John Hagee - On The Third Day
Here is the resurrection story. Last Thursday night, 2.000 years ago, following the Passover with his disciples, Jesus of Nazareth was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just outside the eastern walls of the City of Jerusalem. While he was praying, his disciples were sleeping, as great sweat drops of crimson blood was falling from the brow of the Son of God. In agony, he said, "Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from me". Jesus received a FedEx from heaven, "It's not possible". From the foundations of the earth, you were destined to die. And Jesus said, "Not my will but thine be done". All great Christian living begins with that phrase. Say it with me, "Not my will but thine be done". His destiny was the cross.
He went to his disciples, who were sleeping, and he said to them, "Couldn't you watch for me for one hour"? Now one hour with our clock is 60 minutes. One hour with them was a watch, which was three hours. That's a pretty long prayer service. The church was sleeping in history's most dangerous hour. But are we in America, right now, not in one of our most dangerous hours morally and politically, and the church of Jesus Christ is slumbering at the switch, because we're not preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this nation? If there is to be an wakening in this country, if there is to be a righteous revolution, then it must begin with the preaching of the Word of God, and it must begin with the body of Christ, and it must be. Let it begin, and let it begin here, and let it begin now: for this country deserves to hear the truth from the Word of God!
Suddenly through the olive trees are seen the flaming torches of 500 Roman soldiers coming from the Antonian Fortress. They surround the Lord of glory, and said, "We seek Jesus of Nazareth". Now get that. 500 battle-clad, shield-carrying, Roman soldiers, killers all, to arrest one carpenter's son. Jesus is standing there. And they all fell to the ground like dead men. Jesus simply said, "I am he". Why? Because Jesus said, "No man takes my life. I lay it down". He wanted to go on record as Rome did not kill him: he allowed Rome to sacrifice him. Rome could not convict him. The cross could not conquer him. The grave could not contain him. Satan could not defeat him, because he was, and he is, and always shall be, King of kings and Lord of lords, the conqueror of death, hell and the grave! Give him praise in this house!
Look at this scene. Jesus said, "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth". Jesus is standing, the portrait of power. The Roman soldiers are trembling on the ground like frightened children. Jesus Christ is still the mighty conqueror. Judas was the deceiver: Judas, the devil's advocate: Judas, who cherished money more than he cherished the relationship of Jesus Christ: Judas betrayed him with a kiss. Peter slashed off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Why? Because the servant of the high priest was a Jew. And according to the law of Moses, he could not serve in the temple with a physical defect. The point is, by cutting off the ear, he had destroyed this man's career.
Is it not true that often we, as Christians, wound each other? Jesus looked at Peter, and said, "Put up your sword". That's not your mission in life. Our mission in life, as the church, is not to hack and whack on each other until there's three of us left. Our mission is to love one another as Christ loved the church, to pick up the down fallen, to lift up those who have been cast aside, to open the door to those who have been rejected. Jesus was then taken to Pilate. Pilate said, "I find no fault in this man". By Roman law, the trial should have ended. But the pharisees were not interested in judgment: they were after his life. He was then taken to Herod, whose men of war slapped him. They spit on him. They put a crown of thorns upon him. And everywhere those thorns touched his brow, blood began to surge down his face.
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-of-nine-tails with 39 stripes. Thirty-nine stripes was Roman law. Why? Because they didn't feel it was humanly possible to live and receive more than 39 stripes, because that whip was laced with bone. And every time it hit your back, it ripped flesh from you so that you literally bled to death. Listen! In the theatre of your mind, if you hear that Roman cat-o-nine-tails slashing through the air and ripping the back of the Son of God. It was for you. It was for you. See the crimson stream of blood flow down his back onto the cobblestone floor, and hear the words of the scripture, "By his stripes, we are healed". Say that with me. "By his stripes, we are healed".
If you're watching this telecast, if you're in this room and you are sick, I want you to understand that the bill has been paid for your healing, and the healer is in the house today! He can touch you! He can heal you! He can restore you! Jesus is his name! Give him praise in the house of God! Now, because of the beatings, there is redemption, there is forgiveness, there is mercy with the Lord. We have a new beginning. There is hope for tomorrow. There is peace in the midst of the storm. There is joy that is 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 roaring lion of the tribe of Judah, victorious and Almighty! That is our Lord and Savior! Give him praise in this house!
