Resurrection of the King

Posted: July 1, 2013 in Matthew

Matthew 28:1-10, “Resurrection of the King”

It is more than something we remember at Easter – the resurrection of Jesus goes to the heart of our faith, and it is something that we remember every Sunday (and every day) of the year.  Jesus is risen from the dead, and His resurrection proves beyond shadow of a doubt that He is the King that He always showed Himself to be during His earthly ministry.

Everything about Jesus’ life and death has led to this event.  The cross is the climax of Jesus’ ministry, but it would have had a totally different meaning without the resurrection.  Without the resurrection, we would have no reason for faith, no hope of forgiveness – only the memory of a dead Savior who had lied about what He was capable of.  But Jesus is risen from the dead, and it changes everything.

By definition, resurrection begins in tragedy.  Jesus had died upon the cross in the most gruesome and agonizing way.  He had been buried and laid in a tomb.  By all outward respects, Jesus was gone and His followers didn’t know what to do.  Some had proclaimed their faith in Jesus for the first time at His burial – others had completely abandoned Him – some had stayed faithful, even though understandably confused.  Jesus’ death had left them all fearful and uncertain. 

But the resurrection changes all of that.  There’s no reason to fear; Jesus is alive!  And that’s exactly what the faithful women are about to learn…

Matthew 28:1–10
1 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.

  1. First things first…notice WHO came: the women.  The same women who had been present on Friday afternoon as Jesus was being buried came back to the tomb at their earliest opportunity on Sunday morning.  Although Matthew doesn’t tell us the reason, Mark and Luke affirm that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James & Joses, and Salome (unmentioned entirely by Matthew) had come to anoint Jesus with customary burial spices.  They had rested on the Sabbath (Friday evening), likely prepared their spices on Saturday evening after the Sabbath ended, and then came as the sun was rising on Sunday morning to anoint Jesus.  Why exactly they felt the need to anoint Jesus with spices is uncertain.  Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had already packed Jesus’ body with 100 pounds of spice (Jn 19:39) when they buried Him in the tomb.  Either the ladies had not seen the actual preparations of Jesus’ body, or the activity inside the tomb – or perhaps they felt another cultural obligation to do something of which we’re not aware.  Whatever the case, they had come back to the tomb where they had seen Jesus laid, and they fully expected to find His corpse there, ready for them to attend to.  They had no doubt heard Jesus’ many prophecies about His resurrection, but it’s obvious they did not truly comprehend what He was saying.
    1. Of course, that’s perfectly understandable.  We have the benefit of looking back 2000 years with the affirmation that Jesus is risen from the dead, yet for the ladies (and all the other believers in Jesus), it had never happened before.  Sure, there had been other resurrections, but it was always by the hand of another prophet or by Jesus Himself.  There had never been a prophet raise himself from the dead.  Nor had they ever seen someone who had proven beyond reasonable doubt that He was the Messiah ever die and rise.  They didn’t even truly expect the Messiah to die in the first place!  All of this was new territory for them, and they didn’t know what to believe or expect.
    2. It’s in light of all of this that their faith is so astounding.  They weren’t sure what to believe, but they never once gave up on Jesus.  These women had been present all through Jesus’ suffering and death – they were present for His burial –they were coming to still attend to His body, and they would be the first witnesses of His resurrection.  They may have been uncertain as to what God was doing, but their love and faith in Jesus never wavered!  (May God help us have similar faith!)
  2. Second, notice WHEN they came: “after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn.”  If you were to read this in the Greek, it might be a bit more confusing than the English – Young’s Literal Translation, “And on the eve of the sabbaths, at the dawn, toward the first of the sabbaths, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulcher.”  How many “Sabbaths” are there?  The word used for Sabbath (σαββάτων) was actually used a few different ways in the NT.  It could refer to the Sabbath itself (Saturday), it could refer to a Sabbath’s day journey, or it could actually refer to the week (because it ends on the Sabbath).  What then at first seems a bit confusing actually becomes a very precise description from Matthew.  The women came after the Sabbath REST had ended, but before the first day of the following WEEK had truly begun during the dawn.  They did not come on Saturday evening, because they would not have been able to be there at dawn (it was still the Sabbath).  Matthew is as precise as he can possibly be in describing the ladies arriving as early as possible Sunday morning.  The other gospel writers confirm this with Luke saying they came very early in the morning on the first day of the week (Lk 24:2), and John saying they came on the first day of the week while it was still dark (Jn 20:1).  … What makes this so important is that this perfectly fulfills Jesus’ repeated prophecies that He would rise on the third day (16:21, 17:23, 20:19, among others).  Jesus had died on Friday afternoon & buried that evening before the Sabbath began (and before the day officially changed according to the Jewish system, which was evening to evening).  He was in the tomb all evening & daytime on the Sabbath, was still in the tomb on the evening following the Sabbath, and was raised sometime before dawn the morning following.  That makes three days: Preparation Day (Friday) – Sabbath (Saturday) – the first day of the new Sabbath week (Sunday).  This tells us a couple of things:
    1. Jesus is completely accurate in all His teachings!  When He said that He would be raised the third day, that is precisely what He meant.  He was not in the tomb for too short a time, nor too long a time.  The third day was well underway by the time the ladies arrived (at least 12 hours had already passed), and as the ladies’ learned, Jesus was already gone. (What God promises, He means! )
    2. We have a reason to celebrate on Sundays!  Some people wonder why Christians typically worship on Sunday mornings, rather than on the Sabbath day of Saturday.  Some have erroneously taught that the Sabbath day changed to Sunday, but that is found nowhere in the Scripture.  The Sabbath has been the 7th day from Genesis onward, and it has not changed.  The reason Christians worship on Sundays has nothing to do with the Sabbath, and everything to do with the Resurrection.  Jesus is raised from the dead, and that’s a reason to celebrate!

