Easter Sunday is also known as "Resurrection Sunday" because on the third day after His crucifixion, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. In this message we will learn why the resurrection of Jesus was unstoppable, and we will also see how the ripple effects of His resurrection are still being felt in our world today - 2,000 years after He walked out of the tomb.
A train pulls away from the station.
Think in your mind, old school locomotive at the train after the train picks up, steam is hurtling down the tracks and there is nothing that would dare to get in its way.
But a few miles down the tracks in the woods, a couple of guys from the wrong side of the tracks, they see the smoke from the train in the distance and they come up with a genius idea.
They want to try and stop the train because they can see the smoke.
They can tell that the train will be arriving where they are very soon. And so they devised devise a plan.
They run on quickly and get a couple of items.
One of these items is a roll of paper towel and the other is a spray bottle with water in it.
They come back to the train tracks and find two trees, one on either side of the track, and they attach one end of the roll of paper towel to one tree.
Then they stretch out the roll across the track and attach the other end of the roll to the other tree.
This makes a barrier that they're going to use to stop the train when it comes and just to make sure their plan will work real good. They take the spray bottle and lightly spray the paper towel to make extra sure that the train won't be able to break through it.
So what's going to happen when the train finally arrives and makes contact with the wet paper towel resistance that's been set up?
Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Nothing will happen except that the ridiculous resistance that was set up will be passed through as if it weren't even there.
This is a picture of what happened on Easter Sunday when Jesus was killed and then placed in the tomb on Good Friday. There was absolutely no resistance that could have been applied to him that would have kept him from rising from the dead on the third day after his death.
Anything that tried to keep Jesus resurrection at bay would be like two guys trying to use a damp paper towel to stop a locomotive moving at full speed.
There would be zero resistance. It would be completely futile. This is because the resurrection is an unstoppable force.
What was it that made it so unstoppable? Well, there are at least four things I want you to consider.
There are four powerful truths pertaining to the resurrection that made the resurrection of Jesus an unstoppable force, one God plan, the resurrection to God promised the resurrection. Three, God proved the resurrection and for God personified the resurrection. Let's look at these one at a time. Number one, God planned the resurrection. After Jesus rose from the dead, the apostle Peter stood in front of a large crowd that had gathered in Jerusalem for the Jewish celebration of Pentecost, and he preached the very first sermon of the church.
That sermon can be found in the Book of Acts in Chapter two. And here's an excerpt from that sermon. 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 for knowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised them up, losing the pangs of death because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Did you hear that Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, the whole thing was rigged.
God planned the death and the resurrection of the son. People didn't do what they did to Jesus against God's will. It was God's will, he planned it and orchestrated the whole thing.
If you study this idea in the Bible further, you will come to realize that God planned the resurrection of Jesus before he laid the foundation of the world.
If the resurrection was a locomotive, the resurrection left the stage, left the station, and eternity past God planned this whole thing out a very long time before it happened.
So if God planned to raise Jesus from the dead, who would be able to stop his plan? Number two, God promised the resurrection, God didn't plan the resurrection and then decided to keep it a secret, he made his plans about the resurrection known through his prophets that he sent into the world. God promised the resurrection when he talked about the resurrection before the resurrection ever happened. Jobs says this about the resurrection in Job Chapter 19, for I know that my redeemer lives.
And at the last he will stand upon the earth and after my skin has been thus destroyed.
Yet in my flesh, I shall see God whom I shall see for myself in my eyes shall behold and not another.
My heart faints within me. Jobs spoke about a future resurrection, saying that even though his skin or his body would be destroyed, yet in his flesh or in his body, he will see God. Jobs said that even though he would die, there would be a time when he would be alive again to see God, that's resurrection talk.
Listen also to what the prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah, chapter 26, verse 19. But your dad will live, their bodies will rise. Those who live in the dust will wake up and shout for joy. For you to do is like the dew of dawn and the earth will give birth to the dead.
This is plane resurrection talk, God is giving us hints in the Old Testament that there would be a resurrection of some sort, but then he gets a little more specific when we hear what David writes in Psalm 16, in verse 10.
He says, for you will not abandon my soul to Sheol or let your holy one see corruption, the term, your holy one is a reference to the Messiah, the savior that would come into the world. David says that God wouldn't let his holy one see corruption. This is a reference to the savior dying.
But the savior won't be dead long enough for his body to go through the natural decaying process. His body wouldn't see corruption. This is because the Messiah would resurrect from the dead before that could happen.
