Summary: You ask me what is the most important feature or belief of the Christian faith, and I will say without a doubt, it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Disprove it, and the entire belief system disintegrates.
The King is Alive
John 3:16: “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever will believe in Him will not perish, but have everlasting and eternal life.” 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God.” Acts 4:12 “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” Romans 10:9 “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.”
You ask me what is the most important feature or belief of the Christian faith, and I will say without a doubt, it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Disprove it, and the entire belief system disintegrates.
Turn with me to Mark 16:1-7
As we finish this series, we’ve looked once again at the glory and splendor and wonder of the last week of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry: His triumphal entry, His anointing at Bethel preparing Him for His gruesome death, His last supper with His friends, and last week, the centrality of the cross of Christ, by which, those of us who have believed, have walked through the door passing from death to life, from darkness to light.
But this morning we examine one of 4 accounts of this seminal event we call the resurrection. Follow along as I read.
vv.1-2 Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of Joseph, and Salome—this trio of women traveled with Jesus and cared for Him in the latter part of His ministry and they were with Jesus as He was dying on the cross. Now they have come together to do one last kindness to their Teacher.
Jesus executed on Friday. Died at 3 pm. Joseph of Aramathia and Nicodemas were in a hurry to get him off the cross before Passover and get him laid in the tomb before darkness and the onset of Sabbath so Luke tells us they went to Pilate to get permission to take the body. Burial by Jews in that era consisted of covering the body with various oils and we’re told in John 19 that it was about 100 lbs. Why were they wanting to anoint a dead body that had already been covered in 100 lbs? Possibly because of their devotion to Jesus and still clinging to their memory of Him. We do this when someone we love has died; there seems to be a preoccupation with the body, even though we know that the person we love is not in the lifeless corpse. Sabbath was over at sundown Saturday evening, so at first light on Sunday they were at the tomb to honor His body again.
v.3 “who will roll away the stone” The stone referred to here would probably weigh between 1 and 2 tons. It would take 2-3 strong men to move it. Rolling away the stone was not just about pushing a big object: it was about removing the separation between these women and Jesus.
v.4 “looked up” They were so sad and downcast that their heads were no doubt hanging down as they approached the tomb. When they did look up, they saw that the huge stone had already been rolled away for them. Matthew informs us in his gospel that an angel had come and rolled it away. Jesus didn’t do it; He didn’t need to. He was already gone at that point. Humans didn’t do it. It was an act straight from heaven.
v.5 “young man”. No doubt this is the appearance of the angel that had rolled away the stone.
“they were alarmed” Ya think? Their grief stricken. They get to the tomb and the large stone is already rolled away. They rush inside to see the body. They see an angel on the inside—not something you see every day. And on top of all of that, the body is not there! They were more than a little shook up.
v.6 “Look where they laid Him”. They rush into the tomb, see the angel and he directs there attention to the stone slab where the body of Jesus would have been laid and covered with the spices and balm. As all this is happening, the angel proclaims the words that have been heralded for 2000 yrs; words that leap off the tongue of the believer and bring joy and hope to our hearts: He’s not here—He’s risen! He’s not here—He’s risen! He’s not here—He’s risen!
True believers get excited about Resurrection Sunday! Resurrection Sunday is more thrilling than any other human event: more than winning the lottery, more than winning a national championship, more than if Jerry Jones sold the Cowboys!