He Lives!
John 20:1-9 

Good Morning to all of God’s People from the Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team on this Resurrection Sunday!   It’s such a blessing to be able to worship with you today wherever you are!  I thank God for the opportunity to serve Him and to share His message with the world through today’s technology!   

Our Message today comes from the New Testament Book of John, Chapter 20, verses 1 through 9 and you can be turning there in your Bibles. 

Jesus is risen; Resurrection; Easter; New life; New birth; Second chances; Fresh starts; Spring flowers; this is what the Easter season is all about. It’s an exciting time. It’s the bringing forth of life out of death. It’s the end of the cold and snow that makes the trees lose their leaves and the vegetation turn brown. It is when the spring flowers push through the dirt to burst forth victorious in an explosion of color and smell. 

Resurrection Sunday; it’s a day of tremendous hope and victory for every person.  It’s the empty tomb, the tomb that could not contain Jesus. It’s this resurrection of Jesus that marks the promise of kingdom resurrection for all those who believe and seek to serve the Lord. 

In John 11:25, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.”  

As I prayed about what to share with you, the hymn “He Lives” kept running through my mind.  The first verse and chorus say: 

I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today,
I know that He is living, whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him He's always near. 

He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart. 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a story of the triumph of good over evil. It is a story of Christ’s victory over death. The resurrection is also a story of our Redeemer’s vindication over His tormentors who subjected Him to the brutality of crucifixion. But most of all, the resurrection is a story of hope; on that first Easter Sunday when Jesus arose, He gave Hope to hopeless humanity. 

But what is hope? Hope is a confident expectation of good. Hope is the anticipation of victory even in the face of defeat. Hope is that fuel that takes us from today into tomorrow. Hope is that sentiment that ties us to the future just as memory ties us to the Past. Hope is the Blessed Assurance that, “everything is going to be alright.” 

The only hope we have in this life stems from what Jesus did for us. He came for you and me. He suffered for you and me. He died for you and me. He rose for you and me. He moved heaven and earth for you and me. 

His resurrection did more than validate Jesus’ claims to be God. It paved the way for regular people like you and me to have a deep, personal, authentic relationship with God Himself. 

The earthly life of Jesus Christ was very powerful, but the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gave us the power to become children of God and partakers of the divine nature. 

Now reading from John, Chapter 20, verses 1 through 9 from the New Living Translation:
1. Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 2 She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 

3 Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4 They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. 6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. 8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first went in, and he saw and believed— 9 for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 

Let’s pray: Father, You loved us so much, You gave Your one and only Son, Jesus; that through His death on the cross and His resurrection three days later, we who believe and accept this free gift of salvation may have eternal life. 

The sacrifice of Your Son’s very body for our sin was costly. Jesus willingly subjected Himself to suffering so that we could be forgiven and free. 

I pray You will make the resurrection personal to us today.  Help it to inspire and change the way we live daily.   May we have hearts of thankfulness and live every day in the gladness and grace of Easter Sunday. In Jesus’ name, Amen 

On the day we refer to as Good Friday, Jesus was crucified and died, and with Him died all of the disciples’ dreams, all of their hopes, everything they believed in. They had given everything to Him, their past, their present even their future and up until three days ago it seemed like a pretty good bargain. All He had wanted was everything, and they gave it. All He had asked was that they believe and oh how they had believed. And why not, they had seen the impossible; they had seen blind men see, they had seen lame men walk, they had seen dead men live. They believed with all their hearts, but not anymore; now their beliefs were as dead as their Master was. 

And there was nothing to do but to go home, to leave Jerusalem, to leave their hopes, to leave their dreams and just go home. They might as well try and recover their yesterdays because their tomorrows were as dead as Jesus was. 

They had seen Him beaten, they had seen Him crucified, they had seen Him killed and they had seen Him buried and they knew the dream was as dead as the Dreamer. Unless, unless it was true what Mary had seen; she had seen an empty tomb, she had seen empty grave clothes and she had seen Jesus. And if that was the case then He wasn’t dead, He was alive. And if He was alive then everything was going to be all right. 

