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Summary: THIS IS AN EASTER SUNDAY SERMON. I HEARD THE OLD PATHS QUARTETTE SING "LONG LIVE THE KING" AND DEVELOPED THE SERVICE AROUND THAT PIECE AND SANG IT AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE SERVICE.

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LONG LIVE THE KING

MATTHEW 28:11-20

WHEN A CHANGE IN MONARCHS OCCURS, THE CRY THAT IS OFTEN OFFERED FOR THE NEW MONARCH IS “LONG LIVE THE KING”. IT IS A WISH FOR A LONG LIFE AND A GOOD REIGN FOR THE NEW MONARCH.

TODAY WE RECOGNIZE NOT A NEW REIGN, BUT A NEW DIMENSION OF THE REIGN OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. THE EMPTY TOMB IS THE PROOF OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST OVER DEATH, SIN, AND THE POWER OF SATAN AND SIN IN OUR LIVES.

PILATE OPENED THE FLOODGATES OF POSSIBILITIES WITH THE SIGN THAT HE HAD POSTED ON JESUS’ CROSS.

MATTHEW 27:37: ABOVE HIS HEAD THEY PLACED THE WRITTEN CHARGE AGAINST HIM: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

1. IT WAS POSTED IN THREE LANGUAGES SO IT COULD NOT BE MISTAKEN.

2. PERHAPS HE WAS TAKING THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THE JEWS ABOUT THE GREATNESS OF ROME. AT THE VERY LEAST HIS WORDING WAS A DIG TO THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADERS WHO DID NOT BELIEVE JESUS WAS THEIR KING.

3. PILATE KNEW THAT IS WAS THE TRUTH AND WROTE THE SIGN AS AN ATTEMPT TO CLEANSE HIS OWN CONSCIENCE.

WHATEVER HIS REASONS PILATE ALLOWED TWO OTHER REQUESTS CONCERNING JESUS’ BODY WHICH FURTHER VALIDATES THE RESURRECTION.

1. HE ALLOWED JESUS BODY TO BE BURIED. EXECUTED CONVICTS WERE NEVER BURIED. THEY WERE JUST THROWN INTO AN OPEN PIT, AND LEFT THERE AS DECOMPOSITON SET IN, OR THEIR BODIES WERE EATEN BY ANIMALS.

2. HE ORDERED THE TOMB SECURED AND PLACED A GUARD AT IT. A ROMAN GUARD AND SEAL AROUNG THE TOMB MADE IT A CAPITAL OFFENCE TO TAMPER WITH IT.

PILATE DID NOT KNOW IT, BUT THESE ACTIONS SET THE STAGE FOR THE GREATEST MIRACLE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, THE RESURRECTION.

THE DEFINING EVIDENCE FOR THE VALIDITY OF THE RESURRECTION WAS THE PHYSICAL BODY OF JESUS. IT WAS THREE DAYS SINCE THE CRUCIFIXION, AND MANY REMEMBERED JESUS PROPHECY JUST A FEW DAYS EARLIER:

JOHN 2:19: JESUS ANSWERED THEM, “DESTROY THIS TEMPLE, AND I WILL RAISE IT AGAIN IN THREE DAYS.”

IF JESUS BODY WAS STILL IN THE TOMB NOW AFTER THREE DAYS, THEN ALL THE CLAIMS JESUS MADE WOULD BE FALSE AND HIS TEACHING UNTRUE.

I DON’T BELIEVE ANYONE BELIEVED THERE WOULD BE A RESURRECTION.

THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS DIDN’T POST THEIR OWN GUARDS AT THE TOMB. THE ROMANS HAD GUARDS, BUT JEWS DIDN’T TRUST THE ROMANS SO THEY SHOULD HAVE POSTED THEIR OWN FOR THEIR OWN PEACE OF MIND.

THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADERS HADN’T MADE A PLAN TO EXPLAIN AWAY THE RESURRECTION. MATTHEW RECORDS THEIR BEST ATTEMPT.

MATTHEW 28:12-13:

WHEN THE CHIEF PRIESTS HAD MET WITH THE ELDERS AND DEVISED A PLAN, THEY GAVE THE SOLDIERS A LARGE SUM OF MONEY, 13 TELLING THEM, “YOU ARE TO SAY, ‘HIS DISCIPLES CAME DURING THE NIGHT AND STOLE HIM AWAY WHILE WE WERE ASLEEP.

THIS STORY WAS SMASHED TO PIECES BY RESURRECTION APPEARANCES OF CHRIST TO OVER 500 PEOPLE, FULFILLED PROPHECY, AND THE DRAMATIC CHANGE IN THE MINISTRY OF THE APOSTLES WHICH HAPPENED AFTER THE RESURRECTION.

2. THE DISCIPLES WERE HIDDEN AWAY AFRAID FOR THEIR LIVES. THEY WOULD KNOW THE PROPHECY AND SHOULD HAVE RAN TO THE TOMB TO WITNESS IT’S EMPTY STATE.

3. THE WOMEN WENT TO THE TOMB THAT DAY TO FINISH PREPARING JESUS’ BODY FOR BURIAL. THIS IS NOT THE ACTION YOU WOULD TAKE IF YOU BELIEVED THE RESURRECTION WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.

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