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Our Response to the Resurrection

Easter Sunday  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  26:02
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Matthew 28:1–10 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. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Matthew Explanation of the Text

The contrast between desire and reality is also heightened; they come to “view” the tomb but end up “seeing” the Risen Lord

Matthew says that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb, but the only indication as to their reason was that they came to see it. Mark tells us that when the Sabbath was over they bought spices, and both Mark and Luke say that they brought their spices to the tomb, evidently to complete the burial that had been done in haste on the Friday. Presumably Matthew omits the reference to the spices because he knows (as the women probably did not) that there was a guard at the tomb that would have prevented them from using their spices anyway; the whole reference to spices was for him irrelevant.

But LOOK Matthew says:
There was an earthquake
The stone was rolled away

Mark tells us that as they came to the place they discussed the problem of rolling the stone away, as well they might, for it was a great stone (27:60). But when they arrived, they found their problem solved; the angel had done it for them, and having rolled the stone away he sat on it. What had been an insuperable obstacle for the women was no more than a place to sit for the angel

An angel appears
The angel tells them that Jesus Christ is not here, He is risen as He said.

They were not facing a situation in which Jesus had undergone a totally unexpected fate and had then experienced an unanticipated deliverance. He had prophesied both his death and his resurrection, and it was important that his followers should come to understand that the wonderful happening that had just taken place was in fact no more than what Jesus had prophesied during his lifetime. The angel backs up his statement that Jesus had been raised by inviting them to come and to see the place where he lay

How did the women respond?

Response of Belief

Our first response of course, must be to believe that Jesus Christ has defeated death and risen from the dead.
Matthew Theology in Application

The message is clear. God is absolutely sovereign, and no actions of humankind can turn aside his divine will. Neither the opposition of the Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers nor the ignorance of the disciples can stop the resurrection from happening.

This is why we celebrate today - Resurrection Day.
It is why we rejoice and typically attend church in person.
This is why the traditional greeting among Christians is “He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!”
We as Christians must gaze again in wonder at the empty tomb. Our Lord has conquered death and rose victorious over sin to become the Savior of mankind and one day, He is coming again to receive us unto Himself and then eventually to rule over all of creation as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
If you are listening today, rejoice with us that the Savior is risen.
And if you have not accepted His payment for your sins by trusting Him alone for your salvation, I would urge you that today is the day - now is the best time - to admit that you are a sinner, believe upon the resurrected Jesus Christ, and confess in prayer your need of deliverance and salvation. We teach it to children as the ABC’s of salvation, but it is for every age - Accept, Believe, and Confess today.
If you need more information or would just like to speak with someone, I would love to talk with you further. Simply get in touch at pastorarnett@fbcanderson.com
Contrast their response with the intellectuals at the City of Athens who upon hearing Paul’s message to them mocked and ignored the message of salvation:
Acts 17:31–32 KJV 1900
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
Even in our day and age, there are people who mock or ignore the message of salvation and the resurrection.
You may be one of those who either ignored or even mocked that idea of Christ being resurrected from the dead. There are good solid reasons for the resurrection - including many eyewitnesses and the fact that the people who believed it were willing to die for that faith.
Charles Colson who went to prison for his role in the Watergate scandal was converted to Christ and he famously said about the resurrection:
"I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible." ~ Charles Colson
"The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is more powerful than anything else we believe. By His resurrection Jesus proved He is who He says He is. Be confident in this truth. Stand on the Holy Word of God. Don't sell the world a false bill of goods. Preach the word. Defend the faith. Live the faith." ~ Charles Colson

Response of Fear

Both the guards and the women are fearful. But the guards remain in their fear, while the women have their fear turned to joyfulness at the news of the resurrection.
Matthew Explanation of the Text

Fear is always the result of an angelophany (or theophany), so the guards are typically filled with fear (who wouldn’t be?!). The imagery of “quaking” uses the language of the “earthquake” from v. 2; there was a shaking (σεισμός) of the earth and there is another shaking (vb. σείω) of the guards. They then fall into a “dead” faint. We must remember that these were Roman guards, trained never to fall down. They would easily have turned back anyone desiring to raid the tomb, but who can stand against God himself? Hagner says it well, “The irony is not to be missed: the ones assigned to guard the dead themselves appear dead while the dead now have been made alive.”

The angel tells them don’t be afraid - you are seeking someone who has been raised from the dead.
The stone was rolled away - not so that Christ could slip out, but so that everyone could see that the tomb was empty - that death could not hold him in its grip. Jesus Christ had risen victorious as He said!
Matthew 16:21 KJV 1900
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Matthew 17:23 KJV 1900
And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
Matthew 20:19 KJV 1900
And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
John 3:14 KJV 1900
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
John 12:32 KJV 1900
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Matthew 28:8 KJV 1900
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

Response of Great Joy

This reminds us of one of the first incidents in Matthew, the great joy of the wise men
Matthew 2:10 KJV 1900
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
In the same fashion, these women have had their sorrow turned to fear - not turned to rejoicing. They had come to annoint and sit in mourning at a grave - now they are racing to tell the disciples that the word of the Lord has come true - He is risen!

Response of Sharing

the women were commissioned to go and tell the disciples - not just that Jesus had risen, but also to go to Galilee where Jesus would meet them again
The women became divinely commissioned heralds of that good news.
We also have the chance to share that good news
Matthew 28:19 KJV 1900
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
As they are going, Behold, Christ meets them on the way. The women fall down - they probably did not grap his feet, but simply fell at his feet in worship.
Again, Jesus tells them not to be afraid and repeats their commission.

Response of Worship

Note that Christ accepted their worship! He truly is God!
What more can we do on this Easter?
We are not gathered in our churches - dressed up in new outfits and anxiously awaiting an Easter dinner with friends and family.
Instead, we are somewhat like those disciples - a little fearful - not knowing what will occur in the future — our patterns and plans disrupted.
How should we then respond? Not just in belief, fear, joy and sharing - but ultimately
In worship!
Our Savior is Risen!
Because of that fact, we also have hope for the future.
Paul reminds us that if the resurrection is not a fact:
1 Corinthians 15:14 KJV 1900
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Not only that, but if the resurrection did not occur, then:
1 Corinthians 15:17 KJV 1900
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
But, we can worship our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ who has defeated death because there was an Easter resurrection that morning.
Paul again says in I Corinthians...
1 Corinthians 15:20 KJV 1900
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
Matthew 28:6 KJV 1900
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
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