R.A.I.S.E.D. Part 1
My hope in our time together around God’s word on this Easter Sunday morning that you leave Hope Fellowsihp convinced that the resurrection is central and essential to Christianity. Without the resurrection, we have nothing. But with it, the resurrection changes everything!
Over the next few days we're going to walk through Acts 2 to see how this first sermon by Peter speaks so clearly about the resurrection and why it is essential to Christianity. To do so, each point will fill out the acronym “R.A.I.S.E.D”
"R" REALLY DEAD
Look with me at verse 23. Jesus was really killed. He really died. Peter says, “you crucified and killed.” There can be no resurrection if there was not a death-- No one walked away from a crucifixion. Over the years people have thought of a lot of different theories about the death of Christ. Islam would teach that Jesus was a prophet with Judas being the replacement for Jesus on the cross. Others have said that Jesus didn’t really die, but merely, “swooned” and revived after being put in a cool tomb.
To combat these ideas,remember first that Jesus was famous-- if you look at verses 22 and 23 we see that Peter points out that Jesus was well known for his mighty works and signs. "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know––this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."
Everybody knew Jesus. The crucifixion was a public event. It was important that the Romans to make sure it is the right person on the cross and to ensure that he was actually dead. The thought that they wouldn’t know if someone were dead when they were experts in crucifixion and ensuring the death of a criminal on a cross is highly improbable especially when breathing was so labored on the cross it was obvious when someone was no longer breathing. At the end of Mark we see that the Centurion in charge of his execution personally testifies to Pilate that he was dead.
In accordance with the eye-witnesses and noted by ancient historians like Josephus, and predicted by scripture itself, Jesus of Nazareth was killed on the Roman cross, buried according to custom and the tomb sealed with a large rolling stone, having been scourged, beaten, crucified and pierced in the side then wrapped in 100 pounds of suffocating cloths and spices. Jesus was dead.
Does someone have to believe that Jesus really died a physical death? Yes. Jesus just living a good life or being a good moral teacher is not enough to save from sin. There must be death. He really died.