Summary: The first Easter was a day of great discoveries
A Day of Discovery
Easter Sunday - April 15, 2001
On February 27th, 1991 Ruth Dillow was in her home in Chanuk, Kansas when her phone ran. The person on the other end was from the Pentagon with bad news. Her son was Private first class Clayton Carpenter and had stepped on a land mine in the Persian Gulf war. Private Carpenter was dead. Ruth felt the sickening feeling of knowing that her son was never coming home again.
Three days later Ruth received another phone call. The voice on the other end said, “Mom, I’m alive!” Ruth could not believe it. The son she had been mourning for three days was indeed alive.
Strange but true
A. This story may sound strange but it’s true
1. Private Clayton Carpenter almost seemed to come back from the dead. However that is impossible or is it impossible?
2. There is another case of coming back form the dead that I want to examine this morning.
B. The reality of the resurrection
1. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the pinnacle of Christian belief
2. The belief is proven by statistics
Newsweek did a cover story concerning the continuing influence of Jesus. In that article a survey was done based on only one question: "Do you believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after dying on the cross?" 88% of Christians said yes; 32% of NON-Christians also said yes
3. What about you? What do you think about the resurrection? Let’s take a long look at the most amazing act of God in history
I. Mary focused on the Triumph
A. Mary’s discovery at the tomb
1. Mary saw the stone removed
a.) This was just before dawn while it was still dark
b.) Mary finds the tomb open
2. The significance of the stone
a.) The tomb was closed: The tomb had a large groove along the base with a large circular stone to close the entrance. The stone was rolled into place and became nearly impossible to remove
b.) The tomb was sealed: The stone was then sealed by either clay or wax to further seal the entrance and make it air tight. The tomb of Jesus was also given the seal of the emperor and made it a capital crime to open the tomb.
c.) The tomb was guarded: Pilate placed a large number of Roman soldiers to guard the tomb.
B. Mary’s reaction to the discovery
1. Mary went to Peter
a.) Mary ran to find Peter and share the news
Q – Was Mary going to share good news with the others? NO!
b.) Mary had believed that the body of Jesus had been stolen – verse 2 b
"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!"
2. Mary was focused on the tragedy of the situation
a.) First, Jesus was dead
b.) Second, Jesus’ body was missing and presumed stolen
c.) Third, no one knew where the body was located
3. What kind of tragedies are in your life?
a.) The tragedy of a loved one who has passed away
b.) The tragedy of lost relationships – Divorce, strained family relations
c.) The tragedy of lost opportunities – Time with family,
II. Peter focused on the Tomb
A. Peter investigates the tomb
1. When Peter hears the news he runs to investigate the tomb
a.) John arrived at the tomb first and looks in the tomb entrance
b.) Peter arrives and immediately enters the tomb
2. Peter’s discovery
a.) There was no body – Jesus was gone
b.) There was no disturbance – The linens for the burial were still there and in order and it could easily be seen that the body was not stolen
c.) The burial cloth was folded upon itself. The burial cloth was used to cover the head of Jesus. This is literally impossible unless there was a miraculous removal of the body. This is one of the most striking evidences for the resurrection
B. Peter’s response
1. Peter saw the facts
a.) The evidence that Peter saw was indeed conclusive. Jesus had been raised from the dead
b.) Peter did not process the information.
1.) Joe Friday from Dragnet – “Just the facts”
2.) It could be said that he was looking at just the facts
2. Peter was focused on the tomb
a.) Peter did not understand what had happened and he was focused on merely answering the question “what happened here?”
b.) Peter did not apply his faith to the facts and was unable to come to a conclusion
c.) Peter’s response was to go home clueless
III. John focused on the Triumph
A. John investigates the tomb
1. John sees the exact same things that Peter saw that day