Faithlife Sermons

The Life of Christ: His Resurrection


Big Idea:

Tension: What has happened to Jesus who was crucified?
Resolution: He has risen.
Exegetical Idea: Jesus who was crucified has been risen.
Theological Idea: Jesus was resurrected from the grave.
Homiletical Idea: God raised Jesus from the dead.
Big Idea: Jesus deat

Introduction: What happened to Jesus?

You can imagine it was a cold, spring morning. The dry heat of the highlands of Judea were radiating their dusty heat up to Jerusalem. After the massive Passover celebrations in the city, the city was starting to get back to normal. Travellers were packing up to go home. Religious leaders were again taking their posts in the temple. Roman soldiers were marching through Jerusalem in their normal divisions. Bakers were baking bread. Merchants were selling goods. After the most important feast of the Jewish year, things were starting to get back to normal. The streets, filled with the garbage of the festivities, were starting to be filled with teh movement of the crowds.
And for the disciples of Christ, you can imagine, things seemed to be sorting themselves out. You can be sure, some of them were wondering when they should get ready to head back to Galilee. For Peter and the others, you can imagine the events of the past three years were running through their minds. They surely thought of the great crowds that amassed to hear Jesus’ teaching on rolling hills of Galilee. They thought of the transfiguration, how they had seen Christ transformed. They thought of the triumphal entry, where they entered into Jerusalem like triumphing heroes. They thought of the poignant moment of the Last Supper, where they shared the Passover meal together.
But then they thought, with pain, about the events of the day before. There, all their hopes were dashed. All their fears came true. All their aspirations turned to desperation. Here was teh Messiah of Israel, the King of the jews, teh Son of God, killed by teh religious elite. They had seen the Messiah in glory and in death. Were they on the verge of losing their faith? Were they on the edge of desperation? Were they mad at God? Were tehy filled with doubt? Were they afraid to be seen in public? Were they exhausted in their grief?
We know that two women wanted to go out and see the tomb of their Lord. We know from the other gospels that they wanted to dress the body of Christ. This would have been very cathartic for them, a chance to get closure. Of course, in their grief, they hadn’t decided how they were going to roll away the stone. Luckily, when they arrived, they stone was rolled away, but to their amazement, the body was gone.
Who had taken their Lord? What had happened to Jesus?

The Angel and the Guards

The earthquake: Now, each of the four gospels provides a unique perspective on the resurrection. John emphasizes the intimacy of those moments with Jesus and his disciples. Luke emphasizes some of the historical details. ANd Mark portrays the confusion of the disciples. But Matthew goes into the most detail about this angel. Now, he tells us that there is this great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord descended. This word for earthquake in the Greek is the word σεισμος, from which we get our English word, “seizure.” So you can imagine that the earth is having a seizure, it is shaking and convulsing. And Matthew tells us why, because the angel of the Lord touches down. If you have ever been in a tall building, you know what it feels like to have a building shake beneath you in the wind. If you have ever been close to an air force base, you know what it is to feel the ground vibrate. Here, the earth shakes and convulses because the angel steps down on earth.
The angel rolls the stone away: The angel comes to earth and he rolls away the stone and he sits on it. Now, we need to be very conscious about what is happening here. The angel does not come down and resurrect Christ. It is not even necessary for the angel to move the stone for Christ. No, Christ can move the stone on his own. No, the angel is sent by God to move the stone to show that Christ is better than angels. This is what the author of Hebrews tells us in … No, God sends the angel to earth for the same reason you might send a limo driver for a celebrity. It is not that the celebrity is unable to drive himself it is that the celebrity is honored by having a limo drive them around. In a similar way, teh angel comes to honor the Son by moving the stone for him
His appearance was like lightning and his clothes white as snow: If you were here for our sermon on teh transfiguration, this should sound familiar to you. Beacuse when Jesus was transfigured, he appeared with Moses and Elijah and his clothes appeared white as snow and his figure was as lightning. By saying this, Matthew is connecting the two. What he is trying to say is that in precisely the same way that Moses and Elijah, basking in teh glory of God, served Christ, so this angel comes and serves Christ as his servant.
The guards trembled and became like dead men: Of course, when the angel is seen by the soldiers, the soldiers are terrified and they fall asleep like dead men. In an instant, the soldiers realize that they are on the wrong side. The soldiers recognize that in teh fight against Rome and God, God does not lose. They recognize that they have come face to face wtih teh glory of God. They recognize that though Rome was the pinnacle of human might, the angel is the condescenscion of God’s. The contrast could not be more comical, the guards are seized with fear and their faces become pale and they become like dead men in the face of God’s glory. What is, of course, most comical, is that this is the angel, the servant of the Lord. They have not come face to face with the resurrected Lord himself. But merely at his servant, his butler, his valet do they realize that they have picked the wrong side and they fall dead for fear.

