daily Broadcast

The Resurrection

From the series Jesus Is...

Why do Christians believe so strongly in Jesus’ resurrection? Isn’t it enough to say He was a moral example or a good teacher? In this program, guest teacher Ryan Ingram will explain the significance of Jesus rising from the dead as he wraps up our series, Jesus Is. Discover the rock-solid evidence that points to the resurrection - not just as a historical event – but also as the most incredible person to have ever lived.

Chip Ingram App

Helping you grow closer to God

Download the Chip Ingram App

Get The App

Today’s Offer

Jesus Is… free mp3 download.


Message Transcript

Let me ask you this question: When was the last time you have seriously reconsidered something? Like, when was the last time you just seriously reconsidered? You know, reconsidered. The definition is to think again about a decision or opinion and decide if you want to change it.

I remember when I reconsidered sushi. I didn’t grow up in a sushi home. Not that it was anti-sushi by any means, but it was more of an absent sushi home. Truth be told, I never had sushi, but I had strongly formed opinions about it, that it was gross, that it was slimy, that it was unsafe. It’s raw, right? What in the world. And that it’s a waste of money. And I remember the day I reconsidered sushi. I was nineteen years old, I was dating this girl named Jenny who is now my wife; it worked out.

And we were going to go on a double date with some of our dear friends, Josh and Danielle, who are now married to this day as well, to sushi.

So, we get there. It’s all brand new. I’m actually quite nervous, by the way. They are teaching me everything. I get the, you know, where to put the soy sauce and then the wasabi and, like, wow. That packs a punch. Didn’t expect that. Hello.

And then they tell me this, like, with the chopsticks you grab the sushi roll, you have to put the whole thing in your mouth. I’m like, the whole thing? Like, yeah, you don’t just bite a part of it. You’ve got to experience the whole roll. That seemed like a pretty big commitment for somebody who had a pretty strong conviction he didn’t like it.

But here’s the deal. I’m with my girlfriend, I want to make a good impression, I was at least willing to try it. And, well, the rest is history. I love sushi. I do. I love it.

When was the last time you were willing to seriously reconsider something? You know, the older we get, the more set in our ways we become, don’t we? The less likely we are willing to consider or reconsider something. Sushi is, you know, a fairly light thing, depending on your personality.

But the less likely we are to consider more serious, deep things like spirituality or purpose and meaning. And since we’re here and since you’re here, would you at least be willing to seriously reconsider Easter? I mean, you did it. You got dressed up, you showed up, you might as well think about it. Hey, let’s just think about it just a little bit deeper, because maybe you have done Easter before and this is just another one among many. Wake up, get dressed up, you know what? Go to the service, a guy goes, “Wah, wah, wah,” and then, you know, you say, “He is risen.” You go to brunch, you dye eggs, you hide eggs. Why? I’m not really sure. But then Easter is done. Would you, would you seriously reconsider Easter? Or better yet, would you seriously reconsider Jesus?

And by the way, I’m not just talking to those who are maybe distant from God, skeptical, or searching. I’m actually talking to Christians.

Christians, would you seriously reconsider Jesus? You know, in the West we have reduced Jesus to soundbites that fit our personal preference in our political persuasion that has stripped Him of His glory, power, and goodness. Would you seriously reconsider this Jesus we are gathering to celebrate?

Why are we still drawn to and intrigued by this Jesus two thousand years later?

Like, why in the world are we still drawn to, like, there seems to be this gravitational pull, doesn’t there? He just keeps coming up. We can’t get rid of Him. And, honestly, if you’re going to have any intellectual integrity, we have to ask the question at some point in our life, “Who really is Jesus?”

Or maybe said in a run-on sentence question this way, “How did this carpenter-turned-rabbi who lived in an obscure part of the Roman Empire, was ultimately executed as a criminal by Rome at the behest of His own people, revolutionize the world as we know it?”

I mean, His life has had too much impact for us to ignore Him. Who is this man that 2.6 billion people woke up on this day to celebrate and say, “He is risen!”?

