April 12, 2020 AM – Resurrection Sunday
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Ephesians 1:19,20; Philippians 3:10)
A. Some things change a person – like a marriage, a tragedy, a new baby, a terminal illness
B. Some things change a society – like an earthquake, or a war, or a famine
C. And some things change the world
1. This corona-virus sure has changed the world! Most everything has changed, or will change!
2. But has it changed anybody?
D. Well, ONE event, and only one, changed absolutely everything and everyone to some degree
E. And that event was the Resurrection!
F. And we need to know the power of that event, and what it has done, and can do for us!
G. That’s what Sundays are all about!
II. Background (Luke 24:1-8)
A. It was the FIRST day of the week (24:1) - exactly three days since Jesus had died
1. It is on THIS day that things were going to be happening now
2. Not on Mondays, or Thursdays, or Saturdays, but the most important things to happen in this world will from now on be accomplished on SUNDAYS!
3. Souls saved, marriages restored, Gospel preached! YEP! Sundays are THE happening day now!
B. It is very early in the morning – before sunrise (1)
C. Some women… (1)
1. At least 5 women come together
a) Mary Magdalene, out of whom Christ had cast seven devils
b) Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, one that had been a follower of Christ, and had ministered to him of her substance; see Luke 8:2
c) Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and the mother of James
d) And other women, plural… like a woman named Salome, the mother of James and John Zebedee, and others, that came from Galilee. (Mark 15:40) There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;
2. But, Where was Peter? And John, and the other disciples?
3. Hmmmm. Not where they should have been!
4. It is the same on a lot of Sundays today… many disciples are nowhere to be found!
D. They came to a graveyard (1)
1. A line of tombs in a hillside just outside of Jerusalem, where dead rich people were buried
2. Brave women!
E. They came to one grave in particular – the one that Jesus had been laid in just three days earlier
F. Why were those women there?
1. Well, Jesus had meant so much to them
2. He changed their lives, fixed their families
3. He had reached their souls and saved them - Freed them from sin and guilt and Satanic dominion
4. They loved Jesus in life, and they loved Him in death
5. But THEY were there just to honour the body of their Lord, and that was all
6. He was dead! But He hadn’t had a proper burial
7. You see, They had watched as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemas had hastily wrapped the body of Jesus for burial, and they wanted to do a better job of it – it’s a woman thing!
G. But when they approached the tomb, expecting to be stopped by the four armed Roman soldiers, EVERYTHING CHANGED! (24:2-8)
1. First, there was a Discovery
a) The Roman soldiers were not on guard – they were soundly sleeping – no threat (Mt 28:4)
b) The stone was rolled back
c) WHAT COULD THIS MEAN? Well, THAT is THE greatest question ever!
d) So they went further! INSIDE a dark, cold grave!
e) Found nothing but the bloodied linen wrapping cloth folded up
f) But there was NO body there
2. Perplexed – confused, puzzled, stunned
a) Nothing made any sense anymore.
b) Death is hard enough to process, but now there was a lot of confusion!
c) Nothing but questions
3. Startled - Two Angels Appear
a) NOW they are afraid!
b) Hey! YOU step into a grave, and then see TWO men instantly appear out of nowhere
c) And you will come out of your skin!
4. Two Kinds of Faith were Compared (24:5-7)
a) The Angels rebuked those women
1) It is a shame that you are looking for a living Man among the dead
2) Don’t you remember anything He said about this day? The THIRD day?
b) Then they helped those women
c) They exposed what they really believed, and then showed them what they needed to believe
WHAT THEY HAD WAS EMPTY FAITH
THEY NEEDED WAS
Seeking to honour a dead man – as a good teacher, a healer, a faithful servant of God, and even a prophet. That’s awful!
Worships the LIVING Son of God
Hanging around graves, old ruins, looking for something, anything, to comfort them now from the past
Rests upon the fact Jesus is NOT in the grave anymore
He is not in the past. He is not some relic
He is ALIVE
Forgotten, neglected, unbelieved words
Believes Jesus meant every word he spoke
DIY beliefs – just expecting Jesus to do what YOU think He should do (take over the world and fix everything)
Bible based belief – the details matter. Jesus came to save sinners, by taking their place on the cross, and in the grave!
H. And then everything changed in them! (24:8)
1. They stopped looking for a dead Jesus
2. They left that tomb, never to come again – it never became a shrine until 300 years later it was made part of Catholic worship by Constantine’s wife!
