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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.

THERE IS NO LOGICAL WAY TO EXPLAIN THE EMPTY TOMB.

MEDICAL TESTIMONY VALIDATES JESUS’ DEATH. NO ONE COULD SURVIVE THE PHYSICAL BEATING HE TOOK. THE SPEAR PLUNGED INTO HIS SIDE PROVIDED FURTHER EVIDENCE OF HIS DEATH. THE ROMANS THEMSELVES WERE EXPERTS AT KILLING. THEY WOULD NOT MAKE A MISTAKE AND LET HIM LIVE AS THIS WOULD COST THEM THEIR OWN LIVES. A HIDDEN BODY AS SOME CLAIM HAPPENED, WAS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADERS WANTED. JESUS’ BODY PRESENT AFTER THREE DAYS WOULD BE THE PROOF THEY NEEDED TO SAY JESUS WAS NOT THE MESSIAH.

WHEN ALL THE REASONS NOT TO BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION ARE TAKEN AWAY, THEN WE ARE LEFT WITH ONLY ONE LOGICAL CONCLUSION. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST WAS IN FACT A REALITY, A REALITY THAT CAN CHANGE OUR LIVES FOREVER.

SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN THEN TO ACKNOWLEDGE JESUS AS YOUR KING?

1. JESUS IS SOVEREIGN IN CREATION:

THIS MEANS THAT THERE IS NOTHING THAT HAPPENS IN THIS WORLD, GOOD OR BAD, THAT ESCAPES THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. NOT EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN THE WORLD IS ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL AND PLAN, BUT NOTHING ESCAPES HIS EVERSEEING EYE.

THE BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAP INTO THE POWER OF OUR DIVINE CREATOR, AND SO WE CAN ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS FOR HIM, THROUGH HIM.

EPHESIANS 3:20: NOW TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DO IMMEASURABLY MORE THAN ALL WE ASK OR IMAGINE, ACCORDING TO HIS POWER THAT IS AT WORK WITHIN US,

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