Why Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Matter

by Rick

We have been in this series, learning from the life of Jesus, for a few months, and we are now just a couple of weeks away from Resurrection Sunday.  I have been sharing messages with you about the importance of the cross and how Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection changed everything!  Today’s message will flow in that same vein.  

Next week I will be on Spring Break.  So today’s message and tomorrow’s message will be the last ones you receive from me before Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.  I will provide messages today and tomorrow that prepare you for both.

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  We serve a living Savior!

(See Mark 16:1-6)

Jesus died a brutal death on the cross for all humanity. The Jews did not kill Him, the Father sacrificed His Son, and the Son freely gave His life for our sin. After Jesus’ death, they took the body down from the cross, wrapped it with a linen cloth, together with spices, and placed it in a borrowed tomb. Joseph of Arimathea (the owner of the tomb) and Nicodemus prepared the body. The two men placed Jesus’ body in the tomb and left. The Romans sealed the tomb with the largest stone they could find, and they placed armed guards to protect the tomb. But all the security in the world could not have kept Jesus in that tomb.

Early on Sunday morning, the women went looking for Jesus’ body, but they did not find it. The body was not there because Jesus had risen from the dead!  This is what we celebrate on Easter/Resurrection Sunday.  Resurrection Sunday is about the empty tomb that became the Good News of the gospel for all eternity.  That empty tomb gives Christians all over the world a spring in our step.  That empty tomb is the fuel in our fire, the air in our lungs, and the wind beneath our wings!  Without the empty tomb, there is no ChristianityWithout the empty tomb, we have no hopeWithout the empty tomb, our message is just a story. Paul said it this way, “And if Christ wasn’t raised to life, our message is worthless, and so is your faith” (I Cor 15:14).

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the single most important event in history.  The resurrection of Jesus is what separates us from every other world religion. We don’t serve an idol. We don’t serve a man. We don’t serve a dead God.  We serve a Living Savior – Jesus is His name!  Over the nearly 2,000 years since, many have tried to discredit and discount the validity of Jesus’ Resurrection.  

As one of my mentors, Dr. Charlie Dean Parmer, put it, “The most telling affirmation of the validity of His literal Resurrection was and is the dramatic change that it produced in the lives of those followers. From the weak, wavering, faltering, denying group of fishermen, tax collectors, etc.; the twelve plus the others became the most zealous, faithful, dynamic group who ever lived. They literally became burning evangels for the cause of Christ; and they totally turned the world upside-down for Him over the next 71 plus years. They were condemned, threatened, imprisoned, beaten, and commanded to be silent; but they just got right back out on the streets and just started preaching Jesus again – alive by Promise, dead by Purpose, Resurrected by Power, and reigning for our good Measure and Pleasure!

Here are a few things to glean from this:

a)  Jesus conquered death.  

— Jesus’ victory over death liberates you from the power and fear of death. Jesus took the sting out of death and robbed the grave of its victory (1 Cor 15:55).  

— You don’t have to be afraid of dying. If you are Born-Again, you are dead in Christ, and you have done all the dying you are going to do.

— If you are Born-Again, then when you die, you don’t actually die. Dying for you is simply a “moving day.” You will be translated from earth to glory, time to eternity, and mortal to immortality. 

b)  Your Living Savior gives you a living hope.   

— The fact that Jesus is still alive enables you to have a LIVING HOPE in the midst of a dying and decaying world.

— When people look at you today, when they talk to you on the phone, when they come by your house or your office, do they see that living hope? Can they hear it in your voice? Can they see it in your face? Can they tell by the way you live your life? If not, it is time to make some changes.

— The fact that Jesus conquered satan, sin, hell and the grave for you should translate into an undeniable, unquenchable, inexhaustible, and (to the world) unexplainable LIVING HOPE! Live your life in a way that proves you serve a LIVING SAVIOR… JESUS IS HIS NAME!  

2.  The importance of the resurrection of Jesus cannot be overstated.

Jesus died and was raised from the dead with all power in His hands. All power in heaven, on the earth, and even under the earth was given to Jesus! This is what Easter/Resurrection Sunday is all about. I am not against children having fun with bunny rabbits and colorful eggs. I let my kids do it. But I am against us failing to teach them the true meaning of Easter. Easter Sunday is about the resurrection of our Lord.  The significance of the resurrection cannot be overstated. The Apostle Paul taught the significance in his first letter to the believers in Corinth. Let’s see how he put it:

(1 Cor 15:12-22 The Passion Translation)

The message we preach is Christ, who has been raised from the dead. So how could any of you possibly say there is no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, all of our preaching has been for nothing and your faith is useless. Moreover, if the dead are not raised, that would mean that we are false witnesses who are misrepresenting God. And that would mean that we have preached a lie, stating that God raised him from the dead, if in reality he didn’t.

If the dead aren’t raised up, that would mean that Christ has not been raised up either. And if Christ is not alive, you are still lost in your sins and your faith is a fantasy. It would also mean that those believers in Christ who have passed away have simply perished. If the only benefit of our hope in Christ is limited to this life on earth, we deserve to be pitied more than all others! But the truth is, Christ is risen from the dead, as the first-fruit of a great resurrection harvest of those who have died. For since death came through a man, Adam, it is fitting that the resurrection of the dead has also come through a man, Christ. Even as all who are in Adam die, so also all who are in Christ will be made alive.” 