3. They couldn’t wait to go and tell someone that Jesus is alive – SOUL-WINNING
4. And they couldn’t wait to assemble with other believers to start living like He really is alive! THAT IS CHURCH
III. THAT’S When Everything Changed for Everybody! What made the change?
A. When They Remembered Jesus’ Words now (8)
1. And they believed those words – every one of them now!
2. Do you realise just how important it is for everyone to read and know the words of God?
3. Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
4. It is a shame that most people in this world do not even KNOW what Jesus said
5. They just believe what people SAY He said, and have never read this Bible ONCE
B. When They Ignored the Angels now (8)
1. No one EVER came back to the tomb to worship there
2. It was empty of everything that mattered
3. Even the angels didn’t hang around!
A lot of religions would have stayed around and
worshipped the angels.
Would love to kiss the stone upon which Jesus was laid
a) But angels don’t matter to our faith!
b) The stone slab is nothing but dead rock!
c) The shroud they think they have found in Italy, DOES NOT MATTER
5. Just the FACT that their Saviour was alive – living again!
a) That He was RIGHT! There IS life after death
b) And He is the only One who ever defeated death Himself!
c) HE is all we need to focus on now
6. So, forget angels, spirits, demons and devils, relics, temples, holy sites and ruins
7. Seek Jesus only!
C. When They RAN to the Disciples (9,10)
1. Didn’t head home and fix breakfast, or clean house, or work in the garden…
2. No! They WOKE them up maybe? It was very early in the morning still!
3. Told them every detail that just happened to them – women love details!
4. And do you know what is funny?
5. Here are at least five women all agreeing, and all saying the same thing
a) THE TOMB IS EMPTY
b) JESUS IS RISEN AGAIN
c) JESUS TOLD US THIS WOULD HAPPEN – AND IT HAS
d) HE WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!
D. A Bunch of Hard Heads (11)
1. Not everybody is so quick to believe
2. Granted that it really IS hard to believe this
3. It is not something that naturally happens at all, anywhere
4. So, they just dismissed their words as FAIRY TALES
5. Did not believe them – they are just women – who believes women???
6. Refused to believe that the body of Jesus was not still in that tomb!
7. THIS is why I am a Christian. Because Christianity INVITES scepticism
E. But Peter… (12)
1. Something stirred inside Peter’s HEART
2. Caused him to bolt out the door and head towards the tomb
3. John quickly caught up with him, and then ran past Peter to the tomb, but stopped at the mouth of the tomb… he didn’t go in
4. But Peter was determined to find some answers
a) Good! Ask questions, find the evidences
b) This Bible has stood all the tests, and been the most heavily examined of all books in the world
c) Every science book changes every other year
d) BUT NOT THIS BOOK!
5. Peter went looking for the truth – and that is a good thing!
F. What Did Peter Discover? (12)
1. Guards Asleep
a) Walked right past them
b) He noticed that they were NOT killed like a mob would have had to do to get to the tomb and steal the body of Jesus
c) Besides, there was no one wanted anything to do with Jesus now anyways.
d) Who would want the body anyways?
2. The stone was rolled back
a) A one ton stone is not easy to roll – it would take 8 men and a huge lever to roll it back
b) Because it was on a decline to keep it sealed
3. The body was GONE
a) Okay, it COULD have been stolen
b) BUT, why take just the body and not leave it wrapped in it’s wrapping cloth? It would have been easier to carry the body in its wrapping cloth
c) And then, Why FOLD the face napkin up like you had all the time in the world?
d) Where was the body? Where would you take a DEAD BODY?
4. There were no angels there now – just evidence for Peter to ponder
a) So Peter started thinking about everything
1) Going back over and over in his mind what he KNEW he had seen Jesus go through on the cross
2) Then watching from a distance as they pierced His heart to make sure He was dead
3) And then took Him down off the cross, and wrapped Him up and laid Him in this very tomb, and sealed it!
4) Peter saw Jesus brutally DIE, and His body buried
b) But now everything had changed! Nothing was like it should have been!
G. And It All Came Together That Evening – Everything About Jesus Was Settled…
1. When Everyone was gathered together
a) This started a pattern that was going to be repeated every Sunday now for the next 2,000 years!
b) What else but a resurrection could get a bunch of diverse, struggling believers, to assemble together as a church with their questions and fears
c) Getting together to be reminded of ONE GREAT REALITY! That JESUS is ALIVE!
d) Everything else is just cream on top!
