Summary: They were filled with joy! They were celebrating His resurrection! And this morning I want us to celebrate, too – to celebrate His victory over 2 terrible foes. (PowerPoints available - #168)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #168.)
A. Today is Easter Sunday, & all over the world people are gathering in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. We are a part of that celebration!
Our Scripture text this morning is Matthew 28:1-10, & once again you have a choice. You can follow along in your Bible, or see the scriptures projected on the screen. But please listen carefully as I read these familiar verses to you.
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene & the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
“There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven &, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone & sat on it.
“His appearance was like lightning, & his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook & 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 & see the place where He lay.
“Then go quickly & tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead & 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, & ran to tell His disciples.
“Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ He said. They came to Him, clasped His feet & worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go & tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’”
B. Again, that is a familiar & wonderful passage. In fact, if we wished, we could easily consider it verse by verse & fill all the time we have available this morning.
I mean, just think about the violent earthquake. Scientists tell us that experiencing an earthquake creates almost uncontrollable feelings of insecurity in many people because that which they’ve always known as solid is moving & they’re absolutely helpless to do anything about it.
And right in the midst of the earthquake an angel appears, & “His appearance was like lightning…” He rolls the stone away from the entrance of the tomb, & sits upon it!
Now these were selected guards, tough & experienced. But when they felt the earthquake & saw the angel they became so afraid “that they shook & became like dead men.” God was shaking much more than just the earth that morning. He shook hardened soldiers, too!
I wonder, why did the angel roll the stone away - to let Jesus out? No! The tomb was already empty. The angel did not roll the stone away to let Jesus out, but to let the women in, so they could see for themselves that the tomb was empty.
And what about the women? They were afraid, too. But their fear turned to joy, & they hurried to tell the disciples what they had seen & heard. Then, as they hurried, “Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ He said.”