Summary: The heart of our faith is the reality of the resurrection. At the empty tomb three commands were spoken to the two women – “Do not fear – Come and see – Go and tell.” They apply to us today as well!

Come and See! - Matthew 28:1-10 - March 31, 2013

Series: Easter Sunday

I’m going to read a few verses to you from the Gospel of Luke as we begin this morning, and as I read them, I invite you to simply listen to what is being said, and to try to grasp the impact that Jesus’ words would have had on His disciples. This is what we read … “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” The disciples did not understand any of this.” (Luke 18:31–34, NIV84)

And we can’t really blame them for that, can we? It’s easy for us to see why they struggled to make sense of what Jesus was saying. On the one hand He was telling them things they didn’t want to hear. They didn’t want to hear that He was going to be mocked and abused and put to death. He was the Messiah! He was the one they had been waiting for – they were sure of it! They had plans for Him – there was so much for Him still to do. And there was – but they didn’t fully understand the nature of His work at this time.

So on the one hand they didn’t want to hear it, and then on the other, the things He was saying just didn’t make sense. What could He possibly mean by saying that He would, “rise again?” And so, though Jesus had told them plainly what was to come, the disciples put it out of their minds. Everything He had said to them seemed too impossible to be true. And some things are that way – they’re too good to be true.

Some years ago, the Pepsi company had an advertising slogan that said this, “Come alive with the Pepsi generation!” Now that sounded good here in North America, but it didn’t quite cut it when it was translated into different languages around the world. In fact in Taiwan, when the slogan was translated, it promised something that Pepsi couldn’t deliver either. Instead of, “Come alive with the Pepsi generation!” the translated slogan read as this, “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead!”

Now I don’t know if that increased, or decreased, their sales, but there is a world of difference between the two meanings, isn’t there? What their slogan promised was too impossible to be true. But the good news for us is this – what is impossible for man is not impossible for God. Jesus meant it when He said He would be ridiculed, abused and put to death. But He also meant it when He said that He would “rise again.”

I’m going to ask you to open your Bibles with me, please, to the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew, chapter 28, beginning in verse 1. And what’s happened so far is this. Jesus has been crucified. He’s truly dead – they’ve stuck a spear in His side, into where the heart would be, and water and blood have flowed forth. He’s been laid in the tomb and a stone has been rolled across the entrance way. The chief priests and the Pharisees have gone to Pilate and essentially said, “Hey, remember how this Jesus guy said that He would rise again on the 3rd day? Well we need to make sure no one messes with the body so let’s post a guard and seal the tomb.” And that’s what they did and we pick up the story the next day as we begin reading in verse 1 ...

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 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. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 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.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”” (Matthew 28:1–10, NIV84)

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