Summary: The stone was not rolled away so that Jesus could get out, it was so that others could get inside and see that he was not there!
As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former leader Leonid Brezhnev, Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev’s widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev’s wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: she reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest. Their in the cidadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband. (taken from sermon illustrations.com).
You see, the resurrection of Jesus Christ has changed the course of history forever. The stone was not rolled away from the entrance to the tomb so Jesus could get out. It was rolled away so that others could get in and see that Jesus was gone! The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key to the Christian faith! Why?
1. He rose fro the dead, just as he said, therefore he will accomplish ALL that he has promised. His Word can be counted on all of the time.
2. It is the living Christ, not a false impostor that is the ruler of God’s eternal kingdom. We read in verse 17 that Jesus stated, "I am returning to my Father."
3. We can be certain of our own resurrection. Death is not the end. There is eternal life with God.This sffirmation has been recognized around the world.
About 1930, the Communist leader Bukharin journeyed from Moscow to Kiev. His mission was to address a huge assembly. His subject, atheism. For a solid hour, he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity, hurling arguement and ridicule. At last he was finished and viewed what seemed to be the smoldering ashes of men’s faith."Are there any questions?" Bukharin demanded. A solitary man arose and asked permission to speak. He mounted the plarform and moved close to the Communist. The audience was breathlessly silent as the man surveyed them first to the right, then to the left. At last he shouted the ancient Orthodox greeting, "CHRIST IS RISEN!" The vast assembly arose as one man and the response came crashing like the sound of an avalanche, "HE IS RISEN INDEED!"
4. God’s divine power that brought Jesus back to life is now available for us to bring our spiritually dead selves back to life.
In verse 16 we read, "Jesus said to her, ’Mary.’ She said Rabonni!" This means Master/Teacher.
The Master knows our names, and calls his follers by them. Let us lovingly respond by saying and living Rabonni back in the worship and our service to our risen Lord and King.
Henri Barbusse tells of a conversion overheard in a dugout full of wounded men during the First World War. One of them who knows he has only moments to live says to another man, "Listen, Dominic, you’ve led a bad life. Everywhere you are wanted by the police. But there are no convictions against me. My name is clear, so, here, take my wallet, take my papers, my identity, my good name, my life and quickly hand me your papers that I may carry all your crimes away with me in death." That is the same offer the living Christ makes through his saving death on the cross.(taken from sermon illustrations.com)