Easter Sermon 2021 - We Must Believe In The Resurrection!

On Palm Sunday the thesis statement could have been, “There is no true Christianity without a theology and a doctrine regarding the suffering of Christ.” Yet, that is precisely the theology that dominated the scene in Israel when Jesus began teaching that the Christ must suffer. As a result of this the disciples could not imagine any scenario in which Jesus Christ would have to suffer and die.

By way of reminder let me take you back to Mark 8 where Jesus first began to speak about his suffering. Jesus is only about three months away from his suffering and death. Jesus has been preaching, teaching and performing signs and wonders around His disciples for almost three years (33 months) when we come to these stories in Mark 8.

Jesus was traveling throughout the cities of Caesarea Philippi with His disciples when He asked them a question. “Who do people say that I am?” (v.8)

The disciples responded, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” (v.28)

Then Jesus says, “But who do you say that I am?” (v.29)

Peter responded, “You are the Christ.” (v.29)

So far we have seen that the first problem encountered in this text is that even after thirty-three months of teaching and preaching people are still so confused about who Jesus is. Even at this point there are those who say that he is John the Baptist; others say, Elijah; and others who say that He is another prophet. In fact, we still have this problem today.

This problem is not ultimately overcome by anything less than a sovereign move of God upon the heart of a man which enables him to see Jesus as the Christ. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus says to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (16:17)

Now one would think that after a confession like this Jesus would feel like celebrating. It would seem like after thirty-three months the disciples have finally reached the finish line. The disciples believe that Jesus is the Christ. They have believed this at the end of his ministry when the clock was about to expire.

Far from celebrating, Jesus tells them to tell no one and then He begins to say, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” (v.8-31)

Mark specifically says that Jesus said these things plainly. (v.32) Because of the plainness of Jesus’ speech the disciples knew exactly what He meant and then we encounter the second problem in this text. The disciples do not believe that the Messiah is supposed to suffer.

  • If Jesus were John the Baptist then He could suffer and die as He did.

  • If Jesus were a prophet He might suffer and die like they had.

  • But Jesus is the Christ and he was not supposed to suffer and die!

This teaching evoked such a strong reaction from Peter who pulled Jesus aside and rebuked Him for saying this. And in return Jesus gave a very strong rebuke to Peter in from of the other disciples. He said, “Get behind me Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.” (v.33)

So what is the answer to this second dilemma? The first problem was that fallen man cannot confess Christ apart from the Father acting upon them decisively. Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (16:17)

The second problem is that the disciples cannot believe that Jesus Christ ‘must’ suffer and die. I will argue today that the correction for this is also seen in the sovereign power of God through the resurrection. The resurrection changed everything for the disciples. It was only after they experienced the resurrected Christ that they began to understand these things. Even as they came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday they did not understand what was happening. In John 12:16 we read, “His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about Him and had been done to Him.

We will also see that even after His resurrection when the apostles were told by the women that Jesus was raised from the dead that even then they did not believe. We read in Luke 24:11 that when they were ‘told these things...these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.’

Let us begin by looking at Luke 23:54-24:12,

It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Rem