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.

  1. Matthew does not state the timing here, for good reason.  It’s likely the angel descended prior to the women’s arrival.  Mark, Luke, and John all affirm that the stone had already been rolled away from the tomb when the ladies arrived.  They had been wondering among themselves what they were going to do about the stone, and then discovered it already rolled back with they got there.  Matthew is the only gospel writer that gives us the backstory to how the stone was removed.
  2. Interestingly it wasn’t the earthquake that rolled back the stone; it was the angel.  There certainly was an earthquake, much like the one that occurred the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross.  The Friday earthquake had ripped apart rocks & opened tombs around Jerusalem (Mt 27:51-52).  The Sunday earthquake had no such purpose.  It seems to have been fanfare for the angel.  Perhaps the angel descended so quickly from heaven that he parted air like lightning & the earth quaked with the thunder that followed – perhaps the earth just quaked in response to the angel’s arrival – ultimately, we don’t know.  What we do know is that it would have grabbed the attention of everyone in the area.  More than the guards and the women would have known something was going on.  The whole city would have felt some part of the tremor.  No doubt many of them would have thought back to the last earthquake that took place at Jesus’ death.  As the reports of Jesus’ resurrection began to spread, it’s not difficult to see how many people might have made the connection between the two events.  Creation witnesses to the work of its Creator, sometimes in dramatic ways.
  3. The way the angel descended is also a mystery.  On one hand we could imagine the angel slowly descending & doing everything in slow motion – but the way the text read, it would seem the opposite.  It would seem the angel came down quickly, and as the earth shook during his appearance, he easily rolls back the stone (a task that would have taken several men to do, yet to him it was child’s play), and then he sits upon the stone almost as a victorious conqueror.  There is no fear of the Roman soldiers in his eyes, nor is there any regard for the Roman seal.  He does what he came to do without regard for any obstacle, and then he simply waits to give his message.
  4. If his entry was amazing, his appearance is even more so.  There’s no mention of halos or wings (and never is) – he looks like a man (a young man, according to Mark – and there were two of them, according to Luke), but he appears as a glorious man.  His very face shines, as does his clothing.  It’s no wonder why people might get confused and begin to worship angels.  After all, they do radiate glory.  BUT – it’s not their glory.  The angels radiate the glory of God.  Remember that Moses’ face would shine after spending time speaking with God.  He was reflecting the glory that he had witnessed as he spent time in God’s presence.  Where else do angels reside, other than in the presence of God?  It would be only natural that they would reflect the glory of God to others.
    1. In a sense, we’re to do something similar.  As we spend time with God worshiping Him, it’s only natural that His glory would affect the way people see us. …
  5. Notice what is NOT mentioned in vss. 2-3: Jesus’ exit from the tomb.  We might expect Jesus to leave the tomb as soon as the stone is rolled away, but Matthew doesn’t tell us that at all.  In fact, there is no mention of Jesus’ appearance until He reveals Himself to the women.  Matthew doesn’t describe Jesus leaving the tomb because Jesus was already gone.  The angel had not come to let Jesus out of the grave; he came to let the women and others see into the grave, that it was empty.  In fact one could argue that the angel was sent at precisely the right time for the ladies’ arrival, for that specific purpose.
    1. Jesus didn’t need an angel to let Him out of the grave; Jesus is Omnipotent God! If death could not hold Him, why would rocks be any obstacle?

