The Message of the Resurrection
Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20

Introduction:

A. The Significance of the Resurrection
Never underestimate the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! The resurrection of Jesus is not just the most important miracle ever. It is also meant to be the window through which you view all of life.
The world believes that Jesus died, but the world does not believe that He arose from the dead.

1. There is power in the gospel to set people completely free from the destructive power of sin and to fill their lives with all the fullness of God.
a) That gospel includes the cross, the resurrection, and the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
b) All three are equally important for the believer to understand and experience.
2. The power of the resurrection is the necessary completion of the work accomplished on the cross.
a) As much as the cross has been a central theme for believers throughout the ages, without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless.
b) Peter’s message at Pentecost emphasized the Resurrection because it tells us who Jesus is!
c) In fact, it is emphasized throughout the Book of Acts – more than 30 times!
3. If there were only the cross, sin would win as the apostle Paul made clear:
a) If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. (1 Corinthians 15:17 19)

B. What the Resurrection Proves!
1. The resurrection is proof of Christ’s victory over sin and our hope of salvation.
2. The resurrection proves that the Word of God is totally true and reliable.
a) Jesus rose from the dead precisely when and in the way He had predicted (see Matthew 12:40; 16:21; 17:9, 23).
3. The resurrection proves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, as He claimed to be, and that He has power over life and death.
4. The resurrection proves that salvation is complete in Christ, that on the cross Christ conquered sin, death, and hell and rose victorious on the 3rd day.
5. The resurrection proves that the church has been established.
a) Jesus had declared, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
b) “The gates of Hades” was a Jewish colloquialism that represented death.
c) His resurrection proved that death itself could not prevent Christ from establishing His church.
6. The resurrection proves that judgment is coming.
a) Jesus declared that the heavenly Father “has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22), and since the Son was now risen and alive, His judgment is certain.
7. The resurrection of Christ proves that heaven is waiting.
a) Jesus promised, “In My house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
b) Because Christ is alive by the resurrection, believers have the assurance that He is now preparing a heavenly dwelling for them.
8. The resurrection proves that Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

C. A Synoptic Look
Notice the stages in the experience of the believers with His resurrection.
1. They Thought He Was Dead (Matthew 28:1)
a) The women who had lingered at the cross came early to the tomb, bringing spices that they might anoint His body.
b) They wondered how they would move the huge stone that blocked the entrance to the tomb (Mark 16:3).
c) It is remarkable that they did not believe in His resurrection when He had taught this truth repeatedly (Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 26:32).
2. They Heard He Was Alive (Matthew 28:2-8)
3. They met Him personally. (Luke 24:13-27)
4. They shared the good news with others! (Luke 24:28-36)
What were the messages they heard on that first Easter morning?

I. The Message from the Messengers (Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:6-7; Luke 24:5-7)
A. The Angels
1. God’s Messengers
a) They deliver His messages!
b) They do not understand why we do not obey
2. They have great power!
a) “And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred” (Matthew 28:2,).
b) Two angels had appeared (Luke 24:4) and one of them had rolled the stone away from the door.
c) The soldiers on duty were greatly frightened by this sudden demonstration of supernatural power.
d) The stone was not rolled away to allow Jesus to come out, for He had already left the tomb.
e) It was rolled back so that the people could see for themselves that the tomb was empty.
3. The angels knew what the women were there for – “You are seeking Jesus, who has been crucified. Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Luke 24:1-7
a) Matthew 28:5-7 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. 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.”
b) He is not here! – Matthew 28:6
c) He is risen – Matthew 28:6
(1) “As He said” – Matthew 28:6
(2) “Remember what He said in Galilee?” – Luke 24:6
(3) This is what He said –
d) Come and see (the place where He lay)- Matthew 28:6
(1) What did they see in the tomb?
(2) The grave clothes lying on the stone shelf, still wrapped in the shape of the body (John 20:5-7).
(a) Jesus had passed through the grave clothes and left them behind as evidence that He was alive.
(3) We cannot examine this evidence in the same way the believers did that first Easter Sunday.
(a) But we do have the evidence of the Word of God.
(b) Jesus was not held by the bonds of death (Acts 2:24).
(4) He had promised to arise from the dead, and His Word was never broken.
e) Go and tell (His disciples and Peter – those who do not know!) Matthew 28:7
(1) “Come and see!” was followed by “Go and tell!”
(2) We must not keep the Resurrection news to ourselves.