Can you picture the first Easter morning 2000 years ago, with Jesus’ followers remembering what had happened, remembering the horror of Friday, remembering that their Friend was dead and their dreams were shattered. But then the cry rang out: He’s alive! He’s alive! And then, it happened; as quickly as turning on the lights, they weren’t mourning His being dead, they were celebrating His being alive. It wasn’t defeat, it was victory. Because He wasn’t dead, He was alive. 

Everything that Jesus Christ said and did could be duplicated or fabricated right up to His resurrection. But at that point it became very apparent that He was not just a man, He was not just a prophet or a teacher. He was and still is God. 

And what does that mean for you and me today? Well in Romans 4:25, The Bible says He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised from the dead to make us right with God. And again, in Romans 6:4 “And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” 

Sin makes it impossible for us to have a relationship with God the Father.   Only Christ can help.  The empty tomb tells us of God’s ultimate power. A power that points to an ultimate purpose. Throughout His suffering, many times Jesus was told to show His power to escape His suffering and His death; but He knew that beyond all demonstrations of power and miracles, it was the ultimate power over death which had to be revealed. 


Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He offers us the gift of forgiveness from our sins.  He not only delivers us from the yoke of sin and from its curse, but makes us sweet and clean, so that we may become both acceptable and useful to God. 

In Revelation 1:17-18, Jesus introduced Himself to John on the Island of Patmos and He said to him, "... Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; ..." 

The worst thing that could have happened to us is for Jesus to have not risen. We would have been hopeless.  

“What if?”  

What if Jesus never came? Never suffered? Never rose from the grave?  Never spoke to the disciples?  Never discipled twelve guys for three years?  Never did one miracle.  Never said “come and see and go and tell”.  Never proclaimed love as the cornerstone of faith? 

What would life be like for the 2.3 billion people who claim Jesus today?  How about the 6 billion in the world? 

Education would certainly be different. The Christian religion has been significant in establishing education as a cornerstone to better lives. The Christian focus on the dignity of human life would surely be different.  Care for one’s neighbors and the poor all come from the establishment of Christian values. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Compassion International and Feed my Starving Children all have their roots in Christianity. 

The truth is the world would be a much darker place. People can claim humanity has good in it. However, history, experience, reason and even Scripture will not support the idea. It is only when humanity is shown and empowered through the presence of a greater idea and understanding of God who loves so completely He would come and die for us, that humanity moves towards real progress and hope. 

The story we read every Easter is the Good News because it tells of the beginning of the greatest transformation ever. The scriptures describe it so we can place ourselves in the middle of the event. 

The resurrection isn't just a doctrine to believe, but a truth that should change our behavior. Jesus is the risen King who is victorious over death, recognized by His disciples, validated by Scripture, and enthroned over all creation. 

Because Jesus arose and remains alive:
1.  Our peace is guaranteed.  Fear is removed and peace is restored to all troubled hearts that were scarred, sad, hopeless and our faith becomes strengthened (John 20:19,21,26). 

2.  Our doubts are removed and we are taught how to believe without seeing (John 20:24-28) 

3.  We are able to confidently serve as messengers of Christ; He said I am with you (Matthew 28:19). Only a person who is alive can say I'll be with you. 

4.  Jesus serves as our advocate with the Father whenever we sin (I John 2:1). If He remains dead, there is no one to plead our case before God. 

5.  He serves as our intercessor (Romans 8:34) and vindicator (Isaiah 50:8) so that the devil cannot successfully put any charge against us. 

Because Jesus arose from the dead: 

1.  Our own resurrection and eternal peace with Jesus in heaven becomes sure, because He lives forever more (I Corinthians 15:50-58; Revelation 1:18). 

2.  Jesus is preparing a place for us, that where He is, we may be also (John 14:1-3; I Corinthians 2:9),   and the place He’s preparing for us is described in Revelation 21:2, 10, 11, 23. 

3.  Jesus is serving as our High Priest who lives forever (Hebrews 6:19-20) and does not have to sacrifice twice.   Human priests sacrificed the blood of animals yearly - which can never take away sins (Hebrews 10:11-12); but Jesus sacrificed Himself and shed His blood once and for all and our sins are cleansed (Hebrews 9:12, 23-28). 

