Parkland First Baptist Church
April 4, 2021
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      • Psalm 16CSB

  • I’m Certain, He’s Alive!

    Today we finish our series in the Gospel of Mark and begin a new series entitled “I’m Sure!” which looks at the components of a Biblical Worldview.
    In Mark 15 covered the crucifixion of Jesus and His death.
    Today we celebrate His resurrection.
    A resurrection that I am certain happened and hopefully by the end of our time today, you will know for sure.
    I read of an atheist or, at least, an agnostic.
    He was asked, “What is the bottom line when it comes to Christianity?”
    He responded, “That’s easy. It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
    He then quickly added, “If the resurrection is true, then so are a number of other things: (1) There is a God; (2) Jesus is that God; (3) the Bible is true; (4) heaven and hell are real; and (5) Jesus makes the difference whether you go to one or the other.”
    He’s right on that issue.
    Christianity stands or falls on the historical bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
    No Resurrection, no Christianity.
    Today from Mark 16:1-8 we’ll see several evidences for the resurrection.
    Mark 16:1–8 CSB
    1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they could go and anoint him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” 4 Looking up, they noticed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. 5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.’ ” 8 They went out and ran from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid. [Some of the earliest conclude with .]

    The Witness of Mark’s Gospel

    Three women who saw Jesus die were on their way to tomb.
    Both Marys had followed Joseph of Arimathea as he buried Jesus.
    Early on Sunday morning right at dawn, they were going to anoint the body with spices.
    These “spices” were evidently purchased by the women after sunset on Sabbath in preparation for the anointing of Jesus’ body early the next morning.
    The purpose of anointing was not to embalm, that is, to prevent bodily decay (as was the custom in Egypt) but to perfume the decaying corpse as an act of devotion.
    Normally, the dead were anointed at the time of interment.
    As they were on the way, they discussed anxiously the problems they would face at the tomb.
    First, the soldier guard would prevent them;
    Second, the rock in the tomb’s doorway would be too heavy to move; and
    Third, Jesus’ body would have begun to decompose.
    Against such obstacles, what could these three women expect to accomplish?
    Yet urged on by love and gratitude, they were determined to do what they could.
    Yet, when they arrived they see the stone was rolled away and an angel inside the tomb.
    There is no doubt he was an angel, and of course “they were amazed and alarmed.”
    As with many times in Mark fear, wonder, amazement, astonishment, and distress gripped their souls.
    This word “alarmed” is the same word used in Mark 14: 33 to describe the agony Jesus experienced in the garden of Gethsemane.
    Luke (24: 3-4) and John (20: 12) inform us that there were actually two angels present, the number required to establish a valid witness (Deut 17: 6; 19: 15).
    Matthew (28: 5) and Mark focus on the spokesman, the one who conversed with the women.
    The angel attempts to calm and assure them by revealing the greatest surprise of all, Jesus is alive and resurrected.
    James Edwards in his commentary puts it like this.
    The Crucified One, says the angel, has been raised!
    The angel invites the women to see the place where they last saw the body of Jesus (15: 47).
    The references to the place of his burial and to Jesus as the crucified one are of crucial importance.
    The women are not directed to a mystical or spiritual experience or to a numinous encounter.
    They are directed specifically to Jesus, who died by a crucifixion they witnessed, was buried in a place they witnessed, and now has been resurrected.
    The verbs in verse 6 refer to both sides of the Easter event.
    The announcement of the divine emissary establishes an inseparable continuity between the historical Jesus and the resurrected Jesus.
    The one whom the angel invites them to know is the one whom they have known.
    The announcement of the gospel is literally, the gospel, good news, and the place from which the gospel is first preached is the empty tomb that both received and gave up the Crucified One.
    A new order of existence is inaugurated. . . . At this moment and in this place the women are witnessing “the kingdom of God come with power” (9: 1).
    The evidence in Mark is undeniable.
    The tomb is empty!
    Jesus has been resurrected.
    The women’s job now is to proclaim the news of the resurrection.
    Jesus is alive and has left the tomb.
    It’s ironic that the women were consumed with death and the Crucified One is consumed with life!
    The angel told the women to go and tell His disciples and named Peter that Jesus would meet them in Galilee.
    What a word!
    Their message was full of grace, forgiveness, hope and promise.
    What a pledge for a new beginning, especially for Peter who needed forgiveness over his betrayal of Jesus.
    Stunned the women begin running away from the tomb overcome with trembling and astonishment.
    They said nothing to anyone since they were afraid.
    Though they were commanded to tell the disciples.
    Another commentator put this into perspective like this.
    Should they not have returned home rejoicing in the news they had heard?
    Is there not something unexpected about this response?
    That in itself is a mark of its authenticity (if we were to invent the story we would not end it in this way).
    But it is more.
    In Mark’s Gospel, this fear is always man’s response to the breaking in of the power of God.
    It is the fear the disciples experienced when Jesus stilled the storm; the fear of the Gerasenes when Jesus delivered Legion; the fear of the disciples as they saw Jesus setting his face to Jerusalem to die on the cross.
    This fear is the response of men and women to Jesus as he shows his power and majesty as the Son of God.
    That’s the abrupt end of Mark.
    Verses 9-20 are not found in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts.
    It is apparent the disciples of Jesus were stunned with the news of the resurrection.

