Monday, August 10, 2020

Easter Message: Proof of the King 042014

Easter Message: Proof of the King 042014

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TITLE: Kingdom Bound: The Proof of the King – Matthew 28:1-15 AIM: The resurrection as the primary proof of the Kingship of Christ. INTRO: Today, Resurrection Sunday, is the highest of all days for the Church. All over the world 100’s of 1000’s are gathering to celebrate the triumph of Christ over sin, death & the grave. What’s the big deal? John Walvoord, in an article entitled “Christ in His Resurrection,” said it well. “The resurrection of Christ essential to all His work. Just as the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ was a proof of His deity and Lordship, so also was His resurrection an indispensable evidence of the efficacious value of His death on the cross. Here again, one is faced with the absolute question of whether Christ is all He claims to be. If He did not rise from the dead, then He is not the Son of God; and it follows that His death on the cross is the death of an ordinary man and of no value to others. If, on the other hand, Christ actually rose from the dead, it not only demonstrates that He is indeed all He claims to be but that His work has the value set forth in the Scriptures, namely, a substitutionary sacrifice on behalf of the sins of the whole world.” So, the resurrection of Christ was the “indispensable evidence” of the effectiveness of His work on the cross, His death for our sins. The resurrection was God the Father’s seal of approval/acceptance of Jesus the Son’s atoning work. Also, the resurrection was “proof of [Christ’s] deity & Lordship. From the 1st of this year we’ve been working w/the theme, “Kingdom Bound,” considering that we who are in Christ are bound for the kingdom of God & eternal life w/Christ; but we are also bound by the kingdom of God, the Lordship/rule of Christ essentially marking our lives here & now. Jesus is our King/Lord, but if He was not raised from the dead after 3 days in the tomb, then the king is dead, & where then is the kingdom? But the resurrection is the proof that Jesus is who He said He is, the ultimate proof that He is indeed King, to whom then we must bow & give our lives. Today, let us look at Matthew’s account of the resurrection of Christ – Matthew 28:1-15 [READ]. Consider the central characters in this historical account of the miraculous triumph of Christ which split history in 2. I)The “Marys” – Read in 27:55-56 that “There were also many women there (at the crucifixion), looking on from a distance.” These were women who “had followed Jesus from Galilee (that is, from early in His earthly ministry), ministering to Him.” Among them, Matthew reported, “was Mary Magdalene & Mary the mother of James & Joseph…” Mary Magdalene was the one from whom Jesus had cast out demons. So, these 2 Mary’s & perhaps some others (Mark mentions same ones, Luke mentions 2 others, not mentioned by Matthew, & John only names Mary Magdalene) were witnesses to Jesus’ death on the cross. Then they saw Him buried in the unused tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (27:61). Then, after the Sabbath, early in the morning of the 1st day of the week, which we know as Sunday, these Marys went to the tomb. Probable that they had begun to prepare Jesus’ body for burial, but were unable to finish before the Sabbath began (at sunset on the day Jesus was crucified), so they were now going to the tomb to complete the heartbreaking task because of their love for Jesus. How they proposed to move the stone, not sure, but when they arrived, they saw that the stone had been rolled away & someone whose appearance was dazzling was sitting upon it. Whether or not they noticed the guards lying on ground, having fainted away, not clear, but the angel encouraged them not to be afraid. He told them he knew they were looking for Jesus, but gladly announced, “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.” Then he pointed to where Jesus had been laid, & said, “Come see.” So they looked into the tomb where they had seen Jesus laid out in death. He told them to go tell the disciples that He was alive. As they went, these faithful ladies, they encountered the risen Lord Jesus Himself! When He greeted them, they fell down at His feet & began to worship. “It’s true! He’s alive!” Jesus repeated what the angel had told them: “Go tell My brothers to meet Me in Galilee…” So they ran to tell, just as we should. “He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!” II)The Angel – We’re told in Luke’s gospel that it was the angel Gabriel who was given the glorious task of telling Mary that she would bear the Son of God, the Messiah, but here we’re not given a name for this angel. What a wonderful assignment – to be given the privilege of