Summary: The empty tomb on resurrection Sunday morning is a sacred place, a holy place, a place where deepest sorrow is turned to joy, where mourning is replaced with dancing.

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Easter Sunday

Dakota Community Church

March 31, 2013

Meet Me at the Tomb

Everything about the life of Christ is filled with fascination and wonder to the Christian mind.

As we read the gospels we cannot help but be filled with a sense of awe, ordinary things like a grain of wheat, a mustard seed, or a fishing vessel; take on special meaning. They become for us reminders of our redeemer - the LORD.

The pilgrimage of Christ, from Bethlehem's manger to Calvary's cross, for us - is paved with glory!

Every year people from around the globe descend upon the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding region to see the places where he lived. to perhaps walk on a street where Jesus might have walked, to dip in the same river where he was baptized, perhaps to stand beside the waters that were one night calm at his command.

(I was fascinated watching one documentary as a man touched street cobble stones weeping and believing that he could feel Christ’s presence in the rocks.)

He lived as one of us. He knows fully what it is to be a man.

He knew hunger and thirst, he enjoyed good food and fine wine and fellowship with close friends.

He experienced loss, standing beside the grave of a dear friend - he grieved with us.

He felt the rejection of family and home town and he knew the pain of the betrayal of a trusted partner in ministry.

As I read last week:

Isaiah 53:3

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Everything in his life was/is heading toward a crescendo - the events we have been celebrating for the last few weeks. The triumphal entry, the last supper, Gethsemane, the betrayal, the mock trial, and finally - the cross - Good Friday, this years observance still fresh in our minds.

When Jesus comes to Calvary, our interest is more than peaked; our thoughts are riveted upon him.

The agony of crucifixion.

The LORD, our LORD, the one who made the world, the one who is without sin takes on himself, your sin and mine; is actually made to be sin for us... think about it for a moment.

How can I keep from singing {His} Your praise, How can I ever say enough, How amazing is Your love...

Then - at the moment He has decided - no man takes his life from him - he lays it down for us. Jesus takes one last breath and then gives up the ghost - He dies, for real.

John 19:30

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

His dead body is taken down from the cross, lifeless he lies on the dirt he created, broken and bloodied, barely recognizable as a man; and yet from our perspective - beyond beautiful!

The enemy of our souls is foolishly rejoicing considering himself to have won this war that has raged since before the first Adam.

John 19:38-42

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

All of which brings us to the main event in the redemption story and text of today’s sermon:

Matthew 28:1-8

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel 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 has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

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