2015 4-5 ‘The Resurrection’ Luke 24 1-12

“THE RESURRECTION”
LUKE 24:1-12

I. Introduction
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the single most important event in the his-tory of the world! I am well aware that such a definitive statement made with such perfect surety and conviction can be shocking and even off-putting to many people. After all, we live in a culture that has degenerated to the point wherein absolutes of any kind are at best seen as narrow, harsh, and unfeeling. At worst absolutes are seen as bigoted, tyrannical, or intolerant. And if there is anything that will not be tolerated it is intolerance.

LIGHTHOUSE BIBLE CHURCH exists for the purpose of proclaiming the truth of Jesus’ resur-rection. Actually, we exist for the purpose of proclaiming every word of Scripture as truth. But as we do that it quickly becomes clear that the entire Bible, from start to finish, lays out God’s divine plan of redemption for sinful man. And that plan centers on Jesus Christ and the fact that He was resurrected from the dead.

He Himself said, “I am…the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever-more (Revelation 1:17-18).” And so I will say it again – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the single most important event in the history of the world! I am staking my eter-nal future on it, and I hope you are too.

Not only is Jesus’ resurrection the most important event, it is the cornerstone of the Christian gospel. When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church at Rome he made it clear that belief in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was necessary for salvation.
Romans 10:9-10
9 …if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;
10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

The point is that regardless of how good people may be, regardless of what they have done, are doing, or will do, and regardless of what they may call themselves, if they do not believe in Jesus’ resurrection, they are not Christians. That is as basic a biblical truth as there is. It has stood for two thousand years, and it will stand throughout eternity. But to the culture in which we now live at the dawn of the twenty-first century that biblical truth is received by the world like pouring salt in an open wound.

While much of the world rejects the resurrection of Christ, it also rejects the fact of the even-tual resurrection of everyone else as well. Every human being who has ever lived will live forever. They will live either in eternal comfort and joy in heaven, or in eternal pain and suffering in hell. Listen again to the same Jesus.
*John 5:28-29
28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice,
29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

There is an important point to be made here. In and of themselves the good deeds and evil deeds Jesus is speaking of can neither save nor condemn. No one can be saved by works. Rather, within this context, these good and evil deeds provide the evidence of one’s nature.
Jesus said “…all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth.”

Those who have rejected Christ and His gospel will be judged and condemned to hell. They will not be annihilated as is the teaching of some. They will spend eternity in conscious tor-ment. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew’s gospel. At their resurrection He will tell them…
Matthew 25:41b, 46
41b …‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been pre-pared for the devil and his angels…’
46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eter-nal life.”

In John 11 Jesus went to the funeral of His friend Lazarus. One of Lazarus’ sisters, Martha, was grieving over the loss of her brother.
*John 11:23-25
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother shall rise again.”
24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies…”

Later, shortly before Jesus went to the cross, He said, “…because I live, you shall live also (John 14:19b).” This truth was at the core of the church from its beginning. In fact, on the very first day of the church’s existence, in the very first sermon, the very first preacher (the Apostle Peter) said the following…
*Acts 2:22-24
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know –
23 this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
24 “And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”

This theme of resurrection continues throughout the NT. Paul, John, and Peter all write about it. The resurrection is where death and Satan were defeated. In Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth he asks two rhetorical questions: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting (1 Corinthians 15:55)?” Jesus has been raised from the dead. In the process He has conquered death. Its victory and its sting are gone.

If you repent, and if you trust Christ and Christ alone for salvation, and, “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:9-10).”

And that is what we are here to celebrate on this Resurrection Sunday morning.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

II. Review
Jesus died about the ninth hour (3:00 pm) on that Friday. The Sabbath would begin at sun-down (6:00 pm) by which time the Mosaic Law required that dead bodies be buried. Know-ing that Jesus’ body would be thrown into a mass grave unless he immediately acted to pre-vent it, Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin…
John 19:38b-40
38b “…being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permis-sion. He came therefore, and took away His body.
39 And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to (Jesus) by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. (approx. 65 lbs.)
40 And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings, with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

Then Luke tells us that a number of the women who had been at the crucifixion also watched as Joseph and Nicodemus did their work.
Luke 23:55-56
55 Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed after, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.
56 And they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. (All of this done before sundown.) And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

III. Text
That should bring us to Sunday morning, the first day of the week. But there is a day in between, isn’t there? What happened on the Sabbath, on that Saturday? Well, the women did what the Mosaic Law called them to do – they rested. Apparently Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus obeyed the same Law and rested as well. But what about the Jewish reli-gious leaders; what did they do on the Sabbath, on that Saturday? We’ll let Matthew tell us.
*Matthew 27:62-66
62 Now on the next day, which is the one after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate,
63 and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’
64 Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”
65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.”
66 And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a (Roman) seal on the stone.