4.  Jesus is a High Priest who was tempted in every way like us and can sympathize with our weaknesses, thereby helping us during struggles and infirmities (Hebrews 4:14-16).  He is helping us to overcome temptations, so we do not become overwhelmed (Hebrews 2:18). 

The fact that Jesus arose again means for each of us that there is life after death.  Hebrews 11:1 and 6 tell us: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ……. without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” 

Faith is the substance of hope, the evidence of the unseen, the substance of the Christian life; the evidence of the Christian walk is faith.  God wants us to live as believers with hope and faith in the unseen. God want us to believe that HE IS, not to believe in what we see and have. 

Our faith should not be based on what God can do for us; rather it should be based on what God wants to be to us. Jesus says, I AM the resurrection and the life; believe that.  

A gem dealer was strolling the aisles at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show when he noticed a blue-violet stone the size and shape of a potato. He looked it over, then, as calmly as possible, asked the vendor, “You want $15 for this?” The seller, realizing the rock wasn’t as pretty as others in the bin, lowered the price to $10. The stone has since been certified as a 1,905-carat natural star sapphire, about 800 carats larger than the largest stone of its kind.  It was appraised at $2.28 million. It took a lover of stones to recognize the sapphire’s worth. 

It took the Lover of Souls to recognize the true value of ordinary looking people like us.  As fellow human beings we see that which is frail and flawed; as a father, God sees His child. 

Our future is in the hands of Jesus. Earthly things may disappoint, fail to happen or not come up to standard.  Resurrection Sunday tells us that we must trust Jesus, believe in Him and have faith in Him.  We may not know what the future holds but we know who holds our future. 

Some have said,” all good things must come to an end,” but I tell you today all things may die but not all things must end. If we are in Christ there is no end, for Christ is eternal. 

When a seed is planted it must first die, but after it dies, a plant springs forth from it, and life is more abundant for that seed than ever before. 

In the world all good things come to an end, but in Christ there is eternal life. 

On Good Friday, a thief hung on a cross beside Jesus.  The thief had a messed-up life. Dying there on the cross, in the last moments of his life, many would have said of that man, “It’s too late for him!” 

But as that thief hung alongside Jesus, with one of his final breaths he said, “Jesus remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.” 

Notice a word in that sentence “when.” He did not say if You come into Your kingdom but when. That thief expressed faith in the resurrection.  Jesus responded to the thief saying: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” 

If your future right now appears totally messed up and it’s not turning out like you thought, today is Resurrection Sunday.  If you put your whole life in God’s hands, He can give you a new future.  Resurrection Sunday is our assurance that our “too late” is not too late for God. 

John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

The new law that Jesus enacted, through death on the cross and resurrection three days later, makes victory possible for everyone. But some have been unwilling to take the steps that are necessary in order for that victory to be a reality in their life. They have never accepted the gift of salvation that Jesus offers to all. They have never surrendered their will to His so that they can live in constant obedience to Him. Today could be their victory day. Today could be the day of their celebration. 

In Romans 10:9, we are told that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, invite Him into your life right now. God is around you; God is by you; He wants to be in you. He wants to put His Spirit inside of you. Accept His free gift of salvation today. 

Or maybe you have known God but walked away from His call on your life to do your own thing or have been wounded and are now angry with Him or feel like you can’t come back to Him because of the depth of your sin.  When we turn back to Jesus in repentance, when we ask for forgiveness, intending to live a godly life again, God’s mercy reaches out to us with a message of love.   God is a God of mercy, of redemption, of restoration and of renewal. Just come by faith to the throne of grace to receive it. He is waiting for you with open arms.   Repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life.  

The last verse and chorus of “He Lives” says: 

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian!
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ, the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him,
The Help of all who find
None other is so loving, so good and kind.
He lives!  He lives!  Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.

He lives!  He lives!  Salvation to impart!
You ask me know I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!
My prayer for each of you is that Jesus lives in your heart today! 

In Jesus’ name, Amen 

When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "He Lives!"