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A Response to the Resurrection

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Jesus is RISEN indeed! Just as He said He would. Early in the morning on the third day several different groups of people discover the amazing message, that Jesus is no longer dead and buried, BUT He is now risen from the dead- just as He foretold, just as the Scriptures said He would. Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God is RISEN from the grave conquering sin, death, and hell itself. This is the best news of any kind, of any type, of any scale. It is foundational to Christianity- without this message our faith is dead.
1 Corinthians 15:14 KJV 1900
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
With such amazing, wonderful, jaw dropping news you would expect an epic response on the part of those witnessing the empty tomb. However, there are sever different responses by different groups of people when confronted with the truth of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
I think for almost all of my boys at some point when they were a baby I performed the pickle test. Usually, its when we are at a restaurant and they start to get fussy- I will take a dill pickle and stick it into there mouth and test to see what there response will be. The look on their faces is priceless. Some get this confused look on their face, some twist their face in shock and pull away, while some eagerly sucked the pickle dry. We all have different responses to things, depending on our perception of the event. One of the most important events that you have to decide how to respond to is the resurrection event. The gospel narrative tells us that there were some who responded negatively and some who responded positively.
This morning we will examine these different responses together, and I want each one of us to walk away having answered personally this question:
How will I respond to the truth of the resurrection of Jesus?

I. Some Actively Reject the Truth of the Resurrection

A. They attempted to prevent it

Matthew 27:62–66 KJV 1900
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Notice what they called Jesus- that “Deceive.” The word has the idea of causing others to be mistaken, an imposter.
There is an irony in how this word is used in 2 John-
2 John 7 KJV 1900
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
What are the chief priests and Pharisees claiming that Jesus is? A deceiver- an imposter. Yet who actually is the one deceiving? The chief priests and the Pharisees themselves.
These religious leaders worried that the disciples might steal the body of Jesus away and spread lies to further “deceive” the people. So they set up a guard and made the tomb as secure as they could make it. They did there very best to prevent any kind of resurrection.

B. Instead they panicked

Matthew 28:1–6 KJV 1900
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
“Shake”- to shudder v. — to tremble convulsively, as from fear or excitement.
“Dead men”- the text does not have the word men (it is implied) so lit. they became as dead.

C. Finally they tried to cover it up

Matthew 28:11–15 KJV 1900
Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
Again we find a striking irony here. Why did the religious leaders place guards at the tomb in the first place. They were afraid the disciples would come and steal the body and spread lies about his resurrection in the city. Instead, who is the one spreading lies? The religious leaders! They pay a large sum of money to bribe the guards and spread the lie that the disciples came and stole him away. And it was successful- the saying was still commonly reported until the day that Matthew wrote his gospel. Even in our day, 2000+ years later people are still accepting lies about the resurrection- leading them to actively reject the truth that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead.
All you have to do is go to your local shopping center and go down the “Easter” isle. What will you find? The Easter Bunny? Now, is there anything wrong with the Easter bunny? No- but this is another attempt to cover up the truth of the resurrection. Only this time instead of spreading lies that it is false, the lie is that Easter is about bunnies, and candy, and baskets. Again, there is nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves. If you are planning on having an Easter egg hunt later today, please don’t let me stop you.(Don’t go home and tell your kids Pastor Jon said we can’t have an basket with candy in it anymore) But if you are replacing Easter with them instead of the truth of the resurrection you are actively rejecting the truth that Christ is risen just as much as the Pharisees did all those years ago. The Easter bunny is just Satan’s new cover up for the truth of the resurrection.
How about you? Do you fall into this category. Are you actively rejecting the truth of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? I pray that today you will see clearly the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 KJV 1900
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
John 11:25 KJV 1900
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Jesus died on the cross for you sake. He shed His blood for you sin. He rose from the dead to give you life everlasting. Will you believe in Him today?

II. Some Cautiously Doubt the Truth of the Resurrection

A. Doubting Minds

Luke 23:55–24:12 KJV 1900
And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
Idle talk- A message that is simply incoherent and unintelligible. Babbling, pure nonsense, humbug.
ἀπιστέω- disbelieve, refuse to believe. Imperfect, active, indicative- action that occured in the past with a continuous action. They heard the message, and kept on doubting. They stubbornly refused to believe. Luke magnifies the disciples doubt here, to later magnify the miracle of the resurrection.

Only the clear and unmistakable appearance of the risen Christ could have overcome such doubt and replaced it with unshakable faith.

B. Enlightened Eyes

Luke 24:13–27 KJV 1900
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Jesus calls them fools- mindless, dull-witted, unintelligent
And Slow of Heart to believe
These are both in the vocative in the Greek which is a term of direct address. So instead of calling them brothers, or good sirs, he calls them fools and slow of heart. This is to grab their attention!
Then what does Jesus do? He begins to enlighten the eyes of their understanding. Beginning with Moses and then the prophets- Jesus explains the Scriptures concerning his death and resurrection.
Genesis 3:15 KJV 1900
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Numbers 21:9 KJV 1900
And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
Isaiah 53:5–6 KJV 1900
But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; And with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned every one to his own way; And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

