1 Corinthians 15:19-26 Luke 24:1-12 Acts 10:34-43 Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
Read “Ikon: The Harrowing of Hell” http://www.journeywithjesus.net/poemsandprayers/627-denise-levertov-ikon
Jesus is alive! He is no longer in the tomb. Jesus is back with his people.
There is joy from knowing Jesus is alive. Jesus has been raised from the dead. Denise Levertov’s poem, “The Harrowing of Hell,” gives us a glimpse of what this means. He let the prisoners in hell know there is a way out. He has come back from the dead to be with his friends.
But there is more to Jesus’ resurrection than only Jesus being with his friends. For Jesus’ death and resurrection have meaning beyond just his life. Jesus’ death and resurrection have meaning for our lives. What does Jesus’ death and resurrection mean for us?
A. We start living the resurrected life now, yet we don’t have it completely (15:19)
1. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised (15:13)
2. If Christ has not been raised, then our speaking about such is foolish (15:14)
3. If Christ has not been raised, then our faith is futile and we are still in our sins (15:17)
4. Furthermore, if Christ has not been raised, then those who have died in Christ have perished! (15:18)
5. But, Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead!
a. Our preaching has meaning
b. Our faith is useful for living in these times
c. Our sins no longer have power over us
d. Those who die in Christ have hope for something better than they have right now!
6. It sounds good for us to know Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead! We no longer need to feel pitied. We have reason to live. We have hope for a future with God. How then do we gain this hope through the resurrection?
B. We become holy because of Jesus’ resurrection (15:20-24)
1. There is a story of a preacher who would only preach about baptism. So they challenged him to preach on a text that they gave him on Sunday morning. They gave him Genesis 1. As the preacher was reading about the waters being separated, he started preaching about baptism!
2. Jesus is the first fruits of those who have died (15:20)
3. When the first fruits were given to the priest, the rest of the harvest became sanctified/holy
4. When we tithe/give our first fruits, the rest of our lives become sanctified/holy to God, for we are depending upon God for our very lives, even resurrected lives!
5. Jesus rules until his enemies are destroyed
a. Jesus overcame the tomb – the tomb couldn’t hold him
b. Jesus overcame sin – he was wounded for our transgressions & he has now borne our sins away
6. Who knew Jesus’ resurrection had something to do with how we give to the church! We can trust Jesus. If he can take away the penalty for our sin, then what good can he give us? It will be a sanctified/holy life that we receive as we continue to hold fast to Jesus. For we have not yet received a resurrected life. Jesus being raised from the dead shows us what this life will be like.
C. This holy life won’t become evident completely for us until death is destroyed (15:25-26)
1. We have already noticed Jesus overcomes the tomb and sin
2. Jesus will overcome death
3. This happens when we are raised to be with Jesus – our entire personal bodies!
4. In the meanwhile, we keep on excelling in the work of the Lord (15:58)
5. We live without fear of the tomb/grave – Jesus came out of the grave, so will we
6. We live without fear of sin – We keep from sinning because Jesus’ death and resurrection have freed us from sin
7. Jesus’ labor for us was not in vain
8. So, our labor in Jesus won’t be in vain
9. What a life we are expecting! Jesus is getting us ready for the resurrected life. We keep holding onto faith in Jesus. We keep on seeking and doing the good Jesus has for us to do. For at the resurrection, we get to move into the kingdom of God!
This entire Lent has been about being ready to move into God’s house, the kingdom of God. We have found God wants us to come to Him through Jesus:
1. We have directions for moving
2. We seek to live in God’s house
3. We don’t waste the soil
4. We leave our past behind
5. We learn to be obedient as Jesus is
6. We become holy through Jesus being raised from the dead
This moving into God’s house is about being able to stand and say we believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. As we speak our belief in Jesus Christ, we realize we are no longer our own. We now belong to God.
Moving into God’s house is big business. It means our lives change. Our priorities change. Our giving to the church changes. Our thinking and acting change. For now we are anticipating the resurrected life in the kingdom of God. Will today be the day you turn to Jesus and live? Jesus is alive. We can be alive only when we believe in Jesus.