Week 4, THE TOMB
Luke 23:50 – 24:1-7
Pastor Steve With
- WHAT IS THE RESURRECTION?
A. The Tomb (Luke 23:50-56)
1. Godly Jew at the Tomb: asked for the body, prepared the body, laid the body in his own tomb before Sundown. (50-54)
“Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin.”
Note: Joseph of Arimathea was indeed a disciple, but he was so secretly because he feared the Jews . And Nicodemus was there as welll, though not actually called a “disciple,” nevertheless had visited Jesus at night (see John 3:16) and He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. An amount fit for a King. (John 19:38-39)
2. Godly Women Followed: saw the tomb, prepared for Jesus’ burial, rested on the Sabbath. (55-56)
“As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.”
Note: Every devoted Jewish follower would take the Sabbath for rest starting on the Friday night sundown, ending at Saturday night sundown. So these Women, saw the tomb, and burial and then prepared more spices and ointments, then rested Saturday the Sabbath and brought their items Sunday morning to Jesus’ Tomb.
B. The Resurrection (Luke 24:1-7)
1. Women at the Tomb: stone rolled away, body of Jesus was gone, they were puzzled. (1-4a)
“But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled”
2. Angels at the Tomb: dazzling robes, asked great questions… (4b-7)
“Two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.
The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Luke 24:1-7
I want to ask two questions: Easter—what does it mean and why does it matter?
Illustration: A lot of people say, “I believe in the resurrection; I just don’t understand it.” George Gallup did a poll that said 84 percent of people who never go to church believe Jesus rose from the dead. It is historical fact; it wasn’t done in secret. The whole city of Jerusalem and the whole Roman Empire knew about it. It was news. If CNN had been there, they would have had it live. There are at least 15 historical references to Jesus meeting people, touching people, and talking with people after he had been crucified. One time he cooked breakfast for some people. One time he talked to about 500 people after he had risen from the dead. A lot of people saw him.
But what does his resurrection mean?
– I argue it means three things: (1) Jesus is who he claimed to be; (2) Jesus has the power he claimed to have; and (3) Jesus did what he promised to do.
II. what does his resurrection mean?
A. The resurrection means Jesus is who He claimed to be.
1. Jesus made some outrageous claims when he was here on earth.
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” John 11:25
“Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” Mark 14:62
He said things like, “I’m God. I’m the only way to heaven. I’m the savior of the world.”
2. Jesus Removed the Confusion. A lot of people try to make Jesus a good teacher, but a good teacher would never say that. I could teach you good moral truths, and you might say, “Steve’s a good teacher.” But if I started calling myself God, you wouldn’t think I was a good teacher anymore. Jesus was either who he said he was, or he was the biggest liar who ever lived.
One day Jesus cleared the moneychangers out of the temple. They had turned the temple into something like an Solano Drive-In flea market, so He drove them all out. They said, “What right do you have to do this?” (from John 2) He said, “Because I’m God.” They said, “Prove it!” He said, “I will. Three days after you kill me, I’m going to come back to life.” He claimed to be God, and his resurrection backs up what he claimed to be.
Even if you don’t believe Jesus Christ is who he said he was, you still use him as a reference point. God came to earth in the form of a man so we could know what God is like. His name was Jesus Christ. He split all of history into A.D. and B.C. Every time you write a date, Jesus is the reference point. He is who he claimed to be.
B. The resurrection means Jesus has the power He claimed to have.
“Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.’” Matthew 28:18
Because He is God, He can do everything God can do. In John 10:18 he says:
“No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” John 10:18
No force could keep Jesus in the tomb. The Romans killed him, put him in a tomb, put a big stone in front, sealed it with the Roman seal, and posted a 24-hour guard. They were only trying to prevent the inevitable. Jesus said: They can’t stop me. I can give my life away, and I can take it up again.
C. The resurrection means Jesus did what he promised to do.
“Jesus says: ‘They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.’” Mark 10:34
1. The cross was no surprise to Jesus. It was all part of God’s plan.
2. Humor in the Story. When you think about it, there’s humor in the Easter story. I mean, how would you feel if you had been the guys who put Jesus to death? You publicly execute this man in front of thousands of witnesses who see him die, then you have him buried, a stone put over his tomb, and a 24-hour guard. Three days later this guy’s up and walking around the city again.
3. He did what he promised.
“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Luke 24:6-7
a. When God makes a promise, you can count on it. That’s what Easter means. Because Jesus did rise, he is who he said he was, he has the power he said he had, and he keeps the promises he makes.
