Summary: Everything changed for the US on September 11, 2001. Abnormal things happened, and since then things have changed dramatically. But that event was nothing compared to the events of Easter morning 1971 years ago.
Passage: Matthew 28:1-10
Intro: I was driving on the Maricopa freeway just south of the airport when I heard it. You were perhaps on your way to work, or had just flipped on the morning news show when you heard it. Maybe someone called you.
1. but everything changed the morning of September 11, 2001
2. things that normally don’t happen, happened. Things we did not believe would happen, happened.
3. sparked the unprecedented decision to ground all aircraft, close airports to flights coming in from foreign countries
4. it was our generations Pearl Harbor.
5. it got our attention, didn’t it?
6. as much as we say we like change, we are glad when the sun comes up, car starts, electricity works, clean water comes out of the tap.
7. the unusual upsets us, tendency is to rush to get things “back to normal”
8. today we celebrate an unusual event that took place 1971 years ago, + or –
9. not just one unusual event, but a string of abnormal occurrences that should cause us to pay attention.
10. because in a normal world, certain things just don’t happen. And when several happen at once, we should listen
I. In a Normal World, the Ground Doesn’t Shake
1. never been in an earthquake. Have U?
2. no where to run, no place to hide.
3. that week in Jerusalem, two powerful earthquakes.
4. and the 2nd one took place a few days later, on Sunday morning.
5. 2nd in v2, “for an angel…” so we know the cause
6. Jerusalem is on a fault, so earthquakes not that uncommon.
7. 50,000 annually worldwide, with 100 strong enough to do damage.
8. God often associated with earthquakes, past and future.
PP Haggai 2:6-7
Revelation full of earthquakes
II. In a Normal World, the Sun Shines
1. not part of resurrection story, but so strange we need to take note.
2. eclipse? No, because they happen during new moon, while moon was full at Passover
3. no one can explain this darkness, though a total eclipse of 3 hours of real darkness is unheard of!
4. but darkness has overtones of the judgment of God
PP Amos 8:9-10a
5. darkness was from noon until three
III. In a Normal World, Angels Don’t Sit Down
1. v2, angel rolls away the stone and sits on it! Inquiring minds want to know!
2. angels mentioned 303 times in Scripture, only sitting at 2 events; at the calling of Gideon to lead God’s army, and at the resurrection.
3. so what? Sitting usually signifies resting from labor,
il) most bosses, if see work crew sitting down while work going on, says, “What are you guys sitting around for?” Get to work!!
4. most of the angels mentioned in regard to the resurrection are sitting down!
PP John 20:12
5. tells me that the job is finished, the deed is done.
Il) “Christ’s Redeeming Work is Done”
6. throughout Hebrews, Jesus portrayed as sitting in heaven, context always completion of His work.
PP Hebrews 1:3
7. don’t overlook this detail. It is abnormal for angels to sit down
IV. In a Normal World, Tough Guys Don’t Faint
1. these guards in v4 are Roman soldiers, the Delta Force of their day.
2. used to bloodshed, stress, danger
3. saw angel,“they shook”=seismos, another form of word from v2 “great earthquake”
il) almost titled this message “Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On”
4. nearly scared to death.
Il) Skye shakes when he’s been in the garbage overnight and see me coming!
5. we all have ideas of what it would be like to be face to face with God.
6. here’s what happened to several tough guys who came face to face with just one of God’s servants!!
7. don’t underestimate the power of God
8. may not be PC to talk about judgment on Easter morning, but it pervades the passage
V. In a Normal World, Dead Men Stay Dead
1. in our world, death is a great reality
il) watch ER, “time of death”, “stop compressions”, turn off the monitor, pull up the sheet, go tell the family.
2. now in this case, a prediction had been made by the deceased.
3. but here on Sunday morning, the promise had come true.
Il) “death in vain forbids him rise”
4. tomb empty, angel rolled back the stone
il) Max Lucado, “The stone was moved, not for Jesus, but for the women. Not so Jesus could come out, but so the women could see in.”
5. He had been dead, “Jesus, who was crucified.”
6. perfect tense, “present state based on past event.”
7. this forever name Jesus known by, the epitome of His revealed character.