Summary: Have you ever felt that doing things for God is impossible and if you fail you’ve fouled up God’s plan? This message will encourage you to step out, even if you fail.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in world history. It is even more important than the cross - in this way: that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, the cross would be meaningless for mankind. Jesus was perfect and would go back to be with the Father - the question was, would His death purchase eternal life with the Father for us?
The resurrection proves that Jesus was who He said He was, and that all the things He said were true. We know that now - but on that first Resurrection Sunday 2,000 years ago, no one stood by the grave expecting the stone to roll away and Jesus to come walking out. In fact, most of Jesus’ disciples were hiding away, afraid of being arrested.
Some very brave women, however, some of the same women who stood by Him at the cross, ventured out before sunup in order to go to the tomb where Joseph of Arimathea had laid Him. They went there to show their love for Jesus - like bringing flowers to a grave stone. They didn’t find what they were looking for.
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
The women, perhaps through their grief, knew they had to get to Jesus - but it wasn’t until they were on the way that they realized there was an obstacle in their path - a giant stone. They had seen Joseph roll the stone in place - what they didn’t know was there was also a guard over the tomb, making it impossible for them to do what they planned.
Sometimes the things we do for the Lord we do out of love and devotion and we don’t take the time to see how truly impossible it is. We just set out. I think that’s the most important thing - Mary, Mary, and Salome didn’t get the answer they were looking for - someone big and strong to move the stone so they could anoint Jesus’ body - and when we face the impossible we might not get the answer we are looking for either - but out of fear if we hold back from serving God, we will never see the incredible things He does for those who out of simple love follow Him.
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
We don’t know exactly where Jesus was buried - because He only used the place for a few days - but there is a place in Jerusalem that looks very much like what the garden tomb might have been like.
The tombs were cut out of the rock hillsides - this one we know had never been used and so the women might have had to look up to see it.
The stone was rolled downhill in a trough and weighed a lot and would have taken many men to move. In fact, Matthew tells us that there had been an earthquake and that an angel had rolled the stone away. Further - Matthew tells us that the angel was so frightening to the guards that they fell down like dead men. So that’s the scene as the women approach the tomb.
5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
Notice the different reaction to the angel. Angels usually look like people when they appear to humans - but there was alarm, not abject fear. Matthew and Mark mention only one angel - Luke mentions two. Is this an inconsistency? No - it just means that they gospel writers chose to emphasize different aspects of the story - focusing on the angel who spoke. It also shows that these were not coordinated accounts - each gospel writer wrote independently - there were no story conferences to make sure the accounts were 100% the same.
No two people see an event or explain an event the same way - that’s not a problem, but a hallmark of authenticity.
6 "Don’t be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ’He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’"