Matt. 28 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
The Soldiers Are Bribed
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
Intro: MY DILEMMA – Isaac Watts – “When I survey the wondrous cross” On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God!
The Empty Tomb proves that He was who He said He was, but the Cross…
THE CROSS HEALS AND RESTORES:
THE CROSS OFFERS HOPE TO A DYING WORLD:
THE CROSS SETS US FREE:
THE CROSS BRINGS PEACE TO AN ANXIOUS HEART:
THE CROSS BRINGS ETERNAL LIFE:
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? Our Resurrected King has rendered you defeated.”
A.W. Tozer, “There has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles…The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter.”
This is why I often say, “Many want a crossless Christianity that bears no resemblance to Jesus’ sobering call to repentance.”
Devaluing sin devalues the death of God’s Son – Devaluing the Cross devalues the price that was paid.
MERCY – to feel sympathy and act upon it – to relieve the suffering
GRACE – a free gift to remove guilt
FORGIVENESS – He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.
The Cross reconciles everything
“I don’t understand how a loving God can send a person to hell.”
Ready or Not Here I Come – MANY WERE/ARE UNPREPARED
This is not hide-and-seek: this if life and death
Herod and all Jerusalem were troubled by His coming.
His people rejected Him.
He is coming again. Are you ready?
In every case, they were not ready, often because of DOUBT.
THE RESURRECTION IS TRUE – “Who 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.”
Ravi Zacharias ~
All of the Bible testifies.
Paul’s letters – he persecuted Christians, then a miracle happened.
Josephus and other secular historians.
Women were not considered credible witnesses.
11 of the 12 died, and all were persecuted.
Cause and Effect [why and what happened?]- It’s not miraculous for God.
It’s not fantasy – it’s truth
C.S. Lewis once thought that we cannot know God anymore than Romeo & Juliet could know Shakespeare. We can’t know God, any more than any character in a play can know its author. Then it occurred to him…Romeo & Juliet could know their creator…IF Shakespeare wrote himself into the Play. God wrote Himself into the play.
Many believe Shakespeare more than God’s Truth.
“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts his hour upon the stage, and is heard no more.”
When God Weeps, by Joni Eareckson Tada, “[The guard] raises a mallet to sink in the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier’s life minute by minute, for no man has the power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son do “all things hold together.” The victim wills that the soldier live on – He grants the warriors continued existence.
But these pains are a mere warm-up to the growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being – the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot.
His Father! He must face his Father like this! From Heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross. Never has the Son seem the Father look at him so…But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.
“Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped – murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten – fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held your razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk – you, who molest.., peddle killer drugs…and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections…torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end…relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, …I loathe this thing in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me!”
Of course the Son is innocent. He is blamelessness…The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed. The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind for every century explodes in a single direction – “Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!”
But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down. The Trinity had planned it. The Son endured it. The Spirit enabled Him. The Father rejected the Son whom He loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted His sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.
You must make a decision – will you embrace His truth and live for Him?
THE SOLDIERS TOLD THEM THE TRUTH, but Pride …
“And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.”
Why did the guards tremble in fear but the disciples jumped for joy?
Same choice today: Do you believe God, or men with ulterior motives?
Ready Or Not Here I Come –