This is commentary on Matthew 28:8-20 and John 11:21-26 regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It gives five impacts the resurrection can have on our lives. It focuses on the the question, “What difference does the resurrection of Jesus make in my life?”
Take your Bible and turn to Matthew 28.
On Easter Sunday Little Johnny listened as his Sunday school teacher told the class that the lesson would be about the meaning of Easter. “Can anyone tell the Easter story?” she asked. When no one volunteered to speak, she called on Frank.
“Umm, I don’t think I know,” Frank said. The teacher reassured him that was okay and moved on to Betty. “I don’t know how to tell it,” she responded.
Finally, little Johnny decided to raise his hand. He said he would tell the Easter story. The teacher was pleasantly surprised at his willingness, since he was usually the class clown.
So Johnny began to tell the story. Here is what he said. “On Easter, Jesus and his disciples were eating the Jewish Passover at the last supper, but later Jesus was betrayed and turned over to the Romans by one of his disciples. He was accused of teaching he was the Messiah and when he confessed it, the Romans made him wear a crown of thorns, took him to be crucified, and hung him on a cross with nails through his hands and feet. He said, ‘It is finished’ which means ‘Debt paid in full’ and died. He was definitely dead because the water was separated from his blood when they stabbed his side. So they buried him in a nearby cave on Friday which was sealed off by a large boulder.”
The teacher gasped with excitement, “Very good, Johnny! And what else happened that we celebrate on Easter?”
Johnny thought for a moment before continuing. He said, “Now, on Easter Sunday each year, we move the bolder aside so that Jesus can come out. And if he sees his shadow, then we know there will be six more weeks of winter!”
Without the resurrection of Christ, Christianity is just another good story. The resurrection of Christ makes all the difference. It is the centerpiece of the Christian faith. With it Christ is Lord, without it Christ is dead. With it we have hope, without it we have hopelessness. The Bible clearly teaches that without Christ’s resurrection the gospel is meaningless. But the Bible also shouts loud and clear that because of the Lord’s resurrection we can have eternal life and abundant life.
Today I want to answer the question, “What difference does Easter make in my life?” What impact can the resurrection have upon you and me personally? I want you to see five differences the resurrection can make in your life.
The Resurrection makes a difference in my endurance
First of all, the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes a difference in my ENDURANCE. My spiritual endurance. Because of the resurrection I have reason and strength to not give up in life, on anything. I have a reason to be determined in life. After Jesus resurrected from the grave He told His followers in Matthew 28:20, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (NLT). Because of the resurrection power in me, I can endure any problem to the very end.
Before the resurrection the disciples felt as if death had conquered their cause and there hope. They felt nothing but dejection, discouragement and confusion. They believed Jesus had died and was gone for good. Some of them wanted to give up and some already had. The whole scene of Jesus being beaten, whipped and crucified was dark and horrible. During this time His disciples thought the cause was over. They were thinking they had lost the battle. Many disciples were down and had thrown in the towel of defeat. When it all looked like it was over. When it looked like the devil had won. When it looked like Jesus had lost… God had a plan. He wasn’t through. God still had the ball and there was still time left on the clock.
The lesson God wants us to learn is this: There is never a time in the life of a Christian when he should despair. There is no reason for me to give up on life. There is no reason for me to give up on that person I’ve been praying for. Jesus is saying, “I will be with you and I will work in you, through you, and for you to the very end. Don’t give up. Don’t despair. Stay faithful in prayer until the end. Persevere in godliness unto the end. Endure to the very end.” Because of the resurrection I know that even when my hopes look like they are dead and buried Jesus still has resurrection power that can do the impossible. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ I can endure any problem, any heartache and any setback in my life because Jesus will be with me to the very end.
The Resurrection makes a difference in my enthusiasm
So how does the resurrection of Jesus Christ make a difference in my life? It makes a difference in my endurance, but it also makes a difference in my ENTHUSIASM. There is something about knowing in your heart that Jesus is alive that creates motivation, inspiration and enthusiasm about life. Look with me at Matthew 28:8, “The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message” (NLT). After the women encountered the risen Lord they were filled with joy.
We see this happening again in Luke 24:52 right before Jesus ascended up to heaven. Jesus had been talking to many of His followers after He resurrected and then after He ascended the Bible says, “They worshiped Him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy” (NLT). They were filled with enthusiasm about Christ, about their life, and about the good news of Jesus Christ.
I believe one of the greatest examples of a life that went from despair to great enthusiasm for God was that of Peter. During the trial and crucifixion of Jesus you could find Peter warming his hands by the fire and when asked if He knew Jesus… he just cursed His name and denied that he ever knew Him. Then, in just a matter of days, Peter went from warming his hands by the fire to being on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ. Preaching a powerful message on the day of Pentecost. What made the difference? What changed Him? What changed Peter from a coward to a crusader? When did he change? When he found out Jesus was alive. It was the resurrection and the Holy Spirit in His life that made the difference! The only reason we are able to experience true joy and enthusiasm in life is because of what Jesus did on the cross and through the grave.
As a believer we should be the most enthusiastic people we know because we have the true source of enthusiasm living within us. We are to be the most enthusiastic people about life and about the future.
The Resurrection makes a difference in my evangelism
The resurrection of Christ makes a difference in my spiritual endurance, my enthusiasm for life and number three, it makes a difference in my EVANGELISM. Evangelism is one of those Christian words that describes the act and desire of wanting others to know about Jesus and the good news of salvation in Him. Look again at Matthew 28:18. After Jesus resurrected from the grave He tells the disciples the following, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (NLT).
