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The Ressurection

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This morning we’re going to take a short break from our series through the book of Acts, because this morning we celebrate the culmination of God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Christ is risen! He gave up his life on the cross in order to tear that curtain, that veil, that separated us from God. And at the moment of his death the physical curtain in the temple in Jerusalem, which symbolically represented that separation, was torn in two from top to bottom. Because of Jesus death on the cross we can now approach God directly.
On Friday afternoon Jesus was taken down from the cross and he was buried. And things didn’t look too good for the cause. But we know that the story had another chapter. Death wasn’t the end of the story, because Jesus had promised that on the third day he would rise again. And that’s what we’re celebrating today. Now the different gospel writers all give different perspectives of the stories they tell. They’re all writing from different points of view so some tell certain stories and leave out others, and vice versa. Well the resurrection is one of those stories that all 4 writers saw as important enough that they needing to tell it from their perspective, and rightfully so. So this morning I want to read all 4 accounts of that first Easter morning so we can see the story from each of their perspectives. We’ll begin with:
Matthew 28:1–10 CSB
1 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards were so shaken by fear of him that they became like dead men. 5 The angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there.’ Listen, I have told you.” 8 So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell his disciples the news. 9 Just then Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” They came up, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus told them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
Next we’ll read:
ESVNow after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
Mark 16:1–8 CSB
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they could go and anoint him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” 4 Looking up, they noticed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. 5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.’ ” 8 They went out and ran from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid. [Some of the earliest conclude with .]
Next we’ll read:
And then Luke tells us in:
ESVWhen the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
ESVWhen the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Luke 24:1–12 CSB
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 They went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood by them in dazzling clothes. 5 So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. 6 “He is not here, but he has risen! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’8 And they remembered his words. 9 Returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest. 10 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things. 11 But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So he went away, amazed at what had happened.
And then Luke tells us in:
​And then finally in the book of John:
ESVBut on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
John 20:1–10 CSB
1 On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she went running to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said to them, “They’ve taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him!” 3 At that, Peter and the other disciple went out, heading for the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and got to the tomb first. 5 Stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then, following him, Simon Peter also came. He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. 7 The wrapping that had been on his head was not lying with the linen cloths but was folded up in a separate place by itself. 8 The other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, then also went in, saw, and believed. 9 For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying.
And then finally in the book of John:
Now I know many people who are not believers would look these four accounts and start picking them apart. “Well one says that it was Mary Magdalene, but another says it was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and Salome, and another says it wasn’t Salome but Joanna, and another says...” You know what, sometimes minor details aren’t the most important thing. In fact that’s why we call them “minor details.” Does it really matter who all the other women were? The point of the story is “Christ is risen,” not exactly which women first got the news. But this morning I want to focus on just one of these accounts. I want us to look particularly at the gospel of John, and how he tells the story of the Resurrection. He begins, like the others, talking about the women going to the tomb to finish preparing the body of Jesus. If you were here for the sunrise service you’ll remember we talked about how Jesus death occurred on Friday evening and under Jewish law the Sabbath day begins at sunset on Friday. So they had to quickly pull him down from the cross, wrap his body in grave clothes and place him in the tomb before sunset because they couldn’t do any work on the Sabbath and preparing a body for burial was considered work. So after the Sabbath is over the women go on Sunday morning to finish preparing his body. They bring the spices and herbs and whatever else they used in that culture to prepare him. But when they get there the tomb is already open and the body is gone. John skips over the whole part about the angels speaking to the women and Jesus appearing to them and he goes straight to Peter and another disciple entering the tomb. And that’s really what I want to focus on this morning. Peter enters the tomb and John tells us that he saw the linen cloths that they had wrapped the body in just lying there and then in verse 7 we read
ESVNow on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
Now I know many people who are not believers would look these four accounts and start picking them apart. “Well one says that it was Mary Magdalene, but another says it was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary and Salome, and another says it wasn’t Salome but Joanna, and another says...” You know what, sometimes minor details aren’t the most important thing. In fact that’s why we call them “minor details.” Does it really matter who all the other women were? The point of the story is “Christ is risen,” not exactly which women first got the news.But this morning I want to focus on one of these accounts. Now I know throughout this series we’ve been looking at the gospel of Matthew. But this morning I want us to look particularly at the gospel of John, and how he tells the story of the Resurrection. He begins, like the others, talking about the women going to the tomb to finish preparing the body of Jesus. If you were here for the sunrise service you’ll remember we talked about how Jesus death occurred on Friday evening and under Jewish law the Sabbath day begins at sunset on Friday. So they had to quickly pull him down from the cross wrap his body in grave clothes and place him in the tomb before sunset because they couldn’t do any work on the Sabbath and preparing a body for burial was considered work. So after the Sabbath is over the women go on Sunday morning to finish preparing his body. They bring the spices and herbs and whatever else they used in that culture to prepare him. But when they get there the tomb is already open and the body is gone. John skips over the whole part about the angels speaking to the women and Jesus appearing to them and he goes straight to Peter and another disciple entering the tomb. And that’s really what I want to focus on this morning. Peter enters the tomb and John tells us that he saw the linen cloths that they had wrapped the body in just lying there and then in verse 7 we read
John 20:7 CSB
7 The wrapping that had been on his head was not lying with the linen cloths but was folded up in a separate place by itself.
