Summary: Jesus stands alone as a man who claimed to be alive before Abraham and He predicted He would come back from the grave.
Today we’re going to talk about “Seven Words that Rocked the World.” We’ve all heard about the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross. But these seven words were spoken at the empty tomb of Jesus. They were spoken in a cemetery.
Cemeteries can be spooky places. After a long evening in the pub, a Scotsman named Ian took a shortcut to his house that took him through a dark cemetery. He accidentally fell into a freshly dug grave. Ian tried to climb out, but discovered the hole was too deep, so he just decided to wait until the morning when someone would come to help him out. So, he sat in the corner and covered himself with his coat and went to sleep. Sometime later he was awakened by the sound of another inebriated man who fell in the same hole. The second guy never saw Ian and started to try to climb out. Ian watched as the young man tried unsuccessfully to climb out of the grave. Finally, Ian said, “Stoop your tryin’ Ya canna’ get out.” But believe it or not, that young man jumped all the way out of that grave!
In Matthew 28:1-15 we read about the only person in history who walked out of a grave, and is still alive today!
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.’
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’
While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
The resurrection of Jesus changes everything. In John 2 Jesus ran the moneychangers out of the temple for the first time. They asked Him prove that He had the authority to do that, He said, “Destroy this temple, [meaning His body] and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19) As we talk about the resurrection today, I want to first speak of the miracle, and then the meaning.
I. THE MIRACLE OF THE RESURRECTION
I hesitate to call any miracle the greatest miracle in history. Last week when we examined the cross I said it was ONE of the greatest miracles in history. But as we examine the resurrection of Jesus, I can say without reservation that I believe it is the greatest miracle in all of human history. It is the heart of the Christian message. How do we KNOW the resurrection happened? Consider two sources.
A. First, it was communicated by the angel
Just as angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem, God sent an angel to announce the resurrection. When the women arrived, the angel of the Lord was sitting on the huge stone and he made an important announcement. These are the seven words that rocked the world: “He is not here. He has risen!”
Whenever I visit Jerusalem I always take our group to a special place outside the walls of Jerusalem called the Garden Tomb. There is a rock-face cliff which looks very much like the face of a skull. Not far from there archeologists discovered an empty tomb. It was a very expensive tomb; with places for several bodies. It had to be the tomb of a wealthy man. The Bible prophesied in Isaiah 53:9 that the Messiah would “make his grave with the rich.” The New Testament says Jesus was placed in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, who was a wealthy man. The scripture says it was a new tomb, and had never been used before. A few years ago when scientists took microscopic samples from the soil and rocks in this tomb, they found no microscopic trace of human remains. So if it was His tomb, Jesus was the first and last to use it.