Summary: Grave robbers didn't rob the tomb, God did!

An event can be thrust upon you and it takes you by surprise, you never would have predicted it in a million years. Now here it is - staring you in the face. What will you do? You can't stay the same, you can't pretend it didn't happen. You may not know what to do, but this much is certain, you have to do something.

This is the Resurrection. Before the resurrection the disciples think Jesus will be a Messiah of a different sort, strong powerful - vanquishing their enemies. Then He is brutally killed, their heads are spinning, where can we hide they think. Days later, still overcome with grief - there is a knock at the door. One of the women have an unbelievable report. The tomb is empty. How could this happen, first his life is taken from us, not someone robs His grave.

Show video clip of John 20:1-9

John 20:1-9 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 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!"

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

They still didn't get it. The grave wasn't robbed by men, it was robbed by God!

It would not be until later in the day that reports of the risen Lord would appear, that Jesus would personally show Himself

When He reappears they are shattered again, and they have to go back over that week, re remember what happened, it was the week no one expected

Let's take time today to look at how that week has been viewed and reviewed by believers and non-believers alike.

Are you a believer? So certain that all you want to do is worship Jesus, that every day you give Him your best, you witness to others, you're filled with HS power - have you ever made a public declaration of your faith in Jesus! Stand up - show your colors

Lots of talk lately about the Resurrection, is it historical? Recently John Cameron of Titanic fame claims to have located Jesus' tomb.

Don't be surprised, each generation must rediscover the risen Christ

Thanks to John Ortberg - Menlo Park Presbyterian

Essentially, Christianity is not about a new teaching, about ethics or morals. At the core it's about a remarkable event, unpredictable, no one was expecting it, no one even hoped for.

Christianity is all about a risen Lord

Unlike Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and all other world religions, Christianity didn't evolve slowly.

It exploded into life.

The Rabbi Jesus had given his disciples cause to follow Him by his innovative teaching, His mind blowing miracles, but they were no different than any other Messianic group of 2000 years ago.

Historian Harvey Cox says that there were no less than 6 Messiahs in the time around Jesus. All preached a kingdom, all of them are now dead, except for Jesus. If the Messiah you follow dies, then you have two choices, go home - broken and disillusioned, or choose another within the group to follow. Many did this until their particular group was extinguished.

But no one, absolutely no one followed dead Messiahs

Jesus was a radically different kind of Messiah. He refused efforts of the people to crown Him king. He included women and children, even gentiles (Roman soldiers) in His kingdom plan.

Then in the course of a few days, Jesus went from the highest point in his career, the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday, to dead and buried in a tomb following a painful and disgraceful execution.

Everyone was devastated. Everyone fled. They hid, they wept, their dreams were crushed. They didn't have a clue what was going on. They felt abandoned. Even though Jesus had warned them in advance, their one track minds couldn't grasp the meaning of His words until after...

After - they didn't choose a new leader, for their leader had chosen them, was living in each one of them. These same cowardly simple minded men would grow in courage and strength to the point where they would sell all they had and give it to Kingdom work. They traveled the world at a time when travel was nearly impossible. They brought the Good News to other cultures, other races and tribes, all because He told them to! In the end, every single one of them died for Him.

Christianity is all about the resurrection- What you make of this is vital

Within 20 years, Christianity was spreading like wildfire thoughout the known world. One of the most passionate men ever to share his faith was Paul, a man who never met the historical Jesus, but did meet the resurrected Jesus. Listen to what he says.

1 Cor. 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

In retrospect, it became plain that Jesus is what God was up to all along. None of this took Jesus by surprise. We know very little of the Apostles individual stories. Amazingly, the little we do know about the disciples was never prettified. We see them as slow to learn, unbelievably dense at times.

Though we don't know about their individual accomplishments, we do know this. That after 2000 years, there has never been a faith like Christianity. No faith has had more effect on the world.

Any observer in AD 30 would pick Rome to outlast Christianity. Yet today we name our kids Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and we name our dogs Caesar and Nero

2000 years of changes in culture make it hard for us to understand what happened to them. And because we know the end at the beginning, it doesn't hit us like a ton of bricks. Maybe we think that we are so sophisticated, so intelligent, that we are in a different league than those first disciples.

It is common and fashionable today to discredit Jesus. This is nothing new. But the lengths to which people go seem almost absurd, it takes more faith to believe the ridiculous theories that to believe in a resurrection.

Maybe you have heard of some of them..

Some say he swooned - Dumber than a screen door on a submarine

Escaped prisoners got soldiers killed

Bloody beaten bodies can't recover after 3 days of no food, water, let alone push aside rock

Even if He could escape, that kind of body doesn't inspire anything but pity

Some say his body was purposely hidden

Why? No one could imagine this story - King by conquer, not death

People give their lives for mistaken beliefs, but not for lies

Why? Witnesses were women! Bad call! Not even allowed to testify

If there was a conspiracy, who would they pick to be witnesses? Rabbis, IQ of a toad

(Why we allow women to teach and lead at POP - if Rabbi Jesus taught women, if women traveled with him as His disciples, if in Christ there is no male or female, if the most important announcement of all history was to be made through a woman - then we're just following Jesus' lead)

Some say they went to the wrong tomb -

Not lots of tombs like Joseph of Arimithea - guarded - sealed - new!

If it was the wrong tomb, then anyone could resolve it by going to the correct tomb

What gender refuses to ask directions? What gender found the tomb

Some say His resurrection was a metaphor - Lights are on but nobody's home

Jesus is still alive like grandpa is still living through me

But if Jesus died, He's not the Messiah, certainly not Lord

How do you account for the witnesses - over 500 - not mass hysteria

Saying Jesus rose was as controversial then as it is now

Dead people stay dead, - doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out

Death is our #1 enemy - life and hope go together

1 Cor. 15:12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 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. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 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.