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What Will You Do With Jesus
Scripture: Matthew 27:22
Track 1 of 8 in the Living Lives That Answer Real Questions series
Running time: 15 minutes, 57 seconds.

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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

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"What Will You Do With Jesus" Matthew 27:22 March 23, 2008

The older my children get the stranger our conversations become. This last Tuesday we had the opportunity to take Amy back to the airport, and we found ourselves talking about living wills and do not resuscitate orders. But what do you really mean by you don't want to be kept alive? The conversation turned to, have you written your obituary yet? Do you want me to write it for you? What would you like said at your funeral? I said, hey, look, he is moving. I suppose seeing somebody move in a casket would be one of those unbelievable moments, wouldn't it?

Some things are just hard to imagine. They are just a little hard to fathom. April the 4th, 1945, was one of those moments. Dwight Eisenhower made his way for the first time in an encounter with a German camp. It was at Ordruf, Germany. He saw things that were beyond his capacity to imagine. In fact, he was absolutely convinced that no one would believe the stories of what he saw. So a week later, April the 12th, 1945, he brought in two other generals, Bradley and Patton, and they began the process of documentation. They filmed. They took pictures. They wrote down testimonies. They journaled everything that they could possibly do to document what they saw in this particular camp, which was like all of the other camps in Germany and Poland and other places. They did not want the world to forget or come to think that it didn't really happen. In fact, one of the things that Eisenhower wrote was this: "I made the visit deliberately in order to be in a position to give firsthand evidence of these things if ever in the future there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda."

Without knowing it, Eisenhower was a prophet, because today there are a lot of people denying the Holocaust. In fact, there are a number of websites that you can go to this morning, if you choose to go home after church and look, to simply state that this really didn't happen and certainly didn't happen at the magnitude, if anything happened, that people claim that it did. There are whole organizations whose purpose is exactly that, to disprove the Holocaust.

What they say is really very simple. It's propaganda. These stories are just fabricated, that the documentation was just created by people. In fact, in an age when you can get a computer graphic to do almost anything now, it's believable to think that you could create images like the ones that you may have seen in documentaries of World War II. What they said was that all of that testimony was merely lies told by Jews trying to find favor with Europeans, that those confessions made by the Germans were coerced under torture. That reality is that this was nothing more than just a group of western allies trying to elevate Israel in the world to give them a position of prominence for financial gain later after the war. As hard as that is to imagine, there are people who actually believe that the Holocaust never happened.

It's not unlike those who believe that the resurrection never occurred. It's easily dismissed. It's easily dismissed on the same kind of basis that you dismiss any other historical event. I mean, after all, we don't have any contemporary people who have seen it or heard it, and so the excuses come one right after the other. It was really just a very simple thing. He just kind of passed out on the cross, and when they buried him in this cool tomb, he was allowed with some time to refresh.

Now, if you believe that after a Roman trained in torture was able to whip him with a cat of nine tails embedded with lead and spikes and glass and rip his body to shreds, if you believe that after having been hung on across in the hot sun unable to breathe, if you believe that he went into the tomb still alive and can be convinced that he awakened after a little time of rest, all you have to do now is convince me that he moved the stone from in front of the tomb and then took care of a Roman legion guard. If he can do that, then I'll believe that he just swooned. Or maybe you have been convinced by the argument that somebody just stole the body. It could have been either of two groups of people. It could have been the Jews who wanted to disprove resurrection, so they just went to the tomb and they stole the body. Or maybe it was the disciples. The disciples who wanted the resurrection to happen, they stole the body. The only problem with that is, where is the body? Because if the Jews had it on the day that Peter preached that first sermon in Acts Chapter 2, when they began to announce this truth, which became the truth that the church preached that Jesus was raised from the dead by God, all they had to do to stop this entire movement was to just show us the body. If you produce the body, everything is over. Nothing else can happen. Just give us a body.

Or maybe you believe that story that they just couldn't figure out which tomb to go to. I know where my parents are buried. I can find it. And let's just say that that's true, that somehow they just couldn't figure out which tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. I'm going to come back and ask the question, then why didn't somebody else produce the body?

Well, I know what it is. You've heard this argument. They just wanted it to happen so bad that they believed that it happened. The only problem is they didn't expect it to happen. Those women who went to the tomb that morning didn't go to prove that Jesus was raised from the dead. They went with an arm load of spices in order to adorn the body for burial. They weren't looking for an empty tomb. They were looking for a soldier to move a rock so that they could go in and pay homage to a dead Jesus. They weren't expecting resurrection. They were surprised by resurrection. They didn't believe in resurrection until after it happened.