2. Then Jesus physically appeared, about a dozen times
a) To Mary Magdalene in the Garden – the first to see Him alive and breathing (John 20:15-18)
b) Then to two young men walking to Emmaus – gave them “heart burn”
c) Then to the eleven disciples gathered in the upper room
d) Later to a crowd of over 500 according to 1Corinthians 15:6
e) He stayed around for a total of 40 days to make sure people saw Him, and recognized Him, and believed on Him!
f) He promises to be with US, if just even 2 or 3 of us gather together (Mat 18:20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
3. Jesus took away all fear (36-38)
a) Jesus can do that!
b) Peter’s fear was finally dissolved - Even his fear of facing God one day as a failure! It wasn’t going to happen now
c) The resurrection fixed all that!
d) And it can fix things for YOU too dear listener!
4. He Opened their minds – their understanding,45)
a) Ah! So Jesus really meant what He said!
b) So the Bible is not a book with a lot of mystical symbolism and vague sayings
c) Nope! It’s pretty wild just how literal this Book is!
5. He was handled, and tested, and talked with (39,40)
6. And then they even ate a meal with Him (41-43)
a) It was just as He promised at the last Supper, that after the crucifixion He would eat and drink once again with them in the new kingdom that had begun right after His death
7. No one doubted anymore
H. And then Jesus Enabled Every Believer to Live Completely Different Now
1. Go back and re-read all the Scriptures, and see Jesus in every one of them now (44,45)
a) He was the Ark in Noah’s day
b) The Ram in place of Isaac
c) The burning bush on Mt Sinai
d) The Passover Lamb in Egypt
e) The brazen serpent in the wilderness
f) The Rock from which water poured out
g) The Manna every morning for nearly 40 years
h) Whew! There is a lot of pictures of Jesus in God’s Bible!
i) He is in YOUR life now, if you are a believer
2. Take the Bible super seriously now – whatever it says, do! (46)
a) THIS is where the disciples then, and most Christians NOW, fail
b) They DON’T do what the Bible says do
1) About the sinful attitudes that we have – they are SIN!
2) With all our time and talents that we normally waste
3) How we are to treat and love our family members – no favourites!
4) How we are supposed to make church THE FIRST thing every week
5) And worship the first thing every day!
3. To go and preach in every nation (47,48)
a) Repentance – the only attitude that matters to God
b) And the Remission of Sins – the only need of every soul
c) Preach this!
1) Not because it helps people get rich
2) Not because it makes people feel so good about themselves
3) But ALL because of the death, burial and resurrection of ONE MAN, Jesus, in our place still has the POWER to save the darkest soul
4) And THAT TRUTH can save entire nations, societies, homes, and souls!
4. Lastly, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit in us (49) – not by our own strengths
a) Oh this is such a needy truth
b) An entire month of Sundays needs to be dedicated to getting filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God SO THAT WE CAN SERVE GOD
I. And that’s when they worshipped Jesus (24:52)
1. Not as a great teacher or preacher
2. Not as a great miracle worker
3. Or as a great prophet
4. But as ALIVE from the dead! As the all powerful Lord of all!
5. As their Lord, and their God!
J. And the world has never been the same since!
A. Those few disciples in that upper room, went out, and turned the entire world upside down!
1. It changed the world forever – in every way imaginable
2. Most every good freedom you and I enjoy came because of the resurrection as told by the Book in your hands – the Bible
3. Justice and right matters more now than people’s feelings BECAUSE one Person died unjustly 2,000 years ago on a cross
4. And now the life of one person is worth risking a dozen lives to go and save them
5. People sacrificially care about others not even knowing why, but it is the lingering effect of the cross, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ
B. Best of all, anyone who has ever repented of their sin, and trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation, HAS been changed! Not made perfect yet, but are different!
C. But maybe you have missed all the change
1. Maybe you haven’t experienced the power of the resurrection
2. You need to
3. Don’t miss it! It is still available
D. If you would just Know and Believe Jesus’ Words – Come unto me…
E. Ignore everything else – all your religious efforts, the past
F. Hang around some real Bible believing Christians – they will encourage you
G. Seek to find some real answers – you will find them, if you want them!