4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

  1. Rome had flexed its muscles for days regarding Jesus.  They had tossed him from Pilate to Herod, back to Pilate.  They had flaunted their supposed power over Him to crucify Him or set Him free.  They had put Him through the awful Roman scourging, and then subjected Him to more beatings and humiliation.  They forced Him to carry His cross, and then proceeded to nail Him to it, and start the tortuous process of crucifixion.  They mocked Him as He hung in agony, and gambled for His clothes while He still breathed.  They killed Him, and drove a spear into His side declaring Him dead.  Then they decided to whom to give Jesus’ body, and then allowed a contingent of Roman soldiers to stand guard outside the tomb & even seal the entrance with the sign of the Empire.  Rome had gone to all sorts of lengths to demonstrate its supposed power over Jesus and continue to intimidate His disciples.
  2. And what was Rome reduced to?  Quaking in their booties, paralyzed with fear.  These trained soldiers from the most powerful army on earth at the time were no match for even one angel of God.  One angel of the Lord was capable of wiping out hundreds of thousands of soldiers at a time (at least) – a few dozen Roman guards didn’t stand a chance.  And beyond that, the angel didn’t even have to DO anything except show up.  That was enough for these hardened soldiers to lose all their nerve.
    1. If that’s what people do in the presence of an angel, imagine what they will do in the presence of GOD?  So many people have boasted of what their accusations against God will be as they stand for judgment. “If there is a God, then He’s going to have to tell me _____ before I’ll ever worship Him!”  No, sorry.  When you finally stand in the presence of God, you’re going to have a worse reaction than these soldiers when they saw an angel of the Lord, if you are still in rebellion against God.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!
  3. BTW – because the guards saw the angel, it’s proof that they were not asleep.  This becomes more important later in Ch. 28 due to the conspiracy the priests set with them.  The lie that was spread said that the guards had fallen asleep while the disciples snuck past them.  But that’s not what happened at all.  The women may not have seen the angel descend, but the Romans were present the entire time & awake.  They saw what happened, and it scared them speechless.  The Romans hadn’t been outwitted; they had been outgunned.

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.

