Es domingo de resurrección. El punto crucial de esperanza para el mundo. El viernes las esperanzas de todos los que habían escuchado a Jesús, Jesús siguió, y estaban convencidos de que tenía que ser el Uno–sus esperanzas fueron aplastadas como colgaba sin vida y sangrienta en la cruz. Luego vino el domingo y una visita matutina a la tumba de Jesús por las mujeres lo cambió todo. María Magdalena y las mujeres estaban llorando en la tumba vacía pensando que alguien había robado Su cuerpo, cuando Jesús habló el nombre de María. Le dijo que fuera y le dijera a los discípulos y 2000 años más tarde Sus seguidores siguen diciendo a los demás que Jesús ha resucitado! Él está vivo! Everything changed on a Sunday morning. Hope blossomed on a Sunday morning.
La resurrección de Jesús no es sólo el punto central de esperanza para el mundo, pero es la piedra angular de la fe cristiana. Cada año, en la construcción hasta el Domingo de Resurrección, escuchamos noticias de que el número de seguidores de Jesús que creen en la resurrección literal de Jesús está en declive. George Barna escribió sobre los hallazgos en una encuesta realizada sobre el significado de la Pascua: Él escribió, "The results indicated that most Americans consider Easter to be a religious holiday, but fewer identify the resurrection of Jesus as the underlying meaning.” More and more Christians are believing that it is important to understand Jesus’ resurrection in more of a metaphorical way, full of symbolism for all people, instead of believing in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus.
This past week I was reading an interview that took place in 2009 with the late Christopher Hitchens, the well known atheist who wrote, Dios no es grande. Fue entrevistado por un pastor en Portland, Oregón llamado Marilyn Sewell. Durante la entrevista, El pastor Sewell hizo saber a Hitchens que ella no creía en la resurrección literal de Jesús o que Jesús hizo expiación por nuestros pecados. Ella dijo,
La forma en que creo en la resurrección es que creo que uno puede pasar de una muerte en esta vida, en el sentido de estar muerto al mundo y muerto a otras personas, y puede resucitar a la nueva vida. Cuando predico sobre la Pascua y la resurrección, está en un sentido metafórico. (Apocalipsis. Marilyn Sewell)
Ahora, para aquellos de ustedes que no saben nada acerca de Christopher Hitchens, usted necesita saber que antes de morir en diciembre de 2011, él era el líder de la ambición del ateo de apartar a todos del Dios en el que no creía y desacreditar al que llamó, "el llamado Jesús de Nazaret." Todavía, cuando Hitchens oyó al pastor decir que no creía en la expiación de Jesús por nuestros pecados y que creía que la resurrección de Jesús era simbólica, pero no literal, él dijo,
Yo diría que si usted no cree que Jesús de Nazaret era el Cristo y el Mesías, y que se levantó de entre los muertos y por su sacrificio nuestros pecados son perdonados, usted realmente no es en ningún sentido significativo un cristiano. (Christopher Hitchens, Portland Mensual. Diciembre 17, 2009)
Sabes que estamos viviendo en un mundo al revés cuando Dios tiene que usar un ateo para recordar a la gente lo que significa ser verdaderamente un seguidor de Jesús. Hay cosas acerca de ser un seguidor de Jesús que podemos hablar, incluso estar de acuerdo en no estar de acuerdo en, but there is no discussion about the importance of Jesus’ resurrection. In Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, he went so far as to say that his preaching and the faith of all who believed was useless if Jesus had not been raised from the dead. A su vez a 1 Corintios 15 with me and let me show you what Paul wrote.
