Resurrection of Jesus - Part 1

SERMON TOPIC: Resurrection of Jesus - Part 1

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 29 March 2013


Sermon synopsis: False religions and cults follow people who are dead, or who will be dead one day. Communists revere and follow dead dictators
who murdered millions when they were alive. Animists pray to their dead ancestors for guidance. Those who are involved in the occult ask mediums to consult dead relatives on their behalf to give them guidance.
But 1 Peter 1:3-4 tells us that because of the resurrection, we serve a living Saviour and thus have a 'living hope'.

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The Muslim prophet Muhammad died on 8th June 632 AD in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Above is Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the Mosque of the Prophet) in Medina, with the Green Dome built over Muhammad’s tomb in the centre.


Gautam Buddha died in the 5th century BC at Kushinagar. His body was cremated and the relics placed in monuments.

For example, the Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa in Sri Lanka is the place where the right tooth relic of Buddha is kept at present. 1

1 http:// wiki/ Burial_places_of_founders_ of_world_religions


Interior of the Temple of the Tooth

The Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius died in 479 BC.

The grave of Confucius, founder of Confucianism, is in his home town of Qufu, Shandong Province, China … located in a large cemetery where more than 100,000 of his descendants are also buried. 1

1 Ibid


Tomb of Confucius

Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, died on 29th May 1892 in Acre, Israel.

Located in Bahji near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh is the most holy place for Bahá'ís and their Qiblih, or direction of prayer. It contains the remains of Bahá'u'lláh… 1

1 Ibid


Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh

And here are the embalmed bodies of the dead Communist dictators (1) Vladimir Lenin (USSR), (2) Mao Zedong (China), (3) Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) and (4) Kim Il-Sung (North Korea).





All the previous mentioned people have one thing in common.

You might ask, “What do Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, Bahá'u'lláh, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh and Kim II Sung all have in common?

The answer is: THEY ARE ALL DEAD!


This is the tomb in Jerusalem that many Protestants believe Jesus’ body was laid in – but the tomb is empty because Jesus Christ is alive!

Animists pray to their dead ancestors for guidance. In Nov 2012, SA President Jacob Zuma slaughtered 12 cows and burnt traditional incense at his Nkandla homestead. While dancing in his leopard skin, he asked his dead ancestors for help in his embattled political career, which has been dogged by repeated corruption allegations.

Some people believe that they can consult their dead relatives and friends using a medium – and that they can get guidance for their life from the dead.

Isaiah 8:19 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

Can your dead ancestors help you? The Bible says that there is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave.

Eccl 9:10b … for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

Deut 18:10-12 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in a the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD


If you needed directions to get to the railway station and you meet two people in the street…


One is alive…

The other is dead…

Which one would you ask?



The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the belief that Jesus returned to life on a Sunday three days after he was crucified. A central tenet of Christian faith, it forms part of the early Nicene Creed: “On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures”.

In 1 Corinthians 15 (a chapter dedicated to the resurrection) Paul shows that the resurrection of Jesus is one of the three key components of the gospel.

1 Cor 15:1-3 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures





The resurrection of Jesus is the pivotal teaching of the Christian faith.

1 Cor 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

If Jesus had not been resurrected, he would have been just another failed Messiah and Christianity would have died with its founder. It would have been no different from other false religions and cults who venerate their dead prophets.

As such it is one of the most attacked doctrines in the Christian faith, particularly by cults and false religions.

However the resurrection was witnessed by many eye-witnesses including, but not limited to, the apostles.


An article from a U.S. website states:

How do we know anything historically? There is no ‘scientific’ proof that Lincoln was the president. We cannot recreate him in a laboratory or bring him back to life. We cannot reproduce the experiment. We cannot calculate an equation that tells us that he was. But we can assert with a high degree of probability that Lincoln was indeed our president and was assassinated in 1865. We do this by appealing to historical evidence. Many people saw Lincoln. We have some of his writings and even his picture, not to mention his likeness on our pennies. But none of this ‘proves’, in a scientific sense, that Lincoln ever lived or was the president. 1

1 classes/ papers/ doubt.htm


The kind of evidence used in historical research is the same kind as that used in a court of law. In a courtroom case certain kinds of evidences are appealed to in order to determine what exactly happened, eyewitnesses are questioned, motives are examined, and physical evidence is scrutinized such as fingerprints or journal writings. It is the same kind of evidence that we appeal to in order to establish Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Granted, the evidence is not as great as that for Lincoln, nor as recent. But it is better evidence than we have that Plato ever lived, or Homer, or many historical figures that we take for granted. 1

1 Ibid


Having consulted the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection, while compiling his gospel and the book of Acts, the 1st century Greek doctor Luke writes:

Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God

So let’s look at the various eye-witness accounts of those who saw the risen Jesus.


Jesus appeared at least 16 times to various eye-witnesses, ranging from just one person at a time to 500 people.

Mary Magdalene on the Resurrection Sunday in Jerusalem

Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

However the disciples were all sceptical and nobody believed her. So the disciples were in no way gullible people who would be easily fooled.

Mark 16:10-11 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

In John 20:10-17 there is even more detail than Mark gives about Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus.


John 20:10-13 Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

Mary turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but mistook him for the gardener. (John 20:14-15)

Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?

Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.

John 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (John 20:17)

The other women in Jerusalem - Initially Mary Magdalene had gone to the tomb with other women, including Mary the mother of James, Salome and Joanna (Mt 28:1-7, Mk 16:1, Lk 24:10). There they had an encounter with an angel.

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Matt 28:8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.


Matt 28:9-10 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.

So we saw that Mary Magdalene was not expecting to see a risen Jesus, but assumed his body had been moved by someone. It was only when Jesus spoke her name that she recognised him.