So what? Why does the resurrection matter? What difference does it make? It matters for three reasons. Because Jesus is who he claimed to be, has the power he claimed to have, and does what he promises to do.
II. why does his resurrection matter?
A. My past can be forgiven.
That’s good news. Have you ever been halfway through a project and wished you could start over? A lot of times people feel that way about life. They get halfway through life and wish they could start over. We have all done things we wish we hadn’t done, said things we wish we hadn’t said, and thought things we wish we hadn’t thought. We all have regrets. We all feel bad about things. We all have guilt.
Here’s the good news. Colossians 2:14 says:
“He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.”
1. He Paid for my Guilt. That means I don’t have to pay for it. He wants to forgive your past. He wants to cancel every debt you owe—emotional debts, relational debts, sins. All canceled.
2. So Let Go of the Guilt How long do you remember a bill that’s been paid? I don’t remember it at all. Once it’s paid, I forget it. The point is this: Once God’s forgiven it, I can forget it. That’s good news! Even if there was no such thing as heaven or hell—and there is—it would be worth becoming a Christian just to have a clear conscience; just to know I am free from all those things I’ve done wrong. Because Jesus is who he said he was, my past can be forgiven. I don’t have to carry a load of guilt around. It’s unnecessary.
Notice this verse:
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
Illustration: You ever play with an Etch-A-Sketch? What happens if you mess up the picture? You flip it, shake it, turn it back over, and there’s a clean slate. That’s what God wants to do with your life. Not the shake part, the wipe your slate clean part.
You can walk out of here this morning, knowing that every single thing you’ve ever done wrong until this point is completely forgiven. That’s good news. No condemnation! Jesus Christ did not come to rub it in; he came to rub it out. He said: “I didn’t come to condemn the world; I came to save it. I want to change you, I want to help you, I want to give you a new beginning, I want to give you a clear conscience.”
B. My present problems can be managed.
Illustration: Much of life is unmanageable. I was reading an article about Charlie Shedd, an author. He wrote: “Before we had kids, I used to travel across the country teaching a lecture I called ‘The Ten Commandments for Raising Perfect Kids.'” After he and Martha had their first child, he changed the title to “Ten Hints for Parents.” After their second child, he relabeled the lecture, “A Few Tentative Suggestions for Fellow Strugglers.” He said after the arrival of their third child, he gave up speaking on the topic altogether.
1. The Power to Mature is when you figure out you can’t have it all figured out. Maturity is when you realize you can’t manage all life is going to send you. But God can. And that’s good news. I can’t control everything in my life, but God can. So I want to hook up with him and let him control it and ask him for help.
I talk to hundreds of people, and the number one complaint I hear from people today is this: “My life is out of control.” I hear it a thousand times: “I feel powerless to change the situation. I feel powerless to break a bad habit. I feel powerless to save a relationshipI feel powerless to get out of debt. I feel powerless to manage my time and my schedule.
What you need is a power greater than yourself. You were never meant to live this life on your own power. God wants to have a relationship with you. And here’s the good news:
Ephesians 1:19-20 says:
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…”
2. The Power to Rise Above my Problems The same power that enabled Jesus to rise from death will help you rise above your problems. The same power God used at the resurrection 2,000 years ago can be used in your life right now. You don’t know what the future holds. I don’t either. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year, next month, next week. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and neither do you. But it doesn’t matter, because even though it’s out of my control, it’s not out of God’s. He will give me the power to face it.
Philippians 4:13 says: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
I want to help out, God says.
Why does the resurrection matter? Because my past can be forgiven, my present can be managed, and:
3. My Future Can Be Secure.
One of the universal problems we’ve all have is death. Let’s face it—everybody dies. I’m going to die someday, and so are you. Only a fool would go all through life unprepared for something he knows is inevitable. That doesn’t make sense. But sometimes we get so busy in the here and now, we don’t stop to think about what’s going to come.
People don’t like to talk about death. If you don’t believe me, invite your friends over, sit them down, serve them some coffee and pie, and say, “Let’s talk about death.” See what happens.
Illustration: They asked some children to write sentences about what they believed about death. Gilda, aged 8, said, “When you die they put you in a box and bury you in the ground because you don’t look too good.” Stephanie, aged 9, said, “Doctors help you so you won’t die until you pay their bill.” Marsha, aged 9, said, “When you die, you don’t have to do homework in heaven unless your teacher is there too.” Raymond, aged 10, said, “A good doctor can help you so you won’t die. A bad doctor sends you to heaven.”
