While believing in Jesus gives us hope, Christianity is not based on hope or blind faith. It’s based on evidence. As an eyewitness to many of Jesus’ miracles, the apostle John reminds us that the supernatural feats of Jesus are not just random acts of kindness meant to help and inspire people. They are signs that give evidence for who Jesus is.
Over this 7 week series we are looking at 7 signs that point to the identity of Jesus. In this sixth part of the series we find the most critical of all of the signs – the one we still celebrate on Easter Sunday every year – the resurrection of Jesus. You can read about this sign in John’s account of Jesus’ life chapters 19 and 20. You can find that here.
We believe in things based on the evidence, the experts and the people who are telling us about their experiences.
The big question Easter poses to all of us whether we are Christians, sceptics, explorers or athiests is “who is Jesus?”
We have been looking together at some of the critical events from the life of Jesus as recorded for us by someone who was there, an eyewitness, a bystander who’s name was John.
John’s passion was to extend an invitation to us to see in our minds eye what he had seen with his actual eyes and to extend an invitation with us to believe what he had come to believe.
Today we start in chapter 19 where we get John’s account of the crucifixion and the things that Jesus said from the cross. And in verses 25 to 27 we find who was there. John gives us eyewitness details – things that only someone who was there would know.
Jesus dies with the words “it is finished” – he is accomplishing what he always intended. He is not a victim but a servant, this is not a cry of desolation but an announcement of triumph.
Don’t skip over what John says in verse 35. John is saying I saw it, I was there. In other words I’m swearing to you that this is exactly what happened. It is as if John is reaching out through the ages and grabbing each of us by the shoulders and looking into our eyes. He is saying to us “my testimony is true and I am testifying to this, telling you about it, because this is so important and I want you to trust that I am telling the truth and that you can respond like I responded – by believing.
In chapter 20 starting at verse 1 we get John’s account of the resurrection. Everyone is sceptical at this point. The still didn’t believe. They had annointed Jesus’ body and wrapped it up which is not what you would do if you expected someone to come back from the dead. No one was waiting outside of the tomb on that first Easter Sunday. But in verse 8 it begins to dawn on them that something has changed. Jesus’ body hadn’t been stolen – no one would have left all the linen and cloth so neat and tidy! Something else had happened.
Jesus comes and meets with them and in verses 27 to 29 we get the story of Jesus meeting Thomas. When Thomas saw he believed. But then Jesus reaches through the ages to speak to all of us who would come. Blessed are the people who read the accounts and believe.
And John finishes his account of the crucifixion and resurrection with the words we have looked at over and over again in this series in verses 30 and 31. John says I have written these down because I want you to see what I saw. I want you to know what happened and I want you to know what it took to convince me Jesus was who he said he was – and it took the resurrection. And if you are convinced about that too and if you believe, you can find life. Life that comes from forgiveness of your sins, from knowing that there is a purpose beyond what you are experiencing, that there is a light in the dark times and hope that there is more, a God who walks with you and beside you and an eternal destiny with your heavenly father waiting for you.
Would you take a step of faith with me today? Take a step to consider of belief that Jesus really did rise from the dead and that it changes everything? If you would like to do that please email us a firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get in touch with you to help you start your journey.
To find out more about Next Steps at Andover Baptist Church check out the NextSteps web page.
Questions to reflect on in your small group or on your own:
- As you looked at the Easter story again what impacted you most?
- How has your belief or non belief been challenged or changed over the past few weeks?
- Why do you think so many of Jesus’ friends and family weren’t at his crucifixion?
- What does it say about Jesus that even in his greatest suffering he was thinking about others?
- Why do you think none of his friends of followers expected him to rise from the dead? How were they feeling on the Friday and Saturday before the Sunday?
- When things started to change for them and they started to believe, what started to change for them?
- Are you ever like Thomas, wanting more evidence? What evidence is there?
- Are you ready to proclaim that Jesus is your Lord and your God? What will that change?
Listen to the full talk on our podcast below…