At some point we have to ask the question. And then His teachings. His teachings echo to something deeply in us, don’t they? Of a society that we long for and a way of being that we see is so needed, to love the unlovely, to care for those who are mistreated and downtrodden, and to, you know, turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile, to love your enemy as yourself, love your neighbor as yourself.

He’s a great teacher and a good man. And He lived such an incredible life, self-sacrificing life, it’s worthy to pattern your life after.

But then there’s His claims. His claims. They are problematic and they are controversial, by the way. It wasn’t His teaching or His life necessarily that got Him executed. It was His claims.

Claims like this: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in Me will never die.” Do you believe this? Think about that. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection.” He didn’t say, I mean, He was a miracle-worker. He was known for that. He didn’t say, “I possess resurrection. I have some resurrecting power.” Hello. “I know where to find resurrection.” No, no. “I am resurrection.” And then He didn’t ask you to believe in His teaching, He didn’t ask you to believe in a philosophical construct or a theological idea. He asked you to believe in Him.

And here’s ultimately what Jesus is saying. Resurrection is a person. And I love the context in which Jesus said this. You can find it in the gospel of John. John, one of His disciples, one of the four biographies of Jesus’ life.

John chapter 11. Much of Jesus’ teachings were to crowds or to His disciples. This statement was to one person. This statement was to Martha, a grieving sister who lost her brother, Lazarus, four days earlier. And Jesus, in this moment of a grieving sister says, “I am resurrection.”

Resurrection is a person. Jesus is resurrection. The Jewish idea of resurrection was resurrection was a place and an event all in one. The resurrection that would happen at the end of the age, it was this event and place. And Jesus says: No, resurrection is a person. I am the resurrection. And wherever I show up, resurrection is happening, dead things are coming back to life.

How could a good man and a great teacher say something like this? And that is what brings us to Easter. You know, all of Christianity hinges upon the historical event of the resurrection of Jesus. It did in Jesus’ day and it does in our day. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, listen, come on, if He did not rise from the dead, this is a waste of time. Get your brunch now.

Even the apostle Paul, who once was a persecutor of the faith said the same thing. He writes this, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is” – what? Help me out. [Audience: “Futile”], it’s futile, it’s useless. “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

But if it’s true, then all that He said and, yes, all that He claimed is true.

If we are going to seriously reconsider Jesus, then we need to take a thoughtful look at the resurrection event.

And did you know that all major historians agree on some foundational and fundamental facts about Jesus and the resurrection? Let me just give you five of them.

Five foundational facts that theologians, scholars, atheists, theists, agnostics, skeptics – they all agree on.

And the first is Jesus was a real, historical person.

Jesus was an historical person where we have early documents, not just the eyewitnesses, but other historians of the day. Josephus, a Jewish historian, in the ancient day wrote of Jesus. Even the Jewish Talmud writes of Jesus. There was a Roman historian, Tacitus and Pliny as well wrote.

But Tacitus wrote this, and this was during the, speaking of Nero and when he blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome. He writes this about Jesus, “Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius by the sentence of the procurator, Pontius Pilate, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judea, the home of the disease, but in Rome itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and become fashionable.”

Well, what do you think about that, Tacitus?

Secondly, Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross and buried in a tomb under Roman guard. We have the ancient historians – Tacitus, Josephus, and others – who confirm the early eyewitnesses.

James Tabor, a former chair of religious study at UNC, a skeptic, he writes this, “I think we need have no doubt that given Jesus’ execution by Roman crucifixion, He was truly dead.” By the way, Rome perfected the crucifixion. They didn’t invent it, but they perfected it and they were fantastic at it and took pride.

And so, even the skeptics say He really lived and He really died by execution, and He was really buried in a tomb.”

And here’s what all major scholars agree on. The tomb was empty. They don’t agree on how the tomb was empty, but they agree that the tomb was empty.

The late William [Ward] from Oxford University writes, “All strictly historical evidence we have is in favor of the empty tomb and those scholars who reject it ought to recognize they do so on some other ground than that of scientific history.” If we are going to reconsider Jesus, we have to take a thoughtful look at this resurrection event.

Jesus, a historical person, crucified, buried, the tomb was empty and His disciples believed He rose from the dead and appeared to them.