There is a great irony here. On this day the eleven disciples were hiding in mortal fear for their lives. Taking on Roman soldiers and/or temple guards was not on their agenda. And even if they had the courage to try, why would they? They really didn’t expect the resurrec-tion. They were not yet the men they would become at Pentecost.

And think about this: If the disciples had tried (and succeeded) in stealing Jesus’ body, and then disposing of it, they would have known the resurrection was a lie. Would they have spent their lives preaching, teaching, and suffering persecution for that lie? Would they then have faced their executioners and laid down their lives for what they knew was a lie? No!

So in the religious leaders’ efforts to prevent a different lie (that the disciples would steal Jesus’ body), they actually helped to discredit a much larger one – that Jesus was not resurrected! And once again we see that God will always accomplish His purpose. Sometimes He will even do so by using the best efforts of those who hate Him. Such is the sovereignty and power of God. But the grave is secure. Both the Jews and the Romans have seen to it.
*Luke 24:1-12 (Please stand with me in honor of reading God’s Word.)
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bring-ing the spices which they had prepared.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 And it happened that while they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling apparel;
5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the Living One among the dead?
6 “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,
7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and (on) the third day rise again.”
8 And they remembered His words,
9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.
11 And these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.
12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at that which had happened.

Years later, when he preached to the pagans on Mars Hill in Athens, Paul said that God…
Acts 17:31
31 “…has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

Brett opened our service this morning by reading the Apostle Peter’s words. Let me repeat just a few of them.
1 Peter 1:3
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resur-rection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

This morning we’re looking at Luke’s account of that proof and of that hope.
*Luke 24:1-3
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bring-ing the spices which they had prepared.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

The first-century Jews did not name the days of the week as we do. Their week centered on the Sabbath, and each day was numbered as it related to the Sabbath. Thus Sunday was the first day of the week, Monday was the second, and so it went until the next Sabbath. We do not have a Sabbath anymore because the Saturday that Jesus was in the tomb was the last one. Our Sabbath rest is neither Saturday nor Sunday. Our Sabbath rest is Jesus Himself. So, in honor of His resurrection, the church worships on Sunday, the first day of the week.

The women came to the tomb at dawn. All four gospel writers report this though they each use somewhat different terms to describe it. Luke calls it “early dawn.” Matthew says, “…as it began to dawn (28:1).” Mark says, “…when the sun had risen (16:2).” And John says that Mary Magdalene was the first to arrive, “…while it was still dark (20:1).”
She saw that the stone had been rolled away and she ran to tell Peter and John. When the other women arrived they found that the guards had fled and the tomb was empty. Of course, the guards had fled. They were terrorized – twice. First, they would have been ter-rorized when an angel appeared, broke the Roman seal, and rolled away the stone. Second, they would have been terrorized when they realized that they would be facing the wrath of their superior officers for failing in their duty to guard the tomb. What could they do?

They could go to the chief priests and plead for some help, or some cover, or some excuse that would shield them from a court-martial and probable execution for dereliction of duty.
*Matthew 28:12-15
12 And when they had assembled with the elders and counseled together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
13 and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’
14 “And if this should come to the governor’s ears (Pilate), we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.”
15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

Here again we see those who deny the truth of Christ’s resurrection indulging in lying, in deception, in corruption, and in bribery.

Look around you today. There is no end to lying, deception, corruption, and bribery. It is everywhere. If the first lie doesn’t work you come up with a bigger one. If that one fails you “double-down” on your deception, look the other way at corruption, and use your power, influence, and money to get what you want. Thus the truth becomes what-ever those in power want it to be. Does this not define much of our government today?

Luke 24:3 says that the women did not find the body when they entered the tomb. When someone questions the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and your belief in it, you may want to remember this. The Roman soldiers knew the tomb was empty. The Jewish leaders knew the tomb was empty. Peter and John and Mary Magdalene knew the tomb was empty. And none of them – neither those who loved Jesus, nor those who hated Him, nor those who were mere bystanders doing their duty – had any rational explanation for it. Jesus Christ had been resurrected from the dead! Period!
*Luke 24:4-7
4 And it happened that while they (the women) were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling apparel;
5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the Living One among the dead?
6 “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He
was still in Galilee,
7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and (on) the third day rise again.”