    Resurrection Options

    There are three basic options concerning the resurrection of Jesus.
    First, Jesus’ resurrection is false.
    It was a great hoax.
    He didn’t rise from the dead and the disciples just fabricated the story.
    Second, Jesus’ resurrection is fiction.
    It is all ancient mythology.
    The early church made Jesus into someone he really wasn’t.
    Over time the stories surrounding Him just got more grandeur elevating Him to God status.
    Third, Jesus’ resurrection is fact.
    It is the supreme event of history.
    The Bible accurately records the historical and supernatural resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
    His resurrection was bodily and permanent.

    Naturalistic Theories Explaining the Resurrection

    The swoon theory: Jesus did not really die but fainted because of the enormous physical punishment He suffered.
    An example of this theory is the best-seller The Passover Plot, in which Hugh Schonfield says Jesus planned the whole thing with help from Joseph of Arimathea.
    Jesus was drugged while on the cross, making it appear that He had died.
    Unfortunately, He was seriously injured and actually died a short time later.
    Another said He recovered and married Mary Magdalene and fathered several children.
    The spirit theory: Jesus was not raised bodily, but He returned in a spirit form.
    This view is held by the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult, which teaches that Jesus was created by God as the archangel Michael and that while on earth He was only a man.
    Following His death on the cross, God restored Jesus in a spiritual form only.
    The hallucination theory: Jesus preconditioned His disciples to hallucinate by means of hypnosis.
    Ian Wilson says Jesus may have “prepared his disciples for his resurrection using the technique that modern hypnotists call posthypnotic suggestion.
    By this means he could have effectively conditioned them to hallucinate his appearances in response to certain prearranged cues.”
    The legend or myth theory basically agrees with the infamous Jesus Seminar.
    Over time the Jesus stories were embellished and exaggerated.
    The resurrection is a “wonder story” indicating the significance the mythical Jesus held for His followers.
    The stolen-body theory: the soldiers who guarded Jesus’ tomb were bribed by the Jewish leaders to lie and say, “His disciples came during the night and stole Him while we were sleeping.”
    The wrong-tomb theory: belief in Jesus’ bodily resurrection rests on a simple mistake.
    First the women and later the men went to the wrong tomb by accident.
    Finding that tomb empty, they erroneously concluded that Jesus had risen from the dead.
    The lie-for-profit theory: Jesus’ death by crucifixion was a huge disappointment, but His followers saw a way to turn it for financial profit.
    The mistaken-identity theory: the women mistook someone else for Jesus.
    The twin theory: Jesus had an identical twin brother.
    In a 1995 debate with Christian apologist William Lane Craig, philosopher Robert Greg Cavin argued this theory.
    Separated at birth, the brothers did not see each other again until the crucifixion.
    Following Jesus’ death, His twin conjured up a messianic identity and mission for Jesus, stole His body, and pretended to be the risen Jesus.