  1. When the women arrived, the angel was waiting for them with a message about Jesus.  But before he can even say anything about the Lord, he first has to tell them not to be afraid.  It’s natural for anyone witnessing an angel to go into fearful conniption fits – who wouldn’t?!  If the Roman soldiers were afraid, surely the women would be as well.  The difference between them is that the women didn’t need to be.  Those seeking Jesus have no reason to fear angels.
  2. The angel’s description of Jesus is interesting.  Jesus isn’t described as “Jesus of Nazareth,” or “Jesus the Messiah,” but rather “Jesus who was crucified.”  Normally, crucifixion might be a topic one would avoid, but the angel never denies Jesus’ crucifixion.  He doesn’t avoid the idea that the Lord God was rejected by Man and put to death on the cross.  To take that idea and think about it by itself, it would normally cause someone to think of defeat, as if somehow God was not successful in His mission.  Not true!  Yet the crucifixion is an essential part of the gospel message.  Jesus had to die, and Jesus had to die in the way that He did.  The crucifixion fulfilled prophecy regarding His method of death – it fulfilled project regarding His rejection in death – it fulfilled prophecy regarding the curse of God (being that everyone who dies on a tree is cursed of God – Dt 21:22).  Because mankind was under God’s curse due to our sin & lawlessness, Jesus reversed it all having become a curse for us.  Galatians 3:13–14, "(13) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), (14) that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." []  That wasn’t possible with a beheading or stabbing or some other form of execution; that was possible through crucifixion alone.  Jesus had to be crucified, and He was.
  3. But that’s not all that happened.  There’s a tense change involved: Jesus “was crucified,” but “He is not here.”  Jesus’ death happened in the past, but there was something different going on now in the present.  In the present, Jesus IS alive & active, and elsewhere.  Jesus IS no longer in the grave.  Jesus WAS dead, but IS alive.  When Jesus entered death, God certainly was rejected by Man and died at the cross, but His death was not defeat!  Jesus had a purpose in His death, accomplished it, and then defeated it.  No longer was Jesus in the tomb, because He no longer needed to be.
  4. What happened?  Jesus rose from the dead!  He was raised up from death by the power of God.  Obviously the angel doesn’t go into that kind of detail here, but that is exactly what he implies, and the NT affirms.  Jesus was raised up by every Person of the Triune Godhead.  God the Father raised Him up (Acts 5:30, Gal 1:1) – God the Spirit raised Him up (Rom 8:11) – even Jesus Himself as God the Son had the authority to take up His life again (Jn 10:18), and the resurrection itself is a universal declaration that Jesus is indeed God (Rom 1:4).  Apart from creation, there can hardly be a more uniquely divine act than the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The resurrection of Jesus has vastly more than the fingerprints of God upon it – it is His highlighted signature and declaration of His person and work.  Just as John Hancock signed his name to the Declaration of Independence for King George to read it without his glasses, God signed His name to the resurrection in a way that that none in the world can ignore!
  5. The resurrection changes everything!  Jesus had died, and Jesus had TO die.  He did so on our behalf.  Mankind had been cursed since the beginning.  Ever since Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, men and women have been sinning through history.  From the moment we are born, we are born with a nature to sin (as exhibited by every baby & toddler!), and we continue in our free choice to sin as we grow and mature.  We are steeped in it – it permeates our lives, and everything is affected by it.  As a disease, sin clings to us, and it will indeed kill us because the wages of sin is death.  Beyond physical death, sin brings eternal death – such is the curse that lies upon mankind.  As the Righteous Judge, God must judge sin wherever it is found with the full weight of judgment that sin requires.  God is eternal, and so is the spiritual death that follows in hell.  But all of this changes with Jesus’ resurrection!  When Jesus died upon the cross, it was in our place – standing in on our behalf as our substitute.  Just as Adam represented all of humanity yet to come while he was in the Garden of Eden, so did God Incarnate represent all of humanity when He suffered upon the cross.  Jesus took all of God’s righteous anger due to sin.  Jesus took all of the needed rejection due to sin – every ounce of punishment for all sin for all time.  Jesus died the death that was required on behalf of every human, and His death was absolutely real.  He was indeed crucified and buried – three days’ worth.  And the glorious good news is that Jesus’ death was sufficient!  Jesus is risen from the grave, raised up by the power of God, and every curse from God is fulfilled and reversed.  We were under the curse of the law, but Jesus fulfilled the law.  We were under the curse of death, but Jesus fulfilled our death.  Creation itself has been cursed since the time of the Fall, and even that curse will be removed in eternity…and ALL of it is made possible through Jesus’ resurrection! 
    1. Have you availed yourself of Jesus’ resurrection?  Today, you can – you will have that opportunity!
  6. Notice the resurrection was verifiable.  The angel told the women to look inside the tomb.  Indeed, that was the whole reason he had rolled back the stone.  Back on Friday the women had seen Jesus’ body laid inside & sealed.  There was no doubt where Jesus had been, and now Jesus was no longer there.  Considering that security cameras were still 2000 years in the future, there could have hardly been a more verifiable proof that Jesus left the tomb by the power of God than what the angel testified to and showed.  The guards had presumably abandoned their posts by this time.  They had been as dead men (some probably passed out!), but considering no other gospel account mentions them, they obviously didn’t cause the women to take notice.  And the Romans certainly would not have stolen the body, nor the Jews – they had every reason to keep Jesus’ body in its place past the third day.  (That was the whole point of the guard in the 1st place.)  The women saw the commotion at the tomb & the angel, the angel showed them the empty tomb, and they had the all the proof necessary that Jesus is alive!
    1. The resurrection is still verifiable.  It’s THE most attested act of antiquity known in history.  More textual evidence abounds of the NT and its account of the resurrection than all of the ancient Romans historical accounts combined.  The empty tomb in addition with the physical appearances of Jesus make it undeniable that Jesus historically and factually rose from the dead.  Is the resurrection miraculous – supernatural – unprecedented?  Absolutely.  The resurrection of Jesus cannot be duplicated in a scientific laboratory under controlled conditions.  The only thing that would come close would be an illusion, which would appear to be deception.  But scientific proof is not the issue – historical proof is.  Try proving scientifically what you ate for breakfast three months ago, or what you received as a birthday present from as a child.  Those things cannot be duplicated because they are historical events.  You might be able to dig up proof that they happened, but you cannot duplicate the act itself because it happened in the past.  Likewise with the resurrection.  Science could only prove the possibility, but since we’re talking about God we start with the idea that all things are possible.  What we are left with is historical data, and it abounds regarding Jesus’ resurrection.  An honest look at history shows that Jesus is verifiably risen from the grave.
  7. Not only does this give us confidence in our faith, it ought to give us confidence in the promises of Jesus.  The angel told the ladies that He had risen, “as He said.”  When Jesus promised to rise from the dead, He wasn’t using symbolic language or being mysterious or sarcastic.  Jesus said what He meant & meant what He said.  He promised to rise on the third day, and He did.  We can trust the promises of Jesus!  Jesus also promised:
    1. That all who would believe on Him would be given everlasting life. (Jn 3:16)
    2. That He would give rest to those who come to Him. (Mt 11:28)
    3. That He would not cast out any who come to Him. (Jn 6:37)
    4. That God would give the Holy Spirit freely to all who ask. (Lk 11:13)
    5. That those who ask Him for living water would never thirst again. (Jn 4:14)
    6. That He would not leave us as orphans. (Jn 14:18)
    7. That He is preparing a place for us and will come back to get us. (Jn 14:2-3)
    8. Do you believe the promises of Jesus?

