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Summary: The lies that the religious leaders paid for could not purchase the truth away from the risen Christ.

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Easter Sunrise 2015

Matthew 27:62-66

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Matthew 28:1-7

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28:11-15

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Message:

The resurrection of Jesus Christ had been promised to His disciples.

Jesus explained it thoroughly several times. But His disciples fled at the cross and hid themselves away.

Jesus enemies on the other hand took Jesus threat of resurrection to heart.

The High priests and Pharisees pleaded with Pilot to provide a guard to watch His tomb.

The enemies of Christ were correct about His promise. Jesus kept His word.

Nicodemas and Joseph of Aramethia laid the body of Jesus in the tomb.

We can assume it was not in some far off back corner of the cemetery but a place of prominence since Joseph was a rich man.

The enemies of Jesus still feared that blood soaked, breathless body.

They remembered His promise “After three days I will rise again”. It was a promise that Jesus made repeatedly.

Jesus enemies knew that He had promised a bodily resurrection not just a spiritual resurrection.

Why ask for a guard or the Roman seal upon the tomb if His resurrection would only be a spiritual one?

Who would try to steal a spirit in a cave?

That would be ridiculous but a body is another matter.

They were also afraid that the Disciples might hatch a plot to steal the body and fake the resurrection.

Such a result would be hard to reverse once the people became convinced that Jesus was alive.

There would be no way to undo such an event.

For all these reasons the guard was posted and the seal was set by Pilate’s order.

Then the waiting began.

But despite their best efforts Jesus rose just as He said He would on the third day.

The broken seal became a great proof of the promised resurrection.

The soldiers did not see Jesus step out of the tomb but they did see an angel roll away the stone so that they could look in.

It was true His body was gone – Jesus was alive!

The broken seal guaranteed the resurrection rather than dispelling it.

The guards as witnesses added weight to the facts rather than contradicting them.

The lies that the religious leaders paid for could not purchase the truth away from the risen Christ.

Do people see Jesus alive in you or do you profess only a spiritual resurrection?

Have you managed to convince your friends that you’re really just a dead Christian?

Let God roll away the stone of your heart and let Jesus come alive in your body and your spirit.

Don’t sell out today for what Jesus has paid for you to have for eternity. Amen.

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