Job, Isaiah and David all spoke in the Old Testament Testament period about the resurrection. And then God's final prophet came on the scene, the son of God himself, Jesus Christ and Jesus also promised the resurrection, but he specifically promised his very own resurrection, not just once, but three times.
He said he would rise from the dead in Matthew Chapter six. Twenty one. It says, From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed. And on the third day be raised in Matthew Chapter 17, In verses 22 to 23. It says, as they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, The son of man is about to be delivered into the hands of men and they will kill him and he will be raised on the third day and they were greatly distressed.
And then in Matthew, Chapter 20, verses 17 to 19, it says, and as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the 12 disciples aside. And on the way he said to them, See, we're going up to Jerusalem. And the son of man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. And he will be raised on the third day.
Do you see it? God spoke plainly through his prophets that there would be a resurrection from the dead by saying there would be one. He promised there would be one. And if God promised the resurrection, who or what could ever keep him from fulfilling that promise? Number three, God proved the resurrection. Now, plans and promises are just talk until proof is provided that shows those plans and promises can actually be accomplished is a good thing that Jesus didn't just talk about the resurrection.
He demonstrated he had the power to do it. Jesus performed countless miracles throughout his three year public ministry. Before his death, he opened blind eyes. He loosened tongues that couldn't speak. He unstopped deaf ears. He enabled paralyzed people to walk. He cast out leprosy with a touch.
He cast out demons with a word. He did so many miracles that John said these words at the end of his gospel in John. Twenty one twenty five, he says.
Now, there are also many other things that Jesus did where every one of them to be written. I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
Jesus performed countless miracles during his earthly ministry. Out of all the documented miracles that Jesus did, three of them were of the resurrection variety.
Listen to these accounts. The first one is found in Luke's Gospel Luke, Chapter seven verses 11 to 17. Soon afterward, he went to a town called Name and his Disciples and a great crowd went with them as he drew near to the gate of the town. Behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother. And she was a widow. And a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, Do not weep.
Then he came and touched the beer and the bearers stood still and he said, Young man, I say to you, arise. And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all and they glorified God, saying a great prophet has arisen among us and God has visited his people.
And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. Here's another one also found in Luke's gospel when Jesus raised Jairus daughter, Luke, eight, Verse is 52 to fifty five. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping. And they laughed at him knowing that she was dead, but taken her by the hand. He called saying child arise and her spirit returned.
And she got up at once and he directed that something should be given her to eat. And one more time in the Gospel of John, Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead John Chapter 11 Verse is thirty eight to forty four. Then Jesus deeply moved again, came to the tomb, it was a cave and a stone lay against it, Jesus said, take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, Lord, by this time there will be an order, for he has been dead for days.
Jesus said to her that I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God.
So they took away the stone, and Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me. But I said this on account of the people standing around that they may believe that you sent me. When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice.
Lazarus, come out. The man who had died came out his hands and feet bound with linen strips and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them and bind him and let him go. It's one thing to plan the resurrection, it's one thing to promise the resurrection is another thing altogether to prove that you have the power to do the resurrection.
That's what Jesus did when he performed these resurrection miracles. Which brings us to number four, God personified the resurrection. There's this exchange that took place between Jesus and Martha, who was Lazarus's brother before Jesus Rose Lazarus from the dead.
I want you to listen to this exchange found for us in John Chapter 11 and listen closely for what Jesus says about himself in it.
John, Chapter 11, Verse is 17 to twenty seven. And when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for days, Bethany was near Jerusalem about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him. But Mary remains seated in the house. Mary Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
But even now, I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you. Jesus said to her, your brother will rise again. Martha said to him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection.
On the last day Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he died, yet shall he live? And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to him. Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who is coming into the world. To hear what Jesus said about himself in verse twenty five, he said, I am the resurrection.
He didn't say I have the power to raise people, which he did have. No, it's more than that. He is the resurrection. Jesus is the resurrection personified. You know, the game, rock, paper, scissors, rock, always beats scissors every time without fail, there's a real life version of that game is called Death Resurrection.
When someone puts out death and someone else puts out resurrection, resurrection always beats death every time without fail. And Jesus is the resurrection personified. So what do you think would happen if the one who is the resurrection died? Do you think the resurrection would stay dead? Do you think he could stay dead? It was impossible for him to stay dead and to put these four powerful truths together. God plan the resurrection. God promised the resurrection. God proved that the resurrection, God is the resurrection personified.
And here's the point. With all those things in mind, Good Friday happened. Jesus was betrayed, arrested, falsely accused and falsely tried and sentenced to death.
