Lesson 15 - The True Easter Story

Lesson 15 - The True Easter Story

Lesson for April 8, 2012

The True Easter Story

(The Resurrection of Jesus Christ)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ coincided with the Jewish Feast of the First Fruits, where a portion of the harvest was gathered first and given to the priest for the blessing of the entire harvest.  This feast pointed to the resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and was celebrated three days after the Passover.  It is also closely associated with unleavened bread.  The Passover represents the Cross and the unleavened bread the sinless nature of Jesus Christ.  Paul writes about “the first fruits” in I Corinthians 15:20-25.  Jesus spoke of this when He described Himself as the grain of wheat that fell to the ground, and died that it might spring to life and bring forth much fruit. (John 12:23-24)  However, the rest of the harvest (the body of Christ) is still in place waiting to be “harvested.” 

Let’s look at the Resurrection historically, doctrinally and practically.

I. Prophecy

  1. Job 19:25-26 (1520 B.C.)
  2. Psalms 16:9-10 (1000 B.C)
  3. John 2:19-22 (26 A.D.)

II. Participation by the Trinity

  1. The Father- Romans 6:4; Ephesians 1:19-20; Colossians 2:12; I Thessalonians 1:10
  2. The Son- John 10:-10-18
  3. The Holy Spirit- I Peter 3:18

III. The Order of Events

  1. The earthquake as the angel rolls away the stone- Matthew 28:1-2
  2. Three women come to the tomb- Mark 16:1
    1. Mary Magdalene
    2. Mary, mother of James
    3. Salome
  3. Mary Magdalene leaves to find the disciples- John 20:1-2
  4. Mary and Salome see the angel- Mark 16:5-6
  5. Mary Magdalene finds Peter and John and they return to the tomb- John 20:2
  6. Peter marvels at what he had seen- Luke 24:12
  7. John believed Jesus had risen- John 20:8
  8. Mary Magdalene does not recognize Jesus Christ- John 20:11-18

IV. Post-resurrection Appearances of Jesus Christ

  1. Pre-ascension
    1. Mary Magalene- John 20:14-17
    2. Other women- Matthew 28:9-10
    3. Peter- I Corinthians 15:5; Luke 24:34
    4. Two believers on the road to Emmaus- Luke 24:13-33; John 19:25
    5. Ten disciples (minus Thomas)- John 20:19-25
    6. Eleven disciples (with Thomas)- John 20:26-29
    7. Seven of the disciples by the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias)- John 21:1-23
    8. 500 or more believers- I Corinthians 15:6
    9. James, the half-brother of Jesus who was an unbeliever until the resurrection- Galatians 1:19; I Corinthians 15:7
    10. Eleven disciples on the mount near Galilee- Matthew 28:16-20
    11. An unnumbered group of believers at the ascension- Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11
  2. Post-ascension
    1. Stephen- Acts 7:55-56
    2. Paul on the road to Damascus- Acts 9:1-8, 22:6-11, 26:13-18; I Corinthians 15:8
    3. Paul in Arabia- Galatians 1:1-17
    4. Paul on several occasions- Acts 18:9-10, 22:17-21, 23:11; I Corinthians 9:1
    5. John on the Isle of Patmos- Revelation1:12-20

V. Christ’s Resurrection Body

  1. Retained the nail prints- Zechariah 12:10 with John 20:25-27
  2. Retained the scar of the wound in His side- John 20:25-27
  3. It was recognizable as a human body- Luke 24; John 20:26-29
  4. His body could be touched- Luke 24:39-40
  5. He breathed- John 20:26
  6. He carried on conversations- Luke 24; John 20:26
  7. His voice was recognizable- John 20:16
  8. His body had flesh and bones- Luke 24:39-40
  9. He ate- Luke 24:30, 43
  10. It’s structure was different- John 20:19,26; Luke 24:36
  11. It could appear and disappear- Luke 24:17
  12. It could move vertically and horizontally- Matthew 28:10; Acts 1:9-10

