John Hagee - The Case For The Resurrection
The resurrection story is captured in three words, "He is risen". Christianity rises or falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith is a colossal fraud, it's a masterful hoax. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, the songs that we sing and the sermons that we preach are delusional. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, our cathedrals and churches of worship are monuments to a corpse and have no significance. From the word of God today, I'm going to show you absolute Bible proof that Jesus Christ rose from the dead just like he said.
This is "The case for the resurrection". The best news the world has ever heard came out of a cemetery. That good news was he is risen. Say it with me. He is risen. Say it again. He is risen.
Let's read the story. It's so important. "Now on the first day of the week very early in the morning, they and certain other women with them came to the tomb and bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, 'why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen. Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee saying, the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and the third day rise again.' And they remembered his words". Say that verse again. "And they remembered his words". That's what we're going to do today.
Father, thank you for your word that is so clear about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We come today to glorify and to honor the Son of God, who died and gave his life for us and for all who will receive him. Now bless this audience, the audience across America and around the world as they listen to this message, "The case for the resurrection". In Jesus' name, we pray. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. Here's 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 the City of Jerusalem. His disciples slept as great drops of crimson blood began to fall down his face. Why? Because your sin, and your sin, and my sin was already being placed upon his shoulders as the Lamb of God. Feeling what he had never felt before, he looked into the face of God, and he said, "Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from me". God gave him a FedEx back from heaven and said it's not possible. We planned this in Genesis, and now it's time for you to go to the cross. Jesus said, "Nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done".
You will never reach your divine destiny until you surrender your will to the will of God. His destiny was the cross. The Bible says he was slain from the foundations of the earth. He went to his disciples, who were sleeping, and he said, "Could not you watch with me for one hour"? Now there are some that are saying that means three hours. But let's just say it means one hour. How many times have you been to a prayer meeting that lasted one hour: that there weren't but just a handful of people?
If I announced we were just going to have a one-hour prayer service tonight, there would be a lot of empty pews here. But I assure you, Jesus established early on in his ministry that prayer is the cornerstone of Christianity. And if you do not know how to pray and do not pray, you will always be a weak and anemic Christian with no power, no fruit, and no progress. When you pray, you pray in the authority of Jesus' name, because he is the only one who died on the cross and gave you that power.
The church was sleeping in history's most dangerous hour. Suddenly, through the olive trees, are seen the flaming torches of 500 Roman soldiers coming from the Antonian Fortress. They surrounded the Lord of glory and said, "We seek Jesus of Nazareth". Now get that picture. Rome, with all of its intelligence and all of its snitches didn't know how to identify Jesus. When Jesus identified himself, he said, "I am he". The Bible says, "They fell on the ground like dead men". Why? Because Jesus said, no one is going to take my life: I lay it down. I do it when I get ready. The cross could not conquer him. The grave could not contain him. Satan could not defeat him. Why? Because he was and he remains the king of kings and the Lord of Lords. He's the conqueror of death, hell and the grave. Give him praise in the house of God.
Jesus said, "All power is given unto me". Look at that scene. Jesus is standing. He has the power. Rome's mightiest warriors are laying on the ground trembling like children. They were powerless, because they were in the presence of the only conqueror heaven ever approved. There is Judas, the deceiver: Judas, the devil's advocate: Judas, who cherished money more than he cherished the master: Judas, who betrayed him with a kiss. Peter slashed off the ear of the servant of the high priest. It wasn't a Roman soldier. Why is that so significant? Because the servant of the high priest was a Jew. And according to the law of Moses, he could not serve in the temple if he had a physical defect. When Peter cut off his ear, he gave him a physical defect. Peter destroyed his career. He destroyed his ability to serve in the temple.
Is it not true that as Christians, we are most often wounded in the house of our friends? Um. Yes. If you have the gift of talking about other people's business, lose it. Get rid of it. It doesn't belong in the church house. Jesus healed the man's ear. He restored his career, and told Peter, put up his sword. Quit fighting with other people who are trying to serve God. If there's a message in the Easter story that bears exposing to the American public now and to the church itself, it's let's quit fighting each other, and start loving each other as Christ loved us. We are the family of God. There is one faith, one Lord, one baptism. Let's act like it!
Jesus was taken to the Pilate, who said, "I find no fault in this man". By Roman law, that trial should have stopped right there. By Roman law, it should have ended. But the pharisees were not interested in justice: they were after his life. He was then taken to Herod, whose men of war slapped him, and they spit upon him, and they placed a crown of thorns upon his head as the blood began to gush down his face. They ripped off his seamless robe and mocked him with a scarlet robe, saying, "Hail king of the Jews". Jesus was then sent back to Pilate a second time where he was beaten with a cat-of-nine-tails, a Roman cat-o-nine-tails, with 39 stripes. Thirty-nine stripes was the limit by Roman law, because more would have been considered a death sentence.
