So far we’ve seen Christianity can be summed up as ‘responding to Jesus appropriately’ and that Jesus was the Christ possessing God’s authority, that he came to be a rescuer, to find and save people who had distanced themselves from God, and that he willingly sacrificed his life to take our punishment though he was innocent.
If Luke ended at ch23 we may conclude that Jesus was a great man, a prophet, a martyr. But all the gospels are emphatic that Jesus story didn’t end with his death, that a few days later he was raised to life and that peopled witnessed this.
Without the resurrection Jesus becomes just another character in history, however if the resurrection is true then he is unique. But can you accept it as true?
Here are 4 pieces of evidence:
1. The empty tomb
- it is proclaimed empty just weeks after Jesus death in Jerusalem
- The tomb did not become a holy place because he was seen afterwards.
- Leaders didn’t contest the empty tomb – they merely raised suspicion about how it came to be empty?
So how come it was empty?
- swoon theory – but Romans were experts, is heavy stone and guards.
- wrong tomb – It would have been checked out!
- Disciples stole body – disciples die for claims of resurrection.
The tomb was empty on Easter Sunday.
2. Women witnesses
- Women’s evidence was not admissible in court, so if it was made up you wouldn’t have women as initial witnesses.
3. similarities and dissimilarities in the accounts
- Historians & Police look for general agreement but also small individual variations in accounts of events. Tells not copied.
- Gospel accounts of the resurrection live up to this test – they do not contradict each other but they are also not carbon copies of each other.
4. Transformation in the disciples
- Peter in gospel is fearful and denies Jesus, but in Luke’s next volume he stands up to Pharisees and high priest contending for Jesus resurrection.
- James – one of Jesus brothers in gospel thought Jesus was insane, but in Acts has become leader of church and was executed for his beliefs. Change the result of seeing resurrected Jesus.
So what does the resurrection mean? Luke 24:30-43
What clues are there as to the significance of the resurrection? Jesus body is natural (39) he says he is not a ghost, and (42-3) he eats something. But there is something different about it, he disappears (31) and then suddenly appears (36). No where else in Luke does that happen, so Jesus is different, it is not just a resuscitation. So what is different about him?
What is the claim that Jesus makes? Death is not the end, but will see him elevated to the right hand of God on high, sharing in God’s rule. This is what is different about Jesus after his resurrection. The resurrection shows that Jesus is who he has always claimed to be, it is the ultimate proof that he is the Son of God speaking and acting with God’s authority and now he will do so forever.
If Jesus has risen from the dead and reigns at God’s right hand we need to think about what that means for us.
So what? How should we respond?
What do you think a right response to the risen Christ would be? Jesus told his disciples exactly what they should do. Read Luke 24:44-47 - What does Jesus say a right response is?
Repentance and forgiveness.
a. Since Jesus is God’s powerful, ruling Christ the only appropriate response is to recognise that we need to change our attitude towards him and accept who he is and his leadership of our lives.
Repentance means to chance our minds and therefore the course that we are taking. Jesus asks us not to pull our socks up but to change our mind towards him and that will lead to changed living.
b. Since Jesus is the rescuer who died for us, repentant people are now able to receive God’s forgiveness.
Just like the younger son of the parable we need to admit that we have tried to live life without God and need forgiveness. Because Jesus death absorbs our punishment we can now turn back to God and ask for his forgiveness and God will forgive us.
Being rescued is not about doing, or religion, or striving, it is about crying out to God.
Of course being loved and forgiven at such a cost doesn’t mean we can go out and live how we like. Christian means someone who is responding to Jesus appropriately – that means listening to him and allowing him to rule their life.