He was handed over to the Romans who mocked him, tortured him and crucified him. Jesus died on a cross. His body was placed in a tomb. All of that happened on Good Friday. But then on the third day, Easter Sunday happened and nothing could stop Jesus from rising.
On Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus was an unstoppable force, building up steam.
To this point in history, all four of these truths converged at the point in history where Jesus Christ lay dead in the tomb. And then. He wasn't there anymore, he rose because death couldn't hold them. It wasn't strong enough, nothing could keep the resurrection dead.
Anything that would have tried to keep him dead and in the grave would have had as much success as a wet paper towel would in stopping a train barreling down the tracks at full speed.
But do you want to know something funny? There were people who tried to stop Jesus from leaving the tomb.
Listen to what Matthew describes happening on the day after the death of Jesus in Matthew. Chapter twenty seven, Verse is, 62 to 66. We read this. The next day, that is after the day of preparation, which was the Saturday following Good Friday, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before pilot and said, Sir, we remember how that impostor said while he was still alive, after three days, I will rise.
Therefore, order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people he has risen from the dead and the last fraud will be worse than the first pilot said to them. You have a guard of soldiers go make it as secure as you can. So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. This was so stupid on two counts. Count number one, the religious leaders didn't believe Jesus.
They didn't believe his words. It says to In verses 63, they said, Sir, we remember how that impostor said while he was still alive, after three days, I will rise. They knew he said he would rise, but they didn't believe him. They didn't believe his words.
And they also didn't believe the evidence that he gave them after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, you would think that the religious leaders would finally, finally believe that there was something to the claims of who Jesus was.
But instead of believing the evidence of a raised man come back to life, John tells us that they plan to kill Lazarus because so many people were believing in Jesus because Lazarus was alive.
The religious leaders didn't believe Jesus and that was stupid. Count number two of their stupidity. The religious leaders also tried to keep him in the tomb, even though they didn't believe who he was and they didn't believe he would rise from the dead.
They still tried to keep his body in the tomb anyway.
So they roll the stone in front of the tomb and they put up a guard of soldiers in front of the tomb to keep his body in it. Yeah, that was going to work. Can anyone say wet paper towel? He rose anyway, of course. And he walked out of that tomb even before the stone was rolled away. Let's keep reading in. Matthew Matthew. Chapter twenty eight. Verse is one to ten. Now, after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, which was Sunday, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
And behold, there was a great earthquake for an angel of the Lord, descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him, the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the woman, Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen as he said.
Come see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead.
And behold he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him. See, I've told you so. They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said greetings. And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. And there they will see me.
Jesus was already gone by the time the angel came to remove the stone from in front of the tomb in the darkness of the tomb, Jesus overcame death. He conquered it. Death would not and could not keep the light of the world under the cloak of darkness. He rose. And we were talking about this kind of resurrection power.
We need to understand that Jesus didn't need to be let out of the tomb after he rose.
He didn't need to wait for an angel to come rule the stone away so that he could get out.
He wasn't trapped in there. He just left.
The glorified risen Christ is not bound by anything, not bound by time. Space matter, nothing. The stone wasn't rolled away, for Jesus sake. It was rolled the way for for the sake of those who were there that day. The angel said to the women who are there, come see where he was.
He's not here anymore. He's risen. And then the angel also said to them, don't be afraid. I think it's funny that the angel didn't tell everyone there that day not to be afraid, he didn't tell the soldiers to not be afraid.
He only told the women who were there to not be afraid soldiers. You should be afraid. You oppose the king of heaven.
And now the king is not dead anymore. Then the woman left to tell the disciples that Jesus was alive and on their way, they met the risen one and they worshiped him and it was awesome. A question. Now, was that the end of the resurrection story, was it all over after Jesus rose from the dead? Did God apply the brakes to the resurrection train and bring it gently to a full stop and into the station?
Hardly. If anything, the resurrection train only began to pick up steam after Jesus rose from the dead.
Here are just a few quick hitting points to consider in terms of how resurrection power took off after Jesus rose from the dead. A lot of people personally saw Jesus for themselves after he resurrected, he saw himself alive to people over a period of 40 days before he ascended back to heaven.
At one point, there were five hundred people who saw him. At the same time, they got to witness resurrection power for themselves after Jesus rose.
And then after Jesus ascended to heaven, his disciples waited in Jerusalem for the promise, he told them about 10 days after Jesus went back to heaven, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church.
The same resurrection power that Rose Christ from the dead was now living personally inside his people, empowering them to live for him. Before Jesus went back to heaven after his resurrection, he also gave his disciples the charge to tell everyone the gospel. The gospel is the message of the life, death and the resurrection of Jesus. And this message is not your everyday kind of message. This message is the power of salvation to everyone who believes everyone who believes the gospel will be saved from their sins be given eternal life, and they, too, will receive the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, who comes to live inside of them.
