Does Belief In Christ Produce A Historical Bias In Favor of the Resurrection?

For more resources visit: http://www.reasonablefaith.­org

In February 2015, Dr William Lane Craig visited Rutgers University in New Jersey at the invitation of the campus Christian group Ratio Christi. He gave an evening lecture on the subject “The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe” to a packed auditorium of several hundred students. Although some pushback was anticipated, the audience, which was composed of both believers and nonbelievers, proved to be very open, and a wonderful time of interaction for an hour and a half afterwards took place.

VIDEO by drcraigvideos

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VIDEO Gradina in care se spune ca Isus a fost ingropat si a inviat

Photo credit twitter.com

În Ierusalim, există două locuri unde se spune că Isus a fost îngropat și a înviat din morți. Dar care dintre ele este cel adevărat ?

Aproape de inima Ierusalimului se află un loc numit Grădina Mormântului, considerat de mulți ca fiind grădina lui Iosif din Arimateea. Unii cred că Isus a murit, a fost îngropat și apoi a înviat din morți în acest loc. Grădina este o oază care are aproape 1 hectar, în agitatul oraș al Ierusalimului. Creștinii englezi au cumpărat grădina în urmă cu 125 de ani și au fondat Asociația Grădina Mormântului. De mulți ani, intrarea este liberă pentru vizitatori.

Richard Meryon este directorul Grădinii Mormântului:
”Ceea ce avem aici în grădină este o reprezentare perfectă a ultimelor evenimente din cele patru Evanghelii. Tot ce scrie în evanghelii se potrivește cu ce le arătăm oamenilor în grădină.”
Astăzi, aproape un sfert de milion de turiști vizitează grădina în fiecare an.

Ghidul Steve Bridge a oferit echipei de știri un tur al grădinii:
”Practic, aici avem geografia biblică. Isus a fost crucificat în afara zidurilor cetății, într-un loc numit Golgota. Lângă locul crucificării era o grădină, care aparținea unui om bogat, numit Iosif din Arimateea.

Cei de la știrile CBN au mers la locul pe care Biblia îl numește Golgota, unde Matei spune: „Au ajuns la un loc numit Golgota, care înseamnă ‘Locul căpățânii'”.

Care sunt întrebările pe care le pun oamenii când vin aici ?
”Creștinii care vin aici mă întreabă dacă putem fi siguri că acesta este locul în care Isus a murit și a înviat. Deseori mă întreabă: ‘Cum se face că sunt două ? Acesta și Mormântul Sfânt”’, mărturisea Steve Bridge.

Unii cred că Biserica Sfântului Mormânt din Ierusalim este locul crucificării și al învierii, nu Grădina Mormântului. Mama lui Constantin cel Mare, Elena, a ajutat la construirea bisericii în anul 326 d.Hr. Dovezile arheologice care susțin veridicitatea bisericii sunt substanțiale. De exemplu, împăratul roman Hadrian a construit un templu pe acel loc în secolul al II-lea, deoarece creștinii locali venerau locul ca fiind Golgota.

Dar dovezile pentru grădină pot fi și ele convingătoare. Evanghelia după Ioan spune: „În locul unde fusese răstignit Isus era o grădină.” Dacă ai o grădină, ai nevoie de multă apă, mai ales în aridul Orient Mijlociu. Grădina Mormântului are una din cele mai vechi și mari cisterne de apă din Ierusalim. Are 2 000 de ani și un volum de 7 500 de litri.

”Mormântul este caracteristic secolului I și avea o piatră mare la intrare. Are cel puțin 2 000 de ani vechime, poate și mai mult”, spunea Steve Bridge.

Biblia spune că în grădină era un mormânt.
”Este săpat în stâncă. E un mormânt făcut de om, iar astfel descrie Biblia mormântul în care a fost pus trupul lui Isus. În șanțul pe care-l puteți vedea la intrare se afla piatra care a fost rostogolită ca să sigileze mormântul. Cel mai important lucru referitor la acest mormânt este că e gol”, spunea Steve Bridge.

Mormântul se potrivește cu descrierea Bibliei. Indiferent dacă Grădina Mormântului sau Biserica Sfântului Mormânt este locul adevărat al învierii lui Isus, pelerinii creștini descoperă aici confirmarea credinței lor.

”Sunt profesoară de religie în Statele Unite și am făcut multe poze pe care să le arăt copiilor. Doresc să iau cu mine din această pasiune, că Isus este cine a spus că este, că e Fiul lui Dumnezeu și că a umblat pe acest pământ”, spunea Kelcey Gillespie.

În timp ce lumea așteaptă Paștele, cei din administrația Grădinii Mormântului au subliniat că nu locul este important, ci Persoana.

”Scriitorii Bibliei nu au fost interesați în stabilirea locului în care a murit Isus. Scriitorii Bibliei au fost interesați mai mult de persoana Domnului Isus, de cine este și de ce a murit El”, spunea Steve Bridge.
”Vrem ca oamenii să plece de aici știind că mormântul este gol și că noi, creștinii din întreaga lume, slujim unui Dumnezeu viu care a biruit moartea și care ne-a iertat păcatele. Isus este centrul credinței creștine, nu-i așa ? Vrem ca oamenii să plece de aici știind că Isus trăiește”, spunea Richard Meryon.
Stire difuzata in emisiunea Jerusalem Dateline 71 – aprilie 2015 – ultimele știri creștine: http://alfaomega.tv/stiri/stiri-despr…

„HRISTOS A INVIAT !!!” – Ioan Burca

Photo TotalSchimbat via invatamantcrpoa.blogspot.com

TATALUI, FIULUI, DUHULUI SFANT, 
 
          Toata Gloria in Veci !!!

                  „HRISTOS A INVIAT !!!”

   1. La sfîrşitul zilei Sabatului, cînd începea să se lumineze în spre ziua dintîi a săptămînii, Maria Magdalina şi cealaltă Marie au venit să vadă mormîntul. 

2. şi iatăcă s-a făcut un mare cutremur de pămînt; căci un înger al Domnului s-a pogorît din cer, a venit şi a prăvălit piatra dela uşa mormîntului, şi a şezut pe ea.
3. Înfăţişarea lui era ca fulgerul, şi îmbrăcămintea lui albă ca zăpada.
4. Străjerii au tremurat de frica lui, şi au rămas ca nişte morţi.
5. Dar îngerul a luat cuvîntul, şi a zis femeilor: „Nu vă temeţi; căci ştiu că voi căutaţi pe
Isus, care a fost răstignit.
6. Nu este aici; a înviat, după cum zisese. Veniţi de vedeţi locul unde zăcea
Domnul;
7. şi duceţi-vă repede de spuneţi ucenicilor Lui că a înviat dintre cei morţi. Iată că El merge înaintea voastră în Galilea; acolo Îl veţi vedea. Iată că v-am spus lucrul acesta.”
8. Ele au plecat repede de la mormînt, cu frică şi cu mare bucurie, şi au alergat să dea de veste ucenicilor Lui.
9. Dar iată că le-a întîmpinat
Isus, şi le-a zis: „Bucuraţi-vă!” Ele s-au apropiat să-I cuprindă picioarele, şi I s-au închinat. 

10. Atunci Isus le-a zis: „Nu vă temeţi; duceţi-vă de spuneţi fraţilor Mei să meargă în Galilea: acolo Mă vor vedea.”   (Matei 28:1-10).
 
 HRISTOS a INVIAT!!!​  Mi-ar placea sa va aud raspunzand: ADEVARAT c-a INVIAT!!!
        Dupa Marele si Inegalabilul Examen al suferintelor si mortii DOMNULUI ISUS HRISTOS​, pentru omenirea-ntreaga, a venit la scurt timp si momentul CONFIRMARII celor spuse de EL inainte si anume, INVIEREA SA!

17. Tatăl Mă iubeşte, pentrucă Îmi dau viaţa, ca iarăş s-o iau. 

18. Nimeni nu Mi-o ia cu sila, ci o dau Eu dela Mine. Am putere s-o dau, şi am putere s-o iau iarăş: aceasta este porunca, pe care am primit-o dela Tatăl Meu.”(Ioan 10:17, 18).​​  ​

18. „Iată că ne suim la Ierusalim, şi Fiul omului va fi dat în mînile preoţilor celor mai de seamă şi cărturarilor. Ei Îl vor osîndi la moarte, 
19. şi-L vor da în mînile Neamurilor, ca să-L batjocorească, să-L bată şi să-L răstignească; dar a treia zi va învia.” 

​(Matei 20:18,19).​
      Confirmarea Invierii DOMNULUI ISUS HRISTOS a venit din partea ucenicilor, a femeilor care L-au urmat si a altor 500 de frati carora DOMNUL ISUS li s-a aratat dupa  Invirea Sa! 
    I. Cateva caracteristici ale Invierii DOMNULUI ISUS HRISTOS:
     1. Salutul minunat, unic pe care nu il are nici o alta religie si care sa si reflecte realitatea! ​    ​
Ce salut minunat (de la Pasti pana la Inaltare) folosesc urmasii Domnului Isus Hristos!
   Ca o amintire a invierii Domnului Isus Hristos, in limba rusa, cuvantul folosit pentru ziua de duminica, inseamna “inviere”. Ce frumos! Prin folosirea acestui cuvant in vorbirea lor, rusii amintesc un eveniment care ar trebui sa-i incurajeze.
​    2. O veste minunata, pe care nu o poate egala nimic!​
    Ce veste minunata cand auzi ca cineva care murise, a inviat! Am stat de vorba cu astfel de oameni care dupa ce oamenii competenti, medicii, le-au constatat moartea, au fost dusi la morga, dupa un timp insa, ei au revenit la viata. Un semen de varsta mea mi-a aratat poze de la inmormantarea lui pe cand avea douazeci si ceva de ani. El zicea ca pe drumul spre cimitir, a revenit la viata. In primul moment cei prezenti s-au speriat, dar dupa aceea a urmat o mare bucurie, o speranta din nou la viata. Nu poti sti ce inseamna si nu poti descrie asta, decat daca ti-a murit cineva foarte drag si foarte tanar si care apoi a revenit la viata!
​    3. O realitate de nedescris: VIATA dupa moarte!!!​
 “Hristos a Inviat”, nu e numai un salut, nu e numai o veste, ci  si realitate confirmata de sute de oameni carora Domnul Isus li s-a aratat in cele patruzeci de zile dupa inviere, pana in ziua inaltarii Sale la cer.
    Acea stare ​si realitate ​au trait-o ucenicii Domnului cand la treizeci si trei de ani, dupa chinuri grele si o moarte grea pe cruce, Domnul Isus Hristos a inviat. 
​    4. O bucurie inegalabila si incredibila chiar pentru ucenici !!!​    ​
Dupa tristetea generala de vinerea, ziua crucificarii Domnului lor, ce mare bucurie pentru ucenici, duminica! A fost nu numai o bucurie mare, ci si una incredibila pentru ei! Cu toate ca Domnul Isus le-a spus dinainte ca va muri dar ca a treia zi va invia, uitarea si necredinta i-a cuprins pe toti, fara nici o exceptie. C​ei care-​L ​urmeaza pe Domnul Isus Cel Inviat din morti, sunt beneficiarii unor lucruri uimitoare, dintre care enumar cateva, fara sa detaliez insa:

​       II. Beneficiile pentru cei ce-L urmeaza pe DOMNUL ISUS HRISTOS:​

​1.​Invierea din morti. Isus Hristos cel inviat din morti, caruia Tatal i-a dat toata puterea in Cer si pe Pamant, va invia pe toti rascumparatii Sai care L-au urmat mereu (Ioan 6:40; 44;54);
​2.​Rapirea la Cer. Toti urmasii Domnului inviat care isi vor pastra credinta si sfiintenia primita, nu vor invia pentru a trai intr-o lume plina de rele, greutati, boli, necazuri, ci pentru cer (Ap.11:12);
 ​3. ​Viata vesnica impreuna cu Domnul lor cel vesnic viu. Dupa cum El traieste vesnic si ei vor trai vesnic, dar nu oriunde, ci langa Domnul si Salvatorul lor (2Timotei 2:11-12).
    Ce este de fapt invierea Domnului Isus Hristos pentru adevaratii Lui urmasi? Ea este speranta lor. Nu o speranta desarta, ci una garantata de El, care nu poate sa minta (Tit 1:2). Ea este unica lor speranta. Nu este alta speranta, sau alternativa fericita. Speranta aceasta este de fapt oferita fiecarui om, fiindca Domnul Isus Hristos a murit si a inviat pentru toti oamenii de pe pamant: 
“Fiindca atat de mult a iubit Dumnezeu lumea, ca a dat pe singurul Lui Fiu, pentru ca oricine crede in El, sa nu piara, ci sa aiba viata vesnica.” (Ioan 3:16).
    Nu stiu cum pot trai atatia oameni care nu au nadejdea si siguranta invierii si vietii vesnice impreuna cu Hristos. Zic asta pentru ca toti oamenii stiu ca viata aceasta se termina intr-un fel sau altul, la un anumit moment.
      Avand certitudinea invierii pentru viata vesnica in cer, atitudinea tuturor celor mantuiti ar trebui sa fie caracterizata de bucuria mantuirii, chiar in problemele, bolile, necazurile acestei vieti. Ei n-ar trebui sa lase ca aceasta bucurie sa le fie rapita de frica de moarte. Aceasta teama poate fi indepartata prin credinta in cuvantul Bibliei care spune ca duhul omului nu merge in mormant, ci numai trupul lui. Sufletul se intoarce la Dumnezeu, care l-a dat. 

