Sermons

Summary: THIS IS THE FINAL IN A SERIES OF MESSAGES ON A JOURNEY TO THE CROSS FOR EASTER THROUGH THE BOOK OF MATTHEW.

THE DAWNING OF A NEW DAY

MATTHEW 28:1-20

THE PASSAGE THAT WE ARE ABOUT TO LOOK AT, MARKS THE CLIMAX OF THE ENTIRE GOSPEL. IF THERE IS NO RESURRECTION, THEN THE ENTIRETY OF CHRISTIANITY IS A HOAX AND WE WHO BELIEVE ARE TO BE PITIED MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE.

PAUL TEACHES:

1 CORINTHIANS 15:19: IF ONLY FOR THIS LIFE WE HAVE HOPE IN CHRIST, WE ARE OF ALL PEOPLE MOST TO BE PITIED.

HE IS SAYING IF THERE IS NO RESURRECTION THEN OUR BELIEF IN HEAVEN IS ONLY TO HELP US FEEL GOOD NOW. IT IS ULTIMATELY AN ILLUSION AND SO THEREFORE WE SHOULD BE PITIED FOR SUCH SHALLOW BELIEF.

PAUL WOULD NOT LEAVE IT THERE THOUGH. 1 CORINTHIANS 15 IS A STRONG PASSAGE ON THE RESURRECTION AND PAUL STATES CLEARLY THAT THE RESURRECTION DID OCCUR.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:20: BUT CHRIST HAS INDEED BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD, THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP

THIS MEANS THAT THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST ARE THE CENTRAL POINTS OD CHRISTIANITY. FOR THE BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN, BECAUSE OF THE RESURRECTION WE CELEBRATE THAT THIS WORLD WITH ALL ITS PROBLEMS IS NOT OUR FINAL HOME, AND THAT WE HAVE AN ETERNAL HOME WITH CHRIST TO LOOK FORWARD TO.

WHEN MARY MAGDALENE , MARY THE MOTHER OF JAMES AND SALOME WENT TO THE TOMB THAT DAY THEY EXPERIENCED NOT ONLY THE DAWNING OF THAT DAY, BUT THE DAWNING OF A NEW HOPE IN THE RESURRECTED CHRIST.

THIS DAY THOUGH DID NOT BEGIN WELL FOR THEM. THEY WERE COMING TO THE TOMB TO COMPLETE THE PROCESS OF BURIAL. WE KNOW THE PAIN SHE MUST HAVE FELT AS SHE WLAKED TO THE TOMB. WE HAVE WALKED THAT PATH MANY TIMES AS WE SAID A FINAL GOODBYE TO FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES WHO HAVE PRECEDED US IN DEATH IN CEMETARIES.

THE DISCIPLES AND THE WOMEN WERE ALL COMING TO GRIPS WITH THE DEATH OF JESUS. IT WAS SO VIOLENT AND THE FEAR THAT THEY COULD BE NEXT WAS REAL TO THEM. THERE WAS NO PLACE FOR HAPPINESS TODAY.

THE TOMB WOULD BE GUARDED BY 16 ROMAN SOLDIERS EACH TAKING FOUR HOUR SHIFTS. THE TOMB WOULD NOT ONLY HAVE THE ROCK SEALING IT, BUT ALSO A ROMAN SEAL TO PREVENT ANYONE FROM REMOVING JESUS’ BODY. HOW WERE THEY TO GO IN AND FINISH THE BURIAL. TO TAMPER WITH A ROMAN SEAL WAS A CAPTIAL OFFENCE. CERTAINLY THE SOLDIERS WOULD NOT DO IT. HOW WOULD THESE WOMEN MOVE A TWO TON ROCK?

THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THIS FOR GOD WOULD OPEN THE TOMB FOR THEM. OUR PASSAGE RECORDS THAT AN EARTHQUAKE DISLODGED THE ROCK AND ALLOWED THE WOMEN TO GO INTO THE TOMB. SOME BELIEVE THAT THIS WAS AN AFTERSHOCK FROM THE QUAKE THAT OCCURRED AT THE TIME OF JESUS’ DEATH.

LET US BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS. THE STONE WAS NOT DISLODGED TO ALLOW JESUS TO GET OUT OF THE TOMB. JESUS’ RESURRECTION HAD ALREADY OCCURRED. NO MASSIVE STONE BARRIER COULD HOLD THE RESURRECTED LORD. THE STONE WAS MOVED TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO GO IN.

THE APPEARANCE OF THE ANGEL, AND HIS WORDS “DO NOT BE AFRAID” REMIND US OF THE TIME THAT JESUS WAS BORN. THE ANGEL TOLD THE SHEPHERDS “DON’T BE AFRAID”, THE ANGELS APPEARED TO JOSEPH AND TOLD HIM “NOT TO BE AFRAID”, THE ANGEL TOLD MARY “DO NOT BE AFRAID”, AND THE WORD GOES FORTH TO US TODAY, WHEN GOD IS IN CHARGE “DO NOT BE AFRAID” HE IS SOVEREIGN AND IN CONTROL.

THE ANGEL TOLD THEM THOSE BLESSED WORDS “HE IS RISEN JUST AS HE SAID”

JESUS BEFORE HE WAS CRUCIFIED SAID:

JOHN 2:19-21:

JESUS ANSWERED THEM, “DESTROY THIS TEMPLE, AND I WILL RAISE IT AGAIN IN THREE DAYS.” 20 THEY REPLIED, “IT HAS TAKEN FORTY-SIX YEARS TO BUILD THIS TEMPLE, AND YOU ARE GOING TO RAISE IT IN THREE DAYS?” 21 BUT THE TEMPLE HE HAD SPOKEN OF WAS HIS BODY.

HERE IS THE BIBLICAL PROOF OF JESUS’ DEATH AND RESURRECTION. THE ANGEL SAID “WHO WAS CRUCIFIED” MEANING JESUS, AND UNDERLINED THE REALITY OF JESUS’ DEATH. THE INVITATION TO COME AND SEE THE PLACE WHERE JESUS LAY VERIFIED THAT THIS WAS THE CORRECT TOMB, IT’S EMPTINESS STRESSING THE FACT THAT HE WAS ALIVE.

THERE ARE THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION WHO BELIEVE THAT MARY WENT TO THE WRONG TOMB, AND THAT THIS IS WHY IT WAS EMPTY. THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE DOES NOT SUPPORT THIS. IT WOULD MEAN THAT GOD MADE THE SAME MISTAKE AS HE SENT THE ANGEL TO ROLL AWAY THE STONE. THERE WERE NO ROMAN SOLDIERS PRESENT, AND THE ROMAN SEAL WOULD NOT BE THERE. THESE WERE ALL PRESENT IN THIS ACCOUNT SO WE KNOW MARY WAS AT THE RIGHT TOMB.

THE RESURRECTION WAS ANOTHER WAY TO SHOW HOW GOD THE FATHER SHOWED THAT HE ACCEPTED THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS ON THE CROSS. AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH GRAVES WERE OPENED AND PEOPLE WHO WERE HELD CAPTIVE BY DEATH WERE RELEASED TO LIFE, SHOWING US THAT NOW DEATH HAD NO POWER OVER GOD’S PEOPLE. THE VEIL IN THE TEMPLE WAS TORN FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM, SHOWING US THAT THE ATONEMENT FOR SIN HAD BEEN MADE IN CHRIST AND NOW WE COULD FELLOWSHIP WITH THE FATHER.

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