Summary: An Easter Sermon. Jesus defeats death and we are more than conquerors
The Death of Death
March 27, 2016
There are moments in time when all of a sudden something happens and everything changes. You can name just about any movie you watch, and there is a moment when all of a sudden, everything changes. We can almost predict it. It’s part of the story, the drama. It’s actually a shock to our system when that doesn’t happen in a movie. We are conditioned for that. It’s actually a very powerful reality in movies, and I want to tell you that the empty tomb of Jesus changes everything. The empty tomb must change our reality, it impacts who we are, how we live, and why we live the way that we live.
Jesus, the Pharisees, and the chief priests had issues. They're like the Democrats and the Republicans today. In fact they are like Donald Trump and anyone else. They just don't get along. Jesus was offensive to the chief priests and Pharisees because He undermined their authority. Everything about his ministry bothered them. The fact that the disliked tax collectors, the immoral harlots, the uneducated, the sick, the outcasts . . . all flocked to Jesus - - - really bothered the religious people. They were blemishes to them. They were not only tired of Jesus, they also believed Jesus broke Jewish law when He claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah. They wanted this whole Jesus thing to be over. So, they went to Pilate and finally Pilate agreed to crucify Jesus.
Finally, when it all seems to be over, the Jewish leaders remembered what Jesus had said. Matthew tells us ~
62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation (the Sabbath) the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate
63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while He was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’
64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples go and steal Him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”
65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.”
66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. – Matthew 27:62-66
You can’t stop the work of God. The chief priests and the Pharisees wanted to stop Jesus from being resurrected from the grave, and they thought, We're going to make a plan and there's absolutely no way this is going to happen.
It's important to remember we can't stop the work of God. If we're all honest, there are things going on, circumstances in our lives, situations where God wants to bear fruit in our lives, and we put our proverbial foot down, Mm-mm. No way, Lord. You’re not going to do that.
Just like the Pharisees and the chief priests we say, "God, this is unacceptable in my plans." For the Pharisees and the chief priests, Jesus was unacceptable to their plans. So they were trying every way to stop what God was doing.
Did you notice what’s at the end of verse. They're saying to Pilate, "Listen, the first deception Jesus told people was that He was the Messiah. We don't believe He's the Messiah. But you know what would be worse? If His disciples come and say He's resurrected from the grave. That would be a huge problem for us. So can you take care of this for us?" Notice what Pilate says. "You have a guard. Make it as secure as you know how."
Then we see in verse 66, they sealed the tomb with a stone and put guards in front. There were now three obstacles to Jesus being resurrected.
First, there was a stone rolled in front of the door. This was a cave that had a huge rock in front of the door. So there's a physical barrier, a physical obstacle, to the resurrection of Jesus.
Second, they sealed it. The idea of sealing showed the political authority of Pilate saying "This is all right that we seal this tomb." So the politics of the day said Jesus isn't coming out of the tomb.
Third, there's the guard. Not only is there a physical obstacle and a political obstacle, but now there is a military obstacle.
This is the set up for resurrection Sunday. They're trying to stop what God is doing. In Matthew 28 we see that those obstacles didn’t work. Although there's all these obstacles, there's this big stone, there's the seal of Pilate, the guards are there. But you’re not going to stop God’s plans.
We see in Matthew 28 ~