announcing that Jesus had risen from the dead! This angel came & rolled away the stone from the tomb, not so Jesus could get out – He was already gone – but so others, like the Marys & later Peter & John, could look in! It’s not clear whether his coming & moving the stone was the disturbance that caused the earth to shake or if the earthquake was the tool used by the angel to move the stone – doesn’t matter. His appearance caused the guards to tremble w/fear & faint away. Can you imagine the grin on his face as he sat upon that stone when the women came to the tomb? His message was clear & simple & oh so sweet: “I know you’re looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come see the place where He lay. Then go quickly & tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead…” He must have whistled, sang all the way back to heaven. What a job! III)The Guards – Read at end of Matt.27 that the chief priests & Pharisees went to Pilate & asked him to order the tomb to be guarded/secured, lest someone come & steal Jesus’ body & then claim that He had risen. They remembered what Jesus had said better than the apostles. So Pilate gave them a “guard of soldiers” & told them to help themselves – see to it. A guard of soldiers was anywhere from 4-16, a formidable force of trained Roman soldiers. So these soldiers set forth to the task. They sealed the stone which had been placed at the entrance of the tomb w/wax & set guard, probably 4 at a time in shifts, maybe more. Don’t know if you’ve seen those pictorial jokes sometimes seen on FB or the internet w/the caption: “You had one job.” One is a picture of the word stop painted on the road, spelled “sotp.” Another is a picture of a package of what is obviously hot dog buns labeled “Hamburger Buns.” Well, these guards had but 1 job: secure the tomb. But can’t really blame them, no matter how rugged they might have been. When the angel came & rolled away the stone, his appearance like lightning (either the brilliance or the quickness of his coming) & clothing white as snow (that definitely was blinding, brilliant brightness), the guards “trembled & became like dead men.” Perhaps that meant they fainted, tho they may have simply been frozen in fright & witnessed the transaction between the angel & the Marys. That of course presented a problem when they came to. To be given such a task as a Roman soldier & fail to carry it out was punishable by death. So, some of them went to tell chief priests what had happened, that the angel came & Jesus was gone! So the chief priests called an assembly of the elders together, decided to bribe the soldiers to say, “We fell asleep & Jesus’ disciples came & stole His body.” They assured them that they would make sure that Pilate didn’t punish them. The soldiers took the bribe & spread the lie. But I wonder if any of those soldiers, having seen what they saw, became believers, followers of Christ. Finally we have IV)Jesus Himself – No doubt, Jesus is God’s suffering servant who died on the cross to pay for our sins. He took our place so that we thru faith in Him might become children of God, forgiven, justified, given new life, w/the sure hope of eternal life. “How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure!” “Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer. But this I know w/all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.” But He is not only the suffering servant. He is the risen Lord! Death & the grave could not hold Him. “He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!” The Father accepted His Son’s sacrifice of Himself for us. The resurrection vindicated the sinless Christ who bore our sins in His body on the cross. The resurrection paved the way for our justification whereby God declares the believing sinner just – not guilty but righteous – in His sight, based upon the atoning work of Christ. But if Jesus has risen, is the risen Lord, then all our allegiance belongs to Him. If He is Lord, then we must be His servants/slaves. If He is Lord, we must bow before Him & offer Him ourselves. He is the King of kings & Lord of lords, the King of the Ages. Should we not embrace Him & follow Him? Do not our lives belong to Him? In olden days, when a king died, before it was announced, his successor was appointed, usually his son. Then the troubling news would be coupled w/encouraging news of the new monarch’s reign. “The king is dead; long live the king!” Message: all things are well, the kingdom will go on w/out missing beat. Today, having celebrated the death of Christ on our behalf, we now celebrate His resurrection & unending life/reign. The King lives! Long live the King! Are you His subject? Does He reign in you? Will you reign w/Him? If we are in Christ, we are indeed kingdom bound. Let us be kingdom minded & King Jesus focused!