Easter Sunday, 20 April
Date: 20 April, 2014
Text: Matthew 27:57-28:10
Title: The Impossible Escape from Death
The greatest enemy to mankind is death. Humanity currently numbers over 7 billion and they will all be taken by that great adversary. He will conquer every one.
Here is a question for evolutionists. If evolution is true, why is there death? Evolution has supposedly evolved to conquer numerous challenges but it has fallen short when it comes to overcoming death. Why has it never even gotten close to overcoming death?
3,000 years ago God's Word said .... Ps 90:10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Wikipedia currently says ...."Worldwide, the average life expectancy at birth was 71.0 years (68.5 years for males and 73.5 years for females) over the period 2010–2013 according to United Nations World Population Prospects 2012 Revision, and 70.7 years (68.2 years for males and 73.2 years for females) for 2009 according to The World Factbook."
Anyone wise enough to read God's Word knows why this foe has been so powerful over mankind. This foe is the consequence of man's wilful disobedience of their creator.
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
exp. Our world is all about anti aging, looking good at 40/50/60, freezing yourself in the hope that someone can bring you back to life -they try very hard. BUT THEY CAN'T CHEAT DEATH.
note: Only one person in human history has not died. He has made the impossible escape from death. He is the precious Son of God, the Lamb, who took death for us and who was victorious OVER DEATH. Mankind can look in vain for the body of Jesus Christ, or they can accept the angel's declaration, "He is not here for He has risen as he said."
This morning we are going to look in detail at the story of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Jesus died.
A. His body and soul were separated.
50 ¶ Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
exp. Think about death and life for a minute. When someone dies everything physical about that person is still there but the principle of life is departed.
exp. The soul of the Lord Jesus separated from his earthly body leaving his earthly tent without life.
ill. I'll often say to people, "Don't you feel like you are going to live somewhere forever?" Why do we have that sense of eternality? Because our body is just a tent.
note: Believers are not afraid of this. 2Co 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
ill. A young man I spoke to last week said in answer to don't you feel like you'll live somewhere for ever. There are only two places where you can go, where do you think you'll be?
app. The eternal God took a punishment he did not deserve. Death is a result of sin. He never sinned and yet he died.
B. His death was unusual.
1. The law was overcome by grace.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom;
exp. In the Old Testament, a lamb was brought to the temple and slain as a blood sacrifice. The lamb had to be pure and spotless BECAUSE IT REPRESENTED JESUS. There would be no need for further sacrifices because THE LAMB OF GOD HAD BEEN SLAIN.
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
app. We ought to stop right here and weep at the love of God.
song: "It was for me he died, for me He cried, for me He shed His blood upon the tree. It was for me His shame, for me His pain, for me Oh praise His name it was for me.
2. Creation cried out at the creator's death.
and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
exp. Creation responded with agony. There was a violent shaking and rocks were torn in two.
song: Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord, Oh....sometimes it causes me to tremble. (DO WE TREMBLE TO THINK WHAT MANKIND DID TO HER LORD?)
ill. How would you feel this morning, if you were a judge and you took a loving father out of his home and put him on trial for the murder of a man who had been run over by a car. You sentence him to death and find great satisfaction in seeing that man executed. You then go back to your car to find the police there examining your vehicle. They show you conclusive evidence that your vehicle was the murder weapon and that you ought to have been executed instead of the ONE WHO WAS INNOCENT.
app. Mankind should have been trembling in fear. They had just rebelled against their king and PUT HIM TO DEATH FOR THEIR SIN AGAINST HIM. The earth had the wisdom to tremble in fear at what God's creation had done to her Creator.
3. The miraculous power of God was loosed.
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
exp. It was a foretaste of God's glorious resurrection power. God made Satan nervous about the body of Jesus. Many had already met Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. Now graves within the city are opened to resurrected saints who would also stand as proof of the power of God over death.
app. If you witnessed the crucifiction and saw these things take place, how would you respond?
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
exp. The wise old soldier had seen something he had never before witnessed in his life. He had been to many crucifictions but this was different. The man on the cross wasn't cursing. He wasn't blaspheming God. He heard him ask God to forgive his crucifiers. And when he died nature's power was unloosed. He said, "Truly this was the Son of God."
app. We're not just reading a good story this morning. This is God's record of the death of our Lord. What is your hearts response to HIS DEATH FOR YOU.
note: Jesus wasn't killed in a dungeon. He was killed on the hill of a large city and detailed records of His death were recorded for all to read.
55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.