As the women try to deal with the reality of Jesus’ missing body, their confusion is replaced by great fear (“ĕmphŏbŏs” = phobia = panic or terror). Two men (John’s gospel identifies them as angels) suddenly materialize before them. One of them asks, and I paraphrase, “What are you doing in a graveyard looking for someone who is alive?” This is the first announcement that Jesus is alive. It comes from heaven, and is essentially a mild rebuke. Jesus had told them that He would be resurrected, but just like the apostles, they hadn’t really believed Him, had they? If they had, why did they bring spices and perfumes to anoint His body?

Look, they loved Jesus. They believed in Jesus. They even had faith in Jesus. But when the going got tough, and when their natural senses told them differently, they forgot what He said, and their faith slipped. These women brought materials to embalm a dead body. Why? Jesus had told them that He would be resurrected on the third day, hadn’t He? They had faith in Jesus, but when “the chips were down,” they didn’t. Can anyone here relate to that?

In Mark’s gospel there is an account of a man whose young son was possessed by a demon. The father is desperate for help and he comes to Jesus. The Lord asks the man…
*Mark 9:21b-24
21b “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From child-hood.
22 “And it (the demon) has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”
23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Two verses later the demon was gone and the boy was well. Listen, if Jesus says something, believe it! It doesn’t matter what you think, what you feel, or what others may say or do. He said He would be resurrected from the dead, and He was. Now He says, “I am…the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore (Revelation 1:17-18).”
*Luke 24:8-10
8 And they remembered His words,
9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.

“…they remembered (Jesus’) words.” As the women run from the tomb (and the two angels) the reality of what has happened begins to sink in. Matthew says it beautifully.
*Matthew 28:8-10
8 And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.
9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him.
10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they shall see Me.”

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus’ first appearance was to these blessed women, and not to the eleven remaining disciples, or even to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus? These women were the only ones who were courageous enough to have been there and to have witnessed the entire sequence of events. They were at the cross, they witnessed His burial, they were the first to go to the empty tomb, and they were the first to see the risen Lord.

As their initial fear passed you can imagine the women’s excitement and their joy. Wouldn’t you expect the eleven, Jesus’ own disciples, to believe them?
*Luke 24:11-12
10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.
11 And these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.
12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at that which had happened.

The disciples’ unbelief is maddening, isn’t it? If anyone should have believed it, it should have been them. But the fact is that they weren’t expecting it. They didn’t believe it until Jesus appeared to them that evening. But one of the disciples, Thomas, was not present with the others, and he refused to believe their testimony. Eight days later Jesus appeared to the disciples again. Thomas was there and he finally believed. Then…
John 20:29
29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

So let me ask you something. Raise your hand if you have seen the resurrected Jesus. No one here has seen Him? All right! Does anyone here believe in the resurrected Jesus? He said that those of you who do are blessed.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

IV. Conclusion
There are only two kinds of people in this world – those who believe in the resurrected Jesus and those who do not. If you are among those who do, you are blessed. You are blessed today on this Resurrection Sunday and you will be blessed throughout eternity future.
This is because you will be resurrected to eternal life with your glorious Lord Jesus Himself.

But if you are among those who do not believe, and if you persist in that unbelief, the resur-rection we celebrate today carries no blessing for you. It will carry only condemnation. So let me encourage you, no, let me urge you to take a step of faith. We will never have all the answers to all our questions until we are in heaven. But God has given us enough evidence of the truth so that we can trust Him and put our faith in His risen Son.

The tomb was empty and there was (and there is) no rational human explanation for it. Consi-der all of the things you believe for which you have no direct evidence. You believe them because you trust the words of men. For example…

• Have you ever flown in an airplane? Did you study the physics of flight and the mechanical integrity of the plane before you went on board?
• You are going to eat today. Will you be doing a chemical analysis of the food to see that it isn’t poisoned?
• You entered this building this morning. Did you ask to see the architect’s structural calculations before you came in?
• You drove here today. Did you talk to all the other drivers who would be on the road and remind them of the necessity of staying on their side of the white line?

No, you didn’t. You didn’t do any of those things. Why? You didn’t because you took sin-ful men at their word and put your faith in them, didn’t you? Therefore, you have no excuse for not believing God – the God who is sinless and cannot lie. His Word says the tomb was empty. Please listen to Him.

Jesus said, “I am…the Living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore (Revelation 1:17-18).” Believe Him, trust Him, and cling to Him.
Romans 10:9-10
9 …if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;
10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

On this Resurrection Sunday we remember that the tomb was empty. Two thousand years ago Jesus arose, and today Jesus lives! We’ll sing about those things to close the service.

~ Pray ~

Comments are closed.