John Hagee - The Resurrection: A Living Hope
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America and our troubled world are desperately searching for answers in an hour when our nation is in severe crisis. The foundations of freedom are crumbling. The foundations of our faith are under attack. The foundations of family are simply collapsing. What is the answer for the chaos, the anarchy, the racial strife, the cancer of socialism on the soul of America? The answer is to discover the living hope, Jesus Christ, made possible through the resurrection. The most exciting news the world has ever heard came out of a cemetery, he's risen. He is risen. Saint Peter declares that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the birth of living hope. Turn to 1 Peter 1:3. A living hope releases us from the bondage of time. Get that thought in your mind. A living hope releases us from the bondage of time.
The people of this world do not live with eternity in view. They are trapped in a prison of a few brief years of their mortal life. As they grow older, they are terrified by the yawning mouth of the brave. But not so for the believer in Jesus Christ. We also live in time, but our hope takes us beyond time into eternity. Hope liberates us from the prison of time. Your last breath here is your first breath there. What is your guarantee of that? Your guarantee of that is Jesus Christ' resurrection from the grave. That's what saint Peter is saying: that it is our blessed hope and the proof you're going to live forever and forever. If that was the only message Christianity had, it would make Christianity the greatest message on the face of the earth. You, who have received Christ as Lord, are never going to die! "He that believeth in me shall never die" is a fact! Give the Lord praise in the house of God! Let's pray.
Father, thank you today for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thank you that our future is secure. Because he lives, we shall live also forever and forever. The resurrection is living proof. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. Here is the resurrection story. Last Thursday night, 2,000 years ago, following the Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus of Nazareth was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Just outside the Eastern walls of Jerusalem, his disciples slept, as he sweat drops of blood for your redemption and for mine. The weight of the world was on his shoulders, the weight of my transgressions and your transgressions. In agony, he looked toward God the Father and said, "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me". He got a fed ex from heaven that said it's not possible. From the foundations of the earth, you were destined to die. If you do not go to the cross, everything that has been planned from Genesis to now is going to be an absolute failure.
And so Jesus said, "Nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done". Say that with me. "Not my will but thy will be done". Your will must be crucified before God can use you to reach your full potential. Paul teaches this in the New Testament. Worshiping your will is idolatry. Find out what God wants you to do and you will always prosper. The destiny of Jesus Christ as the lamb was to be slaughtered. He went to his disciples and found them sleeping, sleeping. He looked at them and said, "Could you not pray with me one hour"?
Now that one hour was actually one watch, which was several hours. The disciples were sleeping in history's most crucial hour. Are we not doing the same thing in the United States of America? This nation is in a moral, spiritual, economic, political crisis. While the church, in general, is presenting a hot-tub, feel-good Christianity, slumbers in the day of spiritual crisis. I want to say this quickly to those of you who are watching, I encourage you to find yourself a Bible-preaching church where a preacher takes a text and preaches Jesus Christ and him crucified and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, because that's the only hope we have! Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior!
Suddenly, through the olive trees are seen the flaming torches of 500 Roman soldiers coming from the Antonian Fortress to arrest one carpenter. They came and said, "We seek Jesus of Nazareth". Jesus said, "I am he". And all 500 of them fell on the ground. Look at them. They're in full battle dress with spears and shields. And here is a shepherd, looking at them while they shake on the ground in catatonic fear. Why? Because Jesus said, "No man takes my life. No man takes my life: I lay it down freely of my freewill". And he laid his life down for you, and for you, and you, and me. We are free, because whom the son sets free is free indeed!
Peter slashed off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Why? Because the servant of the high priest was Jewish. And according to the law of Moses, he could not serve in the temple and have a physical defect. By cutting off his ear, Peter destroyed his economic future. What was Jesus' response? Jesus' response, as the great physician was to use his last miracle in healing the ear of a man who came to arrest him. He restored his career. And he looked at Peter. He didn't say, "You loud mouth, you're always doing the wrong thing". He could have. He just didn't. That's in the Hagee Amplified version. You've already denied me. He said, "Peter, put up your sword".
The message is you don't win people to Christ with a sword. You don't win people to Christ by arguing with them over the Bible. You'll win people to Christ through the love of God. Jesus said, "Love one another as I have loved you". I loved you when you didn't love me. I loved you when you didn't deserve to be loved! When we, as Christians, learn to love other people like that, you will not be able to stop the flood of people trying to come to the house of God. Our country is looking for love. They're looking for acceptance. They're looking for something that's stable. I assure you: it should be the church of Jesus Christ demonstrating the love of God. Give the Lord praise in the house.