Here are some things to glean from this:

a) The Bible teaches us that all men die in Adam. You were born in sin because you were born with the legacy and inheritance of Adam. But just like all men die in Adam, all men have been made alive in Christ. You may have been born in sin, but you can be Born-Again. Once you are Born-Again, you are forgiven of sin and delivered from the power of death.

b) The Apostle Paul said that if the resurrection of Jesus is a lie, then we have all been deceived, and we have no hope. But it is NOT a lie. Jesus was raised from the dead, and all of us who are in Christ will experience the same. This is the gospel! This is the Good News! This is what we preach to everyone everywhere! The Father raised Jesus from the dead, so death no longer has any power over us. When we receive Jesus, we die in Him, and that is all the dying we are going to do.  

c) With the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the Father conquered satan, hell, and the grave. Satan is defeated. Jesus is Lord! This gives you hope, not just for today, but you have a hope that will outlive this world. This type of hope should fuel all that you do!

d) The fact that Jesus is alive means that you can walk with Him, and He can walk with You. Without Him, there are many things you cannot do. But with Him, you can do all things. Enter into this day and everyone that follows, knowing that there is nothing you can’t do because a living Savior lives in you!

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

3.  Jesus became an equivalent ransom for us.

(Eph 1:7 KJV)  

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

This point will center around the importance of the Blood of Jesus and the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. This is an important topic, and it should be preached more.  So many church-goers today are so focused on what they can ‘get’ from God that they neglect what He has already provided for them through the Blood of Jesus.  

A few years ago, Mel Gibson starred in a movie entitled “Ransom.” The movie was a thriller in which a rich man’s son was kidnapped and kept by his captors until a large sum of money was paid. The tagline of the movie was ‘Someone is going to pay!‘ In the movie, however, Mel Gibson was able to get his son back without actually paying the captors. The character played by Gibson opted to offer a reward to anyone who would turn them in. In our real-life drama, we were all born captive, slaves to the power of sin and the fear of death, and we needed someone to pay our ransom. It is not that we had freedom, and our freedom was taken away at some point. No, we were all quite literally born bound, and we needed someone to pay the debt for us to be free.  

The problem with our situation is that our captor was not willing to accept money.  The only suitable payment for our life would be another lifeSomeone would actually have to trade their life for ours before we could escape the clutches of sin.  

Our text speaks of “redemption through his blood.” Webster defines redemption as the repurchase of captured goods or prisoners; the act of procuring the deliverance of persons or things from the possession and power of captors by the payment of an equivalent ransom. The key words are “equivalent ransom.”  

In Acts 20:28, Luke told us that Jesus purchased (redeemed) us with His own blood. In the Old Testament, the blood of animals could only serve as a temporary ‘covering’ for sin because the blood of animals was not an equivalent ransom for the sin of man. The only proper payment for the deliverance of a human from the power of sin would have to be the blood of another human. Not just any human, but a perfect human, the perfect sacrifice, the Son of God! God offered His own Son as payment for Adam’s sin.  

Jesus came to get us out of everything Adam got us into, and he did it by purchasing our redemption with His untainted blood. Jesus paid the ultimate price so we could live the ultimate life! That’s what Resurrection Sunday is all about.

Here are a few things we can glean from this:

a) All humans were born captured by sin and satan because of the actions of Adam in the garden (Eph 2:1-3, Ro 3:23).

b) In the Old Testament, innocent animals died for sinful man. But the blood of goats, bullocks, and turtledoves could only serve as a temporary solution to a permanent problem (Heb 9:12).

c) God sent His own Son (the Last Adam) to die in our place, paying an equivalent ransom and delivering us from the power of sin and satan (Gal 3:13, 1 Jn 1:7, Rev 5:9).

d) The Ransom is paid, the captor has been defeated, and the captured have been released – Hallelujah! 

Wouldn’t it be foolish for a released prisoner to go back to a defeated captor and willingly imprison him or herself again? Well, that is exactly what you do when you go back to sin and satan. You have been delivered from the power of sin by the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Walk in your freedom today and every day.  

e) The Sunday after next, April 17th, is not about bunny rabbits or colorful eggs. Resurrection Sunday is about a perfect human who shed sinless blood on a rugged cross and then left AN EMPTY TOMB! Jesus suffered, bled, died, and He rose from the dead with all power in His hands. That power is now transferred to US! He was God incarnate, and we are the continuation of His incarnation. As Jesus is, so are we in this world! That’s what Easter Sunday is about!

f) Jesus paid a price you could not pay for a debt He did not owe. He took your place on the cross. You now get to take His place in this world! So don’t focus on dying and going to heaven someday. Focus on LIVING and bringing HEAVEN to the EARTH every day! That’s why Jesus died and rose!  

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, I thank You for loving me enough to send your own Son to die in my place.  The blood of goats, bullocks, and turtledoves could never serve as an equivalent payment for the sin of man.  Adam got us into a mess when He transgressed against You.  Because of Adam, I was born entangled under the power of sin and trapped under the torment related to the fear of death.  But Jesus came to get me out of everything Adam got me into.  Jesus paid the price I could not afford for a debt that He did not owe.  Jesus died that I might live.  Jesus willingly took on my sin and offered me His righteousness so that I could take on His righteousness and lay down my sin.  I am covered by the Blood of Jesus.  I am filled with the Holy Spirit.  I am called according to Your purpose.  I am FREE by Your grace!  I enter this day as a cleansed, delivered, purified, and set apart warrior in the Kingdom of God.  I do not entangle myself again with sin or satan.  I am redeemed!  I was bought with a price.  So, Father, I honor Jesus’ death with my life!  Living this way, I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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