Pentru acest motiv, urmasii Domnului Isus Hristos trebuie sa fie ancorati inca din aceasta lume, prin credinta, in realitatea de dincolo. Viata pe care Dumnezeu ne-a dat-o s-o traim pe pamant, trebuie s-o traim in conditiile de aici, dar tinand cont ca viata vesnica e dincolo, in cer. Sa nu ne comportam ca si cand am trai vesnic pe Pamant.

    Daca asa speranta si sansa da Cel inviat din morti urmasilor Sai, inseamna ca ei nu au voie sa traiasca oricum, ci in curatie, pentru ca nimic intinat nu va intra acolo sus. Apoi ar trebui sa faca tot ce depinde de  ei pentru a avea parte de invierea si viata vesnica, indiferent cat ar costa: bani, pozitie sociala, reputatie, etc. Oricum, cand plecam din lumea asta toate raman aici, nu luam nimic cu noi. Sa ne amintim ca unii urmasi ai Domnului Isus Hristos au preferat sa-si piarda viata asta, numai s-o aiba pe cea vesnica, cu El, in fericire.
 
    Pentru a-L intalni pe Cel inviat din morti si a fi pe veci cu El, trebuie sa fii inviat din morti acum, nu dupa ce ti se termina viata asta si dupa ce corpul tau va fi pus in mormant. Poate ca unora li s-ar parea nonsens, pentru ca ei zic ca sunt vii, ca se misca, vorbesc, etc. As vrea sa le spun insa ca cei ce traiesc in pacatele lor sunt morti in greselile si in pacatele lor. Moartea nu este nihilism, disparitie. Moartea este separare. Cand omul moare, sufletul se separa de corp. Dar problema cea mai mare nu e moartea biologica, ci moartea spirituala, care inseamna separarea omului de Dumnezeu
    Oamenii care traiesc in pacat sunt separati, sunt despartiti de Dumnezeu. Nu poti fi a lui Dumnezeu si in acelasi timp tu sa minti, sa injuri, sa furi, sa te imbeti, etc. Pentru Dumnezeu esti mort. Daca traiesti in pacat, deci despartit de Dumnezeu, mort spiritual, problema cea mai mare e sa nu treci din viata aceasta si sa ramai mort, adica despartit de Dumnezeu pe veci. 
​     ​
Pentru ca acest lucru sa nu se intample, lasa-te inviat din morti, de catre Domnul Isus prin credinta in El si pocainta. Nu maine, ci acum. S-ar putea sa fii in viata si maine, dar nu-i sigur. Timpul viitor e a lui Dumnezeu, numai timpul prezent e al omului, iar prezent, inseamna, acum!
 
    Hristos a inviat! Ce salut, ce realitate minunata, ce garantie mare pentru cei inviati din moartea spirituala. Daca nu ai fost inviat pana acum, nu pierde ocazia prin necredinta, ignoranta, nepasare, amanare. Profita de ocazie, caci e fara bani si fara plata. A platit pentru pacatele tale, ale noastre ale tuturor, Domnul Isus Hristos prin moartea Sa, dar a inviat a treia zi! Slava Lui!
 
    Le amintesc ateilor si celor care au religii necrestine, ca Dumnezeu iubeste toti oamenii si de aceea a dat pe Domnul Isus sa moara pentru intreaga lume, deci pentru fiecare om in parte. El doreste ca orice om sa fie salvat, insa acest lucru este posibil numai prin credinta in sacrificiul si invierea Domnului Isus Hristos.
 
   Teoria evolutiei, se stie ca a cazut demult, ca fiind imposibila, ​si ​deci e o minciuna. Acest lucru e recunoscut chiar de sustinatorii acestei teorii, ateii. Concluzia e clara, logica si la indemana oricui: lasati teoria mincinoasa si paguboasa si imbratisati realitatea invierii Domnului Isus, lucru confirmat istoric. 
​    ​

Celor de alte religii as dori sa le spun ca este un singur Dumnezeu atotputernic, care a creat tot Universul, inclusiv pe noi oamenii, care are un singur Fiu, Domnul Isus Hristos pe care L-a dat sa moara pentru pacatele noastre si apoi sa invieze. A crede si a te increde in altcineva (oameni), sau in altceva, este desertaciune! Veniti la credinta adevarata in Dumnezeul adevarat, prin Domnul Isus!

    Fiecare om ar trebui sa creada, din toata inima, cuvintele Domnului Isus Hristos, spuse inainte de patima si invierea Sa:
“In ce priveste invierea mortilor, oare n-ati citit in cartea lui Moise, in locul unde se vorbeste despre “Rug” ce i-a spus Dumnezeu, cand a zis: “Eu Sunt Dumnezeul lui Avraam, Dumnezeul lui Isaac si Dumnezeul lui Iacov?” Dumnezeu nu este un Dumnezeu al celor morti, ci al celor vii. …(Marcu 12:26-27). 
 
    Apostolul Pavel, dorind sa arate consecintele dezastruoase a unei credinte in Hristos, dar nu si in invierea Lui, scrie: 
“Daca numai pentru viata aceasta ne-am pus increderea in Hristos, atunci suntem cei mai nenorociti dintre toti oamenii” (1 Corinteni 15:19).
    Sa nu pierdem pentru nimeni si pentru nimic din lume aceasta bucurie unica a invierii Domnului Isus Hristos si a invierii noastre​!​
​     Crezand in DOMNUL ISUS HRISTOS si in Invierea Lui, nu ai nimic de pierdut, ci numai de castigat cele aratate mai sus!

 Pe toti va salut cu “HRISTOS A INVIAT!!! si mi-ar face placere sa va aud ca raspundeti:

                               “ADEVARAT C-A INVIAT!!!
   Ii invit pe toti ceilalti, care pana acum n-au crezut in invierea Domnului Isus Hristos si-n invierea lor, sa creada si sa cante impreuna cu noi:
    Cantarea „HRISTOS  a INVIAT din morti”:
  “Hristos a inviat din morti,
 Cu moartea pe moarte calcand,
 Si celor din morminte,

 Viata daruindu-le!”
             Dati click pentru cantare aici:
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRZqqr0pejA 
        Ioan Burca

             – robul DOMNULUI
      Doctor in Teologie
 
        P.S.: Sublinierile din textele citate apartin scriitorului articolului.
    Cercetati  toate lucrurile  si pastrati ce este bun”, adica BIBLIC.
     Transmiteti la cat mai multi acest mesaj, pentru a fi clarificati si intariti in credinta, sau  pentru a se intoarce la DUMNEZEU prin DOMNUL ISUS HRISTOS si convinsi de DUHUL SFANT! Amin! Va veti intalni cu rezultatele aici, sau in cer.
                          “…cine seamana mult, mult va secera.”    
 
  „A Inviat DOMNUL!”_ Canta: „Speranta” si Prietenii
​   ​

E VIU Azi SALVATORUL  _ Canta: Lidiana Pindic-Blaj

MESSIAH – Hallelujah _ Handel _ Chorus
 

 „Oda BUCURIEI” _ Simfonia Nr. 9 de Beethoven Cantata de 10.000 de Japonezi!

and for those Christians living in countries where Easter is celebrated on April 12th this year:

  The Resurection of JESUS CHRIST !!!​

Matthew 28

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5The angel said to the women, „Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” (mathew 28:1-7).
​     ​         MESSIAH – Hallelujah _ Handel _ Chorus
​     ​
      Because HE Lives – Gather Vocal Band
     Victory in JESUS!
   One Day at a Time – Singer: Lynda Randle
​   ​ Beethoven – Symphony No.9 (10000 Japanese) – Freude schöner Götterfunken 

 HAPPY EASTER !!!

JESUS CHRIST​​ Is​ ​RISEN!!!​       

​                          ​

 TATALUI, FIULUI, DUHULUI SFANT, 

                                            Toata Gloria in Veci !!!

                                              Stimati Vizitatori

                              Va prezentam 2 link-uri, care contin 

          Cuvantul si Minunile Lui DUMNEZEU in viata unor oameni. 

               Va dorim vizionare si auditie Placuta si Benefica!
      Pe link-ul nr. 1, dati click pe camera de filmat, aceea mica
  din dreapta,  sau pe difuzorul mic din dreapta, pentru cele audio.
      1.  http://perlesicomori.net/  (audio si video)
     Pe link-ul nr. 2,  ” Esenta BIBLIEI ” , gasiti Lucrurile ESENTIALE 
 pe care un om trebuie sa le STIE si sa le FACA, si altele sa stie 

sa NU le faca, pentru a fi salvat de la iad si a-i arata SINGURA CALE 

spre RAI,care este DOMNUL ISUS HRISTOS FIUL Lui DUMNEZEU !!!

                            DUMNEZEU sa va Binecuvanteze!
                                            Cu tot respectul,
                                  Ioan Burca – robul DOMNULUI,
                                          Doctor in Teologie
                “Cercetaţi toate lucrurile şi pastrati ce este bun”, adică BIBLIC.
    Dati la cat mai multi aceste link-uri, pentru clarificare, intarire in credinta, sau intoarcere la DUMNEZEU, prin DOMNUL ISUS HRISTOS, si convingerea DUHULUI SFANT, si va veti intalni cu rezultatele aici pe Pamant, sau in Cer!
                     „…cine seamana mult, mult va secera.”
 


 

Gaither Vocal Band – Resurrection (Live)

Hang out the banners and shout the news!
Blow the trumpets and horns ‘til there is no one who hasn’t heard,
„We shall not die anymore!”
I’m here to tell you that Jesus lives;
As He lives, so shall we.
Dying and fear have all passed away,
Swallowed in victory!
Morning has broken the cords away,
There’s no reason to fear,
Why seek the living among the dead?
Jesus, your Lord, is not here.
He is alive, He’s not here!
Then where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O grave, is your sting?
Come, children, and dance with me!
Sing to our living King!
For love wins over everything, melts the spear and the sword.
Join hands, let your voices ring, Christ is our risen Lord!
Open the prisons and ring the bells!
Join the ransomed and free, in celebration for what He’s done;
Jesus, the Christ, sets you free!
He sets you free! He sets you free! He sets you free! He sets you free!
Jesus, the Christ, sets you free!

Lyrics from https://www.musixmatch.com/lyrics/Gaither-Vocal-Band/Resurrection

VIDEO by GaitherVEVO

 

Wednesday Events – Passion Week – and Judas Iscariot,the suicide of Satan and the Salvation of the World

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

(via) Justin Taylor from the Gospel Coalition

Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

Luke 21:37-38

With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

Matthew 26:3-5 Mark 14:1-2 Luke 22:1-2

Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

Matthew 26:14-16 Mark 14:10-11 Luke 22:3-6

Luke 22:1-6

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. 3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

This is the final message in the series called Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. The aim has been to show that over and over in the history of the world, the epoch-making sins that changed the course of history never nullified but only fulfilled the global purposes of God to glorify his Son and save his people.

My prayer is that, as these great historical vistas of God’s sovereignty over sin take their place in your renewed mind, they would have a profoundly practical effect in making you strong in the face of breath-stopping sorrows and making you bold for Christ in the face of dangerous opposition. Christ-exalting strength in calamity and Christ-exalting courage in conflict. I pray that the Lord will weave cords of steel and silk into the fabric of your soul.