Jesus was then sent back to Herod, whose men of war slapped him. They spit on him. They placed a crown of thorns on him. They ripped off his seamless robe and mocked him, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews". Jesus was sent back to Pilate a second time where he was beaten with a Roman cat-o-nine-tails. The leather was laced with metal so that it would rip the flesh every time that the whip hit his back. It was limited to 39 stripes, because more than that was considered a death sentence. The blood is oozing from his back on both sides and becomes a crimson stream flowing onto the cobblestones. And we hear the verse of the Bible, "By his stripes, we are healed". Say that with me. "By his stripes, we are healed". That healing power is alive and well in the 21st century. That healing power is alive and well in Cornerstone Church. Sickness and disease must bow in the presence of the great physician. The healer is in the house today and he can heal you! Miracles still happen! Give him praise today!
Jesus was sentenced, by Rome, to death by crucifixion. An old-rugged cross was placed upon his bloody back. He dragged it through the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem with drops of blood flowing as he went. Up the bloody slopes of Calvary, he climbed. With atheistic hands, they nailed the precious Son of God to the cross. Friday afternoon, April 3, 33 a.D. At exactly 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bowed his blood-soaked head, adorned with a crown of thorns, and shouted in agony, "It is finished"! What is finished? Death, hell and the grave, they're finished. Power of sin to destroy the righteous, it's over. The power of Satan to control your life is finished. The war that began in Genesis 3 is now finished. Jesus Christ is Lord over the earth and over the universe. There is now forgiveness for your sin. Now there is joy unspeakable and full of glory. Now the seed of the woman has crushed the head of the serpent. Now the Lamb of God has become the lion of the tribe of Judah. He is victorious. He is Almighty. He is all knowing. He is the resurrected Son of God! Give him praise and glory in the house of God!
Before sundown on the sabbath, which was Friday, his followers took his blood-soaked body down from the cross. And they wrapped it in burial clothes with a hundred pounds of spices, and laid him in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. All night Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night, the giver of life laid dead in a borrowed tomb. Demons rejoiced that they whom they feared was dead. Roman politicians gloated, "We've finally shut up that guy from Nazareth, talking about a kingdom that would last forever". The disciples were scattered in terror. They were haunted by the memory of a blood-soaked cross, powerless and pathetic, naked and needy, the portrait of scandal, suffering, and shame. But that suffering and that shame and that burden was for you, and for you, and for me.
Thank you, God, for the blood of the cross. Thank you for the victory of Calvary. For without it, there would be no redemption. Hallelujah, church of Jesus Christ! He lives and the cross is still the message for the world! Satan was walking the corridors of hell and he was laughing in fiendish spasms of demonic joy, "I have finally won. The battle that began in Genesis has now ended and I'm the victor! From the Garden of Eden until here, I am the conqueror". Death was still all powerful. The grave was still dark. It was gloomy. It was an unconquered pit.
Then came the morning of the third day. The third day was the rosy Dawn of hope itself. The third day was the resurrection morning. On the third day, the angels swooped from the balconies of heaven to roll the stone away. There was an earthquake. On the third day, there was a blinding flash of light. The Roman guards, again, fell to the ground. You know, Roman soldiers must have an art form, because in two chapters, they fall down both times. They're trembling in terror. On the third day, out of the darkness of the borrowed tomb, walked Jesus Christ, the light of the world, the Lord of glory, and the living hope. He is alive. What does the resurrection mean? The resurrection means that every claim Jesus made about himself was absolutely true. It means that there is eternal life to all that believe.
The Bible says, "He that believeth in me shall never die". Say that with me. "He that believeth in me shall never die". If that was the only message Christianity had, it would make Christianity the greatest message on the face of the earth. "Because I live," he said, "You shall live also". It means that Jesus Christ was, in fact, the Lord of glory. It means that he was not a deranged lunatic, saying, if you destroy this temple on the third day, I will raise it. He did it. The angels asked the followers of Jesus, "Do you remember what he said"? This is in the Bible, word for word. They ran to the garden tomb and there was nothing. The angel said, "He told you that he would be delivered into the hands of sinful man and be crucified on the third day, and he would rise again". And then the Bible says, "And then they remembered what he said".
Get this: for three days, they had been weeping. For three days, they had been feeling defeated. For three days, they had felt delusioned. If only they would have remembered what he said. Before there is a sunrise, there has to be a midnight. Why am I saying this? Because people say, "Well, I'm going through a trial". Well join the human race. We all are. You just go from one trial to the next. And each time, they get just a little bigger. And they get just a little bit worse, because God is trying to tell you, "I can handle anything you're ever going to go through. Just lay it on me. I'll be your burden bearer. Remember what I've said in the book. I will be your burden bearer". "Casting every care upon him: for he careth for you". Go home today and resign as general manager of the universe. You can't really solve anything. Have a taco and enjoy life!
