April 09, 2023 Grace United Church Northampton

Why Jesus' Resurrection Matters

Why Jesus' Resurrection Matters

Jesus rose from the dead. Christians have declared this for 2000 years. It sounds so normal to us—it’s hardly shocking. But most people, not surprisingly, think it’s crazy.

Well, if you think Jesus' resurrection is pretty far-fetched, welcome to the club, because most everyone in Jesus’ day thought this was crazy too. In fact, so did Jesus’ own followers.

They didn’t believe it, they didn’t think really get it—until they saw Him alive. 

Today people don’t think about what happened on this day in history. They don’t think out loud about what happens in the future. 

Resurrection? Reincarnation? Annihilation? Assimilation? Popular opinion is nobody knows. Few to many care.

Yet Christians proclaim that Jesus has risen from the dead, and it means something.  

Wherever you’re at, those who actually look at the historical facts of Jesus’ resurrection, the eye-witness accounts, the utopian response of His followers, the “cover-our-butts” reaction of His enemies—we find ourselves face to face with a profound reality that has the power to change lives and to shake the very foundations of the world… 

Whether you’re a believer, indifferent, or a skeptic, let's consider the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the significance of it for each of us today.

On Good Friday, Jesus was put to death. Before dawn on Friday, Jesus’ body was laid to rot in a tomb the rest of Friday, all day Saturday, and early Sunday.

Luke 23:55 Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2... They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men [John’s gospel says these were two angels appearing as men—so these two] suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6 “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and the third day rise again.” 8 And they remembered Jesus’ words, [and they makes sense now!] 9 and they returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. 11 But these words appeared to [the disciples] as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

That day, Jesus showed Himself to various believers.

Jesus never once showed Himself alive to those who wished Him dead—not even to scare them or rub it in, “Told ya!”

But this same evening, Easter night, Jesus entered a closed room where many of His disciples were still unbelieving, and hiding in fear.  

John 20:19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord... 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” 

Has this ever been you? Everyone else is excited, saying God’s doing this or that; but you’re not gullible, you need proof! …

But everyone else saw Jesus. The last thing Thomas saw was Jesus buried. He saw the nails pounded into Jesus hands. He saw the spear thrust into His side! So they’re excited.  

John 20:25… But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”   

Thomas didn’t say, I can’t believe. But I won’t believe. I refuse to believe. 

He heard eye-witness testimonies, Jesus’ promises, and OT prophecies insisting He’d rise from the dead. But he determined not to believe unless something happens that may not actually ever happen yet doesn't prove it's not true if it doesn't.

Most people who do not believe in Jesus do not want to believe. Despite the evidence. And Jesus doesn’t always meet their demands.


John 20:26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 

Imagine you traveled with Jesus. You've heard His wisdom, His claims. You see His miracles, you’re more amazed with Jesus each day. You witness His authority as He calms a raging sea, heals paraplegics, casts out thousands of demons. You see how He loves and helps people in impossible situations, how they respond; they fall down before Him, pour costly perfume on His feet, anoint His head, go into the streets and proclaim what God has done… 

And it took a lot to get you there, that wasn’t your plan; but Jesus convinces you to start thinking He really came from heaven, He is the Infinite God in a human bod… 

But then you see Him arrested, beaten, tried, and while He escaped every other snare, when it matters most He is silent. And the next day you watch Him suffer and die. You attend His funeral. You’re in shock. You’re ashamed… 

Then Jesus appears. Glorious. He shows you the holes in His hands, and in His side. And it’s Jesus, who told you He’s the Son of God, YHWH of the OT, the God of your Fathers, the God of Abraham and of Moses. And you remember that He told you ahead of time He’d be crucified for our sins, according to prophecy, and on the third day He’d rise from the dead.  

John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

It wasn’t easy to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. But when he realized Jesus rose from the dead, he worshiped Jesus. Thomas knew what it proved.

None of Jesus’ followers expected Jesus to walk out of the tomb. But each of them changed their mind when they saw Him! And each went from hiding in fear to boldly proclaiming, “He’s alive!” even as they themselves were killed.

That’s evidence. It makes NO SENSE unless they truly saw Jesus alive! And although Jesus hasn't shown himself alive to any of us, like he did for Thomas, He did show Himself alive after His death to over 500 people. 

The fact that Christianity spread so rapidly in the decades following Jesus' death. It wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if His body was produced, or it was proven false, or if even one of the apostles facing death said it was a lie. 

But what is the big deal, what is the importance, the significance of Jesus’ resurrection? This answer is wide and comprehensive but I’ll limit it to a few important matters.

The resurrection proves that Jesus is who He claimed to be.  

Romans 1:4 [Jesus] was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, able to forgive sins on God’s behalf, to give eternal life to you, and to all who trust in Him. He said His sacrifice, His blood would pay for the sins of the world. The people said “PROVE IT; GIVE US A SIGN.”  

Matthew 12:39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 

That’ll be the sign of My authority; then you will have your proof.

And on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. 

Again, Jesus made Himself to be more than human. He made Himself equal with God. One with the Father. He claimed to be the God of Moses, the Great I Am. The God of Abraham and of Isaac. He claimed to have God’s authority to forgive sins, your sins. He said His death was in your place. He said He would give these blessings and eternal life to all who receive Him, to all who trust Him for these. And by rising from the dead, He verifies it.

Jesus resurrection proves every word, every promise Jesus said is true.  

God is true. His love is true. He gave His life. He’s with us now. 

Jesus’ resurrection answers the question: Can we trust Jesus? Yes. He defeated sin and death and Satan Himself, so He has power over everything else that threatens us too. Which is great news, especially in a world that’s still so broken and scary.

Jesus’ resurrection gives believers hope,

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, |||| 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…

No matter what is going on in your life can find hope for the future through the resurrection of Jesus. The future Jesus has in store will not let you down, it’ll never get old, it’ll never run out; and it is yours in waiting, for Jesus has it reserved for you in heaven with Himself. What can be better than that?

Faith in Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope in the future. 

John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” 

No matter what happens today, looking to Jesus He helps us through, but He holds out hope with joy that what He has in store on the other side of this life is infinitely better, and the reward is worth every heartache today. 

We all go through so much, get discourage by life—relationships, finances, mental health, the loss of a loved one, the state of the world around us. We need Jesus to walk with us. We also need hope that there's more to life than this, hope that this won’t last forever, hope that I won’t be like this forever.  

The resurrection gives us hope for our body. 

1 Corinthians 15:40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 

Jesus wasn’t raised a ghost; He rose in a supernatural body. This body matters. It’s part of who you are. You may suffer with physical pain or weakness, but in the future this body will be redeemed and renewed in the resurrection. It will be powerful. Supernatural. Sinless. You’ll enjoy physical sensation without things getting freaky. Without any of our physical limitations today.

1 Corinthians 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.

The resurrection gives us hope with our baggage. Our past. 

However broken by sin, however big of a mess you’ve made of life, the fact you cannot control things or change them or fix yourself or anyone else, Jesus will wipe away every tear, He makes all things new, in your resurrection body you will be whole and complete.  

Our hope for the future changes things now. Jesus Christ is risen now. Christ is with us now. God’s love is true. He holds out hope for the future now… 

Our hope is not crazy, not a wishlist, it is rooted in history. In Jesus’ resurrection. It is a crucial part of the Christian faith, Jesus is Alive. And one day, He will be seen. All things will be brought into subjection to His love and righteousness and goodness.