The fact is everybody has a deep internal longing to know, “What’s going to happen after I die?” It’s obvious we’re going to spend more time on that side of eternity than on this side. Here we only spend 70, 80, maybe 90 years. This is just the first inch of the yardstick. This is preschool for what’s going to happen in eternity.
What is it really going to be like? Let’s check it out with the source. When you go to the Bible, what does God say it’s really going to be like in heaven and hell?
Now listen. This is news you can use. This is essential, because one day you’re going to stand before God, and you’re going to need to know the right answers.
Number one, heaven is a perfect place. Total love, total peace, total joy, total perfection. No sin, no mistakes, no evil, no bad, no errors. It’s perfect in every area.
Number two, the Bible says is that in order for you to go there, you have to be perfect, because only perfection can exist in heaven. You say, “Oh. Well thanks a lot. That leaves me out.” Yeah, it leaves me out, too. You say, “I’ll never make it if I have to be perfect.” Right! That’s the point. Neither will I. Neither will any of us, because none of us is perfect; we’ve all messed up.
There are two ways the Bible says you can get to heaven.
– Plan A is to earn it. That’s the performance plan. And to earn it you only have to do this: never sin and always do what’s right for the entire time that you live. Always make the right decision, always say the right thing, never say the wrong thing. Just be perfect.
Since none of us qualify for Plan A, God came up with
– Plan B, which is this: You trust Jesus Christ when he says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He was the only perfect person who ever lived, because he was God. He came so we could know what God is like. And by trusting and establishing a relationship with him, you get in on his goodness.
That’s what the Bible says. Jesus has already paid for your way to heaven. A Christian is not somebody who accepts a religion. A Christian is somebody who has a relationship with God.
A lot of people try different ways to get to heaven. Some people try what I call “salvation by sincerity.” It goes like this: “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.” Yeah? Just think that one through. You can be sincerely wrong.
Some people try “salvation by subtraction.” You give up a bunch of things and then you get to heaven: “I don’t drink, smoke, cuss, chew, run around with girls that do. I don’t do nothin’.” If being a Christian is just a matter of not doing things, then anybody who’s dead qualifies as a Christian.
Then there are people who think they’ll get to heaven by ritual: “I’ll get baptized.” You can get baptized in the ocean until every fish knows you by your first name.
How about “salvation by heritage.” Your mother was a Christian. You grandmother was a Christian. So what? You have to make a personal decision yourself. That’s like saying you’re married because your mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were married. No, you’ve got to make a personal decision.
And then my favorite of all—”salvation by comparison”: “At least I’m better than so-and-so.” You’re probably better than me. I don’t doubt it. But the fact is, God isn’t judging you according to me or anybody else. Saying, “I’m better than Hitler” is like saying, “I can bench press more than my grandmother.” God doesn’t grade on a curve. It’s either perfection or zip! It’s either 100 percent or Plan B: trust Christ.
What’s your source of hope? Hope means confidence in the Bible. Look at 1 Peter 1:3: “It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation.” We have Hope!!!
Hope means you don’t fear death anymore. You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die. You can’t really live unless you’re not afraid to die. How can you not be afraid to die? By making peace with God now.
Nobody will ever love you as much as Jesus Christ does. Nobody. You matter to God, and he brought you here this morning to tell you that. Jesus Christ died for you to prove how much he loves you.
We’re all at different levels in our spiritual journey. Some of you aren’t sure you’re going to heaven when you die. You need to make sure. Some of you need to recommit your life to the Lord.
Let’s have a moment of silence. Nobody’s going to single you out or make you raise your hand, so you can relax. Maybe you’re not sure you’d go to heaven if you died. Would you pray something like this in your heart: “Jesus Christ, I’m not sure if I’m saved or not. I’m asking you to save me today. I’m putting my total trust in you, and I want to follow you. Thank you for loving me and dying for me. Help me to understand it more.”
Maybe others of you have drifted away from Christ. God wants to say to you, “With deep love I will draw you back.” Would you say, “Jesus Christ, I’m coming home today. I want to get it in gear again. I want to quit playing around and put first things first in my life.”
Some of you have not found a church home. Impact would love to be your spiritual family. We welcome you here. This is a place for imperfect people. A Place where we find grace, love and community. Be a part of Impact and celebrate all that Christ did for you in His death and resurrection.