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2008-03-23_He Has Risen - Part 1_Matthew 27.55-28.15_SL

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He Has Risen, Part 1

Matthew 27:55-28:15   |   Shaun LePage   |   March 23, 2008

He Has Risen, Part 1

Matthew 27:55-28:15   |   Shaun LePage   |   March 23, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    Imagine: someone came up and announced ____ had been brutally murdered. Imagine. How would you react? Wouldn’t preach—try to comfort/read Ps 23. Pray together, try to console family. Eventually go home; meals for family; prepare funeral; Can you imagine?

B.    How disciples/followers of Jesus must have felt watching cross; stunned/grieving/afraid…

II.     Body—Let’s pick up where we left off…

A.    27:55-66. His burial

1.     (55-56) “women…looking on from a distance”: 1) shows devotion even more than disciples—they were there; 2) hint of Sunday’s coming! 3) witnesses to death/burial

2.     (57-61) “rich man…Joseph” Matt obviously believes this fulfilled Is 53:9 “with a rich man in His death”; Important: Jesus was buried! Proves He really died! Some have tried to say that Jesus didn’t really die and therefore He didn’t really rise from the dead. Eyewitnesses make it very clear—He really did die and the proof is that He was buried (notice Marys sitting near “grave”—didn’t go to wrong grave (as some have suggested) on Easter morning; also Jn 19:38-40 “Jewish burial customs” covering body with spices (100 lbs) then wrapping it up. If the Cross didn’t kill Jesus, He suffocated!

3.     (62-66) chief priests and Pharisees want to make sure that “deceiver” (His followers) don’t pull off an even bigger “deception” by stealing Jesus’ body; given permission to make the “grave secure” with a “guard” and a “seal on the stone”; Fantastic! proves Jesus rose from the dead! Provided eyewitnesses; Roman guards at the scene; no way a few fishermen stole His body from a sealed tomb guarded by trained Roman soldiers!

B.    28:1-15: His resurrection

1.     (1) “After the Sabbath” Mk: Joseph buried Jesus before Sabbath (Friday), Sabbath (Saturday), “dawn on the first day of the week” (Sunday)—part of 3 days was 3 days in Jewish reckoning; “Mary Magdalene, the other Mary” again—Mk: spices to anoint him (100lbs. not enough? Didn’t know? Personal gesture? Don’t know) and wondering how they would move the stone! Notice who was not there: The apostles! Why not camped out at the tomb? Obviously didn’t believe Jesus going to rise “as He said”

2.     (2-4) “earthquake” marked significance of death (27:51)—now resurrection! “Angel of the Lord” was there! “like lightning…snow” consistent with other appearances of angels; not cupid (baby in a diaper) “guards shook for fear…like dead men”;

3.     (5-6) Just as angels delivered news of birth to “nobodies” this angel at tomb to deliver amazing message to “nobodies” (women not allowed to testify in court; gives authenticity—if hoax, wouldn’t have made women first witnesses—discredit) the good news is for anyone and everyone—mainly for those who show up! Had disciples been there they too would have seen; Message? Read v.6 again—why had the angel rolled away the stone? Not to let Jesus out, but to show the women and guards that Jesus was gone. “He is not here…come, see…” Why not there? Stolen? No, “He has risen!” Put yourself in shoes—can you imagine? Dreaming? “as He said” (4X in Matt)

4.     (7) “Come and see” quickly became “Go quickly and tell…” first commission; “Galilee…there you will see Him…” First appeared to them in Jerusalem—didn’t believe and refused to go? Mk & Lk both say disciples didn’t believe the women; Jesus apparently wanted to give Great Commission in Galilee—started His ministry there, would begin disciples’ ministry there as well

5.     (8-10) “let the tomb quickly with fear” didn’t obey angel—afraid anyway; “great joy…ran to report” They believed! Jesus had risen! “Jesus met them” Why meet them now—why angel first? Test? Got to see Jesus because of belief! No other purpose I can think of: Jesus told women same thing angel did (don’t be afraid; tell disciples go to Galilee) faith pleases God! Big message of Easter for the 1. Unbeliever: Believe! Jesus said it would happen, angels and over 500 witnesses said it did happen. Jesus told Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). The gospel message is that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Paul called this the “gospel” (1 Corinthians 15:1,2) and said that “by this gospel you are saved.” Do you believe? “Come and see” (examine eyewitness evidence) then believe; “worshiped Him” One of the ways Jesus claimed to be God was by receiving worship. Did not try to stop those who worshiped Him; big message of Easter for 2. Believer: Worship! I’ll come back to this!

6.     (11-15) Q: Why report to Jews instead of Pilate? Could have been executed for failing to do their jobs; maybe so moved by what they saw, they felt the Jews would want to know a miracle happened! But when Jews offered to keep them out of trouble and “large sum of money”—just kept quiet; possible some soldiers became Christians later and told Matt this story (27:54!); “You are to say…” cover up! not interested in truth; wanted to hide it; How do we know “widely circulated” story not true? disciples and many early Christians died for what they saw; would not died for a stolen body! Big message of Easter for the 3. Skeptic: Love truth. sad that villains of Scripture were religious; lesson: religion without truth worse than pointless—evil! Those who have religion but little concern for truth will find themselves opposing God; “Come and see” (examine evidence) don’t be dishonest in doubt; Resurrection is fact—can’t cover up!

III.   Closing:

A.    Finish where we started: Imagine ____ had been brutally murdered. Imagine. How would you react? Wouldn’t preach—try to comfort/read Ps 23. Pray together, try to console family. Eventually go home; meals for family; prepare funeral; Can you imagine?

B.    But imagine this. Couple hours before funeral you get an email—it’s from _________. She’s sure she saw __________ alive! Shot of hope—“Could it be? No, it’s just the grief! She’s seeing things.” Then ________ calls and says it’s true! She saw _________ alive too! You don’t know what to believe—get dressed and come to the funeral. Everyone here is buzzing with nervous energy. Few excitedly telling what they saw. Some get angry—“Stop saying this—just making it harder for the family!” Then, ___________ walks in! Someone screams! Everyone gasps! It’s true! It’s true! He’s alive! All of us swarm around to hug him! Everyone is crying! Hugging each other! Laughing! Crying! Praising God! On our cell phones calling those who aren’t here! More laughing! More crying! More praising!

C.    Can you imagine?! Now, let me ask you a question: We’re celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ today! Did you think about that before you came?! Did you praise God all week for the fact that Jesus Christ has conquered death? All that we believe as Christians hangs on this fact! Abundant life today is impossible if Christ did not rise from the dead! Eternal life tomorrow is ours because Christ rose from the dead! Shouldn’t we be in tears? …laughing? …applauding? …praising God? …on our phones calling people who don’t know? …being His witnesses to people who don’t seem to know?

D.    Maybe not—initial excitement (ever there?) would eventually die down, but come on! Would we ever look at _____ the same? Would we ever really get over it? Would we ever stop telling people the story? Do people think you serve a dead Jesus or a live Jesus!?

E.     Let’s repent! Turn from our apathy! Turn from our silence! Let’s tell the world! Let’s praise our God! Fall at His nail-scarred feet and worship the Risen Lord!

F.     Take time to pray/worship/recommit/believe! Closing Prayer?

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