The Angel and the Women

The angel speaks: However, the women, by some strange grace of God, are not overcome by fear when God shows the angel to them. Rather, the angel speaks to them. Now, what is interesting, is Luke and Mark describe their amazement at the appearance of the angel. But, Matthew here does not record this moment when they see the angel. Rather, Matthew skips through their amazement at coming to the empty tomb, and he skips to the angel talking to them. This is because Matthew wants to emphasize the proclamation. He wants to emphasize the good news. he wants to emphasize that teh angel has come as God’s messenger to tell them the good news, to “evangelize” to them.


I know you seek Jesus who was crucified: The angel speaks to them and he says, “I know you seek Jesus who was crucified.” They were looking for their crucified Lord. They were looking for the one who they had seen crucified. In this one sentence he validates their entire experience. He says, “You didn’t make it up, you didn’t get somethign wrong, he really was crucified.” Contrary to what the Muslims believe, Jesus really was crucified and died. Contrary to what some modern intellectuals taught, Jesus didn’t just swoon on the cross. No, Jesus was dead. There was no brain activity. No blood pumping in his vein. No contraction and release of the diaphragm to let air in. No, Jesus was dead, dead and buried.
He is not here he is risen: Notice that that past reality is no more. Jesus was dead, but he is no more. He is instead “risen.” Now, that word risen in English is actually a passive in Greek. And the implication is that he was risen by someone. Very often in the Bible, out of respect for God, they would not use God’s name but imply that he was there. ANd this is one such example. Jesus did not rise him himself, rather, the Father rose him. The Father has exalted him, as says… What has happened to Christ? He has arisen!
Go tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead: Now that the messenger from God has given them this news, they are to go give others this message. They are to spread the gospel to the other disicples. When someone hears the gospel of Christ, they are resonsible to spread teh gospel of Christ. When we here the good news of Jesus Christ, we are to be reporters, spreading it far and wide among all our friends and family. That Jesus is alive!
They go in fear and great joy: You can see, the women are shaken by this conversation, they turn around in fear and great joy. We get hte idea that they are like those who have jsut been pulled over by a police officer who has just let them off with a verbal warning. they are ecstatic, although they do not know what it means. They are just beginning to wrap their minds around this marvelous, stupendous, unbelievable, good news. It is too good to be true, but it is true.

Meeting the Risen Christ

Jesus met them: But, as if this were not enough, Jesus himself meets them. Matthew does not give us many details here, but we can imagine, just when they think they have seen it all. Now, you and I, we want to ask, what did he look like? What did he sound like? Where did he meet them? We have all these questions, and Matthew barely answers any of them. WHy? Because while he could find the words to describe an angel in all hsi glory, there are no words to describe the resurrected Christ. You and I cannot do justice describing Christ in all his resurrected glory. The simplest description is just to say that he is. He came back. He is new. Here is the stunning reality of the resurrection of Christ in each of hte four gospels. All four of the gospels are leading up to this point to describe the resurrection. They are all leading up this point and as you’re reading each of the gospels, you get this sense of “Oh, I can’t wait to see what the resurrection is like, what’s it going to be like” and you get to the resurrection, and you barely get any details. Why? Because the mystery of the resurrection creates worship in us. And it created worship in the women.
They worshipped him: Look at this. They don’t know what else to do. teh message of the angel filled them with fear and with great joy. But the resurrection of Christ? The only thing that tehy can do is worship. They run up to him and they take hold of his feet and they worship him. They have nothing to say, their words have been spent. They don’t know what to think: their expectations are totally unmet and met all at once. They have nothing left to feel, desperation had given way to fear and joy. No, teh only thing left for them is worship.
They take hold of his feet: And they take hold of his feet. This is a way of expressing submission and admitting that he is Lord. This is a physical way of worshipping. It is like when we sing here, if we raise our hands, we are acknowledging that all honor and glory goes to him. They fall to their faces and seize his feet to say, “We don’t know how it is possible, but you are Lord. You are man and you are God, all wrapped into one. you were dead, and now you are alive. And it is true. we don’t know how it is true, but we know that it is true.
Boyer and Hall: I love what the authors Stephen Boyer and Christopher Hall say:
“A slow reflective, worshipful process is exactly what one might expect, if the truths that the doctrine of the incarnation embodies are, so to speak, too big for human language to contain. To think and speak well of the incarnation is not just a matter of knowing the right answers about the person of Christ. It is a matter of knowing the mystery of Christ himself, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (), and this is a knowledge that will always retain its mystery.
But it is real knowledge nonetheless. Christians did not advocate mystery simply to have something marvelous to say in their sermons. If they had been interested in marvels only for the sake of marvels, they could hardly have articulated the specific contours of the mystery in the way that they did. Instead, they faithfully acknowledged and accepted an amazing act of God-a crucified Messiah raised from the dead-as the revelation of the very center of God’s work of salvation...” - Boyer and Hall
Rejoice… Do not be afraid: We see here that Jesus repeats the command of the angels.
Go and tell my brothers: Jesus has met them, and now he tells the women to go and tell the other disciples. Except, he doesn’t call them disciples, does he? No, he calls them brothers. Because he has achieved salvation for them, they are no longer strangers, they are family. Because he has achieved salvation for them, they are no longer condemned, they are justified. Because of his death and resurrection, they are no longer orphans, they are adopted. Because he has saved them from their sins, they are no longer enemies, they are brothers. This is the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, not only that God rose Jesus from teh dead, but for all those who take hold of his feet so to speak, all those who put faith in him, can be his brothers in the resurrection.
What has happened to Jesus? God rose him, and those in him, from the dead. What has happened? God rose Christ and all those who have put their faith in Christ from the dead. That you and I will one day have a resurrection like Christ did because we are in him and because we have seized hold of him by faith.
What has happened to Jesus, he has risen from the dead.
There in the ground, His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as he stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