Listen. In the theatre of your mind, stand there and watch that Roman guard swing that whip. And every time it strikes the back of the Lord, it rips his back open, and streams of blood gush down his back and dribble onto the cobble stone floors. And hear the words out of the scripture, "By his stripes, we are healed". Say it with me. "By his stripes, we are healed". He was sentenced to death by crucifixion. An old, rugged cross was placed on his bloody back. He dragged it through the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem.
When the Jewish women were crying for him, he said, "Don't weep for me: weep for yourselves". "Weep for yourselves and weep for your children". Why? Because he saw the future. He saw the future. He saw the Romans coming 37 years later with Titus and the tenth legion that would surround Jerusalem, and over a million Jews would be slaughtered. He saw the crusades put on by the Roman Church. He saw the Spanish Inquisition where thousands of Jews were burned at the stake because they wouldn't convert to Roman Catholicism. He saw the horror of the holocaust that started from the theology started by John chrysostom in the 2nd century. He saw all that, and he said, "Don't cry for me".
The sorrow you're going to go through is infinitely more than I'm going through. Up the bloody slopes he climbed to the place called Calvary where the atheistic hands nailed the Son of God to the cross. Friday afternoon, April the 3rd, 33 A.D. At exactly 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bowed his blood-soaked head adorned with the crown of thorns, and shouted in agony, "It is finished". "It is finished"! What was finished? Death was finished. Hell was finished. The curse of the grave was finished. The power of sin was finished. You are redeemed. You are forgiven. You are free by the power and the mercy of God! Give him praise and in the glory in the house of God!
Think of it. The Creator of heaven and earth borrowed the tomb of a rich man to be buried. Demons rejoiced in that he, whom they feared, was now dead. Politicians gloated, we finally shut up that troublemaker from Galilee. His jabber about an eternal kingdom and being king of the Jews, who did he think he was, God? Disciples scattered in terror. They were terrified that the Roman government was going to kill them. They were haunted by the memory of a blood-soaked cross and Jesus hanging on it, powerless and pathetic, naked and needy, the portrait of scandal and suffering and shame.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, knelt at the base of the cross and she swept without consolation. The Roman soldiers swaggered. His tomb had a Roman seal. You could look at that seal and say, Rome has won again. Satan walked the corridors of hell and laughed, "I have finally won. We began fighting for the earth in the Garden of Eden. We fought for it in the wilderness. We fought for it in the Garden of Gethsemane. And now, he is dead and I am the ruler of earth"! I've won. Death was still all powerful. The grave was still dark and gloomy and an unconquered pit.
But on the third day, on the third day, the sun rose and the rosey dawn itself was born. It was the resurrection morning. On the third day, the angel swooped from the balconies of heaven and rolled the stone away. On the third day, a blinding flash of light, a massive earthquake, and the Roman soldiers, once again, fell to the ground trembling in fear. On the third day, out of the darkness of the tomb, walked the giver of life and the light of the world, the Lord of glory, the lamb of God, the fairest of 10.000, the alpha and the omega: the one who was, and is, and forever more shall be the champion of Calvary, the Lord of Lord's, my God and my Savior, Jesus Christ, king of the Jews! Give him praise and glory in the house of God!
When the Bible says, you have the keys of death, hell and the grave, that means you have authority. You have authority over those. You have the keys to your house in your pocket or in your car. The keys my wife carries around makes her the queen of the universe because there's 45 of them on there. But when you have the keys to get into your house, that's your house: the keys to start your car, it's your car. When God gives you the keys over death, hell, and the grave, you don't fear any of those like other people, because you're in charge. You have absolute authority over all of those things. You have authority, in Jesus' name. You have authority through the Word of God. You have authority over sickness and disease.
You cannot be tormented or intimidated by the prince of darkness. He's powerless to control you. The chains were shattered on the resurrection morning. You cannot be tormented by fear. Jesus said, "My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, but such as I have, give I it unto you". I give to you peace that surpasses understanding. Say that with me: I give you peace that surpasses understanding. Why is it that we write books about peace and they become world sellers? Because we're looking for something in a book that we can't find in our lives. You cannot be tormented with depression, because in his presence is the fullness of joy. This is the day the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be made glad in it. You cannot be tormented by that.
