"Jesus Was Dead, But Now He’s Alive!"
Luke 24:1-9 N.I.V.
 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?
 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
 ’The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ "
 Then they remembered his words.
 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
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.
But let’s think for a moment about the Disciples of Jesus.
The disciples were grieving.
After being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemene…
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 nailed 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 just as 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.
Jesus was placed in a tomb.
The tomb was sealed and a guard set.
It seemed that death had stolen the victory!
But the devil could not defeat Him.
Death could not hold Him.
The Tomb could not contain Him.
Death met its match!
Listen to Acts 2:24 :
"And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power."
My brother Bob and I used to wrestle.
We’d watch wrestling every Saturday night.
After it was over
we’d strip down to our underwear...
spread one of Mom’s quilts on the floor...
and 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 awhile.
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.
"And the angel answered and said to the women, ’Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.’"
"And after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came therefore, and took away His body."
"When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, ’Peace be with you.’"
The disciples were filled with fear!
But Jesus stood in their midst.
He knew where they were hiding..
and He went to be with them.
He knew what they needed to hear.
And He spoke peace to them.
Let’s check back in with Carol Hankins.
When she found her neighbor’s white rabbit…
In her Beagle hound Joe’s mouth
The little rabbit was dead!
Carol said, “What am I going to do?”
The little white rabbit was covered in dog slobber and mud.
Suddenly an idea popped into her head.
She rushed into the house and upstairs to the bathroom.
Carol ran hot water in the bathtub
and proceeded to give the dead rabbit a good bath.
She managed to get all the slobber and mud off the rabbit.
Next, she took a fluffy towel and tried to dry it off.
The animal was still a little damp and its fur looked terrible.
So, Carol go out her blow dryer, brushes, and combs
and went to work on the lifeless rabbit.
After about an hour of tedious work,
Carol succeeded in making the rabbit look normal.
Why did Carol do all this?
Because she was afraid her neighbor would get mad at her!
What do you fear?
Maybe you’re one of the macho, fearless ones.
You could grab a bone out of a pit bull’s mouth?
Well, be honest now, what do you fear?
Is it death?
Jesus conquered it.
"Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives."
Do you fear the unknown?
Jesus has the answer:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do you fear
standing before Almighty God in judgment?
Jesus has taken our judgment:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." .
When Jeremy was a small child
he didn’t like to go down to our basement.
It was a dark place...
and he couldn’t reach the light to turn them on.
Whenever he wanted something from the basement
he would say, “Daddy...come with me to the basement.”
So I would take him by the hand
and lead him through the darkness of the basement
All his fears passed away and he was ready to face darkness;
because his father had him by the hand.
That’s just like our Lord Jesus
He takes us by the hand when we are afraid.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;
The good news from the tomb is:
"Fear not! Take courage!
Carol Hankins was afraid her neighbor was going to have a fit.
Her little white rabbit was dead.
What could she do to avoid a bad scene?
WELL…She waited until dark…
and then she slipped over to the neighbor’s backyard.
She found the rabbit hutch and placed the dead animal inside.
She took special care to prop the rabbit up
so that it would appear to be alive.
HOPE HAS BEEN REBORN!
Jesus’ disciples were feeling hopeless, gloomy, miserable-
until they realized that Jesus was alive.
And then hope blossomed eternal!
The Resurrection gives hope because:
It answers the timeless question posed by Job,
"If a man dies, will he live again?" Job 14:14.
Job answered his own question,
In Job 19:25-27
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;  I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
It calms those who,
standing by the grave of a loved one,
question, "Will we meet again?"
In answer to that, 2 Corinthians 4:14 says:
 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.
If death were the final word,
then we Christians have no hope:
1 Corinthians 15:19 says: If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men..
Would you like to know how Carol Hankins’ story came out?
Early the next morning, Carol was awakened by screams of terror.
The screams were coming from her neighbor’s house.
Carol quickly jumped out of bed and opened her bedroom window.
There was her neighbor standing in front of the rabbit hutch
and screaming at the top of her lungs.
Carol quickly put on her housecoat
and ran over to see what was the matter.
When she got there, her neighbor explained.
“Fluffy died 3 days ago and we buried her next to the garage!
But look! Fluffy’s alive again!
Fluffy was still dead.
But on Easter morning about 2,000 years ago…
Jesus really did arise from the dead!
The risen Christ says to us,
"Because I live, you shall live also."
The good news from the tomb:
#1 Death has met its match,
#2 Fear has been conquered
and #3 Hope has been reborn!
That’s the good news of Easter.
And it didn’t come from CNN.
It didn’t come from Washington D.C.
It didn’t come from the newspapers.
It didn’t come from WFIW News.
It came from a tomb
where an angel spoke to a crushed heart
"He is not here, but He has risen." Luke 24:6.