Summary: The resurrection was a powerful, indisputable event. And yet still there were differing responses to it. It matters how you respond.
Passage: Matthew 28:1-15
Intro: Here we are, almost at the end of Matthew.
1. end next week, preaching thru it since November 25, 2008
2. as far as I know, 91 sermons!
3. what we have seen is the intensifying revelation of God, and the intensifying resistance of some to that gracious revelation.
4. miracles, healings, walking on water, resurrections, blind see, lame walk.
5. reaction of unbelievers stronger and stronger, till they kill Jesus.
6. and in this passage, God’s plan continues, brushing aside the best laid plans and purposes of deceived men.
7. God’s plan was to bring life-giving power over sin and death; man’s greatest enemies.
8. this powerful event is the proof of irresistibility of that plan.
9. you can’t resist it, you can only believe and be changed by it, or reject it and remain as you are.
10. this story is a microcosm of God’s whole plan of salvation, to be completed when Jesus comes again at the end of this world. Which response describes you?
I. Anticipation or Resistance
1. now there is no doubt that the women who came had mixed feelings
2. Mark tells us they had spices to anoint the body. Some doubt, but some faith.
3. even with that mixture, they were certainly there to honor God’s Son.
4. as soon as Sabbath was over, they were walking.
5. contrast that to the results of what we saw last week.
6. the guards were under orders, so their personal beliefs are unknown.
7. but they represent those who were resistant to the claims of Jesus.
8. they were camped out to make sure that this “Jesus worship” came to a stop, and was not perpetuated by something that could be claimed to be a resurrection.
10. this local scene is a microcosm of a larger scene at the end of the world.
11. there in Revelation, we see a massive display of power, experienced by everyone.
12. and we see some who have been anticipating it; looking forward to it.
13. and we see some who are resistant to it
PP Revelation 6:16 “hide us”
14. the women and the guards were aware of what had happened when Jesus died.
-the three hours of darkness, the earthquake, the torn veil.
15. and now they saw more! Another earthquake, a mighty angel, a rolled back stone, an empty tomb.
16. they saw the same thing, but their responses were different.
II. Worship or Focus on Personal Survival
1. I’m sure these women felt the earthquake, saw the rolled stone, noticed the fallen guards,
2. then they heard the voice of this angel telling them “don’t be afraid”
3. “it’s a good thing you are seeing”
4. “you are here to honor the Son, but God has honored Him by raising Him from the dead.”
5. “He told you He would be raised, and I invite you to notice the empty spot where His body was.”
6. v7 “Then go quickly”= after you have satisfied yourselves that He is not here, go tell…”
7. try to imagine what it would have felt like to be running back to Jerusalem.
8. “afraid yet filled with joy”. We might say they were excited!
Il) contestants about to go onstage in “America’s Got Talent” Afraid, but not so scared that they won’t go on.
9. and when they saw Jesus, their response was clear. Love and worship.
10. if you saw Jesus, what would you do?
Il) worship is not something we can make a person do. Worship is my hearts response to God’s loving character. True worship comes from the heart, not from the beat or the
11. the guards experienced the same things as the women, except for the words of angel and sight and words of Jesus.
12. yet they had seen enough to make an intelligent decision.
13. and that was for some to go to the chief priests with the whole story. Why?
14. because they had failed, but they had a good reason.
15. and they were seeking to cover
themselves, to explain why they had failed.
16. because they were in trouble, and their greatest desire was to survive, to live through this failure.
17. if they were Roman soldiers, they were
in big trouble.
18. this same thing happens in Revelation.
19. instead of worship, adoration, there is terrible fear followed by the kicking in of
the survival instinct.
20. how do I stay alive? Who will keep me alive? How do I keep what I have in this world?
21. believers in Revelation choose worship over life.
III. Joyful Obedience or Desperate Deception
1. I love the forward-focus in this passage.
2, Jesus had risen, and the victory party
will last forever!
3. things to do, people to tell, promises to keep, meetings to hold in Galilee.