14 Y si Cristo no ha resucitado, es nuestra predicación, vana también es vuestra fe. 15 Más que eso, también nosotros somos hallados falsos testigos de Dios, porque hemos testificado de Dios que él resucitó a Cristo de entre los muertos. Pero él no lo resucitó, si en realidad no resucitan los muertos. 16 Porque si los muertos no resucitan, entonces Cristo no ha resucitado, ya sea. 17 Y si Cristo no ha resucitado, vuestra fe es vana; aún estáis en vuestros pecados. 18 Entonces también los que durmieron en Cristo son perdidos. 19 Si solamente para esta vida tenemos esperanza en Cristo, somos más dignos de conmiseración de todos los hombres. 20 Pero Cristo realmente resucitó de los muertos, las primicias de los que han dormido. 21 Desde la muerte vino por un hombre, la resurrección de los muertos viene también a través de un hombre. 22 Porque así como en Adán todos mueren, así en Cristo todos serán vivificados. (1 Corintios 15:14-22 NIVO)
If Jesus has not been raised from the dead then Paul’s preaching and every sermon that has ever been shared throughout history is utter nonsense, una tontería. If Jesus has not been raised from the dead then Christopher Hitchens and every atheist is absolutely right–this life is all there is, there is no hope beyond the here and now, we die and we are forgotten in time. Lo peor de todo, if Jesus has not been raised from the dead then we are still in our sins. We are still separated from God with no hope of forgiveness and no hope of reconciliation with the One who made us.
Pablo dice, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…” And because God raised Jesus from the dead there is purpose in the here and now. Because God raised Jesus from the dead there is forgiveness made available for all who will believe because Jesus has paid the price for our sins. Because God has raised Jesus from the dead there is hope for all of eternity, there is reconciliation with the God who made us, and there is a glorious future beyond our last breath in this life in that place where there is no suffering, no sorrow, and where God wipes every tear from every eye.
Alguien está pensando en, “I really would like to believe that, but it’s just too much…Dead people don’t come back to life.” I want you to know that I understand your skepticism, I’ve been there myself. What was it that helped me turn the corner and become a believer, a follower of the Risen Jesus? Bien, Estoy feliz que lo preguntas.
There were several things, but I only want to share two with you this morning. Primero, para mí, the eyewitness accounts that are shared with us in God’s Word are so powerful. Before I share them with you let me first turn our attention to a present day example. If there is a traffic accident or a crime reported, the police want to try and get as close to the moment as they can in writing their report. They don’t want second or third hand information, they want to talk to those who were at the scene of the accident. They want to sit down with those who witnessed the crime. Eyewitness accounts are invaluable testimony in a court of law. Mateo, Marcos, Lucas, and John all list names of those who saw Jesus after He had been raised from the dead. Pablo, en 1 Corintios, gives us a great list of the witnesses. Venga conmigo a 1 Corintios 15:3 leamos juntos.
3 Por lo que he recibido yo transmití a ustedes como de primera importancia: que Cristo murió por nuestros pecados según las Escrituras, 4 que fue sepultado, y que resucitó al tercer día según las Escrituras, 5 y que apareció a Cefas, y luego a los Doce. 6 Después de esto, se apareció a más de quinientos hermanos a la vez, la mayoría de los cuales vive todavía, aunque algunos ya duermen. 7 Luego se apareció a Santiago, después a todos los apóstoles, 8 y al último de todos se me apareció también, como a un abortivo. 9 Porque yo soy el más insignificante de los apóstoles y que ni siquiera merezco ser llamado apóstol, porque perseguí a la iglesia de Dios. (1 Corintios 15:3-9 NIVO)
Pedro, Jesus’ other disciples–Tomas, Mateo, Juan, Santiago, Bartolomé, Andrew and the others all saw Jesus. Paul says more than 500 people at the same time saw Jesus. Santiago, el hermano de Jesús, que nunca creyó en Jesús mientras él estaba vivo, saw his brother after His resurrection. And then Jesus appeared to Paul, on the road to Damascus. There’s another eyewitness that we need to get in our report this morning because his testimony is so valuable. His name is Cleopas.
We learn about Cleopas and his buddy in Luke 24. They were leaving Jerusalem on a Sunday morning and walking to Emmaus, a long walk of about seven miles. They were talking about everything that had happened in Jerusalem during the past couple of days when a stranger joined them on the road. The stranger, who was really Jesus, asked them, "Qué estás con chicos hablando?” Luke tells us their heads were hanging down and they both looked like they had lost their last friend. Then Cleopas spoke up. veamos en Lucas 24:18 dice.