Likewise the other women were not expecting a resurrected Saviour. They had bought spices and were expecting to embalm a dead body.

And as with Mary, again the other disciples “did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” (Luke 24:11).


Peter and John had run to the tomb on being told by Mary Magdalene that the tomb was empty – after her first visit to the tomb.

John 20:2-3 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.

Both Peter and John went into the tomb and saw the folded grave clothes. John records that when he entered the empty tomb that “He saw and believed.” (John 20:9)

They left the tomb, but on the Sunday evening Peter had already seen Jesus, so this must have happened during the course of the day.


Simon Peter in Jerusalem on the Resurrection Sunday

1 Cor 15:5 … and that he appeared to Peter…


Luke 24:33-34 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”

Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus on the Resurrection Sunday.

Mark 16:12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.

Luke 24:13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem …


Before they recognised him, these two disciples admitted to Jesus that their hopes of a Messiah had been dashed by the crucifixion. (Luke 24:19-21)

The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.

Later we read that “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.” (Luke 24:30-31)

Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread (Lk 24:35). But “they did not believe them either.” (Mk 16:13)

The disciples and those with them including Cleopas and his companion but excluding Thomas (Lk 24:33) in Jerusalem on the evening of Resurrection Sunday.

Luke 24:36-43 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.


And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

These next two passages refer to the same occasion, showing that the disciples were not expecting a risen Jesus but were gathered in fear behind locked doors .

John 20:19-20 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Jesus rebukes them all for their unbelief:

Mark 16:14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.


Eleven disciples, with the previously sceptical Thomas, the following Sunday in Jerusalem.

John 20:24-29 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

We have seen the Lord!

Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them.

Peace be with you!


Thomas, put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.

My Lord and my God!

Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

Seven disciples fishing by the sea of Tiberias in Galilee (Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John and 2 others)

John 21:1-14 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”


As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he … jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards… Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”…This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.


Eleven disciples on the mountain in Galilee

Matt 28:16-17 Then the eleven disciples went to


Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

“After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time most of whom are still living” at the time of Paul writing. (1 Cor 15:6)

Imagine that you were involved in a court case and you had over 500 eye- witnesses. Would you have a strong case?


Jesus’ sceptical brother James.

Initially Jesus’ brothers “did not believe in him” (Jn 7:5) and his family thought he was “out of his mind” (Mk 3:21). But Paul relates that the risen Jesus “appeared to James” (1 Cor 15:7). James subsequently became the leader of the church in Jerusalem and authored the epistle of James, before being martyred in Jerusalem.


All the apostles

“Then he appeared to all the apostles” (1 Cor 15:7) contrasted with “the Twelve” mentioned earlier in the context. So this included the Twelve plus all the other apostles.


To the Eleven back in Jerusalem, while eating with them. (Acts 1:4)


Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

To the Eleven at his Ascension near Bethany on the Mount of Olives.


Lk 24:50-51 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

Luke gives more detail about this event in his second book:

Acts 1:9-13 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight… Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.


To Paul, a sceptic and opponent of Christianity on the road to Damascus.


… and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Cor 15:8 and Acts 9:1-6)

I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Who are you, Lord?

To John on the island of Patmos (Rev 1:18).


I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!

The resurrection is what differentiates Jesus from other founders of religious movements. They have tombs people visit to pay homage to their remains - but Jesus has an empty tomb.

Unlike the Communists, we don’t follow a dead hero (if one can term mass-murdering dictators as heroes) – we serve a living Saviour.


A plaque at the Garden Tomb

One of the criteria used for an apostle was that they had to be a witness of the resurrection.

The apostles were the first witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus:

… the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. (Acts 4:2)

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus… (Acts 4:33)

… Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. (Acts 17:18)


When the apostles replace Judas with another apostle the stated criteria is as follows (Acts 1:21-22)

Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time… For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.

The resurrection of the Messiah was prophesied in the OT. David, in one of his many Messianic Psalms which speak of the future “Son of David”, says the following in Ps 16:9-10.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

Speaking to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost, Peter shows that this Psalm is prophetic of Jesus resurrection:

Acts 2:22-25 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him: ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.


Acts 2:26-32 “‘Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”


Speaking in Pisidian Antioch, Paul uses this same passage in Psalms when he, like Peter, proclaims the resurrection of Jesus:

Acts 13:27-31 “The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had travelled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.


Acts 13:32-37 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus… The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’ So it is stated elsewhere: ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’ For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.”

Paul first quotes Isaiah 55:3 to show that the blessings promised to David are given to Jesus and then applies the passage from Psalm 16 to his resurrection.


The resurrection was the only sign Jesus would give to a wicked generation (Jn 2:18-22). John writes, “But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said.”

Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.

What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?

Belief in the resurrection is crucial for salvation:

Rom 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

And so the resurrection is necessary for our justification:

Rom 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.


Without the resurrection our faith is useless and futile

1 Cor 15:13-19 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.


The resurrection is God’s seal of approval upon the sacrifice that Jesus made for us by his death.

Rom 1:4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 10:15-18 “… and I lay down my life for the sheep… The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”


Without Jesus’ resurrection, we would have no hope of our own resurrection:

John 5:25-26 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.

As our resurrection occurs when we hear the voice of the Son of God, if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, we too will never be resurrected.

Rom 6:5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.


False religions and cults follow people who are dead, or who will be dead one day.

Communists revere and follow dead dictators who murdered millions when they were alive.

Animists pray to their dead ancestors for guidance.

Those who are involved in the occult ask mediums to consult dead relatives on their behalf to give them guidance.

But 1 Peter 1:3-4 tells us that because of the resurrection, we serve a living Saviour and thus have a “living hope”.


1 Pet 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.



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