Throughout His life, Jesus repeatedly said it was going to happen: He would be killed and, on the third day after His death, He would rise again. No one denies His insistence on predicting those events. In this series, with its final installment on Easter Sunday, we explore the insistence of Jesus’ prediction, the evidence of whether the resurrection actually took place, and, if it really did happen, the significance of that first Easter Sunday for those of us living 2,000 years later.
Something To Talk About:
Why the insistence? Because of:
- The plan: Yes it was God’s plan from the beginning to send His Son to die on the cross for the sins of mankind. God is omniscient – He knows everything. Before He laid the foundations of the world, He already knew that man would sin and perish without His help. Therefore He already prepared a plan of salvation – a way for us to be reconciled with God through His son Jesus Christ our only Mediator and Intercessor. God not only prepared this plan of salvation but made it known to man also. From the very beginning, God started revealing this great plan in His Word. The main theme of the Bible is Jesus Christ.
- To prepare: If you were going to die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day? Jesus faced that very serious question 2,000 years ago. His answer was obvious. He would spend that entire evening with those whom he was closest to. He would prepare them, teach them and encourage them, for what was coming would be shocking and horrifying. The world of the disciples would be shattered, and He wanted them to be as ready as could be. What He taught them that night through His words and actions was extraordinary. Even though it is not possible for us to get our arms around the depth of Jesus’ compassion, wisdom, love, and clarity of mind, we need to try as the disciples did.
- Proof: The resurrection assured us of His identity as the son of God, “…was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4). The resurrection demonstrated the Lord’s ability to save. Throughout His earthly life and ministry Jesus had spoken of Himself as the one who had come ‘to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). While the cross demonstrates the love of our Lord and His willingness to save men, the empty tomb reveals the power of our Lord and His ability to save. The resurrection provides the Christian with a measure of the power which is at work in Him to enable Him to live the Christian life. “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you” (Romans 8:11). Finally, the fact of a risen savior assures the Christian of a hope which lives beyond the grave. In the words of the apostle Paul, “For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died” (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
- Before the creation of the world, God loved. What does that mean to us today?
- Before the creation of the world, there were predestined recipients. What does that mean to us today?
- Before the creation of the world, there would be a cost. Not only were we believers, chosen before the foundation of the Earth, but so was Jesus. We were chosen to be His, holy and blameless in His sight. He was chosen to be the One who could make that happen. Before the foundation of the earth Jesus, in perfect unadulterated love, was willing to be the Lamb of God that would offer himself so that we could go free. What does that mean to us today?
- Before the creation of the world, there was a promise. Jesus came to fulfill Old Testament promises. What does that mean to us today?
- How did Jesus prepare His disciples for His death and resurrection?
- What type of proof or evidence is offered for the resurrection of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8?
- The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: First, it is a very unusual event. And second, if you believe it happened, you have to change the way you live. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- How is the resurrection proof that Jesus is God? If Jesus was truly God in human form – what does that mean for our lives?
- Jesus had predicted His own resurrection many times. His followers knew these predictions well. (Matthew 16:21; Matthew 27:62-64) Yet Mary Magdalene was still approaching the tomb as though Jesus would be in it. Are there any promises God has made to you in which you lack confidence or faith? Are there any areas of your life that reflect unbelief in what God has said He will do?
- How can we apply this message to our lives this week?
Take One Thing Home with You
“ For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.” – 1 Peter 1:18-20.
Not only were we, believers, chosen before the foundation of the Earth, but so was Jesus. We were chosen to be His, holy and blameless in His sight. He was chosen to be the One who could make that happen. We could not get a better deal. Before the foundation of the earth Jesus, in perfect unadulterated love, was willing to be the Lamb of God that would offer himself so that we could go free. And all planned and agreed before there was space, time, or matter. That’s why Revelation speaks of Him being “…the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made” (Revelation 13:8). If that isn’t love I do not know what is.