18 Uno de ellos, llamado Cleofas, le preguntó, «Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?» 19 «¿Qué cosas?» -preguntó. «Acerca de Jesús de Nazaret,» respondieron. «Él era un profeta, poderoso en palabras y hechos ante Dios y ante todo el pueblo. 20 Los jefes de los sacerdotes y nuestros gobernantes lo entregaron para ser condenado a muerte, y lo crucificaron; 21 Pero nosotros esperábamos que él era el que había de redimir a Israel. Y lo que es más, es el tercer día que todo esto se llevó a cabo. (Lucas 24:18-21 NIV)
¿Has oído eso? Cleofas dijo, "…we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” They had hoped, tiempo pasado, but it was the third day since Jesus had died and their hopes were long gone. That’s why they were looking so dejected, why they were so filled with despair.
As they walked and talked Luke tells us Jesus began with Moses, then He shared what was written in the Prophets about Himself and why the things which had happened had to happen. They still didn’t get it. They still didn’t know it was Jesus who was with them.
They stopped for the night. We read that they ate together. Jesús tomó pan, He blessed it and broke it, and then their eyes were opened and Luke tells us,
31 Entonces fueron abiertos los ojos y lo reconocieron, y él desapareció de su vista. 32 Se preguntaban unos a otros, «No nuestros corazones ardían dentro de nosotros mientras él hablaba con nosotros en el camino y abre las Escrituras a nosotros?» 33 Se levantaron y volvieron de inmediato a Jerusalén. Allí encontraron a los once ya los que con ellos, reunidos 34 y diciendo, «Es cierto! El Señor ha resucitado y ha aparecido a Simón.» (Lucas 24:31-34 NIV)
Cleopas and his buddy had no idea, they couldn’t even conceive of the thought that Jesus might be alive, not until their eyes were opened and then they went and told the disciples, “It’s true! The Lord has risen…”
In a court of law eyewitness accounts are invaluable. Cleopas and his friend saw Jesus! The disciples saw Jesus! Mary Magdalene and the other women who visited Jesus’ tomb early on Sunday were the first people to see Jesus after His resurrection. If you are a skeptic like I was then you have to stop and consider the testimonies of those who said, “It’s true! The Lord has risen!"
I told you there are two things that transformed me from a skeptic who had no interest in Jesus to a follower of Jesus. The clincher for me was the radical transformation of the lives of those who said they had seen Jesus. They had loved Jesus, chosen to follow Jesus, but when Jesus was crucified, every single one of them believed it was over.
John tells that on Sunday evening all of the disciples were “sheltered in place.” They weren’t afraid of a virus, but they were afraid that those who had killed Jesus would now come for them. Juan nos dice esto,
19 En la tarde del primer día de la semana, cuando los discípulos estaban juntos, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesús vino y se puso en medio y les dijo, «La paz sea con usted!» (Juan 20:19 NIV)
And those who feared for their lives became fearless. Those who had struggled to find meaning and purpose in life on Saturday found a new joy, a new passion, and a new purpose which would overwhelm them for the rest of their days. What was their new purpose? It was to carry the Good News of Jesus to the whole world! Everybody needed to hear the good news about Jesus. There are so many examples I could share with you, but I’ll just share two. I mentioned James, el hermano de Jesús, as one of the eyewitnesses. James is such an amazing example of the transformation that took place because of Jesus’ resurrection. James never believed a word his brother said while Jesus was alive, but after the resurrection everything changed for James. James became a follower of Jesus. He became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. James would eventually be killed because of his conviction that Jesus was who He said He was.
James’ love for Jesus and his passion to share the good news of salvation that comes through believing in Jesus was so influential that we are told many of the rulers in Jerusalem became followers of Jesus. James was asked by some of the leaders to stand at the pinnacle of the temple at Passover and persuade people not to believe in Jesus, but James did the opposite. La gente abajo abajo comenzó a gritar, "Hosanna al hijo de David!” The leaders pushed James off the pinnacle. He was broken, but the fall didn’t kill him. He began to pray out loud, “Lord God, Padre nuestro, perdónalos! They do not know what they are doing.” The skeptical brother was willing to die instead of denying that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, the Savior of all of those who will believe.
