Summary: This message examines how the resurrection has the ability to restore hope as well as bring hope.
There are many things that we can live without but hope isn’t one of them. Nothing can plunge us into the depths of despair quicker than losing all sense of hope. Hope gives us a reason to get up in the morning and the ability to keep moving ahead when things get difficult. If you have ever experienced having your hopes dashed then you understand just how the disciples felt. They had poured everything into following Jesus because they thought He was the Messiah, the hope of Israel. They left their jobs and families to be this man’s disciples. Now they are feeling the pain of seeing all their hopes and dreams nailed to a Roman cross. Despite their best efforts of returning to those lives that they had left behind, the pain just would not let go. With the dawning of the first day of the week everything is about to change. The events of this day will not only restore the disciples’ hope but it will leave them changed forever. The events of this day will revolve around an improbable central event that could only have been brought about by God. As you have probably guessed that event was the resurrection of Jesus. I can honestly say that no one saw this coming. God used this event not only to restore the hope of the disciples but to fulfill the hopes of those who preceded them and to give hope for all those who would follow them. The resurrection is the central fact in Christian history. Upon this fact the church is built and our promise of salvation is dependent. Without the resurrection there is no hope. Today we are going to look at what makes this event that gives us hope so significant.
I. Understanding why the resurrection was so unexpected.
A. There is no reason to expect that things are not following the normal progression of events.
1. Since Jesus was crucified on the day before the Sabbath burial preparation would have been hurried and not finalized.
2. Both Jewish and pagan mourners would normally go to the tomb on the third day.
a. They would go to make sure that their relative was really dead.
b. They would go to complete the burial preparations.
c. When one considers the nature of crucifixion there was no reason for any such optimism.
3. The Sabbath ended at sundown on Saturday, so the women would have been on their way to the tomb to complete preparations as soon as there was enough light to see.
4. Mark in chapter 16 of his gospel account gives the reason that the women decided to go to the tomb.
a. They intended to finish the final preparations for burial since they did not have the time before the Sabbath.
b. They had with them the necessary spices, oils and perfumes to finish these preparations.
5. There is no expectation seen in the women that the body would not be found in the tomb when they arrived.
B. Nothing could have prepared the women for what they would find when they arrived at the tomb.
1. A violent earthquake takes place before the women arrive as an angel rolls the approximately 4,000 lbs. stone away from the entrance to the tomb.
2. The guards were taken by surprise as events begin to no longer follow the normal order of progression.
3. Scripture does not fill us in on the details of the resurrection since the guards had passed out from fear no one witnessed Jesus actually exiting the tomb.
4. As the women arrive the angel is sitting on the stone as a symbol of God’s spectacular victory.
5. Max Lucado writes, "The stone was moved - not for Jesus - but for the women. Not so Jesus could come out, but so the women could see in." Our God is a god of surprises. About the time we think nothing is going to happen, God surprises us. And it’s generally, a nice surprise. He rolls the stone away so we can see, behold, and rejoice!
C. The improbable event will begin to restore the hope that was lost.
1. The women had more questions than answers as they saw the angel and the empty tomb.
2. The angel quickly calms their fears and explains everything that taken place and invites the women to examine the evidence for themselves.
3. Hope begins to be reborn as the words of the angel fills them with the anticipation of seeing Jesus again.
4. Uncertainty gives way to excitement as the women encounter Jesus alive again.
II. Understanding why the resurrection is so important.
A. It gives undisputable evidence that Jesus is the Son of God.
1. The words spoken by the prophets concerning the Messiah were confirmed by the resurrection.