History’s Most Spectacular Sin: The Murder of Jesus

The most spectacular sin that has ever been committed in the history of the world is the brutal murder of Jesus Christ, the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And probably the most despicable act in the process of this murder was the betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest friends, Judas Iscariot.

Judas was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus had personally chosen and who had been with Jesus during his entire public ministry. He had been entrusted with the moneybag for the whole group (John 13:29). He was close enough to Jesus at the Last Supper to be dipping bread with him in the same cup (Mark 14:20).

“Satan Entered into Judas”

On the night of the Last Supper, Luke tells us in Luke 22:3-6 that “Satan entered into Judas. . . . He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.” Later he led the authorities to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48). With that, Jesus’ death was sealed.

When Luke tells us in verse 3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” several questions come to our minds. 1) One is whether Satan simply mastered a good Judas or whether Judas was already walking in line with Satan and Satan simply decided that now is the time. 2) Another question is why Satan would do this since the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat, and there is good reason to think Satan knew that. 3) And the third and most important question is: Where was God when this happened? What was his role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever was? So let’s take these questions one at a time.

1) Satan’s Power in Judas’ Sinful Passions

When it says in Luke 22:3 that “Satan entered into Judas,” how are we to think about the will of Judas and the power of Satan? Judas was not an innocent bystander when Satan entered into him. The apostle John tells us in John 12:6 that he was a thief. When Judas complained that Mary had wasted money in anointing Jesus, John comments, “He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.”

If that sounds incredible, just think of the scandalous behavior of so-called Christian leaders today who use ministry gifts to buy $39,000 worth of clothes at one store in a year, and send their kids on a $29,000 trip to the Bahamas, and drive a white Lexus and a red Mercedes. As Judas sat beside Jesus with his pious, religious face and went out and cast out demons in Jesus’ name, he was not a righteous lover of Jesus. He loved money. He loved the power and pleasures that money could by.

Paul tells us how that works together with Satan’s power. Listen to Ephesians 2:1-3: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [notice the connection: dead in sins, following Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Dead in our sins, walking in the passions of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of body and mind, and therefore following the prince of the power of the air.

Satan does not take innocent people captive. There are no innocent people. Satan has power where sinful passions hold sway. Judas was a lover of money, and he covered it with a phony, external relationship with Jesus. And then he sold him for thirty pieces of silver. How many of his tribe are there still today! Don’t be one. And don’t be duped by one.

2) Satan’s Role in His Own Destruction

The second question is why Satan would lead Judas to betray Jesus. Doesn’t he know that the death and resurrection of Jesus would result in Satan’s final defeat (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:11)? There’s good reason to think Satan knew that.

When Jesus began his ministry on the way to the cross, Satan tried to turn him away from the path of suffering and sacrifice. In the wilderness, he tempted him to turn stones into bread and jump off the temple and get the rulership of the world by worshipping him (Matthew 4:1-11). The point of all these temptations is: Don’t walk the path of suffering and sacrifice and death. Use your power to escape suffering. If you’re the Son of God, show your right to reign. And I can help you do it. Whatever you do, don’t go to the cross.

Then do you remember the time when Jesus predicted he would suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and be killed and Peter rebuked him and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). In other words, I will never let you be killed like that. Jesus did not commend him. He said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (Matthew 16:23). Hindering Jesus from going to the cross was the work of Satan. Satan did not want Jesus crucified. It would be his undoing.

But here he is in Luke 22:3 entering into Judas and leading him to betray the Lord and bring him to the cross. Why the about face? Why try to divert him from the cross and then take the initiative to bring him to the cross? We are not told. Here is my effort at an answer: Satan saw his efforts to divert Jesus from the cross failing. Time after time, Jesus kept the course. His face was set like flint to die, and Satan concludes that there is no stopping him. Therefore he resolves that if he can’t stop it, he will at least make it as ugly and painful and as heartbreaking as possible. Not just death, but death by betrayal. Death by abandonment. Death by denial (see Luke 22:31-32). If he could not stop it, he would drag others into it and do as much damage as he could. It was a spectacular sequence of sins that brought Jesus to the cross.

3) God’s Role in the Murder of His Son

Which brings us now to the third and final question—the most important one: Where was God when this happened? Or more precisely: What was God’s role or non-role in the most spectacular sin that ever happened—the murder of Jesus Christ?

To answer a question like that we should put our hands on our mouths and silence our philosophical speculations. Our opinions don’t count here. All that counts is what God himself as shown us in his word. And the first thing he shows us is that the details surrounding the death of Jesus are prophesied in God’s word hundreds of years before they happen.

The Scriptures prophesy that evil men will reject Jesus when he comes.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus said to them (quoting Psalm 118:22), ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes”?’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus must be hated.

In John 15:25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35:19 and said, “The word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that the disciples would abandon Jesus.

In Matthew 26:31, he quotes Zechariah 13:7: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus will be pierced but none of his bones will be broken.

John quotes Psalm 34:20 and Zechariah 12:10 and says, “One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. . . . For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19:34-37).

The Scriptures prophesy that Jesus would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver.

In John 13:18, Jesus cites Psalm 41:9 and says, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’”

And in Matthew 26:24, Jesus says, “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”

And in Matthew 27:9-10, it says, “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’” (Jeremiah 19:1-13; Zechariah 11:12-13).

And not only the Scriptures, but Jesus himself prophesies, down to the details, how he will be killed.

In Mark 10:33-34, he says, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

And on that last night, Jesus looked at Peter and said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34).

According to His Sovereign Will

From all these prophesies, we know that God foresaw, and did not prevent, and therefore included in his plan that his Son would be rejected, hated, abandoned, betrayed, denied, condemned, spit upon, flogged, mocked, pierced, and killed. All these are explicitly in God’s mind before they happen as things that he plans will happen to Jesus. These things did not just happen. They were foretold in God’s word. God knew they would happen and could have planned to stop them, but didn’t. So they happened according to his sovereign will.

And all of them were evil. They were sin. It is sin to reject, hate, abandon, betray, deny, condemn, spit upon, flog, mock, pierce, and kill the morally perfect, infinitely worthy, divine Son of God. And yet the Bible is explicit and clear that God himself planned these things. It is explicit not only in all the prophetic texts we have seen, but also in passages that say even more plainly that God brought these things to pass.

God Brought It to Pass

For example, in Isaiah 53:6 and 10, it says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” So behind the spitting and flogging and mocking and piercing is the invisible hand and plan of God.

And I say that carefully and with trembling. This truth is too big and too weighty and too shocking to be glib about or to be cocky about. I choose to say that the invisible hand and plan of God are behind these most spectacular sins in all the universe—more grievous and more spectacular than the fall of Satan or any others. The reason I use these very words is because the Bible says it in those very words.

The Hand and Plan of God

In Acts 4:27-28, we have the clearest, most explicit statement about God’s hand and plan behind the horrific crucifixion of his Son. “Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand (cheir) and your plan (boule) had predestined to take place.” Those are the two words I am using: the hand of God and the plan of God.

It is a strange way of speaking—to say that God’s hand and plan have predestined something to happen. One does not ordinarily think of God’s “hand” predestining. How does a hand predestine? Here’s what I think it means: The hand of God ordinarily stands for God’s exerted power—not power in the abstract, but earthly, effective exertions of power. The point of combining it with “plan” is to say that it is not just a theoretical plan; it is plan that will be executed by God’s own hand.

This explains Isaiah 53:10: “It was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief.” Or more literally, with the King James Version, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” The Lord bruised him. Behind Herod and Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel was Jesus’ own Father who loved him with an infinite love.

The Gospel: God At Work in Death

Why should this matter to you? It should matter because if God were not the main Actor in the death of Christ, then the death of Christ could not save us from our sins and we would perish in hell forever. The reason the death of Christ is the heart of gospel—the heart of the good news—is God was doing it. Romans 5:8: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you break God’s activity from the death of Jesus, you lose the gospel. This was God’s doing. It is the highest and deepest point of his love for sinners. His love for you.

Romans 8:3: “Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” God condemned sin in Jesus’ flesh with our condemnation. So we are free.

Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” God cursed Jesus with the curse that belonged on us. So we are free.

2 Corinthians 5:21: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God imputed our sin to him, and now we go free in God’s righteousness.

Isaiah 53:5: “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” God wounded him. God crushed him. For you and me. And we go free.

The Cross of Christ: The Work and Love of God

The reason why this series of messages matters is this. If you embrace the biblical truth (and I pray you will) that God ordains spectacular sins for the global glory of his Son, without in anyway becoming unholy or unrighteous or sinful in that act, then you will not shrink back from the cross of Christ as a work of God. You will not be among the number of those who call the most loving act that ever was “divine child abuse.” You will come to the cross and fall on your face. And you will say: This is no mere human conspiracy. This is the work of God and the love of God. You will it receive as his highest gift. And you will be saved. And Christ will be glorified. And I will not have preached in vain.

© Desiring God

Cătălin şi Ramona Lup – A înviat

Extras de pe albumul „Adevărul e Isus” http://goo.gl/VJlKQ
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Edit video: Alin Haiduc

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Discussing the legitimacy of Christ’s resurrection using historical evidence/dates in a way that is granted by skeptics

empty tomb

On February 27, 2013 at Convocation, North America’s largest weekly gathering of Christian students, Dr. Gary Habermas talked about how to defend the legitimacy of Christ’s resurrection using historical evidence/dates in a way that is granted by skeptics. In doing so, he provided students a way to defend the Gospel against arguments that say the New Testament was written too long after the resurrection for the information to be correct.

Dr. Gary Habermas is a distinguished research professor of apologetics at Liberty University as well as the department chair of Philosophy. He has authored over 36 books and teaches primarily in the Ph.D. program for theology and apologetics at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

Gary Habermas:

Easter gives a stamp of approval to Jesus’s ministry and what he taught. Usually, when I go to university campuses, I am asked to speak on the resurrection, and I tell them I’m going to start speaking on 1 Corinthians 15, and the interesting thing about this is that I can start by defining the Gospel, because that’s how Paul starts 1 Corinthians 15. Paul begins by saying, „I gave you the Gospel when I came to Corinth. And, paraphrasing Paul, he says, „Whatever you do with the Gospel will determine whether you will or will not be saved. What you do with the Gospel determines where you will spend your eternity. He begins with that, and I’ll just add this: Whenever the Gospel data, God’s side of the Gospel- there’s God’s side, there’s our side, what we need to do. But, on God’s side, these 3 facts are always mentioned when the definition of the Gospel is given:

  1. The deity
  2. The death,
  3. and The resurrection of Jesus.

Paul begins, and he says, I taught you that when I first came here. And then, you’ve got a response to make: Believe, which in Greek the synonym means to commit to, to surrender to, to trust, to commit, and that’s what we’re called to do with regards to Christ. The Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus who is the Son of God, who died for our sins, who was raised from the dead. What are we gonna do about it? Are we ready to make a lifetime,  indeed, an eternal commitment? Those 2 sides is what we call salvation. Facts + faith = salvation. But, faith by the biblical definition, which means your life will change, and so on…

Even on a skeptical look at the New Testament, here’s what a lot of people don’t understand, skeptics will quote the New Testament- they’re not opposed to using the New Testament.But, of course they will only use verses they think can be verified by other means. And, my point is that you can take those facts alone, and show that Jesus is raised from the dead. So, theoretically, the skeptic who gives you certain facts, they’re enough to show that Jesus is saved. In the timeline today, (I’m not gonna keep reminding you of this, but) virtually everything I say to you today is granted by the critics/ skeptics.

What makes a fact a fact. How do our historical tools work? How do we determine that George Washington was the first president of the United States? Or that Julius Caesar conquered Gaul? How do we determine these sorts of things? Two of the most important things you need are early reports (as close to the facts as possible) and eye witness testimony. Unfortunately, in the ancient world we rarely have these things.

Habermas goes through a timeline of 25 years after the cross

What are the historical facts that most historians accept?

1. Jesus died by crucifixion.
2. He was buried.
3. His death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope.
4. The tomb was empty (the most contested).
5. The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus (the most important proof).
6. The disciples were transformed from doubters to bold proclaimers.
7. The resurrection was the central message.
8. They preached the message of Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem.
9. The Church was born and grew.
10. Orthodox Jews who believed in Christ made Sunday their primary day of worship.
11. James was converted to the faith when he saw the resurrected Jesus (James was a family skeptic).
12. Paul was converted to the faith (Paul was an outsider skeptic).

