Some tombs are national shrines (the tomb of the Unknown Soldier); some are magnificent mausoleums (the Taj Mahal); some are glass cinerarium, so that the public can view the deceased (Lenin’s tomb – until the fall of communism!) But all these tombs that are visited by millions each year have one thing in common – they contain bones!
But the uniqueness of the Christian faith is that it is built on the reality of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, meaning that those who visit the Holy Land witness a tomb that is very different from all the others – there are no bones!
(1 Corinthians 15 v 3 – 4.)
The proof of this is to be found in the appearances of the risen Christ to his disciples and to the 500 witnesses (1 Corinthians 15 v 5-7); in the existence of the church that was transformed from a bunch of losers into a powerful community that witnessed to the reality of the resurrection (Acts 2 v 32); in the fact that the church no longer meets on the seventh day (Sabbath) but on the first day of the week (Sunday), the day of resurrection (1 Corinthians 16 v 2); then add to this the reality that Jesus has, and continues to change lives even today, and you have some powerful and weighty evidence in favour of the resurrection.
Just before Jesus raised his good friend Lazarus from the dead, he said to his sister Martha – “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Then he added a personal challenge – “Do you believe this?” (John 11 v 25 – 26.)
Challenge – Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? Does it make any difference to you?
Believing that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead does make a difference in that it enables us to face our two biggest fears, the fear of living and the fear of dying, because the resurrection of Jesus:-
1 – Equips you to Live.
Suicide rates are rising, and it would seem that some would rather die than live. For many, life is futile, senseless and meaningless, like the jumbled up pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. Yet the resurrection of Jesus equips us to live, because Jesus came to put together the pieces of the jigsaw, to bring life, life in all its fullness (John 10 v 10.) He came to reconnect us to God, that we might live an abundant and fruitful life. And he knows best as to how we are to live, because he is the one who created us!
2 – Equips you to Die.
We are all in the process of dying and one day we must confront the inevitability of our own death. However, the resurrection of Jesus equips us to die, because his resurrection stands as evidence that life does not end in death (John 14 v 1 – 4.) As he was raised, so all who profess faith in him will be raised. So, for the believer, death is the transition into the presence of Jesus, where we will be united with loved ones and ultimately given new bodies. Christ “the first fruits” is no longer in the embrace of death, meaning that the grave is no longer our destiny.
So make no bones about it, the resurrection of Jesus is key when it comes to life and to death – Do you believe this?
Theme: “No bones about it!”
Reading: 1 Corinthians 15 v 12-19
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led By: Chris Hughes