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Summary: Jesus solves the death problem! In his resurrection he conquereed sin and death and gives us resurrection hope.

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Title: Solving the Death Problem

Text: Matthew 28:1-10

Thesis: Jesus solves the death problem! In his resurrection he conquered sin and death and gives us resurrection hope.

Introduction

I don’t know if you are aware of it or not, but Google, Inc. has rolled out an independent company called Calico. Calico stands for California Life Company. The company continues to generate excitement among geneticists and biotech experts.

They initially pulled together four heavy hitters from high-ranking research positions: Hal Barron was chief medical officer at Roche (Rosh: Genetic and Gnome Research); Dr. Robert Cohen a senior oncologist from Genentech; Dr. Cynthia Kenyon, a molecular biologist who discovered a genetic mutation that can double the life span of a round worm; and David Botstein, director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Interactive Genomics at Princeton University.

One of the scientists, Dr. Kenyon, gives us a peek into what they are up to in her paper on anti-aging (presented on TED) in which she tells of how she has discovered that “we just don’t wear out, like cars of an old shoe. In fact, aging is subject to control by genes – and specifically by hormones.” (Calico Company, Wikipedia)

The plan is to focus on “biologics that promote tissue regeneration, extend the upper limit of human lifespan, and help seniors feel healthier.” The goal is to prevent aging. The genius of Calico is that extending life is about as high as it gets on the human scale of desires.

People who want to know are asking, “Can Google’s Calico solve the problem of death?”

The Grim Reaper is our cultural personification of death. Dark humor often portrays the Grim Reaper lurking around. This week I read about a scientific study that determined the Grim Reaper walks at a pace of 2 mph. The study results indicate that if we walk 3 mph or faster, we can outrun the Grim Reaper. So maybe the key to dodging death is to simply out run the Grim Reaper. (Essentially the study found that people who walk faster live longer.)

Meanwhile, we all get it. Life is good it is fleeting. Unless we are alive at the time of Christ’s return, death is inevitable. The bible says in Hebrews 9:27 that, “each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment…” Hence, death ominously looms before us. Few of us are anxious to get on that, as the blues singers put it,“slow train a comin’.”

The biblical account tells us that Christ died and was buried. That is where we begin this morning. Jesus is dead. He was crucified; he is dead and in his grave.

I. Where is Jesus?

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Matthew 28:1

Every Gospel account tells of how the women, both Mary and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. They had witnessed the horrific cruelty Jesus experienced. They had watched him die. They had sat across from the tomb as Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Christ, wrapped his body in a long sheet of linen cloth and placed Jesus in his own newly carved out tomb. Then it says he rolled a great stone across the entrance. It is in the context of suffering and death that the two Mary(s) came early on Sunday morning with spices to properly prepare Jesus’ body for burial.

What they expected to find inside that tomb was a corpse. They were familiar all too familiar with death. The average life span in the Roman Empire at that time was between 45 and 47 years of age. People died. And when Jesus died, they fully expected to find Jesus’ body wrapped in a linen cloth and lying on a stone slab inside that tomb.

Occasionally you hear of a mortuary horror story. Last year in Seattle, Washington, two men died. One was cremated for a memorial service and the other prepared for an open casket funeral. However… at the viewing the man in the casket was not the man who was supposed to be in the casket. He was wearing the right man’s clothes. He was wearing the right man’s wedding ring. And he had a picture of the right man’s wife in the casket with him…but he was the wrong man.

When that family went to the funeral home they expected to find their loved one. And when Mary and Mary went to the tomb they expected to find Jesus.

And that is when what was a rather ordinary part of life was disrupted by the extraordinary.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled the stone aside and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him and the fell into a dead faint. Matthew 28:2-4

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