Summary: An Easter Sermon looking at how the resurrection of Jesus gives believers assurance and joy
The empty tomb and the assurance it gives
Text: Luke 24:1 – 12
There’s a story that’s told about a man who was an atheist. He didn’t believe in God… in-fact he was somewhat of a militant atheist. He liked to get online and argue with Christians, and protest prayer before football games… He was one of those guys who wanted to take the words “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance, and it was just kind of his crusade in life to speak out against God and Jesus, and the Bible, and the Church. And really, he was kind of an unpleasant person to be around. But it just so happened that this man had a son, who had just gone in to the first grade. And after a few weeks of going to school the little boy came home and said, “Daddy, Jimmy, a boy in my class is having a birthday party and he wants me to come. Can I go to it?” Well this dad, wanted his son to have social interaction with the other kids, and wanted him to make friends, so he agreed to let his son go to the birthday party. That evening when he came and picked his son up, he was surprised when his son said, “Dad, Jimmy’s mom and dad go to church. They pray before they eat. They don’t say bad words, and they’re really happy. Can I go with them to church on Sunday?” The father almost choked and then he said, “Well son… we’re atheists. We don’t believe in God, and we don’t go to church. Do you understand son?” The little boy shook his head and was quiet for a few minutes. Finally he looked up at his dad and said, “Dad, do you think it makes God sad that we don’t believe in Him?”
Sometimes kids have profound insight don’t they?
Well if you have your Bibles, I want to invite you to turn with me to the Gospel of Luke this morning. Over the past three Sunday’s we’ve been looking at the last week of Jesus’ life while He was here on earth. And today is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, so that’s what we’ll be looking at this morning. Luke 24:1 – 12 (READ).
Now this passage that we just read is laid out plain and simple. It makes a claim. It puts it out in front of you and then asks you, Are you going to believe or not? That’s what the people in this text… the women… the disciples… they are being challenged with that same question. And what I want you to do this morning is put yourself in their shoes… imagine that you were there and you had seen the things they had seen and experienced the things they had experienced. Two days before… on Friday, they saw Jesus, get beaten so badly He could barely stand. They saw Him nailed to a cross. They saw the darkness from noon til 3:00 PM blot out the sun… they heard the words of Jesus from the cross. They saw Him die. They saw Him taken down from the cross, and because it was so close to the Sabbath they didn’t have time to prepare His body for burial. So they quickly stuck Him in a borrowed tomb. I’m sure they all heard how the Sanhedrin… the religious leaders of the day, had gone to the Romans and had them seal the tomb and place guards around it.
But now it’s Sunday, and these women – who loved Jesus, and were devoted to Him… they’re on their way to the tomb to properly prepare His body for the burial rite. And as they draw near to the tomb, Luke tells us they notice that the stone has been rolled away. And Luke makes no mention of the guards who were standing watch around the tomb… by now they’ve all scattered. They’ve seen what just took place and they took off. But the women – they’re confused. They go inside and Jesus isn’t there. In-fact; it’s empty. In verse 4 Luke says that these ladies were “perplexed” by this… The Greek word there is “aporeü”. So that’s more than just going… “hmmm, this is strange?” It means they were besides themselves. They were confused almost to the point of being distraught. All kinds of thoughts are probably running through their heads, “Someone came and moved the body”, “The Sanhedrin or the Romans have come and stolen it away!” And they’re really upset about this.
Now before we go on, I want you to notice something here. These ladies… these women… they were godly women, and they loved Jesus, but they lacked faith. How do I know that? Well Luke tells us that they’re going to the tomb… but what’s their reason for going there? To prepare the body for a proper burial right? And Luke says they’re perplexed, their distraught, they’re really upset… Why?