Before sundown on the sabbath, which was Friday, his followers took his blood-soaked body down from the cross and 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, all day Saturday and Saturday night, the giver of life laid, in a borrowed tomb, dead. Demons rejoiced that the Nazarene that they feared was dead. Politicians gloated, we've shut up that trouble maker from Galilee. He jabbered about an eternal kingdom and being the king of the Jews. Who does he think he is? God? The disciples had scattered in terror. It's an amazing thing to me that the men ran for their lives, and the women stayed right where Jesus was.
As the disciples scattered in terror, haunted by the memory of a blood-soaked cross, powerless and pathetic, naked and needy, the portrait of scandal, of suffering, of shame: Mary, the mother of Jesus, wept without consolation. Roman guards strutted and swaggered. His tomb had a Roman seal. He's dead. Rome says he's dead and he's dead forever because Rome always wins. Satan was walking the corridors of hell, laughing in fiendish spasms of demonic joy. I have finally won. I have finally won! From the Garden of Eden until the Garden of Gethsemane, I have been fighting with Jesus Christ over who would rule this world. I've won. I've won! I am the winner! Death was still all powerful. The grave was still dark. It was still gloomy. It was still an unconquered pit. Then came the morning of the third day. Friday, from 9:00 to 3:00, he hung on the cross. He was taken down and buried by 6:00, because by Jewish law, he could not be buried after dark.
Saturday, from 6:00 to 6:00 was the second day. Sunday morning, as the sun came up at 6 o'clock, it was the third day. On the third day, the rosey dawn of hope itself. It was the third day, the resurrection morning. It was on the third day that angels swooped from the balconies of heaven and rolled the stone away. It was on the third day that a blinding flash of light, a massive earthquake, and Roman guards fell again, trembling in terror. On the third day, out of the darkness of that tomb, walked Jesus Christ, the light of the world, the Lord of glory, the Lamb of God, who is the Lion of Judah. Out of that grave walked the fairest of 10.000: the one, the true son of the living God, the conqueror of death, hell and the grave, the champion from Calvary, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, my God and my Savior! Give him praise in the house of God!
What does the resurrection mean? It means that every claim Jesus ever made about himself and about his kingdom that was to come, is absolutely true. It means that there is eternal life to everyone who believes on the authority of his name. The Bible says, "He that believeth on me shall never die". Say that with me. "He that believeth on me shall never die". That means your last breath on earth is your first breath in heaven, a split second and you're in the presence of God. There is no death to the believer. "Because I live", he said, "You shall also live". It means that Jesus Christ was in fact the Son of God. He was in fact the Lord of glory. He was not a liar. He was not a deranged lunatic. He was not a political insurrectionist. He was not someone who said things that he could not back up. He did say, "If you destroy this temple, I will raise it on the third day". He did it! You cannot be tormented by death.
David said, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me". Death is a shadow. The shadow of a lion cannot bite you. The shadow of a snake cannot bite you. The shadow of a sword cannot harm you. Death is harmless. You cannot be tormented by disease: for by his stripes, we are healed. We are healed. He is still the great physician. The angels asked the troubled followers of Jesus, "Do you remember what He said"? "Do you remember what He said"? If I had a dollar for every time my mother said, "Do you remember what I said"? I never confessed that I did remember, because that would be instant guilt. The angel said, "He told you that he would be delivered into the hands of sinful men and crucified: and on the third day, he would rise again". And then Bible says, "Then they remembered".
Sometimes we need just to stop running in circles with our hair on fire, and sit down, and remember what God said. For three days, they had been weeping. For three days, they had been feeling defeated. For three days, they were disillusioned. If they had only remembered what he said! Before there is a resurrection, there must be a crucifixion. Before there is a sunrise, there must be a midnight. Before there is a victory, there must be a battle and there must be a fight. Before there is a crown, there must be a cross. Before there is a purchase, there has to be a cost. Do you remember what He said? In times of stress, we forget the sweet promises of God. If we could only remember what He said. Do you feel lonely? Do you feel rejected? 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 your father and your mother forsake you, I will lift you up".
Think about that. The resurrection story is the story of faith over failure. It's the story of how to turn your worst day into your best day. Look at the thief on the cross. He's a career criminal. He's there. He deserves to be there. He looks to the man in the middle cross. After hearing the words that he has said, and he said, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom". And Jesus said, "This day, you're going to be with me in paradise". And when that thief closed his eyes, he opened them in heaven. Ladies and gentlemen, we have made finding Jesus way to complicated. You don't have to read three manuals and do 18 things. He just said, "Lord, remember me". And he said, "This day, you're going to be with me in paradise".