B. The Synoptic Message
1. “Do not be afraid”
a) Angels have great power and in scripture people are afraid when they are in their presence.
b) Therefore, they give a word of comfort as their greeting.
2. “Go and tell that He is risen!”
a) This a command from God delivered by His messengers.
3. “He has gone before you”
a) This is a promise from God for each one of us as we prepare to “go and tell”.
4. “He will appear to you”
a) This too, is a promise from God.
b) When we are obedient to His commands, He will manifest Himself to us, not necessarily physically, but you will see His hand at work in your life in ways you never dreamed, if you will obey Him and go and tell others the good news that Jesus is alive!

II. The Message from the Master
A. The Words That He Spoke
1. “Peace to all of you” – John 20:19
2. “Rejoice” – Matthew 28:9
3. “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth” – Matthew 28:18
4. “Go and tell all the world” – Mark 16:15
5. “I will be with you always” – Matthew 28:20

B. The Amazing Effect of His Words
1. The remarkable change in the early believers is another proof of His resurrection.
a) One day they were discouraged and hiding in defeat.
b) The next day they were declaring His resurrection and walking in joyful victory.
c) They were willing to die for the truth of the Resurrection.
d) If all of this were a manufactured tale, it could never have changed their lives or enabled them to lay down their lives as martyrs.
2. Did they obey His command to “go and tell”?
a) There were over 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive at one time (1 Cor. 15:3-8).
b) They were so obedient in going and telling that a man by the name of Saul began to persecute, imprison, and even kill them, and yet they continued to obey by going and telling all the world!
3. The existence of the church, the New Testament, and the Lord’s Day add further proof that Jesus is alive.
a) For centuries, the Jews had been God’s people, and they had honored the seventh day, the Sabbath.
b) Then a change took place: Jews and Gentiles united in the church and became God’s people; they met on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day.
c) Of course, Christians have experienced His resurrection power in their own lives.
(1) Even the Apostle Paul, who was an enemy of the church, saw the risen Christ; that experience transformed his life (Acts 9).
(2) And Jesus is still changing lives today and that, too, is evidence that the Resurrection is true and that Jesus is alive!
4. The resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead, then seated Him at the right hand of the Father and put Him over all principalities and powers, is the same power given to us.
a) Should that make a difference in our lives?
b) Listen carefully: the battle is won!
c) Don’t believe Satan’s lie that we have to do battle with him.
d) In the name of Jesus simply tell him, “You’ve already been defeated! And the same power that defeated you is the same power that now resides in my life.”
e) Don’t get so caught up in fighting Satan that you have no time to follow Christ.
f) The war’s over!

