How to Respond to the Resurrection

Apr 12

How to Respond to the Resurrection

Luke 24:1-3; Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30


While the calendar says that today is Easter Sunday, the truth is that Easter is not just
confined to a celebration one day a year, but the resurrection of Jesus has transformed all
cosmic reality.

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.”            -Luke 24:1-9


Why Does the Resurrection of Jesus Matter?

 

        What did that news mean to Jesus’ disciples? The angels told the women to go and
tell the others that Jesus was alive. Why would that matter? Why would that change their
lives? Why does it matter to us?

           All the way back in Genesis 3, immediately after Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s
authority in their lives, God made a promise that he would one day send someone to reverse
the curse of sin that they had brought in to the world. And throughout the OT we see God’s
plan to reverse the curse of sin unfolding. God established a people to mediate the blessing
his presence to the world around them. They were supposed to be a reflection and picture of
what God intended life to be. They were supposed to be a community that welcomed in
strangers, cared for the poor, protected the vulnerable, and worshiped Yahweh.

        But you don’t have to be an expert biblical scholar to see that all throughout the Old
Testament, most of the time, God’s people were failing at all these things. They weren’t being
the blessing to the nations that God had called them to be. In fact, by the time Jesus arrived
on the scene in the first century, the Jews were essentially doing the opposite of what God had
called them to do. Instead of turning outward in a posture of grace towards the nations around
them, they had turned inward in a posture of arrogance and superiority. Add to this that they
were living under the authoritarian rule of the Roman government, rather than being a free
nation.

        So what the Jews clung to, were these old Testament promises, going all the way back
to Genesis 3, of this Messiah, this Savior, this King who would come and rescue his people,
and restore all of life in His kingdom to the way it was meant to be. The OT spoke of this
Messianic figure as one who would proclaim liberty to the captives, put his enemies under his
feet, and have the government resting upon his shoulders. He was one who would rule with
complete justice and mercy.

       Now as you would expect, if the creator of the universe had promised you that He was
going to send a Savior King to vanquish your enemies, and establish his kingdom on the earth,
your expectations for this person would have been pretty high. You would have expected him
to come with quite a bit of fanfare. Instead, a nobody from Nazareth named Jesus claimed that
he was the guy. And he wasn’t an imposing or opposing figure. Instead he hung out with the
lower class, he was not liked by the religious establishment, his biggest followers were a group
of misfits with no political or social influence. And yet he gained a following. A big one. In fact
his following became so large and so fierce that they tried to make him their king by force on
palm Sunday. Both the Jewish religious leaders and the roman government saw this as a
problem. And they had the solution. Kill him. Make an example of him. And so they killed him
in the worst way reserved for only the worst criminals, and make a mockery of him, and the
Roman governor Pilate even put a sign at the top of the cross Jesus was nailed to that said,
“This is the King of the Jews”

        None of Jesus’ disciples really understood what had happened. They had seen Jesus
calm storms and raise the dead. How could he be killed? And they were hopeless. In fact,
after Jesus crucifixion one disciple said, “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem
Israel” (Luke 24:21).
      Now let’s go back to those women at the tomb. Luke 24:1-3 

“But on the first day ofthe week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they didnot find the body of the Lord Jesus.”
      What they discovered that morning was that Jesus was in fact the Messiah. He was the
one promised in Genesis 3. He was the one sent by God to reverse the curse of sin, and the
way he did it was by taking the curse of sin on himself on the cross, and then defeating it
completely by coming back to life to reclaim all of creation as his rightful kingdom.
So why does the news of Jesus’ resurrection matter? It matters because it means that
Jesus is King. That is the good news of the gospel! The crucified Messiah is raised from the
dead and God has made him Lord of all. This is good news because it means he is the ruler of
the universe who will one day completely reverse the curse of sin and restore everything as it
was intended to be. It means that he is the one who proclaims liberty to the captives, has the
government on his shoulders, will place his enemies under his feet, and will rule with complete
justice and mercy. That’s good news!


What Do We Do As A Result?

      So if Jesus is alive and he is King, what does that mean for us? What do we do? Now
the answer is very simple, but there is a problem. The answer to that question has become
something of a dirty word. A misused word. A misunderstood word. So before I tell you what
the word is, I want to let Jesus himself describe it to you.
Once while Jesus hanging with some ‘unsavory’ types of people, Luke 15 says, the
religious leaders “grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’” So
Jesus told them the story of two sons. The younger son came to his dad and said, “Dad, I
want you to give me my share of the inheritance that I’m supposed to receive when you die.
Because what you can give to me is more important than you who are to me.” That must’ve
been heartbreaking for the father, but he gave his son the money, and so the young son left his
father and family behind for a different country, and squandered all his property in reckless
living.

        As soon as he had wasted all of his money on parties and prostitutes, there was a
severe famine, and all his friends abandoned him. He was so in need that he hired himself to a
man who sent him to the feed his pigs. And this young son was so hungry, that even the pig
slop looked good to him, and he was about to eat it.
Luke records the account like this:
“17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat meas one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”

       This beautiful picture that Jesus painted for us, is a picture of repentance. Our culture
has attacked the word ‘repentance’ and made it ugly. But according to Jesus, repentance is
the beginning of a celebration. When the religious leaders were grumbling against Jesus for
spending time with sinners Jesus said,
What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders,rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors,saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”And then he said, “8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin,does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    According to Jesus, repentance is trading pig slop for a feast in our father’s house.
Repentance isn’t dark and miserable, it’s full of hope and life!
And the reason that this matters, is because if we look through the New Testament, the
proper response to the news that Jesus is raised from the dead that we see again and again is
repentance.

     The first sermon that Peter ever preached after the resurrection of Jesus is recorded for
us in Acts 2, and as he preached to a crowd in Jerusalem he said, “Let all the house of Israel
therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom
you crucified.” And verse 37 says, “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart,
and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ And Peter
said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
the forgiveness of your sins.’”

     The proper response to the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord is to repent. We see
this again in Acts 17:30 when Paul, preaching to the Greeks says, “God commands all people
everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in
righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to
all by raising him from the dead.”
       The news that Jesus has been raised from the dead, that he is the Messiah, that he is
the King of Kings who is alive today means that we must repent.

What Is Repentance?

     The word repentance simply means to turn around. In fact, it implies a return. The son
in the story that Jesus told had to turn around and return to this father’s house. He had to turn
from his old life, and turn to a new life—life as a son in his father’s house.

    So on Easter Sunday, when we remember the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, our
response should be to repent. To turn around. To turn from a life opposed to God, and turn to
a life of feasting in His house, because

• Repentance is trading pig slop for a feast
• Repentance is trading shame for glory
• Repentance is trading ashes for beauty
• Repentance is trading mourning for dancing
• Repentance is trading loneliness for family
• Repentance is trading sorrow for joy
• Repentance is trading anxiety for comfort
• Repentance is trading fear for peace
• Repentance is trading judgment for mercy
• Repentance is trading our sins for Christ’s righteousness
• Repentance is trading death for life.

Every one of us needs to come to that repentance moment in our lives where we look at
the pig slop and we say, ‘enough is enough.’ My prayer is that today would be the day of
repentance for you.