Read more about this here –

Lee Strobel interviews resurrection historian Mike Licona

Voddie Baucham – What the Gospel Is, and What it is Not

Click on photo to watch video on live stream

A big thank you to Manuela who alerted me to the G3 Conference video being posted.

In some ways the Gospel has become a fad…. there are those that speak much about the Gospel, but, when they say Gospel, they don’t mean what the Bible means by Gospel. There are those who love hearing so much Gospel talk, because to them, the Gospel is the means, to them, by which God levels the socio economic playing field in the world. And so, when they say Gospel, when they celebrate Gospel, they are celebrating the social Gospel.

There are other. When they hear Gospel, they are excited about that, because for them the Gospel is all the moral teaching of Jesus. And, so they celebrate a form of legalism. There are others who are more subtle in their form of legalism. Because, when they hear Gospel, they simplify the Gospel. There’s phrase, there’s a mantra that is going around now, that is presumed to be a simplification of the Gospel. And it is „Love God, Love People”. The irony here could not be greater. „Love God, love people” is actually an abbreviation of Jesus’s teaching on the greatest commandments.

Here’s the great irony. „Jesus, what is the greatest commandment?” It was a legitimate question, a legitimate argument, and some have argued that the first commandment was the greatest commandment. And then, all the others rested on the first commandment. Some have argued that the fifth commandment was the greatest, because it was the bridge between the first and second tables of the law. Others have argued that the tenth commandment, in, coveting, was the greatest commandment, because ultimately, all of your sins arises out of your coveting. So, „Jesus, what is your greatest commandment?” Is he going to say 1, is He going to say 5, or 10?” And, Jesus looks at them and says, „You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind- which, by the way is your summary of the first table of the law. „Jesus, what is your greatest commandment?” „I’m going to have to say 1 through 4.” Then, the other shoe drops. He says, „The second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself,” which is the summary of the second table of the law.

So, here’s how the conversation went, „Jesus, which commandment is the greatest commandment?” His response, „I’m going to have to say 1 through 4; followed closely by 5 through 10.” Folks. this ubiquitous saying „Love God, Love People” is actually a summary of the law. The whole law. It’s not the Gospel at all. It’s what the Gospel freed us from, and to.

So, when we talk about Gospel, we need to be clear, and as I think about clarity concerning the Gospel, and fighting for that clarity, defending that clarity, my mind is immediately drawn to 1 Corinthians 15, because that’s precisely what Paul does. He clarifies the Gospel and he does battle on behalf of the Gospel. But, he does more than this. I believe, if we look carefully, we discover that he outlines 3 different types of arguments.. Three different lines of argumentation:

  1. The first is an argument from authority.
  2. The second is an argument from evidence, and
  3. The third is an argument from logic.

All of them are important and useful in their own right. We know here that Paul is actually addressing, in one sense, a kind of mixed multitude. You’ll see that, as we get further along in 1 Corinthians 15, where he actually addresses those individuals who are arguing against the very concept of resurrection. As he does this, he both shuts the mouths of those who oppose the Gospel and emboldens and strengthens the arms of those who preach it and defend it. We need to be emboldened. We need to be encouraged. We need to see an example of what it looks like when a Christian squares his shoulders and plants his feet, and does battle on behalf of the Gospel, because we live in a culture that does not celebrate the 10 commandments. We celebrate the 11t commandment, which is the only commandment: „Thou shalt be nice”. (8:00)

And so, the idea of a vigorous defense is dismissed, regardless of its clarity or truth if it sounds „even ever so slightly, as if it’s not nice”. Because, if after all, none of the other commandments matter, the 11th commandment is the greatest commandment. „Thou shalt be nice. You have to be like Jesus, who was nice. He walked around with a lamb on His shoulders, had long flowing hair, like a model in a magazine, pretty hands that never did a day of work”. Paul would beg to differ.

1. The argument from authority

1 Corinthians 15- I would remind you brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved if you hold fast to the word I preach to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. This is incredibly important. Paul is the sender, the Corinthians are the receivers, and the message is the Gospel that he preached to them. But, there’s something more here than just effective communication. He says, „I’m reminding you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand… In other words, they are standing in, standing on that Gospel that Paul preached tight now- and by which you are being saved.

I love that phrase. Paul didn’t say „by which you have been saved”, although you have. He didn’t even say „by which you will be saved”. Although you will. He says: by which you are being saved. This ongoing, sanctifying work of the Gospel. The Gospel is not just a message that you need to hear to get saved. The Gospel is a message you need to hear to stay saved, to be saved, to live saved.

But then, there’s this „if” clause. „If you hold fast to the word that I have preached to you, unless you believed in vain”. Couple of possibilities here. Possibility #1 is that Paul just introduced the idea of a christian losing his or her salvation. He says, if you keep holding on and you keep believing, and you keep standing you’ll be saved. But, if you stopped, then you won’t be saved. Here, I’ll give you a simple answer and then a more complex answer. The simple answer comes form John MacArthur, he says, „If you could lose your salvation, you would.” How arrogant does a person have to be, to believe that it’s possible for them to lose their salvation, but they haven’t? But, there’s a second idea, that’s the idea that such theology would put Paul at odds not only what he teaches in the rest of this passage, but, what he teaches everywhere else. He’s not ashamed of the Gospel. Why? Because the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. Not me. Not my apprehension of a retention of the Gospel, that’s the power of God unto salvation, but the Gospel. And the God of the Gospel, to be more precise. (13:00)

But, there’s also this phrase that he puts in Ephesians 1, which I believe puts all of this to rest. We could talk about the fact that we have, as a present possession, eternal life. Jesus makes that clear. We could talk about the fact that Jesus gives us the promise that we’re in His hand, and that’s in the Father’s hand, and there’s nobody that’s gonna remove us from that. Ephesians 1:11-14

In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestinedaccording to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

So, Paul’s not arguing here that, somehow, we lose our salvation, if we are wavering on the Gospel. What he is doing here is an argument form authority: That we can’t have salvation if we don’t believe the right Gospel. You don’t get to reinterpret, or reinvent, or tweak the Gospel and have the hope of salvation. If what you believe is something other than that which was proclaimed, you have no hope of salvation. So, first and foremost, it’s important that we get the Gospel right. Because, if we don’t, there are people out there (including ourselves) who will be duped into believing that they are right with God, when in fact they are at enmity with Him. If you believe the wrong Gospel, it doesn’t matter how sincere you are in your belief. You are merely, sincerely wrong. So, his first argument is an argument form authority. As an apostle, he reminds them that he preached the Gospel to them clearly. That they are standing and are saved by the Gospel that he preached. Remember the context here- the resurrection is being brought into question. After this argument from authority he moves on to a second type of argument (16:00):

2. An argument from evidence

A. 1 st piece of evidence- According to the Scriptures.For, I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. That Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures.” So, first he couches this argument form evidence, not in the things around him, or even in himself, but in the Scriptures, in the prophecies of the Scriptures- that God foretold that He would send forth His Son, born of a virgin, born under the law. That He would come in due season. That he could live, that He would die, and He would raise again on the third day. One of my most favorite passages in the New Testament is in Luke 24, when Jesus is on the road to Emmaus. Jesus calls them ‘foolish one’ and ‘slow of hearts to believe’. What? Moses and the prophets. He doesn’t say: You should have believed those things that I told you. But, (he says) ‘you didn’t believe Moses and the prophets’. And because of that, you missed death, burial, and resurrection. That’s the first piece of evidence. It’s biblical evidence. We have the authority, inerrancy, sufficiency of the Scriptures. It always amazes me that we hang on to the authority of the Scriptures, inerrancy of the Scriptures and everything else, until we get to apologetics. Then it’s reason.

B. 2nd piece of evidence- Eyewitnesses. Then, he goes on, „and He appeared to Cephas, then to the 12, then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then, he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” Now you have eyewitnesses. First, we have the evidence of what the Scriptures have taught. The argument form authority is: This is what the apostles have told you. The argument from Scriptures begins with what the Scriptures have taught. And then, there is evidence that Christ has fulfilled what the Scriptures have taught, because there are these eyewitnesses who saw Him. Most of whom remain until now. Which means, that if you do the math, there are 300 eyewitnesses to the resurrection still alive during the time that 1 Corinthians was written. Which, by the way, demonstrates the early, not the late dating of the New testament.

Paul is not talking about some secret that he and a few others know, that nobody else knows. Paul is not speaking about men who are wielding their own personal authority, because of information that they have, to which others have no access. Paul is speaking about events that took place in public, in the open. The Gospel that we preach is a historical Gospel. The Gospel that we preach is a Gospel of things that actually took place. The Gospel is real, it is historical. Enough already with the idea that the Gospel doesn’t necessarily have to be true, if it just changes your life. These are historical events. In fact, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most well attested event in all of antiquity. If we can’t trust the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can’t trust anything form antiquity. Over 300 eyewitnesses still alive at the time of his writing.

C. #3rd piece of evidence- Personal Evidence. he appeared also to me, for I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But, by the grace of God, I am what  I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder  than any of them. Though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me, whether it was I or they, so we preached , so you believed.” Connecting this argument from the argument of authority: What evidence? (1)Scriptural evidence. The Bible foretold these events that would occur. (2)Eyewitness evidence. That there are individuals who saw this resurrected Christ, after His resurrection. (3)Personal evidence. That I saw this resurrected Christ, after His resurrection.

Note, that Paul does not take his own, isolated experience, and argue solely from that isolated experience. That’s not the power of the Gospel. The power of the Gospel is not that I’ve been changed. What is the difference between you and the thousand other people who’ve been changed by a thousand other things. Be careful here. Her’s what Paul is not doing. Paul is not giving us a pattern whereby we argue first from those evidences, and then from our own testimony. His testimony is different form your testimony. Galatians 2. At the end of Galatians chapter 1, Paul goes back to the other apostles after 3 years of being instructed and confirms his Gospel. This is one of the most fascinating and overlooked pieces of the New Testament. „Then, after 14 years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (the apostles) the Gospel that I had proclaimed among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I had not run in vain.” (28:00)

3. The argument from logic

(33:00) Here’s where he gets right into the face of his opposition. „Now, if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?” There’s the question. Here’s the problem. There are people who, evidently are hanging around the Corinthian church and like some aspect of what they’re experiencing. But, they don’t like this one aspect, where the Gospel that is being preached rubs up against their personal philosophy, that doesn’t allow for the concept of the resurrection. So, what they want is a resurrectionless Christianity. They want a Christianity that will fit within the context and confines of their presuppositions.

So, Paul says- argument form authority- „Here’s what I preached to you as an apostle. Argument from evidence- here’s what God has verified and validated historically in the open. Now, he gets to the argument from logic, and he says, „There are some of you, who on the one hand want to say that you are attached, but on the other hand want to say that your personal philosophy doesn’t allow for the concept of resurrection.” Now, we all question something. (Some) just don’t like the idea of hell…and so, we want a Christianity without hell. We don’t like the idea of judgmentalism. So we have a Christianity that doesn’t speak the truth to sin. We don’t like the idea of holiness or righteousness, so we have a christianity that doesn’t require it. We don’t like the idea of the church. So we have a christianity that’s absent of it. And so on, and so on… Watch what he does. There are 7 things that must follow, if the concept of the resurrection is not true (35:00).

But, if there is no resurrection of the dead:

  1. then, not even Christ has been raised. That is brilliant, because He just demonstrated form authority and form evidence that Christ has been raised.
  2. and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain and your faith is vain. There are people out there who want to pick the supernatural parts of the Gospel out. They don’t like the supernatural parts. And so, they don’t believe in the virgin birth, they don’t believe in the resurrection, But, at the same time they say, „But, your Christian faith is good. You do great things in the community. Good for you”. Paul says, if there’s no such thing as resurrection our preaching is vain. In other words, it’s empty and it’s useless.
  3. your faith is vain. Your faith is useless because the resurrection is central to the Gospel that we preach. You just gutted the Gospel. You’ve got a Gospel that’s another Gospel, which is no Gospel at all.
  4. we are even found to be misrepresenting God, that we are testifying about God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise. If it is true that the dead are not raised, for if the dead are not raised,  not even Christ has been raised. If there’s no such thing as a resurrection, you just called me a liar.
  5. and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you’re still in your sins. If Christ has not been raised, there is no justification. He died for our sins, He rose again for our justification. If Christ has not been raised, there is no penal substitutionary atonement. If Christ has not been raised, that means He went into the ground with something that would keep Him there. The only thing that would keep Him there is sin. If Christ has not been raised, He was a sinner and no one has satisfied the righteous wrath of God, on your behalf and mine. And, you and I are still in our sins, and we are only waiting, marking time until we face almighty God and are consumed by Him, the consuming fire. You have offended a Holy and a righteous God and you have no hope. He will crush you. He must. Justice cries out for it. From the time that you were a child, one of the first concepts you learned is „that’s not fair”. Because everything on the inside of you cries out for it. And for God not to consume you , would not be fair. For God to give you a pass, without the shedding of blood, and the remission of your sin through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
  6. And if those also who have fallen asleep in Jesus Christ have perished, if in Christ, we had hoped in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. „I want to hold on to christianity, but I don’t like this resurrection thing.
  7. You and I are the most pitiful lot in mankind because we believed the biggest lie that was ever perpetrated.

