Sermon Follow Up- Week 43, 2021
The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most significant moments in all of Christianity, but not even the people who witnessed the empty tomb of Jesus found his resurrection easy to believe. Luke's account of the resurrection is about taking Jesus at his word and his ability to keep that word. He had promised several times that he would rise from the dead and here we find the tet case that what he promises is trustworthy and real.
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened." (Luke 24:1-12 ESV)
Jesus rising from the dead proves that he is trustworthy and mighty to fulfill his promises to save us.
SUBPOINTS AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. Listen to These Angels (vv. 1-6)
Angels are God's messengers who verify God's presence and work in key moments. For example, the angel Gabriel who describes himself as "the one who stands in the presence of God" is the one who announced to Zechariah that he would have a son named John. He also appeared to Mary to tell her she would bear a son named "God with us." Here they appear to prove to the women at the tomb that Jesus truly was alive.
The appearance of these figures was was so overwhelming that the ladies were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Lest any of us think these ladies were somehow frail or that they were exaggerating, consider the fact that Matthew says that the two roman guards who stood watch over the tomb trembled and became like dead men when these figures appeared. We don’t know how they looked, but all we know is that there was such a glory about them that was terrifying and overwhelming. These weren’t flying babies, they were messengers of the Holy One.
And what were they announcing except the greatest miracle this world has ever known! Jesus rising from the grave that he laid in since Friday afternoon.
He is not here. Jesus whom Joseph took down off of the cross and who you ladies saw be placed in this tomb is not here. The one who was led like a sheep to the slaughter and who died and gave up his spirit, God has raised from the dead. Your efforts are wasted looking for him here among the dead. He is not dead anymore!
- Do you find yourself writing off the appearance of angels as colorful additions to a fairytale story? What purpose did they serve in this passage?
- How might you be functionally living as if Jesus were still dead?
2. Remember Jesus' Words (vv. 6b-9)
The call from the angels is simple, "Remember what he told you." In all our days as followers of Christ, there are few things more important than keeping the Word of God close and familiar to us because in it are his "precious and very great promises" (2 Peter 1:14).
Did you know that God does not need to give us promises? Why in the world does he make statements in his word that he will then have to act on to prove that he’s not a liar? It would be far easier to keep us in the dark just to allow for some wiggle room. I saw this phrase this week that I don’t think I’ve ever heard but you may have heard it before— “Promises are like pie crusts, they’re made to be broken.” Pie crusts are so fragile and they just crumble…which happens so often when we make promises. But are ALL promises that way? Are even God’s promises made to be broken? Why does God make promises to us as his people anyway?
He makes promises to assure us that we can rely on him. He makes promises because he cannot break them and he is constantly proving that to us. He has made you promises as handholds like on a rock wall that we cling to and find another handhold, maybe one that we’re just barely holding on to as we make our way through this life. And ultimately, his trustworthiness was most clearly displayed at making the promise to rise from the dead and keeping that promise.
Every time we hear these promises, it’s a fresh call for us to take Jesus at his word and to believe that what he says is trustworthy and real. Do you need proof? Look at Luke 9:22 and then Luke 24. Jesus said he would rise on the third day and here we’re with these women staring at a tomb where once a dead man was laid. And in case we think he was just hauled off, God personally sent his messengers to say, “He is risen. Remember what he told you.”
- Do you find God trustworthy? Why?
- How does it strike you that one day Jesus told his friends that he was going to die and rise again, and that a few years later he actually did?
3. Believe These Women (vv. 10-12)
Because the disciples did not believe the testimony of these women, they had no assurance that Jesus would keep his word to them. How much relief could they have had if they believed that Jesus really had and would keep his word! Is that not true for us? How often do we feel like we’re lost in life simply because we feel like there’s nothing to hold on to with assurance about what’s going to come next. How much relief we could have if we believe that Jesus really has and will keep his word to us? The resurrection is all about a miracle, but underneath that is perhaps one of the clearest examples of a promise that Jesus made to his people that he was swift to fulfill. If he had not kept his word here…. We would be hopeless. That’s at least what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, “…If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…” (1 Cor. 15:17-20 ESV). In fact, Christ HAS been raised. What is the most immediate difference for us that Jesus is no longer dead but alive? The most immediate difference it makes is that I can trust him. Why? Because he’s powerful? because he will be untouched by death? Yes. But mainly because he is a God who only keeps his word.
- What do you fear most about the future? What are a few specific promises that God makes which could begin to defuse those fears?
- God chooses to make promises to prove that he is reliable.
What if God never made a promise in all of Scripture. He didn't have to but he has done so out of his kindness. At each point, whenever he says something to the effect of "I will" he is showing us that he is a God whose word never fails. Not even the words, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:22 ESV)
- Right now, Jesus is alive.
The message that the angels brought was "He is not here, he is risen." That makes all the difference in a world that is seemingly dominated by sin and death. Rising from the dead was only the beginning of Jesus' conquest to put all things under his feet as King over life and over death as well (see 1 Corinthians 15).
- Look for his promises!
As you're reading through Scripture, not where God is making a clear promise. Has he already kept that promise? Is he trustworthy to keep it if he hasn't fulfilled it already?
In-Sermon Application Questions:
What do you feel might be holding you back from relying on the truth of Jesus’ resurrection?
Why difference does the resurrection of Jesus Christ make to you?
- 1 Corintians 15:1-58
- 2 Timothy 1:8-10
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