“Blessed Are Those Who Believe”
April 16, 2017 — Easter Morning
As a young man, Benjamin Franklin wrote an epitaph for himself that he hoped would be used on his gravestone after his death (though it wasn’t):
The body of B. Franklin, Printer,
Like the cover of an old book,
Its contents torn out,
And stripped of its lettering and gilding,
Lies here food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost,
For it will, as he believed,
Appear once more
In a new and more elegant edition,
Corrected and improved
By the Author.
So was Franklin — long recognized as a skeptic of Christianity — a believer in Christ (or on His way to Christ)? Shortly before his death, his answer to a question from Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University, tells us the state of his soul: “As to Jesus of Nazareth, I have some doubts as to his Divinity. Tho’ it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble.”
So he didn’t concern himself with the deity of Christ (or work of Christ), expecting an opportunity to make a decision in the after-life. That’s the tale of an intelligent man making a foolish error.
Jesus Christ is not only the greatest of all men ever, but He is the infinite God-Man. Jesus Christ is not only the supreme teacher and miracle worker, but He is the embodiment of truth and His cross and resurrection are the most important acts of all human history. Because nothing is more important than believing in Christ and following Him obediently, nothing is more important than thinking on Him now.
And the biblical accounts of the resurrected Christ attest to that importance, as we will find this morning as we consider the story of Christ’s appearances to the disciples in John 20:19-31.
Christ’s resurrection is a truth of paramount importance.
This passage illustrates four realities of the truth of the resurrection —
- Christ’s Resurrection is a Truth that Provides Peace (vv. 19-21a)
- Christ’s Resurrection is a Truth that Produces Purpose (vv. 21b-23)
- Christ’s Resurrection is a Truth that Promotes Worship (vv. 24-28)
- Christ’s Resurrection is a Truth that Blesses Belief (vv. 29-31)
Download the rest of this sermon from John 20:19-31.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.