Here’s the wonderful thing that happens, because of the way Paul situates his argument: If there is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead, these 7 things are true. The first one has already been proven, which means, not only are you wrong, but all 7 of these things are flipped. There is such thing as resurrection from the dead, which means:

  • Christ has been raised
  • our preaching is not vain, but it is the power of God unto salvation
  • our faith is not vain. But by grace you are saved, through faith
  • which means I am not a liar, I am a truth teller
  • which means that you and I are still not in our sins. Christ died for sins, once for all. The just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us back to God. All, we like sheep had gone astray. Each of us had turned to our own way, but God had laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. I am not in my sins, I am redeemed form my sins. I am cleansed form my sins. Those who had gone on before me did not die vain, hopeless deaths. But, absent from the body, they are present with the Lord.

The Gospel matters. The content of the Gospel matters. It all matters. Do I have to know all there is about the Gospel? I’ll spend eternity  and not know everything there is to know about the Gospel. But, what does it mean to believe the Gospel savingly?  It means to believe what we have received and whatever it is that we’ll continue to receive.

Argument from authority- we believe because the apostles said it was so
Argument from evidence- We believe it because God did it in the open and there is evidence verifying what He did
Argument from logic- Why do we believe it? Because logically it makes absolutely no sense to believe otherwise. Because, there are things that not, only are we not willing to accept, but things that literally cannot be the case, because Christ indeed has been raised.

Ultimately the Gospel is the only thing that will matter when those of us will face a righteous God and will have to give an account. It is only through the Gospel, that the account we give is that our debt has been paid in full, by the One who lived, and died, and rose again. And is coming again, to judge the living and the dead. And to redeem that which was put on deposit.

Original video here – http://new.livestream.com(could not import this video)

R C Sproul – Christ has risen! So what?

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Christ has risen from the dead! But so what? What does that have to do with our lives right now? On this edition of Renewing Your Mind, Dr. R.C. Sproul will explain the temporal and eternal benefits that flow from Christ’s resurrection.

What does the resurrection of Jesus Christ have to do with you?

Revelation 21:1-8

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God iswith men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me,“Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Sproul: Every year we focus on the Resurrection, not merely for ecclesiastical reasons but as the central point of our faith and of our hope. We affirm that He is risen and the question I want to explore is this one: So what? What difference does it make that Christ has been raised from the dead?

Published on Apr 13, 2012 by  (22 minutes)

Defending the Ressurection (via) Justin Holcomb, the Resurgence

by Justin Holcomb at the Resurgence

Of all the teachings of Christianity, no doctrine is more central than the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Put bluntly, if Jesus Christ claimed to be the savior but remains dead in a tomb after a brutal crucifixion, his claims were, and are, meaningless. However, if Jesus did rise from death, then his claims to deity, his bearing the penalty of our sins in our place on the cross, and his statements about the afterlife are vindicated.

No future without the resurrection

Without the resurrection, Christians have no savior and are left without hope of a future resurrection, since Christ himself did not rise. Paul writes in 1 Cointhians 15:14 and 17, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” On this basis alone, it is fair to say that Paul saw the resurrection as the lynchpin of the Christian faith.

Throughout the history of the church, the truth of the resurrection has been attacked from every angle. New books and television media appear questioning the truth of the resurrection, by re-hashing old theories about what happened to Jesus’ body. Since the resurrection is crucial to Christianity, Christians ought to be concerned with giving an apologetic defense of it.

Historically credible accounts

The first step is defending the resurrection from the detractors is to establish the fact of the historical events that took place as conveyed in the Gospels.  As William Lane Craig notes in his book Reasonable Faith, “The issue is whether the gospel narratives are historically credible accounts or unhistorical legends.”

The resurrection can be defended by showing that the Gospel accounts were:

  1. authentic—that they were written by the authors who claimed them
  2. pure—that they were not changed from their original form
  3. reliable—that the apostles were neither deceived nor deceivers

Even Bart Ehrman, the notorious New Testament critic, says that “we can say with some confidence that some of his disciples claimed to have seen Jesus alive.”

Not only an empty tomb

In his impressive book The Resurrection of the Son of God, N. T. Wright establishes the fact of the historical events that took place as conveyed in the Gospels. He sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. He then highlights the fact that the early Christians’ belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the Gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his appearances.

Since the resurrection is crucial to Christianity, Christians ought to be concerned with giving an apologetic defense of it.

The Gospel accounts are historically credible, not merely mythological legends embellished over time.

In the next two posts, we will see that the resurrection is the best explanation of the historical events, over and against rival hypotheses.

A defense of the resurrection must give evidence for the historical validity of the events described in the New Testament, and it must show how the resurrection of Jesus provides the best explanation for this historical data. In this post we will focus on the empty tomb of Jesus Christ.

The empty tomb

One of the easiest parts of the resurrection data to establish is the fact that the tomb is empty. Because the location of Jesus’ burial was known to those living in Jerusalem, it would have been unlikely that they would have believed the Apostolic preaching of the resurrection of Christ if there was not an empty tomb. Jesus’ burial is widely attested in early, independent testimonies, both biblical and extra-biblical.

Furthermore, as is often noted, women were not considered reliable witnesses in first century Jewish culture, so it would have been foolish for the authors to have fictionally constructed an account involving women in order to gain credibility.

The person who wishes to deny the resurrection of Christ is left with the unexplained mystery of the empty tomb that existed three days after his death.

Matthew 28:11–15 speaks of a myth that was spread among the Jews concerning the body of Christ. Apparently the Jews were saying the disciples stole the body of Christ. This is significant because the Jews did not deny the tomb was empty, but instead sought an alternative explanation to the resurrection. The emptiness of the tomb is a widely attested historical fact.

Just because the tomb of Christ was empty does not necessarily mean the resurrection happened. Indeed, there have been four alternative hypotheses to resurrection that have been advanced over the years.

Conspiracy theory

First, some offer the conspiracy hypothesis, which says the disciples stole the body of Christ and continued to lie about his appearances to them. On this account, the resurrection was a hoax.

This hypothesis is not commonly held in modern scholarship for several reasons:

  1. This hypothesis does not take into account that the disciples believed in the resurrection. It is highly unlikely that numerous disciples would have been willing to give their lives defending a fabrication.
  2. It is unlikely that the idea of resurrection would have entered the minds of the disciples, as such an event was not connected to the Jewish idea of a Messiah. The scholar William Lane Craig writes, “If your favorite Messiah got himself crucified, then you either went home or else you got yourself a new Messiah. But the idea of stealing Jesus’ corpse and saying that God has raised him from the dead is hardly one that would have entered the minds of the disciples.”
  3. This hypothesis cannot account for the post-resurrection appearances of Christ.

Apparent death

The second hypothesis attempting to explain away the resurrection is the apparent death hypothesis. This view says Jesus was not completely dead when he was removed from the cross. Once in the tomb, Jesus was revived and escaped, thus convincing the disciples of his resurrection.

This view is difficult to hold for a few reasons:

  1. It is unlikely that a half-dead man would have been capable of even getting up to walk, much less moving the stone that sealed the tomb, over-powering Roman guards, and fleeing from sight.
  2. This theory cannot account for the disciples’ attribution of resurrection to Christ, for if they had seen him after he was revived, they would have merely thought he had never died.
  3. It is also foolish to think the Romans, who had perfected the art of killing people, would have let one slip by without ensuring he was dead.
  4. Finally, given the physical torture described in the Gospel accounts, it is highly unlikely that Jesus could have survived.

Wrong tomb

Third, the wrong tomb hypothesis suggests the women had gotten lost on their way to the empty tomb and accidentally stumbled upon the caretaker of an empty tomb. When the caretaker said, “Jesus is not here,” the women were so disoriented they fled, their story later being developed into a resurrection myth.

Like the other theories, virtually no one holds to this view. There are at least three reasons:

  1. First, this theory does not explain the post-resurrection appearances, and it is spurious to think that such a simple mistake would have led a first-century Jew to think a resurrection had happened.
  2. In light of the early evidence that is available concerning the location of Jesus’ tomb, it is almost impossible that the women would have confused its location.
  3. This hypothesis emphasizes that the caretaker of the tomb said that Christ was not there, but it passes over the next phrase: “He is risen!”

Displaced body

Fourth, some propose the displaced body hypothesis to explain Jesus’ resurrection. This theory says Joseph of Arimathea placed Jesus’ body in his own tomb but later moved it to the criminal’s graveyard. The disciples were not aware that Jesus’ body had been moved and therefore wrongly inferred that he had risen from the dead.

Because of the spurious nature of this theory, virtually no modern scholars hold to it:

  1. This theory cannot account for the post-resurrection appearances of Christ or the origin of the Christian faith.
  2. It is uncertain why Joseph would not have corrected the error of the disciples by simply showing them where he had moved the body of Jesus.
  3. The criminal graveyard, most likely, was quite close to the crucifixion site, so it would have made little sense why Joseph would not have simply buried Jesus there in the first place. In fact, it was against Jewish law to allow a body to be moved after it had already been buried.

The resurrection really happened

In light of these failed hypotheses that attempt to disprove the resurrection, the person who wishes to deny the resurrection of Christ is left with the unexplained mystery of the empty tomb that existed three days after his death.

A defense of the resurrection must give evidence for the historical validity of the events described in the New Testament, and it must show how the resurrection of Jesus provides the best explanation for this historical data.

The Post-Resurrection Appearances

In 1 Cor. 15:3-8, Paul says that Jesus appeared to Cephas, the Twelve, more than five hundred people at once, James, all the apostles, and finally to Paul himself. 1 Corinthians, an authentic letter composed by a man acquainted with the first disciples, actually claims that people saw Jesus after his death.

Because of the specificity of the list that Paul puts forth, it is fairly indisputable that Jesus actually appeared to the people that Paul mentions. The gospels all speak of post-resurrection appearances of Christ. It would be quite ridiculous to suggest that each of these events was a hallucination. Few scholars argue, therefore, that on different occasions different groups of people had experiences of seeing Jesus. They therefore question whether the experiences were actual physical, bodily appearances of Christ. However, Paul leaves no room for a merely psychological experience. His theology of the resurrected body ensures that he meant that Christ actually, physically appeared. This is confirmed by the gospel accounts. In light of this evidence, one can be certain of the fact that Jesus appeared to the people mentioned in 1 Cor. 15 after his bodily resurrection.

A Plausible Explanation

The resurrection is the most plausible explanation for the postmortem appearances of Christ. The alternative—the hallucination hypothesis—says nothing to explain the empty tomb. Nor does it explain the disciples’ belief in the resurrection. In typical psychological postmortem experiences, the person having the experience rarely would think that a dead person actually returned physically to life. As N.T. Wright argues, postmortem appearances in the ancient world would be more evidence that the person was dead than that he was alive.

Because of the diversity of appearances catalogued, it is highly unlikely that the hallucination theory can be held. Therefore, the physical resurrection of Jesus proves to be the best explanation for the postmortem appearances described in 1 Cor. 15.

The Origin of the Christian Faith

The fact that Christianity started and grew is evidence for the resurrection. William Lane Craig writes: “Even skeptical New Testament scholars admit that the earliest disciples at least believed that Jesus had been raised from the dead.” For Jews, the Messiah was viewed as a figure that would be triumphant and rule on David’s throne, not a figure that would be crucified and die.

The resurrection undid the catastrophe of the crucifixion. The Messiah, who had died, is risen! The resurrection validated and verified the claims that Christ had made about his own identity. The origin of Christianity rests solely on the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

The resurrection validated and verified the claims that Christ had made about his own identity. 

