Pastor Mark preaches at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, above, the site that could be where Jesus was buried, temporarily. No one knows exactly where Jesus was buried—because he’s not there. Nobody is in Jesus’ tomb. He is alive, and this fact is the bedrock of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity does not exist. If Jesus is dead, we are dead; if Jesus is alive, we are alive (1 Cor. 15:17).
And this fact is the bedrock of the Christian faith: At the center of Christianity is not a place, not a wailing wall, not a temple, not a mosque, not a holy mount, not a holy place, not a dome of some rock, but a man who walked away, himself moving a rock, into his own triumphant victory. And without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity does not exist. Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15:17, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins." If Jesus is dead, we are dead spiritually, we will die physically, and we will do nothing but gnaw on the stench of death forever. And if Jesus is alive, we are alive. And if Jesus rose from death, we’ll rise from death. He is our firstfruits. He goes before us. And so everything comes down to this fact.
How in the world do we account for this 2,000-year legacy of loyalty to a dead man? There is no explanation for the birth of Christianity, apart from Jesus. If Jesus is dead, then the disciples scatter, the early followers mourn, and everything comes to an end. It doesn’t continue for a few thousand years, causing Jesus to be the most famous person in the history of the world. More songs sung about him, more paintings painted of him, more books written regarding him than anyone who has ever lived in the history of the world. You go to the Library of Congress today, you plug in "Jesus", 17,000 books will show up. If he’s dead, none of this exists.Next up, the penultimate sermon in the Luke series, part #99, "How Jesus Taught the Bible."