"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.
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being 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 the body of Jesus.
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the 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.
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
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; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Do you fear...
standing before Almighty God in judgment?
Jesus has taken our judgment:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
When Jeremy was a small child...
he didn't like to go down to our basement.
It was a dark place.
He couldn't reach the lights 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 You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort 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!
The Resurrection gives hope because:
It answers the timeless question posed by Job,
Job 14:14. says:"If a man dies, will he live again?"
Job answered his own question,
In Job 19:25-27
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, 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:
knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.
If death were the final word,
then we Christians have no hope:
1 Corinthians 15:19 says:
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
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.