Paul said, "Fight the good fight of faith". Let me tell you something. Christianity is not for wimps. You need to stand up for your faith. Before there is a crown, there will be a cross. Before there is a purchase, there is a cost. If you feel lonely, if you feel rejected, if you feel abandoned, recognize Jesus said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you," even to the ends of the earth. If your mother and your father leave you, I'll be there to pick you up. Lift up your heads and rejoice and be exceedingly glad! If you're suffering in your health, remember what he said. "These signs shall follow them that believe. They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover".
Are your finances failing? Do you remember what he said? "All the gold and silver are mine, saith the Lord. And you are my heirs and joint heirs. All that I have belongs to you and all that you have belongs to me". Believe me: we got the best of that deal. "It is the Lord who gives you the power to get wealth". "Beloved, I wish that you prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers". Do you feel defeated? Do you remember what he said? "Greater is he that's within you than he that's within the world". "We are more than conquerors". We are the victors, not victims. The royal blood of heaven is flowing through your veins. "Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered". You cannot be defeated! And quitting is not an option! Fight the good fight! Run the race! Win the race!
The resurrection story is the story of faith over failure. It is a story of how to make your worst day your best day. And the example is the thief on the cross. He's one heartbeat from going straight to hell. And he hears Jesus talking about a kingdom. And he turns and says with the last bit of strength he has, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom". And Jesus looked at him and said, "This day you will be with me in paradise". There are several sermons here, but I just preached one of them in 30 seconds. We've made getting to know Jesus way too complicated. You don't have to remember 18 verses in the book of Romans before you can join the church. All you have to do is confess your sins and recognize Jesus is Lord, and the gates of heaven start swinging open for you. It's just that easy.
The first person that went to heaven through the blood of Jesus Christ was a career criminal from the crest of Calvary, because he made his worst day his best day when he met Jesus Christ. For 100 years, Good Friday was called Black Friday. It looked like the worst day in history, because Jesus, who was the giver of life, was dead: because the healer was being called a heretic: because the deliverer was now being called a demonized deceiver. The great shepherd was now involved in a great scandal. The Lord of glory was being called a lunatic and a liar by the fake news media of the Roman Empire. It was indeed a Black Friday. It appeared to be the worse day ever. At 3:00 p.m. In the afternoon, the black clouds were rolling over the cross, and the ground shook, and dead men walked out of their graves. They were seen walking in the City of Jerusalem.
Now that was a scene. Harry, didn't we bury you yesterday? That's enough to make a man go home and wonder if his mind is okay. Some of you are looking at me kind of funny. When Jesus was on the cross, dead men got up out of their graves, and they were seen in the streets of Jerusalem. The veil of the temple was split from top to bottom, meaning that God had ripped it open and made it possible for you to go directly into the presence of God without the benefit of a priest. You now are the high priest of your house, father. And you can go directly before God in the presentation of the needs of your family. The case for the resurrection.
I was asked this question by a college professor. He said, "If you believe in the resurrection, what changed the disciples from cowards hiding in fear of the Roman Empire to lions of God"? That was a good question. The Bible has the answer. Peter cursed and denied Jesus before an 18-year-old girl on Pilate's patio. Thomas was calling the New York times to expose this fraud, who claimed to be God. He doubted him to the end. James, the brother of Jesus, who did not follow Jesus while was Jesus was alive, but he followed him after the resurrection and died a martyr. Follow the 12 disciples. They were crucified upside down. They were beheaded. They were boiled in oil. They were exiled. They were fed to lions. Nero wrapped them in oily rags and burned them alive.
Why were they willing to die? Why? Not for a blood-soaked corpse at the cross. Not for an embalmed rabbi in a borrowed tomb. Not for a liar and a lunatic. The answer is they went from cowards hiding behind closed doors to lions of God, because they saw the risen Savior. They talked to him. They touched him. They ate with him by the Sea of Galilee. A ghost does not leave fish crumbs on the Sea of Galilee. They saw him ascend into heaven. Everywhere they went for the next 50 years throughout the Roman Empire, they had one message, he lives. He's alive. We saw him. We are not deluded. It's the real Jesus! There's a real kingdom! Get ready! The king is coming! Give him praise in the house of God!
There's the testimony of Jesus on the Isle of Patmos, revelation 1:17. How do we know that Jesus died? Because Jesus said so. He says, "Do not be afraid: for I am the first and the last. I am he that was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more". In the book of Corinthians, saint Paul said he was seen by more than 500 people at one time. He was seen in the upper room by the disciples without Thomas. He was seen the second time in the upper room with Thomas. He was seen on the Emmaus road by the disciples. He was seen by the 12 at his ascension.
Jesus was seen by at least 552 people at 13 different locations. And they're all recorded in the Bible. His death is not a fable. He has risen from the dead. He is alive. It is not a hoax. It is a historical fact. Jesus is alive and well, and he sits at the right hand of God the Father. I have great news. He's coming back with power and great glory. This same Jesus shall come in like manner as you have seen him go. Give him highest praise and great glory! The king is coming back! Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!