Mat 28:6-7 “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”
Phil 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
Without the resurrection, there is no hope.
Recently, Pastor Anthony preached about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. To be honest, as a practicing Christian, I don't wonder whether or not this event really happened. My study and personal experience with God have made it easy to believe. He is God after all. Isn't God supposed to be able to do whatever He wants? Including rise from the dead?
However, of course, not everyone finds it easy to believe. In fact, many dispute the resurrection. My goal isn't to argue. That tends to be a waste of time. People who argue don't really want to believe even if you can prove it to them. On the other hand, addressing this issue is good in that it helps answer people with honest questions.
Pastor began with, "The good news is there really was a resurrection. What sets Christianity apart from other religions is the empty tomb."
"On Easter, you typically have people at church simply because it’s Easter. Church is a religious activity, but not really a part of everyday life. There are those who are not fully convinced about the resurrection. Many see Christianity as a list of rules."
"There are documented facts about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In any library, you can find in secular books in which Jesus is mentioned as a documented historical figure. He claimed to be the Messiah and lived about 2000 years ago. A host of hostile witnesses testifies of His life and where He lived. Jewish and Roman scholars wrote about His life. It is a fact that He was crucified under Pontius Pilot and His followers claimed that He rose from the dead. There are thousands of historical finds that confirm these things."
At least there's no doubt that Jesus actually existed. It's the miracles and resurrection that are questioned.
Pastor continued, "There is factual evidence in history that He was crucified as stated in the Bible. It is a fact that they could not produce the body after they buried Him. It is documented that there was a rumor circulated that the disciples stole His body. Now, there was a lot of guards surrounding that tomb. How could the disciples have done it?"
"Not only was Jesus a man of God, a man of healing, He lived and was falsely accused and shed innocent blood. He rose from the dead!"
"Why is the resurrection such a big deal? All you need to do to debunk the myth is produce the body, yet no one could do it. Jesus Christ’s body could not be produced. The apostles not only preached that Jesus rose from the dead, but they died for their assertion."
I don't know about you, but I would not be willing to die for a lie.
Pastor said, "It’s not just a fact that Jesus was raised up, there is a power in His resurrection. God became a man, and in that flesh, He became a sacrifice to pay the penalty for your sin. He allowed His body to be whipped and by His stripes we are healed!"
The fact that He could raise Himself up from the dead shows that He chose to sacrifice Himself.
I loved this next part. Apparently, when a person was buried in a tomb, it wasn't a simple thing of pushing a big rock in front of the entrance. It was actually sealed shut. One or two people couldn't push the big rock out of the way. To open the tomb back up, you needed tools and ten to twenty strong men.
"When the women went to anoint His body, they talked about how they were going to move the stone out of the way. When they got there they were surprised."
The stone wasn’t rolled away so Jesus could walk out. The stone was rolled away so people could see in.
Jesus laid down His life for you and me. He rolled that stone away to give proof of his resurrection and to show that He did all that He said He would do.
"Peter and John came to a point that they no longer doubted Jesus. They no longer questioned His ways and chose instead to simply do what He said to do."
Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
"Peter no longer was the crazy guy who put his foot in his mouth, he had a lot of wisdom in his letters (1, 2, 3 Peter). He went from denying even knowing Jesus to standing up in front of thousands with boldness preached how to be saved (Acts 2:38)."
"If you’re dealing with doubt or are troubled about whether or not you know God, there is a cross that you need to visit. There is a tomb that you need to visit."
In a world that so obviously does not have all the answers, there is One who does. There is One who wants to know you and show you His heart, His love, His forgiveness, His hope. God is real. He kept every promise. He really did put on flesh, come as a man, lead and teach a group of 12 and others. He really did die on a cross as a substitute for the sins of you and me. He paid the price we owe. And, He rose from the dead.
You can experience that power.
Rom 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Come and see for yourself. It's real. And you can experience and know Jesus for yourself.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!