The soldiers and the Pharisees

The Pharisees response:

The soldiers tell the Pharisees: Of course, after the women leave, the soldiers go and tell the chief priests all that had taken place. Which implies that the soldiers, though they lay as dead, were able to make out a bit of what had happened. They were able to make out that Christ really had risen, that he was served by angels, and that the disciples were going to hear about it at any minute.
Led astray by money: Yes, these witnesses to the resurrection of Christ, rejected Christ for the sake of money. Yes, they had seen Christ rise. Yes, they knew he was alive. Yes, they had been witnesses to his power. But they were led astray by the power of the world. The wealth of nations surpassed the treasure of Christ in their minds. Worldly delights, pleasure, comfort, all these they deemed more important than what they had seen with their own two eyes.
They told this story: SO what did they do? They rationalized it. They told a story. IT wasn’t an angel, it was his disciples. He hadn’t risen, he’d been taken. THey weren’t shocked as dead men, they had fallen asleep. Perhaps they told this story so well that they began to believe it themselves. They wanted to believe it. After all, they knew that if they were wrong, if Jesus really had risen from teh grave, than they had just taken blood money. But underneath their lies, their deception, their faults, they knew that it was true.
They became eyewitnesses: How do we know about this? Well, it’s implied that this is an eyewitness account. The reason I can say that is that there are a number of details here which would be unlikely to include if it wasn’t eyewitness. For example, only “some of the guard” went. They were given a “significant sum” of money. The priests promised to protect the soldiers if they got in trouble. In other words, either one of the priests or the soldiers who was present for this later repented and told this story. We know that significant numbers of both priests and soldiers later came to faith. Someone who was here was a whistleblower, and later felt remorse. The people here were so driven by their greed, that they made up a story so that they didn’t have to put their faith in Jesus.
People do the same thing today: And can I just say, people do the exact same thing today. God has left clear witnesses to himself. He has put his glory in the created world. He has given each human being an internal desire to know him. He has given us the witness of the transformation of believers. But he has, most importantly, put the Word of God in our hands which is the single most reliable book that has ever been compiled. In contrast with scientific theory, it doesn’t get revised. In contrast with the Q’uran, it’s not so enshrined that people can’t study it. in contrast to the sacred documents of hinduism and buddhism, it claims to be historically reliable. And it tells us that Jesus really did rise. But people here know that if they were to put their faith in Jesus, it would change how they lived, it would change how they viewed the world, it would change their priorities. So they rationalize the Bible, but underneath, they know it is true. Jesus really did rise from the dead. And no matter how hard they try to shut that voice out, they cannot.
Is this you? So let me ask, is this you? Do you see that Christ clearly rose from the dead? Have you put your faith in Christ? Is he your Lord? Is he your savior? Is he your Messiah? Or are you ignoring him, rationalizing him. Are you giving him lip service but not your heart. Is this you? Because if it is, it’s not to late to be like the whistleblower. It’s not too late to turn from this. It’s not to late to turn to Christ. It’s not to late to follow him and to embrace him.

The Women Disciples

Joy: But by contrast, what we see with the women disciples is that they have joy. They rejoice. They don’t despise the resurrection. They don’t tell lies about it. They treasure Christ above all other things. They don’t rationalize it, they rejoice at it. They are thrilled that Christ be resurrected from the grave. In fact, we know that the disciples found so much joy in the resurrection
Tell the disciples: Secondly, they tell the other disciples. We see three different times in this passage that this is emphasized. The angel tells them to go and tell the other disciples. They leave to go tell the other disciples. Jesus tells them to go tell disciples. if we have received the good news about Jesus, we should share teh good news about Jesus. If we’ve become disciples of Christ, we should make disciples of Christ. To be a true disciple of jesus Christ is to be a disciplemaker. If you have received the greatest news of all times, why would you share that great news?
Worship: But the greatest, the biggest, the most significant thing that hearing this great news leads to is worship. We see that this great news about the disciples totally carried them in exultant worship. Because at the depth of the resurrection is a mystery we can’t fully understand, we will never run out of words to praise God with. We will never stop worshipping the fact that he’s alive. He’s alive, oh dear people, he’s alive.
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