In a million pulpits around this globe today, preachers are proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. So what? What difference does the resurrection of Jesus make?
For lots of folks, no difference at all. They see the story of Jesus as a pious fairy tale at best, and a pious fraud at worst. The resurrection goes against the law of nature and science; if it happened, it is one of a kind–and the man resurrected 2000 years ago hasn’t been seen for the last 1900 years. The whole thing is subjective and “religious.” … and they’re just not religious, thank you.
There are other folks who go to church every now and then–Easter, Christmas–maybe three or four times a year. Decent, honest people who try not to cuss around the kids, and if they saw the preacher at the Post Office or civic club they would act like bosom buddies. But what difference does the resurrection make in their life? Not much.
Then, there’s you. Maybe you’re at church every time the doors open, teach Sunday School, tithe, pray–what difference does the resurrection of Jesus make in your life? Not as much as you know it should!
My aim this morning is to help you know the difference the resurrection can make in your life, and to help you feel it.
Hebrews 2:14-18 is not an “Easter” text, but it clearly sets forth four differences the resurrection of Jesus makes in the life of a believer. I must remind you we are dealing with spiritual truths, and they are the most powerful forces in this world–far more powerful than the atom. Yet you cannot see a spiritual truth, or touch it, or buy or sell it. These are the kinds of things you think about at funerals, or just before major surgery, or just after a serious heart attack–things which will one day be the most precious things in the world to you, if not now. Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear; let him hear!” If the impact of the resurrection is to be real, you must open your heart just now to the speaking of the Spirit.
The first difference the resurrection makes: the destruction of Satan. How? Look at Hebrews 2:14. Suppose Jesus had not been raised on Easter day; what if the sequel to the nailing up of Jesus had been merely the pulling out of nails, the careful lowering of the bruised body, the wrapping in linen, the gentle placing of it in the tomb, and the blowing out of the candle and rolling over of the stone. Suppose the soldiers, who began their watch with a spooky feeling, had begun to chuckle about the whole thing after 4 or 5 days, and then even Pilate, as he called the Pharisees back, laughed and said they could stop worrying! Suppose there had been no blinding light, no silent thunder at the dawn, no rolling back of the stone by the angel.
If there had been no rolling back of the stone, there would have been no holding back of Satan’s demonic power over this world; no breaking of his evil grip over mankind. For Satan put all his power into the effort to destroy Jesus–he rolled for all the marbles! And if he had won, Hitler’s view of life would have been rampant for 2000 years already; hatred would be king; and this world would be morally insane.
But Jesus crippled Satan in his ministry and death, and dealt him a death blow in the resurrection. And when the risen Lord returns He will finally and ultimately and completely destroy Satan and those who follow him.
Now the question is, “Since Satan is crippled, reeling with a death blow through the resurrection–is he crippled in your life? Or, is he in control? The answer depends on you–do you believe in your heart that Jesus is Christ, that God has raised Him from the dead? Is He your Master and Lord? Do you look to Him for daily guidance?
The second difference the resurrection makes is that it delivers you and me from the fear of death. It seems to me that, apart from Jesus, there are two kinds of people: the young, who cannot think for themselves as ever growing old or dying; and the older, who have become aware of their mortality and realize they will die, and watch the years march by. This fear of death is part of the wages of sin. We were intended to live forever–till Satan came in, and our self-love and pride rebelled against God.
Look at Hebrews 2:15: … “deliver them…” How? First, by enduring the depth of death in our place–see Hebrews 2:9. He endured the separation, loneliness, and hopelessness of eternal death.
Secondly, Jesus delivered us by coming forth from the grave. No man had ever risen off the funeral couch and gone out a door on the other side. And Jesus didn’t get mixed up when He came back out on this side! He wanted us to know He had made a hallway of death.
One of the most majestic scenes of the Bible is in 1 Corinthians 15 as Paul hurls the challenge to death in the poetry of the King James version: “O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Can you say, “Amen!” to that? If Jesus’ resurrection makes any difference in your life, you can!
The third difference the resurrection makes is that it gives us assurance that God has accepted the sacrifice for our sins. Look at 1 Corinthians 15:17. The death of Jesus is not an accident, nor merely the climax of Satan’s plan, though it was that; the cross was the supreme act of love as God the Son in human flesh offered Himself up to God the Father–for my sins and yours! My sin is horrible and powerful and would drag me down to the pits of hell except for the sacrifice of Jesus! The cross says I am loved by Jesus … that I am worth such cost!
When Jesus came forth from the grave, He did not take back up His eternal glory, but kept the marks of His earthly sojourn–reminders of the cost of our salvation. His resurrection is assurance, proof, guarantee that He is the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. If you will let Jesus, who rose from the grave, be your Lord and Master, you will have freedom from the guilt and punishment of sins.
His resurrection makes a difference in another way: it brings strength to us in temptations. See 1 Corinthians 15:18. There is much about Jesus I do not understand, but this I know: He is with me daily. During His ministry He was limited to one body and one place at a time … but now He is turned loose in our world–the invisible, constant companion. Every day I face temptation, and it is easy to sense the presence of the Devil. It is also easy to feel the presence of Jesus, if I so desire. No temptation is foreign to Him; He knows and has experienced every trick of the Devil. He will bring a verse, a friend, a vow to mind to guide and help me–and you.
The most important forces in the world are spiritual; we cannot see or touch them. So it is with Jesus. So what difference does His resurrection make to you? And if He is risen, where is He today? Paul has the answer in Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the power of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
The secret to understanding the resurrection? It is to be crucified, in repentance, with Christ; to renounce the old life. The secret of where Jesus is? He is living in the life of His followers. The secret to the why and how of the resurrection? It is the power of love when poured out by Almighty God upon His sinful creation.
The resurrection can and should make a difference in your life-today–if you will hear the voice of His Spirit.

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