II. Jesus was buried.
A. The rich member of the Sanhedrin left all for Christ.
57 ¶ When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
quote: Believer's Bible Commentary "We must try to imagine the surprise to Pilate, and the provocation to the Jews, that a member of the Sanhedrin would publicly take his stand for the crucified. In a real sense Joseph buried himself economically, socially, and religiously when he buried the body of Jesus. This act separated him forever from the establishment that killed the Lord Jesus."
note: If I could chose to be one Bible character in God's Word, this would be a worthy choice. The servant of Jesus bold enough to cast away all for Jesus, who cast everything away for him.
app. If you understand what Jesus did for you, you ought to stop hiding in the crowd and stand up and serve Jesus unashamedly. note: Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night helped Joseph and brought a hudred pound weight of myrrh and aloes.
B. Joseph wrapped Jesus like a mummy put him in the tomb.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
exp. He had died as a thief on a cross but was buried as a king.
Isa 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
note: The stone was cut and place in a slanted trough that would make it roll securely into place. Jesus body was wrapped and bound by grave clothes.
ill. Lazarus - John 11: 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
app. Lazarus could not free himself from those bindings and neither could our Lord.
C. His tomb was well marked.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
exp. The disciples and the false religious leaders knew where the body of Jesus had been entombed.
app. Jesus tomb was not empty because everyone forgot where he had been buried. That tomb could have been identified by every disciple of Jesus and by those who had put Him upon the cross.
D. Pilate gave them permission to try to keep Jesus in the tomb.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
exp. The stone was already there, but they sealed it with wax. There is no doubt that they had someone watching that tomb while they got permission to seal it and put guards about it. THEY MADE IT AS SURE AS THEY COULD. But they failed to keep JESUS IN THE GRACE.
app. We ought to rejoice as believers in the power of the resurrection. Satan can try as hard as he wants to bind believers by death but he will not prevail.
III. Jesus rose from the dead.
A. The First Easter morning.
1 ¶ 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.
exp. We love an easter morning with crisp fresh air and beautiful sunshine. It is refreshing to beging to think about the resurrection of our Lord. But these women didn't awake with rejoicing but with sorror. They went to the tomb to minister to the dead body of Jesus not to speak with their living Lord.
B. The second great earthquake and the angel of the Lord.
2 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.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
exp. The earthquake shook at his death and it shakes again at his resurrection. We're not told when our Lord walked out of the tomb, but the tomb was empty. The powerful angel rolls back the door and sits on it. The brave soldiers are so moved by what they feel and see that they pass out.
note: Later the chief priests would bribe the soldier to lie about these events.
quote: Believers Bible Commentary "This explanation raises more questions than it answers. Why were the soldiers sleeping when they should have been on guard? How could the disciples have rolled the stone away without waking them? How could all the soldiers have fallen asleep at the same time? If they were asleep, how did they know that the disciples stole the body? If the story was true, why did the soldiers have to be bribed to tell it? If the disciples had stolen the body, why had they taken time to remove the graveclothes and fold the napkin?
app. Friend, who are you going to believe? God's Word which has stood the test of time and never been disproven or the lies of those who put Jesus on the cross?
C. The testimony of the angel.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
exp. They saw the graveclothes lying there but the body was gone. He wasn't in the tomb because he was alive.
Re 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
app. Satan ought to be trembling now. Those who crucified him ought to be crying out in fear. The one who they killed is alive and has the keys of hell and death. They ought to hear those keys rattling in their sleep. The jailer is coming and will righteoulsy deal with them as they wickedly dealt with him.
D. The identification by the disciples.
7 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.
8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
9 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.
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
exp. Satan has said some pathetic lies throughout history and men have believed them. One such lie is that it wasn't Jesus on the cross, in the tomb, or rising from the dead.
ill. Have you ever been to a funeral where they announced at the beginning, "I'm sorry we are wrong, it wasn't so and so that died, it was someone else." I can imagine that may happen when there is no body but the body of Jesus never departs from the story. They saw Jesus before, during and after his resurrection.
ill. Believers Bible Commentary - "Think of these specific instances when He appeared to His own:
1. To Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11)
2. To the women (Matt. 28:8-10)
3. To Peter (Luke 24:34)
4. To the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32)
5. To the disciples, except Thomas (John 20:19-25)
6. To the disciples, including Thomas (John 20:26-31)
7. To the seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21)
8. To over 500 believers (I Cor. 15:7)
9. To James (I Corinthians 15:7)
10. To the disciples on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:3-112
exp. He also appeared to Stephen, the Apostle Paul and John the Beloved from Heaven after His ascension.
app. How much more proof do you need? Five witnessed would be monumental but this amount of evidence is colosal. Man can not disprove it - THEY CAN ONLY SLANDER IT AND THEY WILL AND THEY HAVE BUT THAT DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACTS.
Conclusion: Jesus died. Jesus was buried. Jesus rose again. He escaped death - have you?
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
note: We are all in Adam, but we are not ALL in Christ. But all in Christ shall be made alive.
CAN YOU SAY THIS MORNING....
I Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.