VI. Facts Regarding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

  1. His humanity was resurrected because it was His humanity that died- Luke 24:39
  2. Evidenced by an empty tomb, which was witnessed by friends, family and followers- Matthew 28
  3. Religious leaders attempted to suppress information regarding the resurrection- Matthew 27:62-66
  4. Jesus Christ is the only Person in history to be resurrected (some were resuscitated- arose and later died)
  5. Because of His resurrection, believers will also be resurrected- II Corinthians 4:14; Philippians 3:21; I John 3:1-2

VII. Doctrinal Significance and Application of the Resurrection

  1. Indicates the completion of justification - Romans 4:25
  2. Jesus Christ becomes our mediator, equal with God and equal with man- Hebrews 9:15; I Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25
  3. Sets up our priesthood and Jesus Christ becomes our High Priest -Hebrews 10:5,10-14, 7:28; I Peter 2:5-9
  4. Fulfills the Davidic Covenant - Psalms 89:20-37; II Samuel 7:8-16
  5. Without the resurrection, Christ could not be glorified and the Holy Spirit could not have been given - John 7:39
  6. Resurrection is the guarantee of ultimate sanctification - I Corinthians 15:20-23; I John 3:1-2; Philippians 3:21
  7. The doctrine of the resurrection gives the believer hope in this life - I Corinthians 15:19

The uniqueness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ sets Him apart from all the religious leaders of all time.  The leaders of these religions are all DEAD.  However, Jesus Christ is ALIVE.  Furthermore, Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship.  The word “religion” comes from two Latin words, “re,” which means “back” and “ligio,” which means, “to bind.”  Combined, they mean “to bind back.”  This is exactly what religion teaches - that we must bind ourselves back to God.  However, the Bible teaches that it is impossible to bind ourselves back to God.  The exact opposite is actually true - God binds us back to Himself in Christ. 

In the Person of Christ, God has manifested Himself to all mankind.  This was planned in eternity past with each of us in mind.  The purpose of this plan was to resolve the Angelic Conflict.  You may recall it as the rebellion of Satan (and one third of the angelic host) against God.  In order to resolve this conflict and show Satan and the fallen angels that God was just in sentencing them to the Lake of Fire (Hell), God created man.  If throughout the history of the world, only one person trusted Jesus Christ as Savior, it would prove that God was just in His sentence.  As we know, many have trusted Christ as Savior and Satan’s doom is sure. 

On the other hand, the fate of the believer is also sure.  God’s plan called for Jesus Christ to become a human being, live a sinless life, die on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the world and be raised from the dead after three days, all in fulfillment of prophecy.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is definitive proof that He is the Son of God and that death has been conquered.  For those of us who place our trust in Him, He guarantees us eternal life.

But He also guarantees us a life of meaning and purpose while we are on this earth.  We are not talking about a system of legalism or taboos designed to keep us from enjoying life (that’s what religion does).  What we are talking about, is a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.  Doesn’t it make sense that if God created us, that He also wants the very best for us?  Of course it does!  Well, I am here to tell you that He does want the very best for us, and He has designed a plan specifically for each one of us.  This plan, when properly executed, will allow us to solve every problem in life utilizing information found in God’s Word.  THIS IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO LEARN, TO BELIEVE AND TO APPLY THE WORD OF GOD TO OUR DAILY EXPERIENCES.  But just like everything else in life, it is matter of CHOICE.  As I have told you on many occasions, God will never force you into a course of action.  God in His sovereignty has designed mankind with freewill - the right to choose.  The question today is whether we will choose God’s plan for our life or our own.  I’ve tried both and I highly recommend His!

A life lived in light of eternity takes on new meaning.  In other words, when we live our life utilizing Divine Viewpoint Thinking instead of Human Viewpoint Thinking, our failures are minimized and our successes are maximized. The reason we have a plan and the power to fulfill it is due to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The same power that raised Christ from the dead enables us to execute God’s plan for our lives. (Romans 6:4,10-13)