ESVand the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.
If you’ve been in church for very long I’m sure you’ve heard a sermon about the significance of that cloth being folded and placed by itself. In fact if you’ve been in this service for very long you’ve heard a sermon about it because I preached about this last Easter.
If you’ve been in church for very long I’m sure you’ve heard a sermon about the significance of that cloth being folded and placed by itself. I’ve heard two different versions of this story. Now before I go on I need to point out that the Greek word translated as “face cloth” here can also be translated as napkin or towel. So the stories. One version says that it was Jewish custom at the time that whenever the Master of a house was eating dinner, when he was finished he would just toss the napkin on the table and that let the servants know that he was done and they could clean up. But if he ever had to leave the table during the meal and the napkin was neatly folded it meant that he was coming back and the servants should be prepared to receive him. Many people say that this was the reason that Jesus neatly folded the face cloth or napkin. It was a symbol that he was coming back.The other version of the story that I’ve heard talks about the custom of Jewish carpenters. In this version when a carpenter was working on a job for someone he would always have a towel to wipe the sweat from his face. As long as he was still working on the job he would simply toss the towel down. But if the towel was neatly folded it was a symbol to the person who hired him that the job was finished. Since Jesus was a carpenter by trade some people say that the fact that the face cloth, or towel, was folded neatly is a sign that the work that he came to earth to do was complete. Those are great stories aren’t they? And they seem to tie everything up into a nice little symbolic package. But there’s actually no basis in Jewish custom that I’ve been able to find for either of them. They make great fodder for social media posts, but I just don’t think either of them is true.Now that being said, I don’t want you to think that the face cloth being folded up is insignificant, because it’s not. There is actually huge significance here. The first thing we see from the linen cloths and the face cloth being neatly folded is proof that Jesus body was not taken by grave robbers as some tried to propose. Think about it. If the body was stolen, why would they have neatly folded the cloth? For that matter, why would they have taken the time to unwrap the body and leave the linen cloths behind? No the fact that the wrappings are laying there and the face cloth is neatly folded is the first sign that something special has happened here.Then secondly, if you’ll remember several weeks back when we first started this series we were talking about the triumphal entry. And do you remember what event Jesus had just come from not long before the triumphal entry? He had just raised Lazarus from the dead. Let’s look back at that event. We read about it in
I’ve heard two different versions of this story. So the stories. One version says that it was Jewish custom at the time that whenever the Master of a house was eating dinner, when he was finished he would just toss the napkin on the table and that let the servants know that he was done and they could clean up. But if he ever had to leave the table during the meal and the napkin was neatly folded it meant that he was coming back and the servants should be prepared to receive him. Many people say that this was the reason that Jesus neatly folded the face cloth or napkin. It was a symbol that he was coming back.
The other version of the story that I’ve heard talks about the custom of Jewish carpenters. In this version when a carpenter was working on a job for someone he would always have a towel to wipe the sweat from his face. As long as he was still working on the job he would simply toss the towel down. But if the towel was neatly folded it was a symbol to the person who hired him that the job was finished. Since Jesus was a carpenter by trade some people say that the fact that the face cloth, or towel, was folded neatly is a sign that the work that he came to earth to do was complete. The work of salvation is done.
Those are great stories aren’t they? And they seem to tie everything up into a nice little symbolic package. But there’s actually no basis in Jewish custom that I’ve been able to find for either of them. They make great fodder for social media posts, but I just don’t think either of them is true.Now that being said, I don’t want you to think that the face cloth being folded up is insignificant, because it’s not. There is actually huge significance here. The first thing we see from the linen cloths and the face cloth being neatly folded is proof that Jesus body was not taken by grave robbers as some tried to propose. Think about it. If the body was stolen, why would they have neatly folded the cloth? For that matter, why would they have taken the time to unwrap the body and leave the linen cloths behind? No the fact that the wrappings are laying there and the face cloth is neatly folded is the first sign that something special has happened here.