To deny that the resurrection was the cause of the Christian faith, an alternative explanation must be given.  But there is no plausible alternative. Therefore, “Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that the tomb was somehow emptied and the disciples saw hallucinations—suppositions which we have seen to be false anyway—the origin of the belief in Jesus’ resurrection still cannot be plausibly explained” (Craig).

Come Let Us Reason…

It stands to reason that Jesus Christ did in fact rise from the dead victoriously on the third day after his death. No alternative hypothesis can adequately explain the empty tomb, the postmortem appearances of Jesus, and the origin of the Christian faith. For this reason, one has no good reasons why not to accept this most central element of Christianity.

Worship the Risen Christ by John Piper

Banner available at www.outreach.com

click here for the audio for this sermon. By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, „Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell the disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, „Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, „Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

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The Universal Longing for Beauty

Why are millions of mood posters with magnificent landscapes and little philosophic sayings sold each year in America? Why did I feel happy when I looked at purple snapdragons and distant mountains on an Easter card this week? Why did Ayn Rand, who died last year, apparently as a convinced atheist, say that admiration is one of the greatest and rarest pleasures? And she meant the pleasure of admiring greatness, not being admired. Why is there such a thing as stardom in the world of popular music and theater and sports? Why are scenic cruises and scenic tours and $45 coffee-table scenic books a multi-million dollar business? I believe the answer is that the essence of humanness is the appetite for great beauty. Or, to put it in a more God-centered way, God has made us with a hunger to worship him.

The great tragedy of the human race is that we were made to find infinite joy by admiring God, but have become so blind and so foolish that we spend energy and time and money seeking out things in the world to satisfy our insatiable craving to admire greatness and beauty. The irony of our human condition (and nobody here is an exception) is that God put us within sight of the Himalayas, and we have chosen to pull down the blinds of our chalet and show slides of Buck Hill. But every single person here knows that it hasn’t worked. Our posters and post cards and rock stars and scenic tours and glossy books have never satisfied the deepest longings of our heart. They give some pleasure, and make the drudgery of life a little more livable. But they can never compare to the times when you walk to the window, raise the blinds, throw open the shutters, and see the Himalayan glory of the risen Christ.

If your life is flat, empty, without exhilaration, without significance, without a single and fulfilling orientation, it is because you do not see the risen Christ for who he really is. Some of you see him scarcely at all, perhaps. Others have such a pitifully small and sentimental picture of him on the wall of your mind that you are starving for the real thing. So what I want to do today is take you to the window of God’s Word and point to Christ. For if we could keep in view the risen Christ as he really is, our bottomless appetite for beauty and greatness and wonder would find satisfaction, and our lives would be unending worship and joyful obedience.

The last chapter of Matthew is a window that opens onto the sunrise glory of the risen Christ. Through it you can see at least three massive peaks in the mountain range of Christ’s character: the peak of his power; the peak of his kindness; and the peak of his purposefulness. And we all know in our hearts that if the risen Christ is going to satisfy our desire to admire greatness, that is the way he has to be. People who are too weak to accomplish their purposes can’t satisfy our desire to admire greatness. We admire people even less who have no purpose in life. And still less those whose purposes are merely selfish and unkind. What we long to see and know is a Person whose power is unlimited, whose kindness is tender, and whose purpose is single and unflinching. Novelists and poets and movie-makers and TV writers now and then create a shadow of this Person. But they can no more fill our longing to worship than this month’s National Geographic can satisfy my longing for the Chattooga River. We must have the real thing. We must see the Original of all power and kindness and purposefulness. We must see and worship the risen Christ.

www.bible-daily.org/

A Window onto Glory and of Worship

Let me show you why I think Matthew 28 aims to help us do this. In Matthew Jesus makes two appearances after his resurrection. First, to the women in verse 9, „And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Hail!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.” The second appearance was to the eleven disciples in Galilee. Verse 17: „And when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” It seems clear that what Matthew wants to say is that the proper response to the risen Christ is worship. Matthew has opened a window onto the glory of the risen Christ, and he means for it to be a window of worship.

Don’t miss how astonishing this is! Recall how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness three years earlier. In Matthew 4:9 he said, „‘All [the kingdoms of the world] I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Begone, Satan! for it is written, „You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”‘” Do you see what it implies that Jesus receives the worship of his people in Matthew 28? The resurrection of Christ should certify once for all that Jesus is the Son of God, not in the sense that Israel was the son of God or in the sense that you and I are children of God, but in the sense that he himself is God. Jesus said, „You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” And when he rises from the dead, men and women bow at his feet and worship him, and he receives it without rebuke. Easter is a great day for reaffirming our conviction that Jesus Christ is no mere man, no mere angel, no mere creature, but from everlasting to everlasting he is God through whom and for whom all things exist.

Therefore, when Matthew calls us to worship the risen Christ, do not shrink back saying, „God only should be worshipped.” For Christ is God, one in essence with the Father and the Spirit. That’s why Matthew brings his book to a close in verse 19 by saying that disciples should be baptized „in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” These three persons are one God, and when we worship the one, we worship them all.

So Matthew means for chapter 28 to be a window onto the glory of the risen Christ; and he aims for it to be a window of worship. Now what do we see in the mountain range of Christ’s character that should fill us with admiration and worship?
The Power of the Risen Christ

The first thing we see is the peak of power. Notice verse 18. Jesus says, „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” I wish that there was a way with words to make you feel that the risen Christ has more authority than President Reagan, more authority than all the powers of Moscow and Peking, that if you gathered all the authority of all the governments and armies of the world and put them in the scales with the authority of the risen Christ, they would go up in the balance like air. All authority on earth has been given to the risen Christ. All of it! The risen Christ has the right to tell every man, woman, and child on this planet today what they should do and think and feel. He has absolute and total authority over your life and over cities and states and nations. The risen Christ is great—greater than you have ever imagined.

Here is our Easter witness to the world: The risen Christ is your king and has absolute, unlimited authority over your life. If you do not bow and worship him and trust him and obey him, you commit high treason against Christ the King, who is God over all. Easter is God’s open declaration that he lays claim on every person and tribe and tongue and nation. Easter has to do with power and authority. Easter is the claim of the risen Christ on every life that breathes. „All authority on earth is mine.” Your sex life is his to rule; your business is his to rule; your career is his to rule; your home is his; your children are his; your vacation is his; your body is his; He is God! So if you resist his claim, feel no admiration for his infinite power and authority, and turn finally to seek satisfaction from thrills that allow you to be your own master, then you will be executed for treason in the last day. And it will appear so reasonable and so right that you should be executed for your disloyalty to your Maker and Redeemer that there will be no appeals and no objections. Your life of indifference to the risen Christ and of half-hearted attention now and then (perhaps on Easter) to a few of his commandments will appear on that day as supremely blameworthy and infinitely foolish, and you will remember this sermon and weep that you did not change.

The risen Christ has all authority not only on earth but also in heaven. „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” I think Matthew wants us to see a glimpse of this in verses 2–4. „And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.” What is the meaning of this? It means at least that angels stand in the service of the risen Christ. I don’t know what you see when you picture angels in your mind. Perhaps flying creatures with long golden hair and delicate feathery wings, or cherubim-like little fat babies. If so, it isn’t going to impress you that the risen Christ has all authority in heaven so that all the angels offer him unquestioned obedience. But, if you could imagine how powerful an angel is, and how many angels there are, and what it is going to be like when the Son of man rides his great white stallion at the head of countless armies of heaven against the mutiny of this world, then you would be impressed. O, how we need to pray for the gift of imagination, so that we could feel what it means that the risen Christ is the Commander-in-Chief of countless angels, who are mightier than men and indestructible because of their immortality. When they gather for salvation and destruction, no laser beams and no space-age nuclear technology will have any effect on them at all.

Consider some biblical images of the risen Christ and his angels and let them shape your mental pictures. „Then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30, 31). „When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations” (Matthew 25:31). „Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52–53). „The Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8). „Jesus Christ has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him” (1 Peter 3:22).

When the angel in Matthew 28 descends with the power of an earthquake and the appearance of lightning to announce the resurrection of the Son of God, the meaning is this: all authority in heaven has been given to the risen Christ, and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of indestructible angels obey his every word. O, that Ayn Rand would have opened her eyes to see the risen Christ! Then the great pleasure of admiration would not have been so rare. And the great John Galt would look like Tweety Bird in comparison to Jesus.
The Kindness of the Risen Christ

The second peak in the mountain range of Christ’s glory that we see through the window of Matthew 28 is the peak of his kindness. I see it first in verses 5–10. The angel first tells the women not to fear (v. 5), and then in verse 7 commands them to go and tell the disciples that he is risen and will meet them in Galilee. Verse 8 says they ran to do just that „with fear and great joy.” And then the wonderful thing happens: Jesus intercepts them. Why? They were on their way to obey the angel’s word. And Jesus seems to just repeat the angel’s command in verse 10: „Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Why did he stop them? I think the answer is kindness—pure, pressed-down, shaken-together, overflowing kindness. An unnecessary bonus from the big heart of the risen Christ. Those kinds of things happen when you follow the Word of God. Some of you may have asked, „Where is the kindness of the risen Christ?” I think Mary Magdalene would answer: „He will meet you seven steps down the road of obedience.”

But the kindness of Christ is also for his other disciples. The angel had said in verse 5: „Don’t be afraid.” But verse 8 says, „They departed quickly from the tomb with fear.” When Jesus meets them he says, „Hail!” which literally means, „Rejoice!” And he repeats the angel’s command: „Do not be afraid.” You know what I think the women were apprehensive about? If Jesus is really risen with all authority on earth and is ready now (as they probably thought) to establish the world-wide reign of the Messiah, what might he do to those turncoat disciples who denied and deserted him in his hour of greatest trial? Might there not be judgment in Galilee?

But the risen Christ is not only powerful; he is kind beyond human measure. With one word he stilled their fears. The angel had said in verse 7, „Go tell his disciples.” But Jesus said in verse 10, „Go tell my brothers.” Has anybody today ever deserted the Savior in an hour of testing? Do not despair. If you will meet him in Galilee, he will call you a brother or a sister. If you will go in your heart to the place of repentance, he will meet you with the words, „Rejoice! Do not be afraid!” And, as if that were not evidence enough of his kindness, Matthew leaves it ringing in our ears by closing his gospel with these words, „Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
The Purposefulness of the Risen Christ

The risen Christ is infinitely powerful, and the risen Christ is immeasurably kind. And now finally we see through the window of Matthew 28 the peak of his purposefulness. In order to admire and worship the risen Christ, we have to see that his power and kindness have purpose and goal. You can’t admire someone who doesn’t know where he is going. One of the reasons there are so few admirable people in the world today is that so few people stick to anything for very long. How many people can you point to and say, „There is a life that is unwaveringly devoted to one great goal”?

Verse 19 shows that the risen Christ has a purpose. He knows why he reigns. „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” The purpose of the risen Christ is to empower his church to make his authority known in every culture on earth. He wouldn’t have said, „Lo, I am with you always,” unless our mission were his business. Wherever people bow the knee to Christ through our witness, it is because he is with us. He aims to fill his kingdom with worshipers from Argentina and Liberia and Uganda and Ecuador and Cameroon and Mexico and the Philippines and Japan and Egypt and Brazil and the Coffman Union. The risen Christ is not going in circles; he is not fumbling through the manual of operation. He wrote the book. And he is unswerving in his great purpose.

Do you not hunger to admire such a Person? Infinite power! Immeasurable kindness! Unswerving purpose! Perhaps your appetite for his beauty is just beginning. If so, confess the blindness and dullness of your former days. Set yourself on the road of faith and obedience and expect him to meet you on the way. Perhaps before this hymn is over, you will have seen and worshiped the risen Christ.

CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS!

Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity.

Crown him the Son of God,
Before the worlds began,
And ye who tread where he hath trod,
Crown him the Son of man;
Who ev’ry grief hath known
That wrings the human breast,
And takes and bears them for his own,
That all in him may rest.

Crown him the Lord of life,
Who triumphed o’er the grave
And rose victorious in the strife
For those he came to save;
His glories now we sing,
Who died and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.

Crown him the Lord of Heav’n
Enthroned in worlds above,
Crown him the King to whom is giv’n
The wondrous name of love.
Crown him with many crowns,
As thrones before him fall;
Crown him, ye kings, with many crowns,
For he is King of all.

Amen.