III. The Message to Mary Magdalene (John 20:15-18)
A. The Master’s Words
1. When Mary came back to the tomb after going and telling Peter and John, she looked into the tomb and she saw two men in white.
a) Their position at either end of the shelf where the body had been lying makes us think of the cherubim on the mercy seat (Exodus 25:17-19).
b) It is as though God is saying, “There is now a new mercy seat! My Son has paid the price for sin, and the way is open into the presence of God!”
c) Then Mary stops and turns around to see Jesus standing there behind her!
(1) Why did Mary turn back and not continue her conversation with the two strangers?
(2) Did she hear a sound behind her?
(3) Or did the angels stand and recognize the presence of their Lord?
2. “Why are you weeping?”
a) Another verse comes to mind—Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
b) We weep—not because our believing loved ones have gone to heaven—but because they have left us and we miss them.
3. “Whom are you seeking?”
a) The Savior knew that Mary’s heart was broken and that her mind was confused.
b) Whom are you seeking in this place, today?
4. “Do not cling to me”
a) All He had to do was to speak her name, and Mary immediately recognized Him.
(1) His sheep hear [recognize] His voice and He calls them by name (John 10:3).
(2) Apparently Mary had turned away from Jesus, for when He spoke her name, she had to turn back to look at Him again.
(3) What a blessed surprise it was to see the face of her beloved Master!
(4) Just like He did with Mary, Jesus is here today and He calls you to serve Him.
(5) He calls you by name and you hear His voice!
b) All she could say was, “Rabboni—my Master, my Teacher.”
c) Mary not only spoke to Him, but she grasped His feet and held on to Him.
(1) Now that she had found Him, she did not want to lose Him.
(2) Jesus permitted the other women to hold His feet (Matthew 28:9), and He did not forbid them. Why did He say to Mary, “Do not cling to Me”?
(a) One reason was that she would see Him again because He had not yet ascended to the Father.
(b) A second reason is that she had a job to do—to go tell His brethren that He was alive and would ascend to the Father.
5. “Go and tell my brethern”
a) He had called His own servants (John 13:16) and friends (John 15:15), but now He called them brethren.
b) It would have been selfish and disobedient for Mary to have clung to Jesus and kept Him to herself.
(1) She arose and went to where the disciples were gathered and gave them the good news that she had seen Jesus alive. “I have seen the Lord!” (Note John 20:14, 18, 20, 25, 29.)
(2) Mark reports that these did not believe her! (Mark 16:9-11)
(a) Unbelief has a terribly deadening effect on a person.
(b) No wonder God warns us against “an evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12).
c) Mary not only shared the fact of His resurrection and that she had seen Him personally, but she also reported the words that He had spoken to her.
(1) Again, we see the importance of the Word of God – what are we to share?
(a) That He’s alive!
(b) Our own personal testimony!
(c) The Word of God!
(2) Mary could not transfer her experience over to them, but she could share the Word; and it is the Word that generates faith (Romans 10:17).
(a) Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(b) The living Christ shared His living Word (1 Peter 1:23-25).
(c) People need to hear God’s Word and He has commanded us to share it with them!
(3) The key is faith in the Word of God.

B. The Master’s Reasons (Proverbs 8:17; John 14:15; John 4:32-35)
1. Why did Christ appear first of all to Mary Magdalene?
a) When I think of Mary Magdalene lingering alone in the garden, I think of Proverbs 8:17—“I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me.”
(1) Mary loved her Lord and came early to the garden to express that love.
(2) Jesus had said in John 14:15, “If you love me, then keep my commandments.”
(3) Mary Magdalene loved Jesus, so she obeyed – she went and told!
b) At Jacob’s well Jesus revealed the driving force within Him.
32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
2. Jesus compared doing the will of the Father to eating!
a) Food is necessary for your health, growth, and even your very survival! That is a fact and no one would dispute it!
b) Most of us enjoy food and we may even enjoy it too much.
c) Doing the will of God is just as exciting and enjoyable.
d) The enjoyment and nourishment that comes from doing the will of the Father, of obeying Him were just as important to Jesus as food!
e) Think of it! To do God’s will is as much of a necessity in our lives as to eat.
3. Mary Magdalene knew this and she obeyed.
a) There is a positive residual effect of obeying God’s commands.
b) As we learn to obey God, He blesses our lives.
c) You should look forward to obeying God as something we not only will enjoy, but that we need in our lives if we are to be nourished and grow spiritually!
4. The task before us: (v. 35)
35 “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
a) There is no need to wait.
b) The world is ready to be evangelized right now.
c) We need to be obedient
d) We need to “God and tell – Jesus is alive!”
e) That is the message of the Resurrection!