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.”

  1. The angel did not only show the women the empty tomb, but he passed on to them a mission that God had appointed for them.  They were to go tell the news to the disciples.  The same disciples who had been afraid to stay with Jesus after His arrest – the same disciples who had fled & scattered & denied Jesus after saying they would not – the same disciples that were nowhere to be found during the days of Jesus’ burial – they were to be told the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.  The disciples had abandoned Jesus, but Jesus had not abandoned them.  They would need to hear of the good news.
  2. And it was the women who were to tell them.  The disciples missed out on the blessing of being the first to know that Jesus was risen from the dead – that privilege was given to those who had remained faithfully devoted.  They wouldn’t miss Jesus Himself, but they did miss out on what they could have had if their faith had remained steadfast (which is often the case).
  3. The fact that women were the first witnesses to the empty tomb (and to Jesus Himself) is a strong proof to the accuracy of the NT account.  Although sexist, the cultural attitude at the time was that a woman’s testimony was not worth much.  A woman would not be as trusted as much as a man would be.  Ironically, this speaks volumes about the truth of the NT.  If the gospel writers wanted to make up a fictional story about Jesus’ resurrection (something that would be incredibly difficult to believe if it were not true), then the last thing they would have done would have made women the first people to hear the news and to see Jesus.  If they wanted to make the story more believable to skeptical readers, they would have picked respectable men whose testimony would have been unquestionable.  Instead, they write of the least believable witnesses: the women.  There is absolutely no reason they would have done so unless it was true.  (The Bible has no reason to lie – it’s accurate it what it records…)