Then secondly, if you study the final week of Jesus before his crucifixion you’ll see that it all started out with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But Jesus had just come from another big event not long before the triumphal entry. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead. Let’s take a look at that event.
ESVThen Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
John 11:38–44 CSB
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 “Remove the stone,” Jesus said. Martha, the dead man’s sister, told him, “Lord, there is already a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. 42 I know that you always hear me, but because of the crowd standing here I said this, so that they may believe you sent me.” 43 After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him go.”
Do you notice the contrast in these two people coming back to life? The first thing I noticed in reading these passages was the stone. With Lazarus, the stone had to be moved when people got there. With Jesus, the stone didn’t need to be moved. If he had wanted to he could have walked right through it. But what we see is that the stone is already moved when people get there. It wasn’t moved because Jesus needed it moved, but because we needed it moved to see that the tomb was empty. With Lazarus, the stone was moved to give him access to life. With Jesus, the stone was moved to give all of us access to life.
Do you notice the contrast in these two people coming back to life? The first thing I noticed in reading these passages was the stone. With Lazarus, the stone had to be moved when people got there. With Jesus, the stone didn’t need to be moved. If he had wanted to he could have walked right through it. But what we see is that the stone is already moved when people get there. It wasn’t moved because Jesus needed it moved, but because we needed it moved to see that the tomb was empty. With Lazarus, the stone was moved to give him access to life. With Jesus, the stone was moved to give all of us access to life.Then there’s the bindings and the face cloth. Notice with Lazarus, when Jesus calls him out of the tomb he comes out with “his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth.” And then Jesus tells the people around him, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Lazarus needed help. First he needed help from Jesus to come back from the dead. Jesus calls him out of the grave. Second, he needed help even after he was alive again. He couldn’t bring himself back from the dead, and he couldn’t even untie himself from the grave clothes once he was alive. Jesus didn’t need any help. He didn’t need anyone to move the stone. He didn’t need someone standing outside the tomb calling him forth. And he didn’t even need help getting out of the grave clothes. We see that by the fact that the cloths are lying there and the face cloth is folded up neatly waiting for Peter to come in and see. As I close this morning I want you to notice one last thing about the grave clothes and the face cloth. John told us that the disciple whom Jesus loved beat Peter to the tomb, but that he didn’t actually go in. Peter went in first and saw everything. Then in verses 8 and 9 we read:
Then there’s the bindings and the face cloth. Notice with Lazarus, when Jesus calls him out of the tomb he comes out with “bound hand an foot with linen strips, and with his face wrapped with a cloth.” And then Jesus tells the people around him, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Lazarus needed help. First he needed help from Jesus to come back from the dead. Jesus calls him out of the grave. Second, he needed help even after he was alive again. He couldn’t bring himself back from the dead, and he couldn’t even untie himself from the grave clothes once he was alive. Jesus didn’t need any help. He didn’t need anyone to move the stone. He didn’t need someone standing outside the tomb calling him forth. And he didn’t even need help getting out of the grave clothes. We see that by the fact that the cloths are lying there and the face cloth is folded up neatly waiting for Peter to come in and see. As I close this morning I want you to notice one last thing about the grave clothes and the face cloth. John told us that the disciple whom Jesus loved beat Peter to the tomb, but that he didn’t actually go in. Peter went in first and saw everything. Then in verses 8 and 9 we read:
John 20:8–9 CSB
8 The other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, then also went in, saw, and believed. 9 For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he must rise from the dead.
They had spent 3 years travelling the country with Jesus. They had seen him perform miracles. They had seen him turn water into wine. They had seen him feed a crowd of people with just a few fish and a few loaves of bread. They had seen him reattach the ear of one of the people that came to arrest him when it was cut off. They had seen him raise a man from the dead. But they still didn’t get it. They still didn’t quite understand. Until these two walked into that tomb, and saw the linen grave clothes, and saw the neatly folded face cloth. That’s when it clicked. He is risen! Jesus is alive! And he’s still alive today. Amen?
ESVThen the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
Would you join me in prayer?
They had spent 3 years travelling the country with Jesus. They had seen him perform miracles. They had seen him turn water into wine. They had seen him feed a crowd of people with just a few fish and a few loaves of bread. They had seen him reattach the ear of one of the people that came to arrest him when it was cut off. They had seen him raise a man from the dead. But they still didn’t get it. They still didn’t quite understand. Until these two walked into that tomb, and saw the linen grave clothes, and saw the neatly folded face cloth. That’s when it clicked. He is risen! Jesus is alive! And he’s still alive today. Amen?Would you join me in prayer?
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