    Evidence for the Resurrection

    No one actually witnessed the resurrection of Jesus.
    The proclamation of His resurrection is based on the fact that He died, was buried, the tomb was empty, and the disciples had experiences that convinced them that Jesus was alive.
    You can read the evidence in the Bible in the Gospels and Acts.
    We can make the case for the resurrection based on 14 pieces of evidence.
    The failure of naturalistic or alternative theories to explain the event.
    Naturalistic arguments did not stand up to careful analysis.
    Virtually all of them have been abandoned or substantially revised.
    The birth of the disciples’ faith and the radical change in their lives.
    Something happened that caused Jesus’ followers to believe they had genuine encounters with the risen Lord.
    In addition, according to church tradition, the 11 apostles, with the possible exception of John, died as martyrs, still proclaiming Jesus as the risen Lord.
    The empty tomb and the discarded grave clothes.
    The fact that women saw the empty tomb first.
    In the Jewish culture of the first century, women were not qualified to be witnesses in a legal proceeding.
    If the early church were making up a story to persuade people to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, it is inconceivable that they would say women were the first witnesses to the event.
    The change in the day of worship from the Sabbath to Sunday.
    The unlikely nature of mass hallucination.
    Post resurrection appearances.
    The New Testament records many occasions when Jesus appeared to His followers after His resurrection.
    The 50-day interval between the resurrection and the bold and public proclamation of the gospel at Pentecost in Jerusalem.
    Jesus’ disciples did not proclaim the gospel of the risen Lord for 50 days after the event took place.
    Why? They waited until Jesus had ascended (see Luke 24; Acts 1) and until the Holy Spirit had come to empower them for witness (see Acts 2).
    The inability of the Jewish leaders and the Romans to disprove the message of the empty tomb.
    The unexpected nature of Jesus’ bodily resurrection.
    The disciples did not anticipate that Jesus would rise from the dead though He had predicted this miracle on several occasions.
    The conversion of two skeptics: James and Paul.
    The moral character of the eyewitnesses.
    The accepted character and claims of Jesus.
    On numerous occasions Jesus spoke of His crucifixion and resurrection.
    He claimed He was God (see John 8: 58; 10: 30; 14: 9), and He said He would come back from the dead (see Matt 16: 21).
    To claim Jesus as a great religious figure and moral teacher while believing that His prediction of His resurrection was wrong would make Him either a liar or a lunatic.
    The resurrection is essential to the confession that Jesus is Lord. Everything hinges on it.
    Reliable eyewitness documents recording the events.
    The New Testament is the most well-authenticated document of antiquity, a fact no textual critic of any theological persuasion would deny.
    More than 5,600 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament exist.
    These are of an earlier date and of a more reliable nature than those of any other work of antiquity.
    Eyewitness followers of Christ wrote many of them, and the books themselves have the ring of history.
    No religion has in its sacred writings what Christians have in the New Testament.

    Conclusion: I’m Certain He’s Alive!

    These arguments form objective, historically verifiable evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.
    Combined with a believer’s personal experience of Jesus as living Lord, they provide ample reason to believe that Jesus was physically raised from the dead by the mighty hand of God.
    Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut once claimed that he did not find God anywhere in space.
    But the cosmonaut traveled without faith.
    The disciples had been given evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, but they still needed to appropriate the meaning of it by faith.
    They were told that Jesus would appear to them, but going to Galilee would take a lot of faith.
    Unfortunately, they lacked that faith and remained huddled in Jerusalem.
    Yet even there, in a locked room, Jesus came to them (see John 20:19).
    Today we don’t find Jesus in ironclad certainties of logic, nor astronomical survey, nor by sitting still.
    Faith is a moment-by-moment commitment to act on what God says—acting, trusting, and expecting to find Christ when we arrive.
    We take a step of faith, and Jesus comes closer, another step and Jesus becomes clearer, another step and Jesus becomes dearer.
    Each time we seek in faith, we find.
    Will you take that step today to believe the resurrection is real and allow Jesus to change your life like He has done for millions?
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        Panorama of the Bible

        April 14, 2021 - 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
        New class starting April 14 at 6:00 PM in person and online. Get a panoramic view of the Bible in this exciting new study!

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