Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday, December 18th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Revelation 14; Micah 5-7
Today's scripture focus is Luke 24:1-12

So sorry, I forgot I hadn't posted yet!!

Luke 24:1-12

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Resurrection

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermon: Jesus' Burial and Resurrection
Accompanying John MacArthur sermons: An Empty Town With an Angelic Explanation and Witnessing Women and Doubting Disciples

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is likely the single most important fact of Christianity.  If there was no resurrection, then the death of Jesus accomplished nothing, and Christmas isn't worth celebrating.  If there was no resurrection then death won the victory and we are hopeless.

The resurrection is true.  There are multiple evidences of it, including circumstantial ones (as outlined by Driscoll in his sermon on this passage).

Women were the first witnesses.  If this were a lie, they would have made men the liars because women's testimony was inadmissible in court.

The disciples change from cowards into bold proclaimers of the gospel, willing to die for the sake of this truth.  Men do not die for what they know to be a lie.

People have remained loyal to Jesus for thousands of years.  If Jesus was died, the disciples would've scattered and mourned, and Jesus would have been forgotten.  Instead, Jesus becomes the most famous person in history.

Worship changed.  Jews worshiped on the Sabbath which was Saturday.  After the resurrection, the church began to worship on Sunday as a celebration of the resurrection.

Jesus' own family worshiped Him as God - including His mother and His half-brothers.

Jesus' enemies worship Him - including Saul who became Paul.

No body was ever produced.

No grave was ever enshrined.

And, quite frankly, the fact that the New Testament was even written is pretty compelling evidence to the resurrection.  Someone who proclaims to be Messiah only to die a criminal's death does not inspire one to write a book celebrating and worshiping such a failure.

The facts of the resurrection are all well and good.  But MacArthur sums it up well.....

When I was a kid we used to sing a little song called “He Lives,” anybody remember that? He lives, He lives, He lives within my heart. And there’s a line in that song that always bothered me. “You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.” Well that’s true. But if you ask me how I know He lives, I’ve got to give you more than that because that’s not verifiable. Somebody might say, “Well good for you. I’m so glad He lives within your heart. That is not universal, that is not verifiable, that is not going to get this thing beyond you.” So feeling may be something that helps us emotionally. It removes some emotional barriers to experience the living Christ, emotional barriers to believing say in the resurrection. But there’s got to be something more than that.
You say, “Well you can’t have only feeling, how about fact?” Fact is good. And you’ve been given facts. And all that I’ve given you are facts. While feelings deal with emotional barriers, facts deal with historical barriers. And what these facts do, what these lines of evidence do, this is what evidentialism always does is it depletes, it dismisses, it dispels bad options, weak arguments, foolish theories. Feeling removes emotional barriers. Facts remove intellectual barriers. But neither of those necessarily saves. You might feel in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead. You might say well the facts look like He rose from the dead, and you would be among the Jewish leaders who all agreed that that was what happened.
That’s not going to save you. Your feelings about the resurrection, and even the facts of the resurrection won’t save you, the only thing that will save you is faith in the resurrection, confessing with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. That’s where real certitude comes from. Don’t trust your feelings and you’ve got to move the facts inside, and that’s what faith does. Faith embraces the truth concerning Jesus Christ. So next time somebody says to you, how do you know He lives? You say, number one, the facts indicate that He is alive. That removes my intellectual barriers, my own experience of Him in my life removes any emotional or psychological barriers. More importantly than that, I have a faith that was given to me by God Himself that has with that faith certitude and assurance. It isn’t the feelings that deliver the certainty, it isn’t even the facts that deliver the certainty, it’s the faith that delivers the certainty. It’s a component of saving faith. Ask God to give you that faith that makes the resurrection certain and you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, the one whom God raised from the dead.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 24:13-32
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Revelation 15, Nahum 1-3

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