And and we look forward to our own resurrection, the day is coming and is soon here when Jesus is going to call his church home to be with him forever in that day, those who are alive will be caught up in the air to meet the Lord, together with those who have trusted in Christ and have died. They will be resurrected to new life and receive the same kind of body that Jesus received when he rose from the dead.
Listen to what the apostle Paul says concerning the resurrection in First Corinthians 15. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we should all be changed.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we shall all be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable and this moral body must put on immortality.
Paul goes on in First Thessalonians, Chapter four. But we do not want you to be uninformed brothers about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do, who have no hope for, since we believe that Jesus died and rose again. Even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this, we declare to you by a word from the Lord that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord will not proceed.
Those who have fallen asleep for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an angel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord, therefore encourage one another with these words. And ever since the resurrection happened, the message of the resurrection has been carried around the world by those filled with resurrection power and people have been believing in the resurrection for the past two thousand years.
God and pump the brakes on the resurrection train after Jesus rose from the dead, the resurrection train only picked up steam after heroes and resurrection power has been experienced by people all over the world ever since. Can anyone, anything stop the unstoppable force that is the resurrection? No, it goes on and on and on and on. But that doesn't mean that people don't try and stop it. Back to Matthew after Jesus left the tomb alive. Listen to this.
While they were going behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place, and when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, tell people his disciples came by night and stole them away while we were asleep. And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble. So they took the money and did as they were directed.
And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. They couldn't keep him in the tomb, and so they switched up their tactics to try to stop the resurrection from spreading. They tried to change the narrative of the story to keep people from believing the real story.
They were like, we know what actually happened, but tell the people a different story. Instead, tell the people his body was stolen. Tell him a different story. Tell them whatever you want. Just don't let people believe that he rose from the dead, make up anything. People do the same thing today, tell people he wasn't a real person, tell people he wasn't God, tell people he didn't actually die, tell people he didn't actually rise.
Every false religion in the world today tries to tries to alter the gospel by changing parts of it or all of it.
That's been a tactic of people who oppose Jesus for the past two thousand years.
But do any of those tactics ever work? Can you say wet paper towel, resist resistance? Throughout history, the harder the world tries to stop the resurrection of power, resurrection, power of Jesus from spreading, the more of that power is put on full display by God.
Examples in places like China and Iran, laws exist to limit or stop the belief in the resurrection of Christ and to stop the spreading of the message in those countries today.
How do you think that's working out? The church is spreading like wildfire in those countries.
People are believing and getting saved left, right and center. The resurrection is an unstoppable force. It couldn't be stopped when Jesus walked out of his tomb alive.
It won't be stopped as long as his church takes the message of the resurrection across the whole world.
It won't be stopped when he comes back to rapture his church. Final question for you in this message. Are you on the resurrection train if you answer yes to that question? Praise God you're on it. If you if you are, you are on it by faith, by believing on the resurrection of Jesus. Now invite people to get on the train with you by telling them the gospel. Tell them there's room for them where you're going. But you might say, no, I'm not on the train yet, then I will say to you, what are you waiting for?
Jesus said that whoever is not for him is against him. You are either on the resurrection train or you're not. You either have resurrection power in your life or your life. Is the wet paper towel trying to resist God? Stop resisting him. Confess your sins, turn from them and give your life to follow the one who loved you so much, she came to die on the cross for your sins and then rose from the dead so that you can rise one day to believe in Jesus today and become a Christian.
Get on the train. That is the unstoppable force of the resurrection.
Let's pray. Father, we worship you as we do every week, but we worship you today, this day on Easter Sunday for a very specific reason. You rose, Jesus, you rose, and there was nothing in all of the universe seen or unseen that could have applied pressure to you to keep that from happening.
You are the victorious one. You are the sovereign one. You are the champion of life. You are the source and the sustainer of life. You are the resurrection. You conquer death. You put it to shame. You triumphed over it and you sent your disciples across the world telling everyone the message that they have access to God now simply by believing in the life, death and resurrection of the son.
You tell people or don't clean your life up first. Don't don't be righteous first. Don't get your act together first. Just confess your sins and come to me and I will take care of everything. Praise you, God, you're such a good God. You're so merciful. You're so full of love and grace and truth and comfort and power.
We praise you. We praise you. Today on Easter Sunday. We praise you every day, every day until you come back to get us. Lord, thank you. Thank you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.