There’s probably no greater story of transformation than the story of Paul. Paul was a Pharisee, the most violent opponent of Jesus’ followers. He was there, giving his approval, when Stephen was stoned to death because of his love and devotion to Jesus. Then everything changed as Paul was on his way to Damascus to arrest the followers of Jesus. Jesus confronted Paul on the road to Damascus and his life would never be the same again. Paul wrote to Timothy and shared his testimony with the young preacher. Venga conmigo a 1 Timoteo 1:13. Pablo escribió,
13 A pesar de que una vez fui un blasfemo, un perseguidor y un hombre violento, Se me mostró misericordia porque lo hice por ignorancia y la incredulidad. 14 La gracia de nuestro Señor se derramó sobre mí con abundancia, junto con la fe y amor que es en Cristo Jesús. 15 Aquí es digno de crédito y merece ser aceptado: Cristo Jesús vino al mundo para salvar a los pecadores– de los cuales yo soy el peor. 16 Pero por esa misma razón se me mostró misericordia para que en mí, el peor de los pecadores, Cristo Jesús puede mostrar su inmensa paciencia como un ejemplo para aquellos que creen en él y recibir la vida eterna. (1 Timoteo 1:13-16 NIV)
He traveled over land and sea to share the Good News of Jesus. He was beaten and left for dead because he would not stop telling others about Jesus. He was imprisoned, but instead of seeing the prison bars as an interruption, he saw the inmates as his new congregation…so he told them about Jesus. Paul said he had been a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man, but God had shown him grace. Why would God do such a thing for a guy like Paul? Paul said God had shown him grace so that you and me, regardless of how bad we’ve been, regardless of what we’ve done or failed to do, we might know that if God loved Paul, He loves us as well. God’s grace is not for those who think they are doing well, God’s grace is not for those who believe they are pretty good, but God’s grace is for those who know they’ve blown it, those who know they don’t deserve it, and could never earn it.
I could fill the rest of your week with stories of the lives of those who’ve been changed by the grace and mercy of Jesus. Agustín, Lutero, Calvin, Spurgeon, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Billy Graham, as well as men and women all over the world, en cada nación, and in every generation. Y aquí está la buena noticia…Jesús todavía está cambiando vidas hoy. He wants to change your life. He can change your life just like He changed the life of a friend of mine this past week.
This past Wednesday in the middle of a pandemic, while everyone was locked down, sheltered in place, and schools and businesses were closed…Jesus was at work. I got a phone call. There was no name, just a number, and I don’t normally answer those calls because you know how telemarketers are, but I answered the call. The man on the other end of the phone was David Gentile. I had met David twelve years ago and given him my number. He began to tell me his story and we made arrangements to meet at BCC that afternoon.
I learned that David was 73 años de edad. He’s a Vietnam veteran who saw all but a handful of men in his platoon killed while in Vietnam. David suffers from PTSD to this day. David has lived and worked in the shadows for much of his life. He told me, “God has been after me for years and I’ve been running for years, but it’s time to stop running. I want to give my life to Christ and be baptized.” We read Romans 6 together and talked about what it means to be baptized, to be buried in the watery grave and raised to newness of life in Christ. David was locked in–he couldn’t have made it more clear that he wanted to live his life for Christ. I asked David when he would like to be baptized and he said, “Now.” I told David that if he was baptized today, el miércoles, it wouldn’t give the heater time to warm up the water, but he didn’t care. He wanted to be baptized.
We walked down into the cold water and I asked David, “Do you believe that Jesus the Christ the Son of the Living God? Do you accept Him as your Lord and Savior?” How about instead of me telling you the story, I just show you the video of what happened.
Video of David’s baptism.
And people wondered if Easter would be cancelled this year? We may be “sheltered in place,” but Jesus is on the move my friend and He is still changing lives today. During the past few weeks we’ve heard so many stories of death on the evening news. We see the pictures of those who’ve died on the evening news. They show us the death totals for the day, Todos y cada día, but David’s story is a story of life, nueva vida en Cristo. And you can know what it is like to experience the new life, the abundant life that only Jesus can give this very morning.
I believe there are other David’s who are watching this morning. You’ve been running from God for so long. Es hora. You know in your heart it’s time. It’s time to stop running and fall into His arms of grace and mercy. It’s time to hand the keys of your heart to Jesus and allow His grace and mercy to do what only He can in your life. You might be thinking, “You don’t know what I’ve done.” I don’t, pero lo hace, and He couldn’t love you more. Won’t you pray with me right now and tell Jesus you want Him to take over, to be your Lord and Savior?
Britton Christian Church
Abril 12, 2020
1 Corintios 15