Summary: An Topical message on the assurances that the resurrection gives to Christians.
"Good News From The Graveyard"
March 31, 2002
Introduction: Welcome to New life in Christ. It is our normal teaching practice to go through books of the Bible verse by verse. Currently on Sunday mornings we are going through the Gospel of Luke but since this is such a special day I will not be teaching in my normal manner. Rather I will be bringing you a special message entitled "Good News From The Graveyard."
Read Luke 24: 1-8
Everyone longs for and needs to hear some good news. In a year’s worth of time, since Easter 2001 we have certainly had a year of bad news. It has been a year of tragedy, terrorist, and trouble, not only for us as a nation but also for many of you personally. Many of you have experienced troubles in your relationships. Some of you have experienced financial and business struggles. Others as you have experienced major health problems, spiritual dilemmas and so forth. For a few you this has been a year of loss, hurt, and grief. This is the way the world is-a lot more bad news than good. The early disciples could relate to such a situation for they were filled with defeat and despair.
Because of the abundance of bad news most of us are always ready and are overjoyed to receive some good news. Certainly the women disciples or followers of Jesus could use some good news as they were going to the burial place but they did not have any reason to expect to receive any good news at the graveyard. This just is not the place for good news. This is as a place for sorrow, grief, and hopelessness, but God has a way of working and bringing good news in the worst possible circumstances. On that first Easter morning they heard the greatest news of all, "He is not here-He is risen!" Jesus is alive!
That is good news from the graveyard. In fact this good news is so great that it far supersedes any tragedy or trouble we have ever faced or will ever face.
Why is the resurrection of Jesus such good news? What does it mean for you and me today, some 2000 years later? To be sure it was the greatest miracle of all. A miracle that was validated and proved beyond any reasonable doubt. It is a marvelous and miraculous thing that a man can be beaten with 39 strikes, have his beard pulled out, struck with fist, nailed to a cross, pierced with a sword in his side, wrapped in burial cloth, and then placed in a tomb for three days and then come to life. There can be little doubt that this was a marvelous an amazing miracle.
This miracle was also validated as genuine. The eyewitnesses of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection, the Roman Guards who supervised that punishment, and the totally and radically committed disciples, even unto death, all attest to the reality of the miracle.
Without Easter Sunday, the name of Jesus Christ would be about as recognizable as the name Theudas. Who, you may ask, is Theudas? That’s my point. He lived in Israel several years before Jesus. He was, in his time, a popular prophet and teacher. He attracted hundreds of followers, and when he offended the wrong people, he was put to death. Sound familiar so far? Then why haven’t we ever heard of him? Because after his death his followers scattered and went on to other things, and the world soon forgot about Theudas.
When Jesus died, it looked like the same thing would happen--before he was even dead the overwhelming majority of his followers had deserted him. In fact, do you remember the Apostle Peter? He was one of Jesus’ key disciples. Jesus had said to him sometime earlier, "You are a rock, and on this rock I will build my church." But Peter the rock crumbled like sand when Jesus was facing death--he deserted him, he denied ever having anything to do with him, and he disappeared—he went back to his fishing boat. When Jesus died, it appeared that his cause would die with him, and that he would become as obscure as Theudas.
But oddly enough, it didn’t happen that way. The followers of Jesus didn’t fade into oblivion. In fact, they all came back bolder and more courageous than ever before. What happened? What made the difference? The only explanation is the resurrection. The resurrection is not a religious myth. It is not an invention of man meant to inspire us with hope and positive thinking.
The resurrection of Jesus is good news for his followers, that is Christians, because it brings some wonderful assurances into our lives. His resurrection makes some very important things very certain, so much so that we are not left to guess or have wishful thinking about these important life issues. Some things are just too important to not be sure of. For example, I want to know with reasonable degree of certainty that the Roosevelt Ridge will not collapse when I drive over it. When I invest money, which right now is all invested in raising four kids, I do not want to invest it in such a way as to take a risk. I like to play it safe. I am not a gambler in any sense of the word. I especially do not want to take a chance on spiritual issues such as Jesus identity and my eternal destiny. There is just too much at stake to be uncertain. The good news is that none of us has to be in doubt about these important issues. The resurrection of Jesus gives us some wonderful assurances. Three assurances in particular I wish to share with you today.