and I will, and you come to the end of your life, which you will and I will, and when the clock ticks its last time for you, and one day it will.
Just remember, you will have made one of two choices, cause there's only two. You are either going to follow the dead or you're going to follow the one who came back from the dead. Jesus is the only person who physically came back from the dead, who will physically come back to earth to bring all who believe in him physically back from the dead to live with him forever more, and what an Easter that's going to be. So, Jesus lived, so do we. Jesus died, so will we. But you have only one hope. You have only one shot. You have only one chance to come back from the dead. And that is to believe in the only one who did.