Every year, we celebrate Christmas on or around the 25th of December depending on our circumstances. Then four months later we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Savior. These are great moments to celebrate. But why is it that these are the only two days people go to church. My pastor refers to them as CEO’s (Christmas and Easter only).
Matthew 28:1-10 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciple’s word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
Welcome back to our Series on Jesus. We have reached part four – The resurrection. We learned in part one that Jesus was born to become our savior. A miracle happens when Mary became pregnant but was still a virgin. The timing was right that on the way to Bethlehem they made just in time to have the baby. Fate would have it that the baby was born in the stall and baby Jesus laid in a manger.
The second part was Jesus as a child. There is not much about the childhood in the bible. We do pick up where the family travels to Jerusalem for the annual Passover festival as part of a caravan. Mary & Joseph leave after the festival assuming that Jesus is with them somewhere.
(Sounds like the plot for Home Alone). When they realize they left Jesus behind, they go back and find him learning from the masters. He says to His mother, “Why do you seek me, do you not know that I have to do my father’s work?”
Part three, last week, we briefly looked at some of the miracles Jesus performed during His ministry. We looked at betrayed not once but technically three times. Judas betrayed him for money. Peter denied Jesus three times and technically Pilate betrayed Jesus because even though he found no crime committed by Jesus he gave into the crowd. Jesus was persecuted, crucified, mocked, nailed to a cross, and left to die. Jesus did take care of his mother by telling her that her new son was the Apostle John and told the apostle that this was his new mother. Before he beathed His last breath, he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me. He left the earth shortly after.
After the commotion died down, Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. He was granted his request. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in clean linen clothes, and placed it in the tomb that had been newly cut in the rock.
Sabbath, the day of rest, biblically calculated from sundown Friday to Saturday. No one is allowed to work during this time. Sunday is considered the first day of the week. For most of us, Sunday is considered our Sabbath although there are many that still consider the original Sabbath.
Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
So, now the Sabbath is over, and the ladies Mary & Mary Magdalene were at the tomb that had been crafted out of the rock. They had brought spices as they were going to anoint Jesus. Today we embalm the dead. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone, and sat on it.
Now this tomb in the side of a rock had a big boulder and the ladies knew they couldn’t move it. At that moment, there was a great earthquake, an angel from God descended, removed the boulder, and sat on it.
The angel says to Mary, you seek Jesus, but he has been raised. The Greek verb used here is passive, indicating this could only happen as an act of God. Who is so powerful that can remove a boulder and raise someone from the dead? All of this because it is “Just as Jesus said it would be”. He instructs Mary to go tell the disciples that He has arisen.
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Matthew 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
To fulfill the scriptures, Jesus must appear to the disciples prior to ascending to the heavens to be with the Father. He says that He is going on ahead to Galilee.
Matthew 26:32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
The women are the first to meet Jesus after He has risen. When He met them, He says “Greetings”. The Greek word Jesus speaks here is an expression of well-being or gladness.
Once with the disciples, they realized that Jesus was not a hallucination. Jesus was physically alive. They were able to touch him. Apart from Judas who betrayed Him and not in the scene now, and despite the disciple’s earlier abandonment:
Matthew 25:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.
Matthew 26:69-75 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, this fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again, he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him, they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus addressed them with endearment. He also commissioned them with the Holy Spirit and basically the great commission.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Therefore, we celebrate Easter every year 16 weeks after we celebrate the birthday of our Savior known as Christmas. The word from a song comes to mind and fits right here “Death is arrested, and my life begins”
He came to show us the way and then our debt He paid