When they came to the tomb, the angel said, "Do you remember what he said"? "Do you remember what he said"? The angel said, he told you that he would be delivered into the hands of sinful man, he would be crucified, and on the third day he would rise again. And then the Bible said, "And then they remembered these things". Get this: for three days, they had been weeping and sucking a maalox bottle, talking to each other on the cell phone. Are the Romans chasing you yet? Disillusioned. If only they had remembered what you had said.
Listen. When you are down to nothing, it only means God is up to something. Do you remember what he said? In times of stress, we forget the promises of God. How sweet life would be if only we could remember. Listen. If you are going through a great trial, and it's the second day in your life, when the Romans and all of the darkness of the Calvary plot seem to be destroying your life, I want you to remember that the person that is going through the greatest trial is the person next in line for the greatest promotion.
Do you feel lonely? Do you feel abandoned? Do you remember what he said? "I will never leave you, nor forsake you even to the ends of the earth". "If you're mother or your father forsakes you, I will lift you up". Are you suffering in your health? Do you remember what he said? "These signs shall follow them that believe. In my name, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover". Say it, "And they shall recover". Are your finances failing? Do you remember what he said? "All the gold and the silver are mine, saith the Lord. We are all heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. It is the Lord that gives you the power to get wealth". You have that power. The Bible says, "Beloved, I wish that you prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers". Everything you need, God the Father is anxious to give it to you in the authority of Jesus' name, because he has given you the keys to enjoy the greatest life on earth you can possibly imagine.
The resurrection story is how to turn your worst day into your best day. There are two thieves on either side of Jesus. They're both career criminals. That's why Rome has them there. And one of those criminals recognized that he was a heart beat from the gates of hell. And he heard this Nazarene talk about a kingdom. And he said, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom". And Jesus said, "This day, you're going to be with me in my Father's Kingdom". The first person to walk through the gates of heaven redeemed by the blood of Christ was a career criminal, who was smart enough to turn his worst day into his best day through the power of Jesus Christ.
In closing, let me give you the case for the resurrection. What changed the disciples from cowards running from teenage girls to lions of God? What changed them? Peter cursed and denied the Lord Jesus Christ three times on Pilate's patio with a teenage girl. Some hero he is. Thomas was calling cnn to expose this fraud named Jesus and anybody else that would carry fake news. Thomas, like some of you, doubted him till the very end. James, his brother, didn't follow Jesus one step or one day while he was alive. But following the resurrection, he was willing to become a martyr. Why?
Follow those twelve disciples. They were crucified upside down. They were beheaded. They were boiled in oil. They were exiled. They were fed to lions. Nero wrapped Christians in oily rags and burned them alive so he could see his rose garden. Why were they willing to die such horrible deaths? Not for the memory of a blood-soaked corpse hanging on the cross, not for an embalmed rabbi in a borrowed tomb, not for a liar and a lunatic. Why? They went from cowards hiding behind closed doors to lions of God because they saw the risen Lord. They talked to him. They touched him. They ate fish with him on the shores of Galilee. They saw him ascend into heaven at the Mount of Transfiguration. Everywhere they went for the next 50 years, they had one message: He lives! He lives! He's alive and well! Give him praise in the house of God!
And I have good news: he's coming back again. He's coming back again. Get happy about that, brother. We're getting ready to go. Acts 1, say that with me, "This same Jesus shall come in like manner as you have seen him leave". It would be a while but that while has passed. Israel has been reborn. Jerusalem has been reunited to the state of Israel. Russia, the king of the north, has come out of the north into the Middle East. Jesus said, "When you see these signs, lift up your heads and rejoice". Get ready. Get ready. Get ready! Pray up! Pack up! Look up! We're going up! The resurrection guarantees it! The king of glory is coming! Give him praise and glory in the house of God!
Can we stand together please. How many of you in this room can say, pastor, I'm going through a Black Friday. Maybe it's in your marriage, it's in your business, it's in your health, it's in your finances: or you need to remember what he said because you're going through a very dark and desolate time. Or like the thief on the cross, you can say, I have made some very poor choices in my life, and today I need to choose Jesus Christ. If any of those fit you, would you raise your hand right where you are? And I want you to pray this prayer with me. Don't sneak your hand up: raise it. Let God and the world see it. Pray this prayer.
Heavenly Father, I come before your throne, in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and my Savior. Lord Jesus, I'm going through a Black Friday, and I need your answer. I need your solution. I need to hear you say, "Well done, good and faithful servant". Like the thief on the cross, I have made poor choices. I ask you to forgive me of all of my sins, and let me begin again in a closer walk with you. I am choosing you today as the Lord and Savior of my life forever, because he lives, because he lives. Because he lives.