© Desiring God

Ligon Duncan – Why the Resurrection Matters

…a very good insight on an aspect of postmodern style thinking from sermon-     „the plot always has these three components:  the church used to believe this – that is, that Jesus was literally raised from the dead on the third day – but through our brilliant insight and our scholarly pursuit, we now know that  is not true. But not to worry! We don’t have to abandon Christianity! We just need to reinterpret it.”

Please read entire sermon for an accurate assessment of the times we live in:

(via) Monergism

1 Corinthians 15:1-58

If you have your Bibles, I would invite you to turn with me to I Corinthians 15.  It is appropriate that on this day that we would spend some time considering the biblical teaching about the resurrection and its significance. There is much confusion on this  subject in our own day and time. There are many in the secular world who delight in calling into the truth of the resurrection. There are many within the Christian church who are confused about the truth of the resurrection, and some who are laboring hard to sound a trumpet with an uncertain sound about the resurrection. Many are speaking about the resurrection in such a way as to reinterpret it, to call it into question in the minds of Christians. And it is altogether appropriate that we pause and reflect what the biblical teaching is about the resurrection,  and especially the resurrection of Jesus Christ,  and its significance. We cannot jump too quickly to the significance of the resurrection before we have embraced the truth of the resurrection, itself. C. S. Lewis reminded us,  long ago, that there is a tendency in our age “to believe something because its good, rather than because it is true.” But if it is not true, than ultimately it does not matter if it seems good or not. We must be convinced both of the truth of the resurrection as well as its positive, good, and beneficial significance for us, before we can drink deeply of the draft of blessings which the Lord has prepared for us. So, let’s hear God’s Holy word here in 1 Corinthians, beginning in verse 1:

„Now, I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you  believe.”

Amen. This is God’s Holy and inspired word. May He write its eternal truth upon our hearts. Let’s pray.

O Lord, by Your Spirit, make us behold wonderful truths from Your word, and enlighten us to the saving truth of the resurrection, and its great significance for our Christian living. In Jesus’ name, we ask it. Amen.

About this time of year, every year that I can remember in the age of my teenage to adulthood, somebody – somewhere – and usually many people in many places, write articles, release books, do interviews or are interviewed on a television special, that attempt to debunk the historic Christian teaching about the resurrection. It may be a professor at the local university that announces in a startling interview with the newspaper that “Now all intelligent people everywhere know that Jesus did not rise again from the dead on the third day.” Or it may be a famous New Testament scholar, who is hawking books that he is preparing to sell in the market, through writing articles in a newspaper or in a major new magazine, debunking the resurrection. Or, it may be a television special, offered on one of the special cable channels that purports to give you the „real story” behind the resurrection account in the gospel. But it just seems that every year about this time, someone is making what they say is a new and startling revelation about the truth surrounding the death and burial of Jesus Christ. And the plot always has these three components:  the church used to believe this – that is, that Jesus was literally raised from the dead on the third day – but through our brilliant insight and our scholarly pursuit, we now know that  is not true. But not to worry! We don’t have to abandon Christianity! We just need to reinterpret it. The resurrection isn’t Jesus coming back from the dead – it is the cosmic victory of life over mortality. Whatever that means! And the plot is always the same: the church used to believe this; we are smarter than that now. We don’t believe it anymore,  but we can still believe the Easter Story even if the Easter Story didn’t happen.

Mai mult

Defending the Ressurection (via) Justin Holcomb, the Resurgence

by Justin Holcomb at the Resurgence

Of all the teachings of Christianity, no doctrine is more central than the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Put bluntly, if Jesus Christ claimed to be the savior but remains dead in a tomb after a brutal crucifixion, his claims were, and are, meaningless. However, if Jesus did rise from death, then his claims to deity, his bearing the penalty of our sins in our place on the cross, and his statements about the afterlife are vindicated.

No future without the resurrection

Without the resurrection, Christians have no savior and are left without hope of a future resurrection, since Christ himself did not rise. Paul writes in 1 Cointhians 15:14 and 17, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” On this basis alone, it is fair to say that Paul saw the resurrection as the lynchpin of the Christian faith.

Throughout the history of the church, the truth of the resurrection has been attacked from every angle. New books and television media appear questioning the truth of the resurrection, by re-hashing old theories about what happened to Jesus’ body. Since the resurrection is crucial to Christianity, Christians ought to be concerned with giving an apologetic defense of it.

Historically credible accounts

The first step is defending the resurrection from the detractors is to establish the fact of the historical events that took place as conveyed in the Gospels.  As William Lane Craig notes in his book Reasonable Faith, “The issue is whether the gospel narratives are historically credible accounts or unhistorical legends.”

The resurrection can be defended by showing that the Gospel accounts were:

  1. authentic—that they were written by the authors who claimed them
  2. pure—that they were not changed from their original form
  3. reliable—that the apostles were neither deceived nor deceivers

Even Bart Ehrman, the notorious New Testament critic, says that “we can say with some confidence that some of his disciples claimed to have seen Jesus alive.”

Not only an empty tomb

In his impressive book The Resurrection of the Son of God, N. T. Wright establishes the fact of the historical events that took place as conveyed in the Gospels. He sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. He then highlights the fact that the early Christians’ belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the Gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his appearances.

Since the resurrection is crucial to Christianity, Christians ought to be concerned with giving an apologetic defense of it.

The Gospel accounts are historically credible, not merely mythological legends embellished over time.

In the next two posts, we will see that the resurrection is the best explanation of the historical events, over and against rival hypotheses.

A defense of the resurrection must give evidence for the historical validity of the events described in the New Testament, and it must show how the resurrection of Jesus provides the best explanation for this historical data. In this post we will focus on the empty tomb of Jesus Christ.

The empty tomb

One of the easiest parts of the resurrection data to establish is the fact that the tomb is empty. Because the location of Jesus’ burial was known to those living in Jerusalem, it would have been unlikely that they would have believed the Apostolic preaching of the resurrection of Christ if there was not an empty tomb. Jesus’ burial is widely attested in early, independent testimonies, both biblical and extra-biblical.

Furthermore, as is often noted, women were not considered reliable witnesses in first century Jewish culture, so it would have been foolish for the authors to have fictionally constructed an account involving women in order to gain credibility.

The person who wishes to deny the resurrection of Christ is left with the unexplained mystery of the empty tomb that existed three days after his death.

Matthew 28:11–15 speaks of a myth that was spread among the Jews concerning the body of Christ. Apparently the Jews were saying the disciples stole the body of Christ. This is significant because the Jews did not deny the tomb was empty, but instead sought an alternative explanation to the resurrection. The emptiness of the tomb is a widely attested historical fact.

Just because the tomb of Christ was empty does not necessarily mean the resurrection happened. Indeed, there have been four alternative hypotheses to resurrection that have been advanced over the years.

Conspiracy theory

First, some offer the conspiracy hypothesis, which says the disciples stole the body of Christ and continued to lie about his appearances to them. On this account, the resurrection was a hoax.

This hypothesis is not commonly held in modern scholarship for several reasons:

  1. This hypothesis does not take into account that the disciples believed in the resurrection. It is highly unlikely that numerous disciples would have been willing to give their lives defending a fabrication.
  2. It is unlikely that the idea of resurrection would have entered the minds of the disciples, as such an event was not connected to the Jewish idea of a Messiah. The scholar William Lane Craig writes, “If your favorite Messiah got himself crucified, then you either went home or else you got yourself a new Messiah. But the idea of stealing Jesus’ corpse and saying that God has raised him from the dead is hardly one that would have entered the minds of the disciples.”
  3. This hypothesis cannot account for the post-resurrection appearances of Christ.

Apparent death

The second hypothesis attempting to explain away the resurrection is the apparent death hypothesis. This view says Jesus was not completely dead when he was removed from the cross. Once in the tomb, Jesus was revived and escaped, thus convincing the disciples of his resurrection.

This view is difficult to hold for a few reasons:

  1. It is unlikely that a half-dead man would have been capable of even getting up to walk, much less moving the stone that sealed the tomb, over-powering Roman guards, and fleeing from sight.
  2. This theory cannot account for the disciples’ attribution of resurrection to Christ, for if they had seen him after he was revived, they would have merely thought he had never died.
  3. It is also foolish to think the Romans, who had perfected the art of killing people, would have let one slip by without ensuring he was dead.
  4. Finally, given the physical torture described in the Gospel accounts, it is highly unlikely that Jesus could have survived.

Wrong tomb

Third, the wrong tomb hypothesis suggests the women had gotten lost on their way to the empty tomb and accidentally stumbled upon the caretaker of an empty tomb. When the caretaker said, “Jesus is not here,” the women were so disoriented they fled, their story later being developed into a resurrection myth.

Like the other theories, virtually no one holds to this view. There are at least three reasons:

  1. First, this theory does not explain the post-resurrection appearances, and it is spurious to think that such a simple mistake would have led a first-century Jew to think a resurrection had happened.
  2. In light of the early evidence that is available concerning the location of Jesus’ tomb, it is almost impossible that the women would have confused its location.
  3. This hypothesis emphasizes that the caretaker of the tomb said that Christ was not there, but it passes over the next phrase: “He is risen!”

Displaced body

Fourth, some propose the displaced body hypothesis to explain Jesus’ resurrection. This theory says Joseph of Arimathea placed Jesus’ body in his own tomb but later moved it to the criminal’s graveyard. The disciples were not aware that Jesus’ body had been moved and therefore wrongly inferred that he had risen from the dead.

Because of the spurious nature of this theory, virtually no modern scholars hold to it:

  1. This theory cannot account for the post-resurrection appearances of Christ or the origin of the Christian faith.
  2. It is uncertain why Joseph would not have corrected the error of the disciples by simply showing them where he had moved the body of Jesus.
  3. The criminal graveyard, most likely, was quite close to the crucifixion site, so it would have made little sense why Joseph would not have simply buried Jesus there in the first place. In fact, it was against Jewish law to allow a body to be moved after it had already been buried.

The resurrection really happened

In light of these failed hypotheses that attempt to disprove the resurrection, the person who wishes to deny the resurrection of Christ is left with the unexplained mystery of the empty tomb that existed three days after his death.

A defense of the resurrection must give evidence for the historical validity of the events described in the New Testament, and it must show how the resurrection of Jesus provides the best explanation for this historical data.

The Post-Resurrection Appearances

In 1 Cor. 15:3-8, Paul says that Jesus appeared to Cephas, the Twelve, more than five hundred people at once, James, all the apostles, and finally to Paul himself. 1 Corinthians, an authentic letter composed by a man acquainted with the first disciples, actually claims that people saw Jesus after his death.

Because of the specificity of the list that Paul puts forth, it is fairly indisputable that Jesus actually appeared to the people that Paul mentions. The gospels all speak of post-resurrection appearances of Christ. It would be quite ridiculous to suggest that each of these events was a hallucination. Few scholars argue, therefore, that on different occasions different groups of people had experiences of seeing Jesus. They therefore question whether the experiences were actual physical, bodily appearances of Christ. However, Paul leaves no room for a merely psychological experience. His theology of the resurrected body ensures that he meant that Christ actually, physically appeared. This is confirmed by the gospel accounts. In light of this evidence, one can be certain of the fact that Jesus appeared to the people mentioned in 1 Cor. 15 after his bodily resurrection.

A Plausible Explanation

The resurrection is the most plausible explanation for the postmortem appearances of Christ. The alternative—the hallucination hypothesis—says nothing to explain the empty tomb. Nor does it explain the disciples’ belief in the resurrection. In typical psychological postmortem experiences, the person having the experience rarely would think that a dead person actually returned physically to life. As N.T. Wright argues, postmortem appearances in the ancient world would be more evidence that the person was dead than that he was alive.

Because of the diversity of appearances catalogued, it is highly unlikely that the hallucination theory can be held. Therefore, the physical resurrection of Jesus proves to be the best explanation for the postmortem appearances described in 1 Cor. 15.

The Origin of the Christian Faith

The fact that Christianity started and grew is evidence for the resurrection. William Lane Craig writes: “Even skeptical New Testament scholars admit that the earliest disciples at least believed that Jesus had been raised from the dead.” For Jews, the Messiah was viewed as a figure that would be triumphant and rule on David’s throne, not a figure that would be crucified and die.

The resurrection undid the catastrophe of the crucifixion. The Messiah, who had died, is risen! The resurrection validated and verified the claims that Christ had made about his own identity. The origin of Christianity rests solely on the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

The resurrection validated and verified the claims that Christ had made about his own identity. 