Because of our Lord’s great conquering of the grave, we have a great message to give. You know, the gospel story would be a little empty if it ended with Jesus going to the cross and being buried in a tomb. But that is not where it ends. It ends with Jesus defeating death, hell, Satan and the grave. And that a makes a difference in our story, in our evangelism and in our testimony. Because of the resurrection we have the greatest story and testimony of all time.
We know Jesus loves us and we love Jesus and we love people and because of this we want others to know the love of Jesus and what He can do in their life now and the afterlife. The resurrection of Christ, for the believer, is a driving force because it proves to us that everything about Jesus is true. This is why we are able to say with Romans 1, “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes” (v.16, NLT).
The Resurrection makes a difference in my everyday life
The resurrection of Christ makes a difference in my spiritual endurance, my enthusiasm for life, my evangelism of others, and number four, the resurrection makes a difference in my EVERYDAY LIFE. Matthew 28:20 says something very encouraging to me. Look at it carefully again. Jesus said, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (NLT). Jesus said, “I am with you always. I am with you during the good times. During the bad times. I am with you when you are healthy and when you are sick. I am with you when you are on the mountain or in the valley. I am with you when you are rich or poor. I am with you today and I will be with you tomorrow. I am with you during, in the middle and after the divorce. I am with you at your job. I am with you when you are a parent trying to raise and train your kids. I am with your when you are a teenager trying to figure out your place in this world. I am with you when you feel old and feel forgotten.” He makes a difference in my everyday life because He is always with me everyday. And He can help me everyday because of the resurrection power that comes from the Holy Spirit.
Listen carefully to Ephesians 1:20 in light of the resurrection. The Bible says, “How incredibly great is His power to help those who believe Him… the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead!” (LB). To me that is awesome. As a believer and follower in Jesus, Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. And those sins you still struggle with in your life, God knows about them and He still loves you and He will help you grow and overcome them. He is with you every day: helping you, guiding you, correcting you, and leading you. That’s a good thing.
The Resurrection makes a difference in my eternity
So far we have seen that Christ’s resurrection makes a difference in my spiritual endurance, my enthusiasm for life, my evangelism of others, and my everyday life… but now I want you to see the difference it CAN make in your ETERNITY. There is an incredible event in the life of Lazarus and Jesus in John 11. Lazarus had died and has been dead for four days. Mary and Martha were upset and grieving. They had asked Jesus earlier to return so that He could help in some way. When Jesus heard the news about Lazarus being dead, instead of leaving immediately, He waited around for a few days then went. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she went to meet Him. We pick up with the story at their encounter. Listen to how John describes this event in John 11:21-26,
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (NLT)
Jesus is talking about spiritual life and spiritual death. Jesus just said, “If you want to have eternal life you must believe in Me.” The only way to heaven is the road that Jesus built through His life, death and resurrection. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Do you believe that? I want to tell you about someone who did.
It was obvious that eight-year-old Stephen’s mental issues were becoming even more severe. His Sunday school teacher did her best to include Stephen in the classroom activities and to avoid situations, which might prompt his classmates to make fun of him.
In April, she gave each of the eight children in the class an empty large plastic egg and instructed them to place inside the container an object that represented new life in spring. Fearing that Stephen might not have caught on, and not wanting to embarrass him, the teacher had the children place all the containers on the desk so that she could open them.
The first had a tiny flower in it. The teacher said, “What a lovely sign of new life.” At that one student said, “I brought that one.”
The teacher opened the next plastic egg and found a rock. The teacher assumed this must be Stephen’s, since rocks don’t symbolize new life. But Billy shouted that his rock had moss on it, and moss represented new life. “Very good, Billy,” agreed the teacher.
A butterfly flew from the third egg and another child bragged that her choice was the best of all.
The fourth egg was empty. This must be Stephen’s thought the teacher, while reaching for a different one.
Stephen interrupted and said, “Don’t skip mine, go ahead and open it.”
“But it’s empty, Stephen.” Said the teacher as gently as she could.
But Stephen quickly said, “That’s right, the tomb was empty, and that represents new life for everyone.”
Later that summer, Stephen’s condition worsened and he eventually went on to be with His Lord. At his funeral on his casket, mourners found eight large plastic egg containers, all of them empty.
This true story of Stephen reminds us of the hope we all have because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of the empty tomb you can have eternal life.
The QUESTION you need to ask yourself is, “Do I believe that Jesus rose from the grave and that He can save me?” Have you placed your faith in Christ? Jesus proved that He is Lord when He conquered the grave. Have you accepted His Lordship and leadership over your life? Today, would be a great day for you to give your life, your marriage, your career, your family and your future to the Lord Jesus.
- Jesus loves you and wants to forgive you of your sins so you can have eternal life. If you would like to receive Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life and become a follower of Jesus, then let me point you in the right direction. Every head bowed, every eye closed. [Lead in a salvational prayer]. If you accepted Jesus as the Lord of your life today, we want to rejoice with you and help you grow as a believer. If you would take a Connection Card in the back of the pew in front of you, fill it out, and write on there you accepted Christ today and give it to me, Ben, Chris, or drop it off at the Welcome Center we will contact this week.
- If you are already a believer you need someone talk too or you needing some pastoral, Biblical advice we want to help. Fill out the Connection Card and let us know. We will get in contact with you.
- If there is something on your heart right now that cannot wait, we will hang around after church and be glad to talk with you.