Summary: Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter sermon.
"THE ’GRAVE’ SITUATION WITH JESUS!"
TEXT: Matt. 28:1-20
INTRO: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in human history. The Bible is quite clear that without it there is no salvation for mankind.
(1 Cor 15:17-19) “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”
Two things become obvious, if Christ has not risen from the dead then what we are doing here today is a waste of time, and if He has risen from the dead than what we do here today has enormous implications for our life now and in the future.
Though many have tried to ignore the supernatural elements of Jesus’ life and ministry, they cannot be ignored, to do so leaves us with just another human who died!
ILLUS: Thomas Jefferson, a great man, nevertheless could not accept the miraculous elements in Scripture. He edited his own special version of the Bible in which all references to the supernatural were deleted. Jefferson, in editing the Gospels, confined himself solely to the moral teachings of Jesus. The closing words of Jefferson’s Bible are these: "There laid they Jesus and rolled a great stone at the mouth of the sepulcher and departed." Thank God that is not the way the story really ends! -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 164.
Easter brings us to confront the reality of God, and the reality of our own lives as sinners, and the choices we make about Christ have everlasting consequences!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that we must receive Christ into our lives as the risen Lord if we are to have fellowship with God.
I. A ’GRAVE’ MIRACLE 28:1-10
A. Death Conquered! 28:1-7
1. The two Marys here come to finish embalming the body of Jesus, they did not come expecting a miracle!
a. These were rational, normal people, they were not religious fanatics!
b. They came with all the normal expectations of any human who had lost a loved one, to pay final respects to Jesus.
2. They had no idea that Christ would overcome death, this just wasn’t a rational concept, the idea of Jesus rising again from the dead just didn’t fit in with the laws of physics or nature!
a. This is the thinking of most people today too!
b. Yet the idea is not as irrational as one might think, consider the following true incident and what this shows us about the possibility of resurrection from the dead:
ILLUS: A workman of the great chemist Michael Faraday accidentally knocked a silver cup into a solution of acid. It was promptly dissolved, eaten up by the acid. The workman was terribly disturbed by the accident. The chemist came in and put a chemical into the jar, and shortly all the silver was precipitated to the bottom. The shapeless mass was lifted out and sent to the silversmith, and the cup was restored to its original shape. If a human genius can do a thing like this why should we doubt that God can raise the dead? -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 166.
3. It is strange that both the disciples and these women did not believe that Jesus could or would rise from the dead because Jesus had frequently told them that this was precisely what He was going to do!
a. It is ironic that the unbelieving religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew that Jesus had taught this but his own disciples did not think of it! See Matt. 27:62-65 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ’After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first." "Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard."
b. The women or Jesus’ disciples were not exactly the type to make up a story like this, they came to embalm Jesus’ body, and the disciples were hiding in fear of their own lives!
4. The guards placed at the sealed tomb were professional soldiers, they were not afraid of battle, but when an angel arrived to roll away the stone they fell as dead men out of fear!