This Easter, I had the privilege of preaching about the resurrection from John 20. Since Sunday, I’ve been reflecting on the ongoing significance of Christ’s resurrection and glorification as I reread the passage. Here are two things that stand out to me.
1. We can trust Jesus because He did what He said He would do. The mysterious Messiah predicted his death and resurrection on more than one occasion. Speaking of laying down His life in John 10:18, he said, “I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” In John 12:7, Jesus defended Mary’s extravagant anointing because it was “for the day of My (His) burial.” Jesus also hinted about His upcoming death in John 13:33 and 14:25.
Easter puts an exclamation point on Christ’s authority – He delivered on His promise. In turn, this puts a renewed emphasis on Christ’s other promises. He did what He said He would do and delivered on His promises. He promised eternal life to those who trust Him (John 4:14). He also promised that genuine eternal life would not be lost (John 10:28). One of His most comforting promises was the promise to return for His followers one day (John 14:2-3).
2. We have a mission as the baton of ministry has been passed from Jesus Christ to His followers. The resurrected Jesus couldn’t have been clearer when He visited His surprised followers. He was about to ascend to heaven, so He wouldn’t be on earth very long (v. 17). He was about to send out His followers in the same way the Heavenly Father had sent Him out (v. 21). There would be many others who would believe in Jesus Christ based on their words and witness rather than their own sight (v. 29, v. 30-31).
Easter is source of celebration, but it’s also commissioning service. It’s a reminder that we have a job to do. The torch of gospel ministry has been passed down through every generation since the first generation of believers, and we don’t want to drop it.
The significance of Easter extends well beyond one day a year. It’s a yearly reminder that Jesus can be trusted and we’ve been trusted with a very important task.
This past Sunday I celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ with my church family at Northside Baptist. As we studied the Bible together, I challenged those in attendance to find proof of Christ’s resurrection and assurance of their faith in the first four books of the New Testament known as the Gospels. In particular, we looked at the Gospel of Luke which was written to provide a consecutive and orderly account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:1-4). The final chapter of Luke contains an encounter where Jesus explains all about Himself from the Old Testament. I closed our study with a plea for listeners to read the Gospel of Luke for themselves as a way to find hope and assurance.
Below is a two-week, selected Bible reading plan in the Gospel of Luke. When read consecutively, these passages give a clear and compelling testimony of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The goal of this reading list is to help readers find hope and assurance in Jesus Christ.
Day 1: An Introduction and Jesus’ Birth (Luke 1:1-4, 2:1-20)
Day 2: Jesus Visits the Temple (Luke 2:39-52)
Day 3: The Temptation and Public Ministry (Luke 4:1-30)
Day4: Jesus Calls His First Disciples (Luke 5:1-11)
Day 5:Jesus Rescues Two from Death (Luke 7:1-17)
Day 6: Jesus Feed 5,000 (Luke 9:12-27)
Day 7: Teaching about Prayer and the Resurrection (Luke 11:1-36)
Day 8: The Parables of Loss (Luke 15:1-32)
Day 9: Jesus Heals Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-21)
Day 10: Two Final Miracles (Luke 18:35-19:10)
Day 11: The Triumphal Entry and the Lord’s Supper (Luke 19:28-40, 22: 14-23)
Day 12: The Arrest and Trial (Luke 22:54-23:25)
Day 13: The Crucifixion and Burial (Luke 23:33-56)
Day 14: A Resurrection Appearance on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
Uncertainty is the enemy of hope. God’s Word gives us the evidence and instruction we need so that we don’t have to live without hope.
Leave a comment below if this reading plan was helpful.
Easter is a big deal. It’s a big deal because it’s the oldest festival celebrated by the Church. In our day and age, Easter has also become the heart of the spring season with warm weather, baby animals, and family gatherings. Experts expect that Americans will spend over 18 billion dollars in 2019 on Easter clothes, food, decorations, and candy which means Easter also has a huge impact on our economy.
Easter is an even bigger deal because it commemorates Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The resurrection itself is a big deal because it is central to the Gospel – the main message of Old and New Testaments. Well-know Pastor, John MacArthur, has said, “The truth of the resurrection gives life to every other area of gospel truth. The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns and without which none of the other truths would much matter.” In other words, if you don’t have a resurrection, you can’t have the Gospel.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, the Apostle Paul lists three ways that the resurrection is central to the Gospel. The resurrection of God’s Son is the biggest miracle in human history. As we explore the connection between the resurrection and the Gospel we will be better prepared to embrace the supernatural side of Easter.
1. The Resurrection Informs the Implications of the Gospel. (v. 1-2, 11)
The first implication of the Gospel is that if Christ was raised from the dead then you can be raised too. At least some of the people in the church at Corinth did not have a coherent grasp on the Gospel. They had received the Gospel. They stood in it and were saved by it, but they were at risk for believing in “vain.”