8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

  1. It would seem that these emotions would be conflicting, but they are understandable.  It’s no wonder they had conflicting emotions of fear & joy (“great joy”).  They had come to the tomb still in their sorrow – they had seen an angel of God – and they had received the news of Jesus’ resurrection.  Any one of us would have been somewhat confused on how to feel! 
  2. They naturally feared, but it did not stop them.  They obeyed the angel and went quickly about the task they were given.  (You’ve just got to love these women!  No matter what, these ladies were faithful!  True examples to the rest of us…)
  3. Why were they joyful? (Literally, mega-joy!)  For the obvious reason: Jesus who was dead is now alive.  They knew Jesus – they had walked with Jesus – they had heard Him & eaten with Him.  They believed that He is the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah of Israel, the anointed promised King sent by God.  This Christ had been crucified and dead, but now He was alive again.  “Great joy” would seem to be an understatement!  They had more than enough reason to rejoice!
    1. So do we!  Jesus is ALIVE.  Jesus proves Himself to be God by His resurrection from the dead.  Our sin is available to be forgiven by His resurrection from the dead.  Our eternal life and inheritance with God is shown by His resurrection from the dead.  Every promise we cling to from the Bible is assured to us beyond a shadow of a doubt because Jesus is risen…so rejoice!  Don’t lose the wonder of the resurrection – don’t lose the joy.  Don’t take it for granted that “I serve a risen Savior (ho-hum)”…no – we serve the risen Lord Jesus, and every day we can rejoice that our King is alive.

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.

  1. As the ladies were going, they had a marvelous encounter along the way: Jesus Himself.  It was good enough that they had seen the angel.  They had all the information they needed to pass along to the disciples.  They had already seen physical proof that Jesus had risen from the dead, and that Jesus had immediate instructions for the disciples (to go to Galilee).  At this point, nothing was needed for the women to do as they were told and for them to have faith in what God had done.  And yet God gives them even more grace.  They no longer have to rely upon the angelic message; they are shown Jesus with their own eyes.
    1. God is so good!  Can you imagine?  The women are still naturally fearful and confused, but overflowing with joy and excitement.  And God gives them grace that is beyond measure by letting them see Jesus.  They are the first eye-witnesses to the resurrection!  The Romans had not even see Jesus leave the tomb, and they were right outside the door.  God doesn’t need doors, and He appears to those whom He chooses…and He chose these women.
  2. KJV & NKJV translates Jesus saying “Rejoice,” but the word is the normal greeting & could simply be translated “Hail” (as it was with Judas and the Roman soldiers taunting Jesus).  That said, the translation is appropriate.  Surely there could be no greater reason to rejoice than seeing Jesus risen from the dead!
  3. Their response?  Worship.  They fell to the feet of Jesus, and worshiped Him as God.  (And Jesus received their worship, showing His right and authority to be worshiped as God!)  Joy and worship go naturally hand-in-hand, and is the right response to the resurrection of Jesus. 

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.”

