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A Devastating Beginning,
Scripture: Matthew 28: 1-10
3 Points of Focus:
1. The empty tomb: A Risen Savior
The stone was rolled away leading to that dynamic end and fulfilling the promise that Jesus spoke of to his disciples in John 14:16-20: 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. See his disciples may not have understood what was happening at the moment but Jesus was preparing them for what was about to happen! Of course we know how the story ended, our Savior lives!
Scripture says when the women went to the tomb they found it to be empty. Two angels who were competent witnesses, who had been sent expressly from heaven with orders for his discharge assured them that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Romans 6:24 says Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22 confirms 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. We serve a risen Savior. One who is alive.
He can’t be found sitting up on a shelf in a box, he can’t be found in an image, in the work of men’s hands, or in material things. He can’t be found in your finest Easter outfit but he can be found in a life that has been resurrected in Him. Yes, Jesus is real!
2. It is finished: Remembering His promise
When Jesus said to his Father, “It is finished.” This was his shout of victory. Christ had completed the work on the cross to redeem mankind once and for all to restore a then lost generation and generations to come back to the Father!
The angels reminded the women to remember what Jesus told them several times in scriptures in these exact words: Luke 9:22 (NKJV) saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
He then repeated himself a 4th time in Luke 9:44: “That the Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
The Easter story seems both appalling and astonishing: Jesus of Nazareth, the man who healed the sick, stilled storms, raised people from the dead and made the poor the center of his ministry, experienced the betrayal by one of his closest followers (Judas Iscariot), the triple denial by his best friend (Peter), the gruesome crucifixion under the orders of Pontius Pilate (at the hands of the Jews, Chief priests, and their officials) and died an agonizing death in Jerusalem. Such a brutal end to his earthly life. Then, of course, there is the stunning turnaround three days later. After three days in the tomb, he rose from the dead. Jesus did exactly what He repeatedly said that he would do. This is God’s way and we can count on it. We can count on His promises and build our lives on His promises. Why! Because God always does exactly what He says that He is going to do!
3. A committed spirit: Reaping the benefits
The rest in Scripture is history because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, we live. Christ gave up His spirit of His own free will, upon doing this according to Matthew 27:50-52; 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. When Christ gave up His spirit the curtain of the temple was torn from top to bottom. The barrier that had separated the people from God under the Old Testament Law was no longer. This symbolized the covenant of the New Testament allowing you and me to come into the Most Holy Place before the presence of our Almighty God. Christ offered us a new beginning at the end!
Because Jesus took my sins and your sins upon him on that old rugged cross died and rose again, we live!
Because Jesus rose again, descended down to hell and took the keys from Satan taking the sting out of death, we live!
Because Jesus died and rose again, I can live a victorious life, we live!.
Because Jesus died, rose again, and is coming back, I can have eternal life, we live!
So you see in closing, it doesn’t matter that your beginning may be devastating just know in Christ Jesus you can have a dynamic end, and your live sealed as a done deal! We live! Amen.