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Resurrection Sunday


Princeton Christian Church Matthew 28:1-15 04 April 2021

This is the day we, as Christians celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ from the dead.

We sometimes call this day Easter. Not sure why. The word is only found once in Scripture, and that in the King James Version, where it is really speaking about the Passover.

In any case, today is a celebration of a resurrection which changed the entire world for all of history and the future.

This morning we will journey back to that first Resurrection Sunday morning and look at the events at the tomb of Jesus. We will see what happened there and what it means to you and me today.

Matthew 28:1-15

I. The Approach of the Women

As they come to the tomb, they are sad, defeated, and discouraged. They had witnessed the death of Jesus on the cross and were coming to pay their last respects to the body of the Lord. The women had different reasons for coming to the tomb that morning.

A. Some came to look – Matthew 28:1

Perhaps to pray or meditate near where his body had been laid. Maybe they came to be sure everything was in order at the tomb.

B. Some came to perform a duty – Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1

This shows us that some of the women came to perform one last labor of love for the Lord Jesus. They came to finish anointing His body for burial. They wanted to serve him one last time.

C. Some came to linger – John 20:11-18

These verses tell us that Mary Magdalene lingered at the tomb after the others had already gone away. She owed much to Jesus. She had been possessed by demons (Mark 16:9). Jesus had radically changed her life and she loved him. She was the last one at the cross and was the first to see him after he had risen from death. He had done so much for her, and her heart was broken because of his death, so she came to worship him.

There is a lesson for us here. Like these women, Jesus has done so much for us; we should want to be with our Lord – to be near Him. We should love him and worship him and serve him faithfully. Those who are close to him will receive the revelations Jesus has for us.

II. The Activity of the Angel

The women were not the only ones sent to the tomb that early resurrection morning. Heaven sent someone too – the Angel. Let’s look at the activity of the Angel that day.

A. He Rolled the Stone Away –Mark 16:1 – the women saw an obstacle – who will roll the stone away so we may anoint him?

The stone represented the finality of death. For them, the stone meant that He is gone forever. But God took care of that obstacle. The stone was not removed so that Jesus could walk out of the tomb. He was long gone before the women or the angel had arrived at the tomb. The stone was rolled away so that his followers could look into the tomb and see that it was empty. One of the obstacles to his followers’ faith – the stone – was rolled away.

B. He Removed the Soldiers – Matthew 27:62-67

The chief priests and the Pharisees were concerned that the prophecies of Jesus’ rising from the dead, might actually come true, and they wanted a guard posted at the tomb.

Isn’t it sad when unbelievers know more about the Bible and believe it more than people who claim to know Jesus. Jesus had told his followers that he would be put to death, but that he would rise again. The scoffers apparently thought it might be possible, but his followers apparently forgot that bit of information.

So, the guards sealed the tomb, with Pilate’s seal and posted a company of guards at the door. These guards stood as an obstacle between the women and their entrance into the tomb.

But, when the angel appeared, he took care of the soldiers. They were so frightened by the angel’s appearance that they fell, as dead, helpless, on the ground. Another obstacle to faith, the guard at the tomb, has been rolled away.

C. He Reminded the Followers

Once the soldiers had been removed, the angel began to speak to the women, the greatest obstacle of all was removed – that obstacle of unbelief. Because of the words of the angel they were led to believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

Here is what he reminded them of:

1. The Past – He reminded them of the crucifixion although they needed no reminder. They had been there. John 19:25 But they needed to be reminded of the fact that he had died. They, and we today, need to be reminded of the importance of the death of Jesus on the cross. His death provided the sacrifice that was necessary to cleanse sinners from their sins and to bring them into a right relationship with God.

2. The Present – The angel said to them, “You are here at the tomb, but Jesus isn’t here. HE IS RISEN!” This is the greatest proclamation ever to fall upon human ears!

His death was the perfect, eternal payment for sin, but His resurrection was God’s receipt for the full amount.

You see, a dead Savior can save no one! But a Living Savior can offer salvation to all who come to Him.

When Jesus died on the cross, He said, “It is Finished!” When he rose from the dead, God the Father said, “I Am Satisfied.!”

Now, Jesus had proven He was who He had claimed to be. John 11:25-26. “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?

Now he can declare victory over death. Revelation 1:18 –“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

Now, we can look to him and be confident that He has the power to save us. That is where we are today.

3. They were reminded of the Promise

They are reminded that His resurrection should not have taken them by surprise. After all, it was what he would do all the while he was teaching them.

The resurrection should not have caught them off guard or by surprise. Had they really believed what he had said, they might have held a praise service at the tomb. Or, would have been there earlier ready to meet him when he came out of the tomb.

4. They were reminded of the Proof

The angel’s invitation is for them to look into the tomb and see for themselves that Jesus is gone.

Later, when Peter and John arrive there, John records the fact that the linen cloths that had been wrapped around the body of Jesus, were lying there like an empty cocoon, while the napkin that had been about his face was folded in a place by itself. This caused John to believe in the resurrection.

Here is why – there are two reasons why the appearance and arrangement of the grave clothes are of such importance.

First, there was no sign of human intervention. If someone had taken the body, they could not have removed it through the grave clothes, and it is likely they would not have removed them anyway. They would have taken the body out still wrapped in the grave clothes. They would not have taken the time to carefully fold the napkin, but it too would have been taken with the body or discarded. So, the tomb was in perfect order.

Second, there is the ancient custom of the napkin. When a man with servants was eating a meal, and he left the table for some reason during the meal, he might wad the napkin up, or he might neatly fold the napkin and place it on the table. If he wadded the napkin up, it meant he was finished and would not return to the table. If he folded the napkin neatly, it meant that he was stepping away for a moment, but he would return. Jesus was telling his disciples, “I may be out of your sight right now, but I’ll be right back.”

5. They were reminded of the Plan

They were to go and share the Good News that Jesus was raised from the dead. Those disciples who were hiding in fear that they may too be captured and crucified as Jesus was had now received the great news that Jesus had conquered death and was alive forevermore.

It was a message of hope. A message of life. A message of victory. A message everyone needed to hear. And – it still is.

That message is as fresh and alive today as it was when it was given. Jesus is still alive and men and women trapped in the bondage of fear and sin still need to hear the Good News. We are charged today, as Christ-followers, to carry the message with swift feet and joyful hearts to a world that desperately needs to hear about a risen Lord.

III. Conclusion

A. All religions of the world are bothered by the empty tomb. You see, you can travel to China. You can find the tomb of Buddha. You will find that he is still in the tomb. You can travel to the Middle East. Find the tomb of Mohammed. You will find that he is still in the tomb. You could travel to Russia. Find the body of Lenin in his glass coffin. He is still there. But, let’s go to the Garden where Jesus’ borrowed tomb was located. You will find the tomb is empty.

The empty tomb sounds the death for every other religious system now on the earth.

There is One Risen Savior and His name is Jesus.

There is One Way to Heaven and His name is Jesus.

There is only One who descended into the depths of death and came to life again, the eternal Victor over death for all who believe in Him.

And, His name is Jesus.

That name can, and will, change your life. The events of that day of Resurrection will forever reverberate throughout eternity. Those who have come to Christ, heard the Gospel, believed it is the Word of God, repented of their sins, confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, and are baptized into Him will be saved. We will become partakers of the life of God in Christ.

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