Think about it. The first person to get in heaven by the blood of Jesus Christ was a career criminal. So the friends that you're thinking about have plenty of room not to worry. Jesus takes everybody. Jesus takes everybody. Jesus takes everybody, everybody! It was indeed Black Friday. It appeared to be the worst day ever. At 3:00 P.M. In the afternoon, the black clouds were boiling with fury over the cross. The ground shook. Dead men walked out of their graves and presented themselves in Jerusalem. Think about that! You're walking down the street, "Hey, Abey, didn't we bury you last week"? "Yeah, on my way to have a bagel". And then the curtain was ripped from top to bottom, demonstrating that God had torn it down, removing forever the separation that men would have from walking into the presence of God.
Now you need no mediator to get you to Jesus Christ. You just mention his name, and he's there! Hallelujah to the Lamb of God! The high priest was mocking him, saying, "If you are the Son of God, save yourself". But he could not save himself and save you, and you, and you, and me. He had the power to call enough angels to atomize the earth. I want you to get that picture in your mind, the earth, and it's gone. He could have done that. With a single utterance, he could have done it. But he left those Roman thugs kill him for your redemption. Are you facing a crisis? Don't worry. remember what He said. "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding". He's leading you to a new opportunity that's bigger than anything you ever dreamed possible.
God never takes something from you without giving something better to you. And when something better is given to you, he takes that away because he wants to give you the very best. He takes you from glory to glory. He wants you to be filled with joy unspeakable and full of life. He is your way maker. If he's telling you to go fishing for Moby Dick, take the tartar sauce: it's going to happen! Jesus gave prophetic utterance that affects every person in this audience and every person watching by television across America and around the world. Jesus said, concerning Herod, to the pharisees, "Go tell that fox".
Pause for just a moment. In the Middle East at this point in history, if you called someone a fox, it was the most vicious, ugly thing you could say about them. Jesus whacked Herod. "Go tell that fox, 'behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow. And on the third day, I will be glorified.'" follow that with the verse of 2 Peter 3:8, "Beloved, do not forget this very thing: that with the Lord, a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as a day". What does that mean? It means that Jesus made a prophetic statement. Today and tomorrow, for the next 2.000 years, I'm going to be forming healings, signs and wonders. People are going to be walking joyfully and victoriously, in the authority of my name, wherever my Gospel is preached all over the earth for the next 2.000 years.
But on the third day, I'm going to reach my goal. I'm going to be glorified. I'm going to come back to the Mount of Olives. I'm going to set up a kingdom in the City of Jerusalem that will never end. This is going to be the throne of my father, David. And I'm going to sit there. I'm going to be there forever and forever. Let's put that resurrection experience in sequence and how it involves you. Listen. Acts 24:15 states that there are two resurrection morn. How many of you have never heard that? Most. The Bible says, "There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust". Those are two different resurrections. The resurrection of the just are the followers of Christ on the resurrection morning that could occur before I finish this sermon. The resurrection of the unjust are those, who rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
And 1.000 years later, after the millennial reign, they're going to be summons from the grave to face God at the Great White Throne judgment to give an account and to also be sentenced to live in eternal darkness. That's the second resurrection. That's why Jesus said, "Blessed is he who makes the first resurrection". So the question on this beautiful day of the Lord is which resurrection will you be in? Are you living a godly life that will mandate God taking you into heaven? Are you living a righteous life? Are you a just and good person? Because we are living in the dawning of the third day. What is the third day? It's when Israel returns home. It's when Jerusalem is reunited to Israel. It's when the four blood moons of the prophet Joel happen. It's when Russia, king of the north, moves into the Middle East. Am I resonating with you here?
These things were written 3.000 years ago and are happening in the newspaper right now! That means the dawning of the third day is here! "When you see these signs", the Bible says, "Lift up your heads and rejoice". Pray up. Pack up. Look up! We're going up! The resurrection guarantees it! Give the Lord praise in the house! We're living in the dawning of the third day. Can we stand? Now, pray this prayer with me.
Heavenly Father, I'm going through a Black Friday. I need help in my marriage, in my business, in my health, with my finances. I need to remember the promises of God right now. I am like the thief on the cross. I have never chosen Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of my life. But right now, I want to choose Jesus as my Savior and my Lord. I want the angels in heaven to write my name in the lamb's book of life. And from this day forward, I'm going to follow Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, in Jesus' name. Amen.