German New Testament scholar and atheist Gerd Ludemann writes, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and his disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”

Now, he, they, he believes they had hallucinations of Jesus. But that they really believed they saw the risen Lord. Now, it’s interesting that Jesus appeared to just over five hundred eyewitnesses over the course of about forty days and there’s no other record in all of human history of a mass hallucination of everyone having the same vision at the same time, but that’s how we have to explain it away.

Here's what is fascinating. The late, great Jewish scholar [Pinchas Lapied], he does not believe Jesus is the Messiah, but based on the historical evidence cannot explain any other way but that Jesus really did raise from the grave.

Historical person, crucified, buried, empty. His disciples believed that He appeared to them. And then, finally, the transformation of the disciples and the conversion of skeptics.

Now, I want you to think about this. Christianity did not begin hundreds of miles away from Jerusalem and it did not begin hundreds of years after the crucifixion. Christianity began in the heart of Jerusalem right where Jesus was crucified, just days after He was crucified.

Peter and the disciples, before the execution of Jesus, they deserted Him, they were locking themselves in a room afraid that their fate was going to be the same. Peter denied Him three times. And post the resurrection, all of a sudden you see Peter bold. He’s declaring. And eventually all of the disciples, ten would be executed for their faith and belief in Jesus, one would be exiled.

And then you see the skeptics. Paul, Saul – he was originally called – persecuting and wanting to stamp out this new movement encounters the risen Jesus as he says. And he then begins to become one of the greatest minds and proclaimers of the Christian faith, and was ultimately executed for his faith.

Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT wrote, “The historical evidence for the resurrection is as good as for almost any event in ancient history.”

Friends, listen, all of Christianity hinges upon the historical event of the resurrection. And so, back to our question. How did this carpenter-turned-rabbi who lived in an obscure part of the Roman Empire reshape the world as we know it? One word. Resurrection.

Historians have no other way of explaining how this group even got off the ground. One word. Resurrection.

The first followers of Jesus believed the resurrection carried life-altering significance. The first followers of Jesus believed His resurrection carried life-altering significance. Why? Because Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” And then He came back from the grave.

And so they said, “Whatever You said and whoever You claim to be, You are indeed and You have my entire life.” Do you believe this? I believe it to the point of death. And so, Jesus said resurrection is a person. And as a result, resurrection is personal.

What I love about John chapter 11 is in this moment, in this declaration, there is a funeral going on. There is grieving going on. And Jesus doesn’t look at them and go, “It’s going to be okay. Stop crying. Don’t worry about it. Suck it up. I’m going to do something great in a second, guys.” In fact, we get the shortest verse in all of the Bible. Do you know what the shortest verse is? Jesus wept.

Because resurrection, think about this, showed up onto the scene and saw the devastation of sin, saw the ravaging of death, and what it did to His creation and to His people that He loved. And resurrection wept. Resurrection is personal. Resurrection wept and saw your hurt and your pain and your, what you are walking through and doesn’t say, “Just suck it up it’s going to be better one day.” It hurts with you. And then Resurrection wasn’t willing to just hurt with you. He suffered with you; became one of us, Resurrection.

And Resurrection was betrayed and Resurrection was denied and Resurrection was beaten and Resurrection was spat on and Resurrection was nailed to a cross. And as He was nailed to a cross, His words were, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” as He cries out for His creation.

And as He took on the weight and the pain and the sin of all humanity, He cries out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” As the full weight of everything we have ever done wrong was placed upon Resurrection.

And as He breathed His last, He said, “It is finished.” It is final. And Resurrection was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb and it was silent. And the grave could not hold Resurrection. And on the third day, He came back to life, because He is the author of life. And Jesus says, “Do you believe this?”

And where do you need resurrection? Where do you need it? Because chances are you walked in and there are parts of you that are dead, there are parts of you that are dying, there are parts of the pain and where you’re at and what you’re walking through. And He says: I came to bring resurrection. It’s personal.

And so resurrection is a personal relationship with Jesus. It’s personal, it’s not ritual. It’s relationship, it’s not religion. It’s presence, not performance. Where do you need resurrection?