Ever see a miracle, the right timing, the right opportunity, the right provision. When you live with a God awareness, the impossible is a way of life. Somehow money works out when it should not. Sometimes it is a small grace, a timely phone call, a found object. Sometimes more dramatic, a miracle of healing, God taking you through a tough time. Impossible. One of the great delights for Christians is to believe in the God of the impossible. “Impossible” is used in today’s scripture. We’ll talk about the amazing use of the word Impossible, a twist in how we normally think of it. In another place of scripture, a favorite thought that brings comfort to millions of Christians, “Nothing is impossible with God.” I believe with my whole heart: God can do anything! There is always HOPE, always the possibility of a better tomorrow. Since nothing is impossible with God, we never have any reason to give up on anyone, no reason to fear, no reason to declare anything is impossible. No reason to give up on yourself!
Our world is confusing and depressing, but to live by the truth that God is the God of the impossible means we don’t have to understand the problems of this world! God can do anything! Amen!
A dead Jesus might work if it were not for the problem of sin/evil! When Peter spoke the words recorded in today’s scripture, it had been 7 weeks since the resurrection. For 40 days Jesus appeared to his disciples. Then he ascended into the heavens and returned to God the Father. 10 more days passed while the disciples huddled in the Upper Room, waiting, praying, watching, wondering what next. On the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13), the answer came in the form of strange languages, a mighty rushing wind and tongues of fire. Peter stood to explain to the crowd of confused onlookers: What did it mean? Were these men drunk with wine? No, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then Peter began to preach the gospel. He reminded the hearers that with evil hands they crucified Jesus Christ. But that was not the end of the story. On Sunday morning something unbelievable happened: Jesus/ rose/ from/ the/ dead.
A dead Christ is NOT enough. Full salvation, full understanding, complete peace, is only found in the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. It is more than his teaching, more than his good example, more than his miracles. Jesus Christ is alive! This is how Peter explained it to his transfixed audience: “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24). This is the first public statement by any Christian regarding what happened that first Sunday morning when the women found the empty tomb.
- A simple statement of fact: “God raised him from the dead.”
- What the resurrection meant for Christ: Freeing him from the agony of death.”
- The reason Jesus had to rise from the dead: “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
God is the God of the impossible. I have this crazy idea miracles only occur from our vantage. Whenever anything happens outside of our control, we see it as a miracle. In that sense life is a miracle. Breath is a miracle... When the children of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years manna/bread provided every day from heaven was a daily miracle, but the people got so used to it they took it for granted. That is a danger in common daily graces that are actually miracles.
A tighter definition of a miracle is that which takes place beyond the laws of nature. But since God is the one that put the laws of nature in place, he can suspend them at will. To us a miracle, to him the God of nothing is impossible. Once I fell over the side of a canoe on a youth retreat, could not swim, and managed to get immediately back into the canoe on the side, I can still feel like it was angels lifting me…it had to be God! Nothing is impossible with God. From God’s perspective, there is no such thing as a miracle. Look at the words of this verse: “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
We think the resurrection is a miracle! God says the miracle would be if you could keep him dead! It was IMPOSSIBLE for God to NOT raise Jesus. This is why every person has to do something with Jesus. On my trip to Oregon I took the dog on walks. I was sitting on a bench watching the river when up comes a woman and starts talking . 94 years old…I noticed on a chain a symbol I’d never seen. In the center was a cross, surrounded by a triangle, then a circle, completed by a square. I knew she was doing something with Christ but did not accept him in his fullness of overcoming sin. Sure enough, before long she tried to persuade me the church was not good enough ~ enlightenment was found in her broader teaching of what she called The Holy Order of MANS. Sure enough, the way to salvation, according to Phyllis, was finding self expression and living well. People in the church are good but they don’t get it I was told. Heaven is to be reincarnated as something better.
The gospel message is quite different! It was impossible for God not to raise Jesus Christ. Anything that is God’s will is impossible for him to not do.
To be a Christian means to see Jesus Christ as the center. Anything God determines will happen. This is why it is important to pray in God’s will. This is why it is important to submit to God and live according to what he wants. If it is His Passion, it will be done. It is impossible for God’s will NOT to be done. We can try to kill Christ, reduce him to being a good man, categorize him as a good example, but Jesus Christ will not stay in the grave. Trying to keep Christ in the grave is like trying to stuff a tent back into the original manufacturer’s box. It is impossible to keep Christ in the grave.
The resurrection is impossible, only from our perspective. Looking back, on that Sunday morning, 50 days earlier, Peter and the other disciples were cowering behind closed doors, overcome by grief and fear. After the horrifying cross death of Jesus, the last thing they expected was a resurrection. Even the women who came to the tomb were coming to anoint a dead body. They had no thought of finding the tomb empty. When they found it empty, they assumed someone had taken the body away.
Now, in this first recorded sermon, Peter had seen Jesus and knew Jesus had risen from the dead. The impossible had happened. A dead man had come back to life. The Son of God had broken the power of death. The grave had been defeated. And now everything was clear in his mind. Jesus had to rise. It was inevitable. The only word for it was “impossible.” Only now Peter understood it was not “Impossible for Jesus to rise” but “Impossible for Jesus not to rise.” Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Why is it important Jesus is Alive? Because it means we have no power to keep Jesus in the grave. We can try, many people do, as they look for salvation in good living, in greater understanding, but in the end the entire world will recognize Jesus is alive. The day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Christ is LORD. Make your confession of Christ today.
Why is it life changing Jesus is Alive? Because the resurrection is the solution for overcoming sin and evil. Jesus died to pay for your sins and the same God that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same God that is offering abundant life on this earth and eternal life in the world to come to those who accept Jesus Christ.
Why is it important Jesus is alive? Because it means he speaks to you, he guides you, you no longer live in your strength, your wisdom, your interpretation of what is best. We don’t need to make sense of the world to find peace. We simply need to look to the one who is alive.
I saw a testimony of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa. I love this simple explanation of what it means to be a Christian and why the Resurrection of Jesus Christ makes all the difference: “Some of his friends asked him, ‘Why did you become a Christian?’ He answered, ‘Well, It’s like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions and you didn’t know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive. Which one would you ask for directions?’” We hear a great deal these days about which religion is the right religion. How do you know which religion has the truth? Here’s a simple way to answer that question. Find the religion whose founder rose from the dead. That’s the one you need to follow. (Told by David Seamands)
Jesus Christ is alive! Jesus says in Revelation 1:18, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” This is the message of the Resurrection. The resurrection is the reason for our hope. If you have never accepted Jesus as your savior, I am going to stay up front for a few minutes and I would be delighted to talk to you and pray with you. Or please find Pastor Chad, or one of the elders. You need to make that commitment.
Jesus is not just a great philosopher with wise words on how to live, or just a good example. He is alive, he has overcome sin and is willing and waiting to be the Lord of your life offering love, acceptance and forgiveness. Take the step of praying with someone…you may have questions or you may be ready to pray, asking Jesus Christ into your heart. It is impossible for Christ to stay in the grave. You are compelled to do something with Jesus. He is alive. It was impossible for God to NOT raise Him from the dead. And that makes a world of difference. Amen.