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Summary: Is Resurrection Sunday the most wonderful time of the year? Paul wrote that if Christ has not been raised our preaching is in vain and so is our faith (1 Corinthians 15:14). Let’s discuss the centrality of the resurrection of Jesus and the testimony of eyewitnesses in Luke 24:1-12

Is Christmas the most wonderful time of the year? What about Jesus’ resurrection? Is Resurrection Sunday the most wonderful time of the year? Paul wrote that if Christ has not been raised our preaching is in vain and so is our faith (1 Corinthians 15:14). Let’s discuss the centrality of the resurrection of Jesus and the testimony of eyewitnesses in Luke 24:1-12.

Luke 24:1-2 “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb”

At the earliest twilight, literally “deep early dawn” several women went to the tomb, either singly or in small groups, revealing their “affection and respect”[1] to Jesus in a rich man’s tomb chiseled out of a rock face, with a rounded rock rolled in place to close the entrance.

[1] Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible by Matthew Henry

Luke 24:3-4 “but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing”

The empty grave was a surprise. The women reacted like us. We believe, but we are at a loss. It seems as if angels were coming and going, but at that moment, two divine messengers were there appearing like men, but their lustrous clothing flashing like lightning gave them away.

Luke 24:5-7 “and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

The encouragement to remember shows that the women were among those being taught by Jesus in Galilee. It also shows that the angels were there. The third day must be understood as an ancient expression meaning the day after tomorrow, and fits with late Friday, Saturday and early Sunday resurrection.

Luke 24:8-10 “And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.”

Moderns sometimes make way too much out of these verses, grossly exaggerating their reporting, as these women being the first evangelists. There is obviously a great deal of difference between an evangelist, someone with a vocational calling from God to announce the good news, and eyewitnesses reporting what they saw.

Luke 24:11-12 “But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.”

The apostles initially thought the women were talking as if they were delirious, except for Peter, who ran to the scene, saw the evidence and went home amazed.

Witnesses do not die for a lie, yet eleven of the twelve disciples of Jesus were martyred for their faith. Witnesses did not recant even 40 years later. The Watergate conspirators could not keep their lie for 3 weeks because they knew it was not true. Folktales grow over generations, but the resurrection accounts were written down within the lifetimes of witnesses. They said it happened because they were there. The resurrection accounts are testimony, not legend.

And so we confess that part of the Nicene Creed which says: On the third day He rose again in accordance with the scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.

New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

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