Summary: Because of Easter we have a new future. How do we know that the resurrection is true? Because of the external testimony,. the empty tomb, the expensive toll and everlasting transformation.


Does anyone have a cross necklace on right now? Have you ever thought about what the cross really is? Originally the cross was a tool Rome used to execute its criminals. It was not just a form of execution; it was a form of torture and humiliation. The victim usually suffocated to death from the weight of his own body. Before that first Easter, if you wore a cross around your neck, it would be like wearing a necklace with a little electric chair on it. The fact that such an ugly instrument has become a thing of elegance and beauty is actually a testimony and clear picture of what this day is all about.

Easter is the day that took things that were broken, cruel, harsh and ugly and made them beautiful again. The Resurrection is all about redemption. The Resurrection is transformation. The Resurrection doesn’t make the cross less barbaric, it instead transforms it into a symbol of life and salvation.

Today I want to take us back to what happened on that morning almost 2000 years ago. This day is celebrated by more than two billion people across the world. Like those beautiful crosses we wear around our necks, the Resurrection points to a harsh reality while at the same time displaying an overwhelming beauty and transformation of grace. Without the Resurrection, the cross is barbaric and meaningless. With the Resurrection, the cross is our hope and our life.

Today we are concluding our series Easter Challenge. Because of Easter we have a new foundation, fellowship and focus. Today I want to talk about the fact that, because of Easter, we have a new future.

1Co 15:17-21 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

If Easter is true, then everything in our lives is different. Paul says here that the resurrection of Jesus is of first importance. It is the central to the Christian faith. It is the turning point of history, the greatest event that has ever or will ever take place.

It rests on the time-line of history like a compelling diamond. Its tragedy summons all sufferers. Its absurdity attracts all cynics. Its hope lures all searchers. History has idolized and despised it, gold-plated and burned it, worn and trashed it. History has done everything but ignore it. How could you ignore such a piece of lumber? Suspended on its beams is the greatest claim in history. A crucified carpenter claiming to be God on earth. Divine. Eternal. The death-slayer. Never has timber been regarded so sacred. No wonder the apostle Paul called the cross event the core of the gospel. It's bottom line sobering: if the account is true, it is history's hinge. Period. If not, the cross is history's hoax – Max Lucado

A scholar by the name of John S. Whale said, “Belief in the Resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith.” It is proof that all Jesus did and all Jesus said was true. Without the Resurrection, nothing makes sense.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Without the resurrection, this verse makes no sense. Because of the Resurrection, that same claim is our great and only hope for salvation. So how can we have confidence that it is true? How do we know if Easter is history’s hinge or hoax? Let me suggest 4 things for you today;

1. The External Testimony

First, in order for there to be a resurrection, there had to first have been a crucifixion. How do we know that Jesus actually existed and was crucified like the bible says? We have great confidence in both the truth and power of Jesus’ Resurrection. While scholars may argue over what Jesus’ words meant, no serious Bible scholar denies that Jesus was a historical figure who profoundly impacted His immediate world. In fact, historical witnesses outside of the Bible confirm that Jesus lived and was crucified. Amazingly, historical witnesses also prove that Jesus’ earliest followers were extremely serious about their devotion to Him, His teachings, and His resurrection.

For example, in Annals of Imperial Rome, written around AD 116, the Roman senator and historian Tacitus wrote about how Emperor Nero burned Rome in AD 64 and then blamed it on, “the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their animosity. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate.”

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