Jesus shares his resurrected life with everyone who comes to him by faith. One aspect of that resurrected life is a spiritual resurrection (I Peter 1:3). The other aspect of the resurrected life is a bodily resurrection (1 Cor. 15:42).
The second implication is that everyone who preaches the resurrection preaches the same message. The Apostle Paul preached a message that he received directly from God, along with a growing group of believers who shared their faith. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus are the most important thing about the church. We can find great hope and solidarity in that message!
2. The Resurrection Supplies the Substance of the Gospel. (v. 3-8)
The Gospel message contains at least four parts. The first is that Christ died for our sins. Jesus died for other people’s sins, not his own. While presiding over the Last Supper, he said, “This is my body, which is for you” (1 Cor. 11:23-24). Christ’s sacrificial death was predicted in throughout whole Old Testament, not just one particular passage.
The second and third parts are that Christ was buried and that He was raised on the third day. Amazingly, Jesus predicted his death and his resurrection (Mark 8:31) The third day was key because it provided that Jesus was really dead. In Jewish thinking, the spirit didn’t leave the body until the third day.
The fourth part of the Gospel is that Christ appeared to many. According to Paul, Jesus appeared to his disciples and his brother, James, He also appeared to 500 more people, many of whom were still alive at the time of Paul’s writing to give an eye witness account. Last, Jesus appeared to Paul making him an apostle as well.
3. The Resurrection Emphasizes the Effectiveness of the Gospel. (v. 9-10)
The gospel delivers us from death to life. In verse 8, Paul refers to himself as “one untimely born.” That phrase is refers to a baby who is stillborn. By using this phrase, Paul is pointing out his spiritual death and bankruptcy. Paul’s experience is our experience – that we are all born “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
The gospel also takes us from hurting to helping. Paul was so spiritually dense, he persecuted the church. By God’s grace, Paul began to build up instead of tear down the church. Like Paul, we can’t take any credit for “labor,” because it is all by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The resurrection is central to the Gospel – You can’t have one without the other.
We’ve explored these three connections between the resurrection and the Gospel so that you can embrace the supernatural side of Easter. Easter is a miracle we all need. Our lives are all more delicate than we want to admit, and our lives are passing quickly away.
You can embrace the supernatural side of Easter in two ways. First, analyze the content of the Gospel you believe. Does your Gospel include Jesus? Does it include His sacrificial death for sin? His resurrection from the dead on the third day?
Second, assess the effects of the Gospel in your life. How have you changed as a result of the Gospel? Are you experiencing a new life? Are you anticipating heaven? Are helping to build God’s kingdom here on earth?
Some people can’t make sense of a suffering Savior. They don’t understand why Jesus allowed himself to be humiliated and disgraced the way He did. They think they know what salvation looks like and Jesus doesn’t measure up.
Have you ever struggled with the events leading up to Easter? Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to suffer and die? Wasn’t there another way?
The Apostle Paul encountered those kinds of questions at the church at Corinth. The people in the church believed in Jesus but struggled with the crucifixion and the resurrection. To them, the crucifixion was foolishness.
As we read 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, we find out that the “foolishness” of God is far better than the “wisdom” of man. We also discover two reasons why the gospel requires a crucifixion.
1. The Gospel is the story of a suffering Savior. (v. 18-19, 23)
In verse 18, the gospel is described as “the word of the cross.” Before the cross became a symbol of forgiveness and life, it was a symbol of death and shame. People weren’t just killed on a cross, they were humiliated. Imagine if we traded out the symbol of the cross for an electric chair or a hangman’s noose on our churches? The Gospel is so closely tied to the crucifixion that Paul says there is no preaching outside of preaching a crucified Christ. (1:23)
2. There are two basic responses to the Gospel. (v. 22-24)
Unfortunately, some people reject the gospel as foolishness. Many of the Jews in the first century thought Christ’s death was scandalous and absurd. They expected Jesus to perform a sign after miraculous sign to prove his power. In their minds, there was no way the Messiah would be crucified. Many of the Greeks through Christ’s death was foolish, but for different reasons. They were always looking for something sophisticated and complex. In their minds, Jesus was too basic and humble.
Thankfully, there are also those who accept the gospel as the wisdom of God. Those who believe the Good News about Jesus know that the gospel has to power to change lives. Romans 1:6 reads, “For I am notashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
When you come upon to an exit ramp on the highway you only have two choices: take the exit or stay on the highway. When someone calls you on the phone you also only have two choices: answer the phone, or let it ring. Those that hear the Gospel only have two ways to respond: accept it or reject.
In 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, we learn not only that Christ’s crucifixion is necessary, but that God’s “foolishness” is far better than anything we can come up with to save ourselves. As you respond to the Gospel for yourself, let me encourage you to embrace the paradox of the gospel. Through Jesus, we know that salvation comes through suffering, freedom comes through submission, and life comes through death.