C. Burning Hearts

Luke 24:28–35 KJV 1900
And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
Burning hearts- to light on fire, to burn/continue to burn. Used figuratively speaking of strong emotion within. Passive verb- action done to them. Something from outside of these two men, cause their hearts to burn. What was it? It was the word of God being revealed to their souls. As Jesus taught them, and the understood what He was saying, God was confirming the truth they were hearing with what we would call conviction. A burning of the heart. This something only the Word of God can do.
Hebrews 4:12 KJV 1900
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
They heard the Word of God, their hearts burned within them, their eyes were opened- then what was the next logical step? They believed!
Luke 24:34 KJV 1900
Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
Growing up my mom used to tell me to eat my vegetables because they would make strong, and fast. She used to say for instance eat your carrots they will make you see better. When I was really little this worked. I ate my carrots because I wanted my eyes to continue functioning. However, as I grew older I started to second guess these facts. I ate carrots, and yet I still ended up wearing glasses. I started to doubt if carrots were really good for my eyes or if my mom was just trying to get me to eat my vegetables. So the next time my mom would say something that was “questionable” I would cautiously doubt what she would have to say. As it turns out carrots are indeed good for your eyesight. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a carotenoid pigment which is an essential precursor for vitamin A. Deficiencies in vitamin A are the leading causes of blindness in the developing world.
This was the initial response of the disciples to the news of the resurrection. “Jesus is risen from the grave!” Uh-huh sure he did- you are spouting nothing but idle talk- nonsense - babble.
Our culture takes the mentality- I am not going to believe it unless I what? See it.
Accepting the resurrection is an act of faith. It is not blind faith- we have the Word of God, eyewitness accounts, and the testimony of thousands of Christians that have experienced Christ setting them free from sin in their lives. Yet it is still an act of believing.
John 20:29 KJV 1900
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
How about you? What is your response to the truth of the resurrection? Are you cautiously doubting that Jesus actually was the Son of God, that He did indeed die on a cross and shed His blood to pay the cost for our sins, that He did indeed after three day rise from the grave to give us life?
John 10:10 KJV 1900
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 11:25 KJV 1900
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

III. Some Genuinely Believe in the Truth of the Resurrection

A. A Message of Bewilderment

John 20:1–2 KJV 1900
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

B. A Mystifying Sight

John 20:3–5 KJV 1900
Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
Why did the other disciple (John) not go into the tomb? Was he simply waiting for Peter to catch up? Not likely- if he ran as fast as he could to get there why would he not also enter the tomb equally as fast? Was he afraid? He already looked into the tomb and saw the the grave clothes, that does not seem like something to cause fear. Then why does John pause?
The New American Commentary: John 12–21 (2) Peter and the Beloved Disciple at the Tomb (20:3–10)

Body robbers leaving body wrappings? Do those ideas connect? They must have started his mind into a computing mode that ended in believing.

What was Mary’s earlier claim? They have taken away the Lord our of the tomb. Yet here John looks into the tomb and finds what? Grave clothes. Body snatchers do not leave behind body wrappings. Something here is not lining up. In other words the sight of the grave clothes for John puts his mind into gear which ultimately leads to his faith.

C. A Model for Believing

John 20:6–8 KJV 1900
Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
Of all of the disciples John is the only one who believed without seeing Jesus. All it took for John was the sight of the empty tomb. The other did not believe until Jesus appeared to them in undeniable fashion. Here John, see the clothes, his mind begins to whirl, he enters the tomb- he saw and believed. Here John is presented as a model for believers to follow.
Romans 10:9 KJV 1900
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
That is exactly what John did. He genuinely believed (without seeing) that Jesus had risen from the dead. He placed his faith in Christ completely.
John 14:6 KJV 1900
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John is a model for us to follow. He saw the empty tomb and he believed. He place his faith in Christ alone- who is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE. Only though genuine faith in Christ and in the truth of the resurrection can one come unto the Father.
I remember when I was in youth group we played the trust game. Where you turn around place your arms at your side and fall, straight as a board into the waiting arms of you friends. You have to trust that they will catch you. Only this time the difficulty was intensified. We had to stand on top of a picnic table, place our hands at our sides, stand straight as a board and fall several feet into the waiting hands of other teenagers- and trust that they will catch you. Wow, it was hard to to turn around, or bend your knees, or put your arms out to brace yourself. To say I’ll trust you, an then to actually do it was two different things. It was easy to tell those that genuinely believed that their friends would catch them and those that did not.
John, when he saw the empty tomb, and the grave clothes genuinely believed that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave.
Some might say- I believe, I believe in God. I cringe when I hear people say that. Believing in God is not enough.
James 2:19 KJV 1900
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
You must place your faith in Christ alone. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, you must believe that he was buried, and that he rose again from the dead on the third day to claim victory over your sins, and death, and hell. You must trust in Christ’s blood to save you from your sin and make it possible to live in God’s heaven someday.
John 3:16 KJV 1900
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:18 KJV 1900
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
How about you? When we began our sermon this morning I told you my intention was that everyone in this room answer one question before the leave today.
How will I respond to the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Are you actively rejecting the truth of the resurrection?
Or are you cautiously doubting the truth of the resurrection?
My prayer is everyone here this morning will walk away genuinely believing in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is our only hope of salvation. He died and rose again so that you might have life, and have life more abundantly! Will you believe in Him today?
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