I WILL RISE AGAIN.
Intro. Jesus has come to Jerusalem with some of His disciples and when He observed the merchandising in the Temple, He made a whip and drove out those who sold the oxen and sheep, and the money changers.
I. THE CHALLENGE OF THE JEWS.
A. He had called the temple, His Father's house and the disciples had remembered the scripture, "The zeal of the Father's house has eaten Him up."
1. The Jews are seeking a sign from Him showing by what authority He had taken on Himself the purging of the marketplace in the temple.
2. God had promised in the past to give them signs.
a. "The Lord shall give you a sign, behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel."
b. When the angels appeared to the shepherds they said, "And this shall be the sign unto you, you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
c. Paul told the Corinthians that the Jews seek a sign. There must be something about their nature that they require a sign.
B. Again in chapter 6, we will find them asking Him for a sign that they might believe Him.
C. Matthew tells us in chapter 12 that certain of the scribes and Pharisees came to Him and said, "We would see a sign from You." Jesus responded that a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign would be given to it except that of the prophet Jonah.
1. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
2. This is very similar to the sign that He gave to them here at the beginning of His ministry.
3. They both have to do with the three days.
a. Here He says that when they destroy this temple, He will rebuild it in three days.
b. Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale.
c. Both signs have to do with His resurrection from the dead.
II. THE SIGN OF HIS REBUILDING THE TEMPLE IN THREE DAYS.
A. They did not understand what He was saying, and had misinterpreted in thinking that He was referring to the temple that He had just cleansed.
1. They were chagrined at His audacity.
2. They responded that they had been building that temple for forty-six years.
a. This was very true, and even after forty-six years it was still not completed.
b. They would be working for another 20 years before the completion.
3. They thought He was talking about the temple of Herod that He had just cleansed.
a. Mark tells us that when Jesus was being tried one of the witnesses against Him said that he heard Jesus say that if they destroyed the temple made with hands, in three days He would build another temple made without hands.
b. This sounds a little like Paul's statement to the Corinthians when he said, "And we know that when this house of our earthly tabernacle is dissolved, we have a building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Paul was contrasting our earthly bodies with our heavenly bodies.
B. It is important to remember that John is writing years after the fact, and thus writes with the advantage of hindsight, so he explains to us just what Jesus meant.
1. He said that Jesus was talking about the temple of His body.
2. It was a prophecy of His resurrection from the dead.
3. After His resurrection they remembered this saying.
C. Jesus declared that the only sign that would be given to the doubting world would be the resurrection.
1. This is the most powerful proof that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
2. Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
D. Paul said, "The gospel that I preached unto you which you have received, wherein you stand, by which you are saved, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
1. Paul asserted that without the resurrection we have no gospel, but are still in our sins, and of all men most miserable.
2. The death of Christ for our sins would be invalidated if it were not for the resurrection.
3. His claims of being the Son of God, the Messiah, would all be nothing more than the empty boasts of a deluded man.
4. All of the miracles were done by chicanery, He was perhaps an illusionist, or perhaps there is a rational explanation.
III. THE ISSUE OF THE RESURRECTION, DID CHRIST RISE FROM THE DEAD?
A. To put it very bluntly you have two choices: yes or no. You either believe that He did or He didn't.
1. You have the story of the Jewish religious leaders that the disciples came in the night and stole the body from the tomb while the soldiers were sleeping.
2. You have the story of the disciples that they came to the tomb and found it empty and then began a series of appearances of Jesus to His followers over a period of forty days.
3. Both stories cannot be true, you must either believe one or the other.
B. Luke, who was a doctor, and had the opportunity to personally examine many of the eyewitnesses, declared that He showed Himself alive after His death by many infallible proofs.
1. His conclusion was that the evidence of the resurrection was overwhelming.
2. In my opinion, it is easier to believe than not to believe.
3. You have the testimony of men of great integrity and strong character, men who espoused the highest moral values, who witnessed that they saw and talked to the risen Lord.
4. To not believe in the resurrection of Jesus takes some incredible explanation.
a. What happened to His body?
b. Don't you think that a massive search would have been launched to try to find the body of Jesus.
c. Certainly the disciples were tortured and killed for declaring that He was risen.
d. Don't you think that under this pressure, one of them would have confessed to the hoax, had it indeed been a hoax?
C. If you do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus, there is no doubt another reason other than a careful search of all of the evidence from which you have formed your considered opinion.
1. The truth of the matter is that basically you do not because you do not want to believe.
2. Why would a person not want to believe?
a. The strongest reason I know is that they desire to live a life of immorality that Jesus strongly condemned.
b. For them to believe would require a radical change of lifestyle that they are unwilling to forgo.
c. They would have to give up their drugs, or their illicit sex, or their stealing, or whatever else they might be doing that is contrary to strong moral principles. They would have to start being honest, loving, forgiving and merciful.
d. Jesus said that those who do not believe in Him are condemned because they love the darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil.
D. Why would a person want to believe?
1. Because they have found the emptiness and frustration that life of sin finally brings a person to.
2. They are tired of carrying around their sense of guilt and desire forgiveness.
3. They need some reason for living beside lust and greed.
4. They desire a better life now and a hope for the future.
E. Believe it or not, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, though they sought to destroy the temple of His body, on the third day He raised it up.
1. To believe brings a hope for eternal life.
2. To not believe leaves you hopeless.