Or maybe they just all imagined it. I could believe that. I mean, I can believe that one person imagined that they saw a gardener and, oh, that must have been Jesus because there was something of a lookalike. But how do you explain the fact that 12 disciples all saw him at the same time in an upper room or on several other occasions, or how do you explain imagining eating fish with him on the seashore, or how do you explain according to Paul that 500 people had the same hallucination all at the same time on the same day in the same place? You know, I don't think you can explain it away that easily.

Now, I understand that we don't come at this the same way we come at other things, and all of us have to concede that. You don't weigh history by the same evidence that you weigh other kinds of science. This is not empirical. This isn't how you do history. You don't have a certain number of events that repeat themselves over and over and over again in history to prove that something happened. That's how you do science. If you boil water and you discover that it boils at 212 degrees and then the next time you boil it it boils at 212 degrees and then the next time it boils at 212 degrees, you say, hey, water boils at 212 degrees.

But that's not how you do history. History is done inductively. History is when you take a look at the evidence that surrounds you. We don't assume that Lincoln is buried in Lincoln's tomb because somebody went over, dug it up, and did a DNA test, but we have read the stories. We've read his words. We've listened to his speeches. We have studied him and heard the testimony of believable people, and so we believe that there was an Abraham Lincoln. None of you have seen him. You don't know that.

We come to resurrection exactly the same way. We don't believe it because there is empirical evidence somebody went to the tomb and found the bones and took a DNA sample. By the way, to what would you compare that DNA sample? You got a data bank someplace that has God's DNA in it that you are going to compare this to? We believe that the testimony is that all of history changed after this day. Now, you got to figure out how to explain that, how one person on one day in history changed the entire course of the way we measure time and history. Somebody has to take a look at the evidence and be able to explain how a Jewish nation which practiced worship on Saturday suddenly decided that Sunday was the best day to worship. Somebody has got to figure out how to look at the historical evidence of how a group of people who believed in animal sacrifice was the way to do away with sin and suddenly decided that you no longer needed to sacrifice animals because one person died for all.

The evidence is that reliable people, trustworthy people said, I saw Jesus alive after he died. How do I know? How do I believe that Jesus is, in fact, raised from the grave? Because I'm standing here talking to you about it. And there are not a lot of bartender sons who were raised outside the church that are doing that today. But a resurrected Jesus came into my life and absolutely transformed who I am. Now, I know that this is not an empirical, scientific decision. This is a faith based decision. I choose to believe in the evidence. I trust what's been said historically is true. I can't do that because you believe it, you can't do that because I believe it, your children can't do it because you believe it, and you can't do it because your parents believe it. It is a choice that you make to accept the evidence of a resurrection.

See, most people deny the resurrection, according to a German theologian, for one of two reasons. He says one reason is because it's such an unusual event, and it's just so hard to believe that we just dismiss it. The other reason, he says, that people deny the resurrection is because it would change their lives, and they are not willing to submit to that change.

Pilate asked this question one day: What do you want me to do with Jesus? I'm prepared to answer that question. What do I want you to do with Jesus? Trust him with your life. Accept him for who he says he is. Believe the evidence and trust him. Give yourself to him. Put yourself in his hands. Believe that he can change your life. What should you do with Jesus? Take him into you and celebrate his life in you, not one day a year, not one day a week, not one hour a day, but all the time allow him to have control of your life, because he will take your meaninglessness and give it purpose. He will take your life that lacks hope and give it hope. He will take a life that leads to one place, death, and give you life instead.

What do we want you to do with Jesus? Trust him, obey him, and find life in him. I want to introduce you to somebody that's done that. I love this opportunity. Several weeks ago some of us went out as just a simple act of service to install CO detectors, smoke alarms, and a young lady came in contact with somebody from here and then began to sit and study. And this last week gave her life to Christ in another step of her own journey, was baptized into Jesus, and I want you to meet Misty Wiemelt and welcome her to Madison Park. Misty, where are you? Would you stand up and allow us to meet you? She is way back over there. Would you say hi to Misty.

What do we want you to do with Jesus? What she did. Trust him and obey him and find your life forever changed because of him.