Monday, April 1, 2024

Resurrection Sunday 2024 From Despair to Hope

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Happy Resurrection Day

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Resurrection Sunday 2024

From Despair to Hope

By Rev. Bruce A. Shields



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House of Faith Church - 214 Adams St., East Tawas, MI

Worship Service: Sunday 11:00 AM


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Today is Resurrection Sunday. March 31st, 2024


          Today is Resurrection Sunday, the grand conclusion to Holy Week, or Palm Sunday through Good Friday. From Hosanna to Calvary, a week that all followers of Jesus Christ should celebrate.


We know Easter has turned into a fairy tale about a rabbit, eggs, etc. German immigrants brought these “Easter” traditions in the 1700s in America.


The Christian tradition of celebrating the Resurrection of Christ began sometime in the 6th century. So, no, Christianity did not “steal” a Pagan holiday.


I believe we should observe it and hold it dear, as the day that brought about the New Covenant, redemption, and Salvation through Jesus Christ and reconciliation to God the Father through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.



a.   It has been recorded by those who were there

                                  i.    Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19 and Matthew 27


b.   A few important things to remember

                                  i.    “It is finished.”

1.    “A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:29-30

                                ii.    Crucifixion was a slow and agonizing death, sometimes taking days.

                              iii.    Sometimes, the Roman soldiers would break the victim's legs so they would die faster. We see here the Lord surrendering His spirit.

1.    He willfully chose to die, knowing it was the only way to save humanity.

2.   He truly did not die at the hands of man but allowed Himself to be taken, willfully surrendering in the garden to the soldiers, allowing them to scourge Him, allowing them to nail Him to the cross, and willfully giving up His life in His time to show, God was in control the entire time.

3.   When the Lord states, “It is finished,” no one knew what He meant.

4.   They did not understand that this willful act just paid the debt of all humankind, past, present, and future, and anyone calling on the Name of the Lord could be saved from having to pay that price themselves.

5.   It is finished speaks of the price paid for bringing the New Covenant to life!

                               iv.    The angels at the tomb

1.    The angel rolled the stone from the tomb, and the guards fell in fear (Matthew 28:2-4)

2.   Later, women saw the stone was rolled away (Mark 16:4, Luke 24:2, John 20:1)

3.   The angel told the woman not to be afraid (Matthew 28:5-7)

4.   The angel told the women that Jesus had risen (Matthew 28:6, Mark 16:6, Luke 24:6)

5.   The angel told the women to come into the tomb (Matthew 28:6, Luke 16:5, Luke 24:3)

6.   The angel told the women to tell the disciples Jesus is risen (Matthew 28:7, Mark 16:7, Luke 24:9, John 20:2; John 20:11-12)



c.    Christ the Firstfruit and our example

                                  i.    First Fruit

1.    1 Corinthians 15:20-22 “now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the Resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”



                                ii.    Fallen asleep? – the Greek says, “Now Christ has been roused of dead ones, firstfruit of the ones who become having been laid to rest.”

1.    You know, “rest in peace,” not actually sleeping. Instead, in Abraham’s bosom, or Paradise within Sheol, just as Jesus tells us in Luke 16, speaking about the rich man and Lazarus.

                              iii.    Example of our resurrections

1.    Jesus shows us that we will one day have resurrected bodies.

2.   We are assured of this in scripture!

3.   Job 19:25-26 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will rise up over the dust of this world. 26 Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall behold God,”

4.   Romans 8:22-23 “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”

5.   Philippians 3:20-21a “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory…”

6.   1 Corinthians 15:50-55 “Now I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the corruptible inherit the incorruptible. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep (LIT: Laid to rest, dead…not sleeping), but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on the incorruptible, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this corruptible puts on the incorruptible, and this mortal puts on immortality, then will come about the word that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

                               iv.    The hope and promise proven by His acceptance by God the Father



a.   Our preaching and faith would be in vain

                                  i.    1 Corinthians 15:12-19 “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we bore witness against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”


b.   The Apostles would have been false witnesses

                                  i.    1 Corinthians 15:15

                                ii.    Acts 2:29-36 “Men, brothers, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to set one of the fruit of his body on his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the Resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither forsaken to Hades (LIT:unperceived or spirit realm), nor did His flesh see corruption (because he would receive a resurrected body). 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you both see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, (Because the dead before the cross went to Paradise in Sheol) but he himself says:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at My right hand,

35 Until I put Your enemies as a footstool for Your feet.”’

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”


c.    If Christ were not raised, we would still be in our sins without hope

                                  i.    1 Corinthians 15:17 “…your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”

                                ii.    1 Corinthians 15:18 “Then those also who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ have perished.”

                              iii.    1 Corinthians 15:19 “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

At the time of the Resurrection, there were thousands of followers of Jesus. Knowing He was put to death, to “believe in Him,” or be one of His followers also marked you for death.

To think in a modern, intelligent mind that hundreds of people lied about seeing the resurrected Christ, eating with Him, and talking with Him for 40 days was a lie, placing their lives at stake for something that was not true, makes no sense.

Especially when you consider that, for the most part, they did not realize what would take place. They were confused when Jesus was arrested, wondering why He willfully went. Peter begged Him not to go, knowing He would be killed, obviously not understanding Jesus had to die for the atoning of our sins. When Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, it shows the true fear of what was taking place that evening.

There are many liars in the world, for sure. However, to get them all to agree that Jesus died on the cross, rose again, and spent 40 days with hundreds of eyewitnesses, knowing they could be imprisoned or put to death, I don’t believe it could be so.

I believe the eyewitness accounts. Even secular writings, such as the book Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus, who was a Roman-Jewish historian whose father was an Aaronic Priest and belonged to the tribe of Levi, a Jew, not a Christian, and mentioned Jesus of Nazareth twice, and John the Baptist once.

So, yes. I believe in the scriptures and their account of the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.



a.   It proves Jesus was accepted by God the Father as our atonement

                                  i.    Romans 4:24-25; Matthew 26:28

                                ii.    Romans 8:33-34; Ephesians 1:18-20

                              iii.    Colossians 2:11-12; 1 Peter 3:21

                               iv.    Romans 8:11-13; Philippians 2:12-13; 4:13

                                 v.    Ephesians 3:20; 6:10


b.   It gives us hope in our Resurrection

                                  i.    1 Peter 1:3; 21

                                ii.    1 Thessalonians 4:13-14


c.    It demands loyalty

                                  i.    Romans 14:9; Acts 2:32-36

                                ii.    Ephesians 1:20-23; Romans 14:7-8

                              iii.    2 Corinthians 5:15



It is not just the believer who should examine these things today. Read about them, study them, and closely examine what they say.


No. The unbeliever also needs to scrutinize the significance of the Resurrection.


Because their eternity depends upon it.


    It verifies the deity of Jesus that He has all authority - Romans 1:4; Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:36


It verifies the truthfulness of what He taught, such as.

     No one can come to the Father but through Him - John 14:6

     His blood was shed for the remission of sins - Matthew 26:28

     He came to offer abundant life - John 10:10

     He went to prepare a place for us - John 14:2

     He shall come again - John 14:3

     There will be a resurrection of the dead and ensuing judgment - John 5:28-29; 12:48


  If Jesus rose from the dead, then one must believe in Him! - John 8:24


What comes next is His death upon the cross, burial, and Resurrection Sunday!



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