Sermon Synopsis for April 16, 2017

Matthew 28:1-10

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the pivot point of Christian theology.  Without it, the entire system of the Bible is a collapsable house of cards.  Paul claimed as much when he said, “If Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14).  The apostle depicted the resurrection of Jesus as being at the center of the Christian message (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  Despite the event’s integral part in the faith, many overlook its importance.  At best, they forget its true meaning.  At worst, they relegate it to the realms of fantasy and folklore.  By looking at the initial resurrection account in Scripture contained in Matthew 28:1-10, one can remember its meaning and message.  Consider three lessons from the empty grave.

WE CAN HAVE A BETTER TYPE OF LIFE (vs. 1-4).

The resurrection teaches that believers can have a better life through God’s Son.  In being raised from the dead, Jesus accomplished three primary goals.  First, He proved that He was who He said He was.  Defeating death validated His claims concerning Himself (Acts 2:22-24).  Second, He demonstrated that His sacrifice for sins was efficacious (Hebrews 10:12).  A dead savior can’t save anyone.  Third, He showed that He gives real life to all who believe in Him.  Our text focuses on this third fulfillment of the resurrection.  When we think about the life that comes from Jesus’ victory over the grave, we can think of it in two regards.  Before He ascended Calvary’s hill, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live” (John 11:25).  Because Jesus defeated death, believers have a quantitative and qualitative better type of life.

IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS SAID (vs. 5-6).

The resurrection narrative also reminds us of the importance of remembering what God has said.  When the women approached the empty grave, the angels reminded them of things Jesus had said before His death.  They said, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay” (Matthew 28:5-6).  Fear is a natural response when one sees an apparent ghostly apparition.  Based on other gospel accounts, it seems that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary might have run away from the resurrection scene at first (John 20:2). 

Instead of being surprised by an empty tomb, the women should have expected an empty tomb.  The Lord had told them of His pending resurrection over and over again.  But we can’t fault the ladies too much.  Aren’t we just like them most of the time?  Suffering from spiritual amnesia, many of us forget what God has said to us.  Even though we have a perfectly preserved copy of His revelation of Himself, we are often negligent to know and remember His truth.  We don’t remember key concepts concerning God, His love for us, His plans for us, and His preordained patterns for life.  Such spiritual forgetfulness leads to unnecessary fear and frustration, the type which Mary Magdalene and the other Mary experienced on that first Easter morning.  Much of the pain we experience in our marriages, families, finances, health, and careers is due to our flippancy regarding what God has said.  If we want to experience the overflowing and abundant life of Christ, we need to remember His truth.  We can only do this by regularly ingesting it and reflecting upon it.  May we be like the Psalmist who said, “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).

JESUS WANTS US TO TELL OTHERS ABOUT WHAT HE HAS DONE (vs. 7-10).

Lastly, we learn much about our role in evangelism from the resurrection.  After giving the two women witnesses a mild rebuke, the angels said, “Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. In fact, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.’ Listen, I have told you” (Matthew 28:7).  The women’s encounter with the resurrection elicited an edict to announce the resurrection.  Jesus has commissioned us to do something similar.  It’s no coincidence that Matthew’s resurrection account is found in close vicinity to his Great Commission account.  Just a few verses later, he recorded the way in which Jesus ordered His disciples to, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).  The resurrection should compel those who have experienced its life changing power to go and tell.  May we be on guard against the folly of those first women.  May we not let fear prevent us from our duty.  May we not forget what God has commanded.  May God help us to spend personal time worshipping Jesus so that we are equipped and energized to give a report of the resurrection!

Get the full manuscript of the sermon for April 16, 2017 here

Dr. Patrick Latham
Pastor

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