Summary: Here's an Easter sermon that includes an amusing story as the illustration.
"Jesus Was Dead, But Now He's Alive!"
Luke 24:1-9 N.K.J.V.
1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
2But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
3Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.
5Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?
6He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,
7saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.' "
8And they remembered His words.
9Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
Many people don't like to talk about death.
In fact, many people are afraid to die.
The message of Easter...
is that death is not the end.
The events on a Sunday morning nearly 2,000 years ago
in a tomb on the other side of the world
proved there is life beyond the grave.
One day, Carol Hankins looked out her window
and saw her Beagle hound Joe
with the neighbor's little white rabbit in his mouth.
The dog was shaking the rabbit furiously.
NOW...Carol had had trouble with this neighbor
and she feared this was going to make matters worse.
Carol dropped everything and ran out...
hoping to rescue the poor little white rabbit.
She grabbed a broom and beat on the dog...
until he dropped the defenseless little white rabbit.
Carol took a quick look to see if her neighbor was watching!
Then she quickly took the poor critter to the garage.
Too late! The rabbit was dead.
We'll get back to that story a little later.
Let's think for a moment about the Disciples of Jesus.
The disciples were grieving.
They had spent a little over 3 years with Jesus.
They loved Him dearly!
But Jesus died.
After being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane...
Jesus was taken through a series of illegal trials...
By Jewish and Roman authorities.
Jesus was scourged...and then handed over to be crucified.
He was taken outside the gates of Jerusalem.
On Golgotha Hill...they nailed Jesus to a cross.
For 6 hours....Jesus hung there in agony.
Around 3:00 that afternoon...
Jesus uttered those wonderful words: "It is finished"
When the disciples heard that Jesus had been crucified...
their hopes, dreams, and plans were crushed.
They believed that it was exactly what Jesus said on the cross.
"It is finished."
But death is not the end.
DEATH HAS MET ITS MATCH!
Jesus was dead.
The disciples understood that.
Experts checked that.
The Roman executioners knew when a body was lifeless.
The body of Jesus was placed in a tomb.
A huge rock was placed over the tomb opening.
The tomb was sealed.
Roman soldiers were assigned to guard the tomb.
It seemed that death had stolen the victory!
But the devil could not defeat Jesus.
Death could not hold Him.
The Tomb could not contain Him.
Death met its match!
Listen to Acts 2:23-24:
Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
My brother Bob and I used to wrestle.
We'd watch wrestling every Saturday night on TV.
After it was over...
we'd strip down to our underwear...
and spread one of Mom's quilts on the floor.
Then we would wrestle like those guys on TV.
Now...I was 2 years older than Bob.
I was bigger and stronger.
Yet, for fun, I would allow him...
to put all sorts of holds on me...
and for a moment appear to be defeated.
But after awhile, I would have to show him.
Just like the guys on TV...
I'd come back from certain defeat...
to win the match!
Well, Jesus allowed His enemies to win for a while.
For 3 days and nights. Jesus looked like a loser!
But Jesus got up!
Death has been defeated!
FEAR HAS BEEN DEFEATED!
When Jesus died,
His followers became a frightened, disoriented bunch.
Matthew 28:5-6 sayas:
But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.