To deny that the resurrection was the cause of the Christian faith, an alternative explanation must be given.  But there is no plausible alternative. Therefore, “Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that the tomb was somehow emptied and the disciples saw hallucinations—suppositions which we have seen to be false anyway—the origin of the belief in Jesus’ resurrection still cannot be plausibly explained” (Craig).

Come Let Us Reason…

It stands to reason that Jesus Christ did in fact rise from the dead victoriously on the third day after his death. No alternative hypothesis can adequately explain the empty tomb, the postmortem appearances of Jesus, and the origin of the Christian faith. For this reason, one has no good reasons why not to accept this most central element of Christianity.

Worship the Risen Christ by John Piper

click here for the audio for this sermon.

Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, „Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell the disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, „Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, „Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

The Universal Longing for Beauty

Why are millions of mood posters with magnificent landscapes and little philosophic sayings sold each year in America? Why did I feel happy when I looked at purple snapdragons and distant mountains on an Easter card this week? Why did Ayn Rand, who died last year, apparently as a convinced atheist, say that admiration is one of the greatest and rarest pleasures? And she meant the pleasure of admiring greatness, not being admired. Why is there such a thing as stardom in the world of popular music and theater and sports? Why are scenic cruises and scenic tours and $45 coffee-table scenic books a multi-million dollar business? I believe the answer is that the essence of humanness is the appetite for great beauty. Or, to put it in a more God-centered way, God has made us with a hunger to worship him.

The great tragedy of the human race is that we were made to find infinite joy by admiring God, but have become so blind and so foolish that we spend energy and time and money seeking out things in the world to satisfy our insatiable craving to admire greatness and beauty. The irony of our human condition (and nobody here is an exception) is that God put us within sight of the Himalayas, and we have chosen to pull down the blinds of our chalet and show slides of Buck Hill. But every single person here knows that it hasn’t worked. Our posters and post cards and rock stars and scenic tours and glossy books have never satisfied the deepest longings of our heart. They give some pleasure, and make the drudgery of life a little more livable. But they can never compare to the times when you walk to the window, raise the blinds, throw open the shutters, and see the Himalayan glory of the risen Christ.

If your life is flat, empty, without exhilaration, without significance, without a single and fulfilling orientation, it is because you do not see the risen Christ for who he really is. Some of you see him scarcely at all, perhaps. Others have such a pitifully small and sentimental picture of him on the wall of your mind that you are starving for the real thing. So what I want to do today is take you to the window of God’s Word and point to Christ. For if we could keep in view the risen Christ as he really is, our bottomless appetite for beauty and greatness and wonder would find satisfaction, and our lives would be unending worship and joyful obedience.

The last chapter of Matthew is a window that opens onto the sunrise glory of the risen Christ. Through it you can see at least three massive peaks in the mountain range of Christ’s character: the peak of his power; the peak of his kindness; and the peak of his purposefulness. And we all know in our hearts that if the risen Christ is going to satisfy our desire to admire greatness, that is the way he has to be. People who are too weak to accomplish their purposes can’t satisfy our desire to admire greatness. We admire people even less who have no purpose in life. And still less those whose purposes are merely selfish and unkind. What we long to see and know is a Person whose power is unlimited, whose kindness is tender, and whose purpose is single and unflinching. Novelists and poets and movie-makers and TV writers now and then create a shadow of this Person. But they can no more fill our longing to worship than this month’s National Geographic can satisfy my longing for the Chattooga River. We must have the real thing. We must see the Original of all power and kindness and purposefulness. We must see and worship the risen Christ.
A Window onto Glory and of Worship

Let me show you why I think Matthew 28 aims to help us do this. In Matthew Jesus makes two appearances after his resurrection. First, to the women in verse 9, „And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Hail!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.” The second appearance was to the eleven disciples in Galilee. Verse 17: „And when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” It seems clear that what Matthew wants to say is that the proper response to the risen Christ is worship. Matthew has opened a window onto the glory of the risen Christ, and he means for it to be a window of worship.

Don’t miss how astonishing this is! Recall how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness three years earlier. In Matthew 4:9 he said, „‘All [the kingdoms of the world] I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Begone, Satan! for it is written, „You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”‘” Do you see what it implies that Jesus receives the worship of his people in Matthew 28? The resurrection of Christ should certify once for all that Jesus is the Son of God, not in the sense that Israel was the son of God or in the sense that you and I are children of God, but in the sense that he himself is God. Jesus said, „You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” And when he rises from the dead, men and women bow at his feet and worship him, and he receives it without rebuke. Easter is a great day for reaffirming our conviction that Jesus Christ is no mere man, no mere angel, no mere creature, but from everlasting to everlasting he is God through whom and for whom all things exist.

Therefore, when Matthew calls us to worship the risen Christ, do not shrink back saying, „God only should be worshipped.” For Christ is God, one in essence with the Father and the Spirit. That’s why Matthew brings his book to a close in verse 19 by saying that disciples should be baptized „in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” These three persons are one God, and when we worship the one, we worship them all.

So Matthew means for chapter 28 to be a window onto the glory of the risen Christ; and he aims for it to be a window of worship. Now what do we see in the mountain range of Christ’s character that should fill us with admiration and worship?
The Power of the Risen Christ

The first thing we see is the peak of power. Notice verse 18. Jesus says, „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” I wish that there was a way with words to make you feel that the risen Christ has more authority than President Reagan, more authority than all the powers of Moscow and Peking, that if you gathered all the authority of all the governments and armies of the world and put them in the scales with the authority of the risen Christ, they would go up in the balance like air. All authority on earth has been given to the risen Christ. All of it! The risen Christ has the right to tell every man, woman, and child on this planet today what they should do and think and feel. He has absolute and total authority over your life and over cities and states and nations. The risen Christ is great—greater than you have ever imagined.

Here is our Easter witness to the world: The risen Christ is your king and has absolute, unlimited authority over your life. If you do not bow and worship him and trust him and obey him, you commit high treason against Christ the King, who is God over all. Easter is God’s open declaration that he lays claim on every person and tribe and tongue and nation. Easter has to do with power and authority. Easter is the claim of the risen Christ on every life that breathes. „All authority on earth is mine.” Your sex life is his to rule; your business is his to rule; your career is his to rule; your home is his; your children are his; your vacation is his; your body is his; He is God! So if you resist his claim, feel no admiration for his infinite power and authority, and turn finally to seek satisfaction from thrills that allow you to be your own master, then you will be executed for treason in the last day. And it will appear so reasonable and so right that you should be executed for your disloyalty to your Maker and Redeemer that there will be no appeals and no objections. Your life of indifference to the risen Christ and of half-hearted attention now and then (perhaps on Easter) to a few of his commandments will appear on that day as supremely blameworthy and infinitely foolish, and you will remember this sermon and weep that you did not change.

The risen Christ has all authority not only on earth but also in heaven. „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” I think Matthew wants us to see a glimpse of this in verses 2–4. „And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.” What is the meaning of this? It means at least that angels stand in the service of the risen Christ. I don’t know what you see when you picture angels in your mind. Perhaps flying creatures with long golden hair and delicate feathery wings, or cherubim-like little fat babies. If so, it isn’t going to impress you that the risen Christ has all authority in heaven so that all the angels offer him unquestioned obedience. But, if you could imagine how powerful an angel is, and how many angels there are, and what it is going to be like when the Son of man rides his great white stallion at the head of countless armies of heaven against the mutiny of this world, then you would be impressed. O, how we need to pray for the gift of imagination, so that we could feel what it means that the risen Christ is the Commander-in-Chief of countless angels, who are mightier than men and indestructible because of their immortality. When they gather for salvation and destruction, no laser beams and no space-age nuclear technology will have any effect on them at all.

Consider some biblical images of the risen Christ and his angels and let them shape your mental pictures. „Then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30, 31). „When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations” (Matthew 25:31). „Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52–53). „The Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8). „Jesus Christ has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him” (1 Peter 3:22).

When the angel in Matthew 28 descends with the power of an earthquake and the appearance of lightning to announce the resurrection of the Son of God, the meaning is this: all authority in heaven has been given to the risen Christ, and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of indestructible angels obey his every word. O, that Ayn Rand would have opened her eyes to see the risen Christ! Then the great pleasure of admiration would not have been so rare. And the great John Galt would look like Tweety Bird in comparison to Jesus.
The Kindness of the Risen Christ

The second peak in the mountain range of Christ’s glory that we see through the window of Matthew 28 is the peak of his kindness. I see it first in verses 5–10. The angel first tells the women not to fear (v. 5), and then in verse 7 commands them to go and tell the disciples that he is risen and will meet them in Galilee. Verse 8 says they ran to do just that „with fear and great joy.” And then the wonderful thing happens: Jesus intercepts them. Why? They were on their way to obey the angel’s word. And Jesus seems to just repeat the angel’s command in verse 10: „Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Why did he stop them? I think the answer is kindness—pure, pressed-down, shaken-together, overflowing kindness. An unnecessary bonus from the big heart of the risen Christ. Those kinds of things happen when you follow the Word of God. Some of you may have asked, „Where is the kindness of the risen Christ?” I think Mary Magdalene would answer: „He will meet you seven steps down the road of obedience.”

But the kindness of Christ is also for his other disciples. The angel had said in verse 5: „Don’t be afraid.” But verse 8 says, „They departed quickly from the tomb with fear.” When Jesus meets them he says, „Hail!” which literally means, „Rejoice!” And he repeats the angel’s command: „Do not be afraid.” You know what I think the women were apprehensive about? If Jesus is really risen with all authority on earth and is ready now (as they probably thought) to establish the world-wide reign of the Messiah, what might he do to those turncoat disciples who denied and deserted him in his hour of greatest trial? Might there not be judgment in Galilee?

But the risen Christ is not only powerful; he is kind beyond human measure. With one word he stilled their fears. The angel had said in verse 7, „Go tell his disciples.” But Jesus said in verse 10, „Go tell my brothers.” Has anybody today ever deserted the Savior in an hour of testing? Do not despair. If you will meet him in Galilee, he will call you a brother or a sister. If you will go in your heart to the place of repentance, he will meet you with the words, „Rejoice! Do not be afraid!” And, as if that were not evidence enough of his kindness, Matthew leaves it ringing in our ears by closing his gospel with these words, „Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
The Purposefulness of the Risen Christ

The risen Christ is infinitely powerful, and the risen Christ is immeasurably kind. And now finally we see through the window of Matthew 28 the peak of his purposefulness. In order to admire and worship the risen Christ, we have to see that his power and kindness have purpose and goal. You can’t admire someone who doesn’t know where he is going. One of the reasons there are so few admirable people in the world today is that so few people stick to anything for very long. How many people can you point to and say, „There is a life that is unwaveringly devoted to one great goal”?

Verse 19 shows that the risen Christ has a purpose. He knows why he reigns. „All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” The purpose of the risen Christ is to empower his church to make his authority known in every culture on earth. He wouldn’t have said, „Lo, I am with you always,” unless our mission were his business. Wherever people bow the knee to Christ through our witness, it is because he is with us. He aims to fill his kingdom with worshipers from Argentina and Liberia and Uganda and Ecuador and Cameroon and Mexico and the Philippines and Japan and Egypt and Brazil and the Coffman Union. The risen Christ is not going in circles; he is not fumbling through the manual of operation. He wrote the book. And he is unswerving in his great purpose.

Do you not hunger to admire such a Person? Infinite power! Immeasurable kindness! Unswerving purpose! Perhaps your appetite for his beauty is just beginning. If so, confess the blindness and dullness of your former days. Set yourself on the road of faith and obedience and expect him to meet you on the way. Perhaps before this hymn is over, you will have seen and worshiped the risen Christ.

CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS!

Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity.

Crown him the Son of God,
Before the worlds began,
And ye who tread where he hath trod,
Crown him the Son of man;
Who ev’ry grief hath known
That wrings the human breast,
And takes and bears them for his own,
That all in him may rest.

Crown him the Lord of life,
Who triumphed o’er the grave
And rose victorious in the strife
For those he came to save;
His glories now we sing,
Who died and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.

Crown him the Lord of Heav’n
Enthroned in worlds above,
Crown him the King to whom is giv’n
The wondrous name of love.
Crown him with many crowns,
As thrones before him fall;
Crown him, ye kings, with many crowns,
For he is King of all.

Amen.

© Desiring God

The Restoration of All Things by Sam Storms

from the Gospel Coalition. Other books available here.

View this document on Scribd

Other books in the series available for purchase (entire set $17). Series is edited by D.A.Carson and Tim Keller:

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