Sermons

Summary: Events in the Bible that took place on a mountain

Mountain Moving Faith

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Matthew 28:1-20

The Story Behind the Song. Go Tell It on the Mountain, the carol that provides inspiration for this sermon, was the product of the prayers and faith of an unknown slave, probably before the Civil War. During that dark and shameful period of slavery in our country, unknown African American slaves, a largely uneducated people often humiliated and cruelly treated, longed for freedom. In spite of their plight, God seemed to inspire them to produce songs of incredible majesty and haunting beauty. Many of them could neither read nor write, and their songs were preserved only in the oral tradition—from the fields to small slave churches, and eventually to white churches and concert halls.

Many of these songs have been saved, however, because of the devotion of John Wesley Work, an African American church choir director in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the few educated African Americans in the South, Work decided that the new generation of blacks needed to know and learn the songs their ancestors sang during the days of slavery. Work’s brother, Frederick, is credited with being one of the first to recognize the power and potential of the song, Go Tell It on the Mountain.

The folk song captures the feeling of an unknown slave from whose heart these words sprang. Probably unable to read the Bible, this anonymous poet imagined the reaction of the shepherds as the great light from heaven shone around them. Little did the slave know that this song, expressing the wonder in his own soul, would eventually touch the hearts of millions. (Source: Ace Collins, Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Zondervan, 2001, pp. 47-52)

”When I was a seeker

I sought both night and day,

I asked the Lord to help me,

And he showed me the way.

”Go tell it on the mountain,

Over the hills and everywhere,

Go tell it on the mountain,

Our Jesus Christ is born.

”He made me a watchman

Upon a city wall,

And if I am a Christian,

I am the least of all.”

But where does the story end? Did it end when the shepherds went back to the fields, or when the wise men returned to their country? Where does it end for you and me? Christmas isn’t over at midnight on December 25th. What began at Bethlehem continued and reached a new climax 33 years later. The Gospel that Jesus proclaimed during those years, and confirmed with His death and resurrection, is the message we are to go and tell on the mountain!

I. The Fact of the Resurrection (28:1-10)

Bethlehem signaled that the promised Savior of the world had arrived. John the Baptist confirmed His mission when, upon seeing Jesus approaching him, said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus’ work on earth culminated at the cross where, in shame and humiliation, He paid once for all time the entire price for mankind’s sin. He became the sacrifice which would do away with all other offerings of animals on the temple altars.

Because Jesus perfectly satisfied God’s requirement in His Law, God acknowledged the success of Jesus’ mission by raising Him from the dead. Thus God made Him both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). Jesus’ resurrection, in accordance with His prediction that on the third day He would rise again, confirmed His claims and proved that His death was an actual payment for sin and that God had accepted it as such.

Matthew began his thrilling account of the events of Resurrection Sunday with the story of the two Marys coming to the tomb. Even though they were devoted followers of the Lord Jesus, they did not expect to find the tomb empty. In coming to complete the hurried burial of Jesus, theirs was not an errand of faith, or even of hope. It was one of love. God intervened with an earthquake, however, rolled back the stone, and sent an angel! In our moments of deepest despair, God’s earthquakes and angels often save the day.

As the women left the tomb to find the disciples and tell them the good news, the risen Christ suddenly appeared before them with the simple greeting, “Rejoice!”—no dramatic fanfare, just a typical, Jewish “Good morning!” Yet never was there a greeting so sweet and wonderful. Immediately and instinctively they fell down at His feet and worshipped Him.

II. The Denial of the Resurrection (11-15)

The scene and the mood changes in verses 11-15. Already the denial of the resurrection of Jesus was being planned and perpetrated in Jerusalem. Not only had the women joyfully proclaimed the good news, but the Roman guards “came into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened” (v. 11). In spite of these confirmations, the priests did not verify the facts for themselves. The last thing the Sadducees wanted was proof of a resurrection, and especially of Jesus, for they viciously attacked any belief in the resurrection. The decision of the Sanhedrin was not to investigate the matter, but try to squash it by bribing the soldiers with large sums of money.

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