  1. Jesus basically repeats the instruction that the angel had earlier given the women.  In a sense, Jesus invests these women with the first apostolic-type mission that would later be entrusted to the 11 disciples: they were physical eye-witnesses of the risen Jesus, personally sent by Him to tell others the good news.  There were two basic instructions:
  2. First: “Do not be afraid.”  Obviously the women had still been fearing, though their fear was mixed with great joy.  No fear was necessary.  Jesus was not going to be taken away again – the women were not in danger – God was not angry with them.  All of that is assured in Jesus’ resurrection.  They were no longer living in a period of uncertainty, wondering what God was going to do in all of this with all of the blood, tears, and tragedy of the past few days.  All of that was put aside.  On an eternal level, no longer did they ever have to wonder if their sins would be truly forgiven, or if Jesus really is the Messiah.  Fear was no longer necessary.  Now they could rejoice without fear – they could have sure hope and confidence.  Jesus is risen from the dead, and the power of His resurrection does away with fear.
    1. As believers, we no longer need to fear death.  Why?  Because Jesus is risen from the grave.  We have the sure confidence that God is no longer angry with us, and that our past sin will not and does not forever separate us from God, because Jesus has taken care of all that.  We do not fear that perhaps we’re putting our trust in the wrong religion, because Jesus’ historical resurrection sets Him apart from all other pretenders to God.  Don’t be afraid; only believe!
  3. Second: “Go and tell.”  The disciples had not been present at the grave; they had let the women go alone.  (Somehow they didn’t have any problem letting these women go face a contingent of Roman soldiers by themselves…which goes to show how fearful and shaken the 11 disciples were!)  But because they weren’t there, they needed to be told.  The women were to go & let them know the good news that the disciples no longer needed to fear either.  They needed to know that Jesus was raised from the dead in order that they could believe as well.
    1. That is where the Great Commission comes in for all of us.  We ourselves have believed; now we need to go and tell.  Go let others know the good news that we ourselves have heard.  We know that Jesus’ resurrection has given us the assurance of forgiveness and eternal life, and other people need to know that as well.  Romans 10:14–15, "(14) How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”" []  WE are the preachers – WE are the ones to proclaim and herald the good news of Jesus’ resurrection to the world.  May we do it with great joy!
  4. The disciples were to be told to go to Galilee.  Why Galilee?  Because that’s what Jesus had planned with them earlier, prior to His arrest (Mt 26:32).  Jesus would appear to the 11 sooner than the Galilean meeting (Jn 20:19,26).  Apparently this would be a major gathering of people – perhaps the instance that Paul refers to when he wrote that Jesus appeared to over 500 people at once (1 Cor 15:6).  Galilee had been the location for much of Jesus’ ministry, and it’s only fitting that He would appear there in His resurrection as well.
  5. The best part of Jesus’ instruction isn’t so much the location of the meeting, but His description of the disciples.  They are more than just “disciples;” they are “brethren.”  The disciples had been scared & scattered, but it did not sever the relationship between them & Jesus.  Again, they had abandoned Him, but He never abandoned them.  He loved them, and had a relationship with them that went beyond a Master/student – they were family.
    1. Likewise with us.  As believers in Jesus Christ, certainly Jesus IS our Lord & Master.  He is our Teacher & King.  And yet He is also our Brother.  Because of the grace of God, we have been given the spirit of adoption, and we share an eternal inheritance with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 8:15-17).  Grace seems too small a word to describe this blessing.  We were enemies of God.  We were the reason Jesus died upon the cross.  It was OUR sin that sent Him there.  And yet, not only does Jesus pay our penalty – not only are we granted forgiveness & allowed to be in the presence of God for eternity – not only are we allowed to serve God instead of being thrown into hell…but we are made family.  Words fail to describe the blessings that abound to the believer in Jesus.

Conclusion:
Jesus is alive!  The King of kings has been raised, He has been shown to be the victorious God, and that is a reason for great joy.  To be sure, not everyone was joyful that Sunday morning.  The Roman soldiers were rightly terrified of the angel.  They had seen something that was beyond their expectations, and they were overwhelmed by the power and glory of God.  They were not coming to God in faith, and they were appropriately fearful for their lives – virtually comatose.

But the women had a totally different experience.  They had started out fearful, but they had reason for their fear to be removed.  They started out grieving, and they left with great joy.  Why?  Because Jesus had risen from the dead.  They had seen the proof of Jesus’ resurrection and believed – they responded in faith and worshiped – they were given a mission and they told the news.  They had they wonderful honor of being the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection, and the first bearers of the completed gospel message: Jesus had come & Jesus is alive!  The one who was crucified is no longer dead; He is now alive and invites men and women everywhere to believe and become His own brothers and sisters in faith.

What glorious good news!  This is news in which we can rejoice and be amazed in every single day of our lives.  May we never take it for granted – may we never hesitate to share it with others – may we live with confidence & not fear.  We face death, but we no longer fear it.  We struggle with sin, but we no longer fear its hold because it has none.  We have all sorts of trials and tribulations, but we do not live in fear of them because we serve the Lord Jesus and He is risen!  His resurrection conquers every curse & every fear!

Do you know Jesus in this way?  Have you believed?  What the women saw on that day was true – Jesus has risen from the grave, and He offers forgiveness and promise of life to all who believe.  Today you can also become one of Jesus’ brethren – you can have the fear and sting of death removed when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.  Believe that He is God.  Know that He died for you & believe that He rose from the grave.  Ask for His forgiveness & for Him to be your Lord & King, and He will save you.  Jesus is always good to His word! 

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