Sermons

Summary: I believe that the hinge of all of history is found at a lonely outcrop of rock just outside the Damascus Gate at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Easter 2014 Until the Lord Returns April 20, 2014

Introduction:

A I believe that the hinge of all of history is found at a lonely outcrop of rock just outside the Damascus Gate at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

1 The sight is a skull-shaped cliff called Calvary & just a stone throws away from that cliff is the empty tomb.

a In Jerusalem, there are two traditional sites that claim to be the actual burial place of Jesus:

aa Traditional Catholic called the Church of the Sepulcher.

bb Traditional Protestant called the Garden Tomb (Better known as “Gordon’s Tomb” after the late 19th century Major General Charles George Gordon, the one who excavated this area and found the tomb.

b The location of Jesus’s tomb was well known to the post-apostolic church.

aa In AD 333, a pilgrim from Bordeaux, France wrote, “As you pass through the gate of Neapolis (Damascus Gate) . . . on your left in the hillock, [is] Golgotha where the Lord was crucified, and about a stone’s throw from it, [is] the vault where they lay His body and He rose again on the third day.”

bb This is the exact location of the Garden Tomb/Gordon’s Tomb.

cc We know from Scripture that the cross & the tomb were close to each other; “So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.”

c The Garden Tomb has some very convincing evidence to being the site of Jesus’s burial place . . .

aa No human bones were found in the area . . .

bb There is a slot for a stone to roll . . .

cc There is an “anchor cross” on the outside wall . . .

dd There are carvings of the Greek letters alpha & omega . . .

ee It is in close proximity to the Skull Hill (Calvary) . . .

T.S.: Let’s explore the mystery of Jesus’ Tomb.

I Was the Tomb Really Empty?

A There are four independent accounts of Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) as well as prophesied in the Old Testament.

Psalm 16:10 (NASB) 10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

1 The Gospel accounts were not made up in collusion to convince history of hoax.

a The first proof of the empty tomb is the apparent contradictions.

aa The number of angels at the tomb, number of women who went to the garden. (Get references)

bb The time of their arrival, and other points. (Get references)

cc These “contradictions” can be harmonized, but the point is that if the writers were writing in collusion to invent a story these seemingly apparent discrepancies would have been eliminated. (In other words, they would have got their stories straight.)

dd On the other hand, it’s obvious they didn’t make up their stories separately because there is an overriding agreement that the narratives posses (setting, characters, sequence).

ee THEREFORE, if the accounts weren’t made up in collusion (lying together), and if they were not made up separately, the only other possibility is that they are not made up at all. They are simply true/independent accounts by those who knew what they were writing.

b The second proof of the empty tomb is the broken seal

aa There was a Roman seal affixed to large stone outside Christ’s tomb at the request of the Pharisees; Jesus had made claims of resurrection before His arrests.

bb Matthew 27:62-66 (NASB) 62 Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, 63 and said, "Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I am to rise again.' 64 "Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last deception will be worse than the first." 65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how."66 And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.

cc Get the picture: Guards are positioned around Christ’s tomb like a world leader in state, and the stone is sealing His tomb (According to historian Justin, removal of the stone was a capital offense.)

dd Do you think . . . . 1) The Romans would have put a seal on an empty grave? Absolutely not. 2) Which of the disciples do you think would have came out of hiding to risk death by fighting professional Roman guards, tamper with a government seal?

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