Message of Hope

Home Church Service 4/3/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.”   Matthew 28:1-6 (NASB)

Research shows that the leading cause of death…is birth! No, I am not trying to make light of death, nor am I trying to be morbid or disrespectful, but the fact remains that we must all, inevitably, face our own mortality. Growing older is a fact of life and as we grow older our bodies begin to wear down. As they wear down, aches and pains begin to creep in, and we are reminded that we are not getting any younger. For some the thought of death is just too much to handle.

The real issue though is life after death. What happens after we die? Some will tell you that our bodies are nothing more than .98 worth of chemicals and when we die, we return to those chemicals and that is it – you are gone! Others have decided to have themselves frozen until science can figure out how to bring people back to life. The sad fact is not even science can tell us what happens after we die – no one, in fact, can tell us what is going to happen. The Bible, however, tells a different story – it brings a Message of Hope concerning life after death.

After the Sabbath, as the day began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the grave. An angel of the Lord had rolled the stone away and sat upon it. The guards shook with fear, but the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid.” For he had a Message of Hope that Jesus had risen just as He said.

Following the Sabbath, before dawn, the women went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away and a messenger of the Lord sitting upon it. The men were filled with fear, but the messenger spoke to the women and gave them a Message of Hope that Jesus has risen!

As we examine our passage today there are two questions we seek to answer. First, “What is this Message of Hope?” and secondly, “Why is this Message of Hope important?”

The Message of Hope is that Jesus has risen victoriously, and it impact everyone – whether they believe or not!

1). The Message of Hope is the empty tomb.

No other known tomb has ever been found empty – except the tomb of Jesus!

The two women who remained near the cross are the first two who come to the tomb of Jesus. They arrive to find the tomb empty; the stone having already been rolled away. These two women were there when Jesus died and watched them remove the bodies from the crosses. These two women were there to hear the verdict that Jesus was dead. These two women, more than likely, watched and may have helped as the body is hastily prepared for burial. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record that these two women watched where they laid the body of Jesus to rest only to return and find it empty.

Why is the empty tomb, the empty grave, of Jesus so important? People don’t just simply rise from the dead. Jesus proved this by calling Lazarus from the tomb by name! The empty tomb of Jesus has outlasted all of the hoax theories. Some supposed the body of Jesus was stolen – but no body matching the description of Jesus, complete with the scourging and marks from the nails, has ever been found. Some say that Jesus had not died but entered into a coma – but no person could survive the loss of blood suffered from the scourging or survive the injuries suffered by Jesus without medical attention.

Even if Jesus had died elsewhere or His body stolen and taken somewhere else to be buried, there has been no discovery of an unmarked grave site with bones that could be considered the body of Jesus. Even if the body of Jesus had been placed among others who had been crucified, the bones of Jesus would have stood out because Jesus suffered no injury to His bones – His legs were NOT broken as the legs of others who had been crucified.

The empty tomb proves that Jesus is, indeed, the Son of God. In John 10:17-18, Jesus states that no one was taking His life; He has the power to lay down His life and to take it back up again. Time and again we read of controversy with the Pharisees who believed Jesus has spoken blasphemy by claiming God is His Father. In fact, Jesus is ultimately killed for this blasphemy when the Sanhedrin asked Him plainly if He was the Son of God and He answered, “Yes, I am.”

The empty tomb is a Message of Hope because death could not capture Him, the grave could not hold Him, the One who is the Creator and Giver of life has overcome our greatest enemy! Through the power of God the Father, Jesus Christ has proven, once and for all that He is the Son of God.

The Message of Hope is that Jesus has risen victoriously, and it impact everyone – whether they believe or not!

2). The Message of Hope is Jesus has risen!

The resurrection of Jesus is assurance that all human beings can one day be resurrected!

As the women approach the tomb, they are aware that the stone has been rolled away and that a messenger of the Lord is seated upon it. Several things here must be understood. First, the stone was NOT rolled away to let Jesus out of the tomb, He was already risen and out of the tomb. The stone has been removed for the women to be able to see and believe that Jesus has risen as He said. It is also for our benefit as well, that we might become witnesses to the power of God to resurrect the human life that has been destroyed by sin.

Secondly, we see this contrast between the Roman guards and the women. The guards are said to be filled with fear, as dead men, while the women are comforted by the words of the messenger. “Do not be afraid.” The Roman guards represent those who do not believe, those who stand opposed to God. The appearance of the messenger happened at night, suddenly and with an appearance as lightning, it was terrifying. Filled with fear they became as dead men, meaning they most likely fainted. The women represent those who believe, those who stand with God. When God speaks to those who stand with Him, many times we read the first words spoken are, “Do not fear.”

Those who stand against God will always find the appearance of the Lord as terrifying because they are immersed in sin and they are not willing to give up the life they have crafted. In contrast, those who stand with God will find comfort in the presence of the Lord and have no need to fear. What those who stand opposed to God do not understand is that the death and resurrection is for all people. No one is left out of this sacrifice. The difference between those who are opposed and those who stand with God is simple, those who stand with God have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, they have come to believe in His name as the Son of God and have submitted to His authority. Those who stand against God still believe they are in control.

One day we will all face death and one day we will all be resurrected for a day to stand before God in judgment. Jesus died to take away the sin that keeps us separated from God the Father and pay the debt we owe because of sin. For those who stand opposed to God they have no such sacrifice that will be found acceptable to God. Their good deeds will not be enough, being considered a good person will not be enough, there is nothing they can do to earn this free gift from God. Still, the choice must be made by each person,

The Message of Hope is that Jesus has risen! He has defeated death, the grave and sin for all humanity, not just a select people group or certain individuals. This sacrifice was made for all those who receive Him and believe in His name as the Son of God. For believers today, Jesus is our Passover who has been sacrificed and by His shed blood we have redemption and eternal life.

The Message of Hope is that Jesus has risen victoriously, and it impact everyone – whether they believe or not!

Birth is in fact the leading cause of death. If you are born once you will die once. It is simply a fact of life. For some the thought of death is too much to handle, so they seek other means to prolong themselves. Some have looked to science to be frozen until science can figure out how to bring people back to life. But the fact is no one, not even science knows what happens after we die.

The Bible, however, tells a different story. It brings a Message of Hope concerning life after death and in fact, tells us the story of eternal life found in the Risen Jesus Christ who has defeated death, the grave and sin for all who believe in Him.

What do we do moving forward? As believers we must maintain a resurrection perspective on life. Those who stand opposed to God were filled with fear and doubt but those who stood with God believed and worshiped. This will be our lives if we keep the resurrection perspective on life. This means we focus on the physical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus; thus, we meet Him on a personal level and not as a religious founder or figure. This will put everything else into perspective, we take on an eternal perspective, so our priorities become kingdom priorities.

Secondly, we must tap into the resurrection power for life. This same power that raised Jesus from the grave is available to believers today. The risen Jesus now resides in His followers through the power of the Holy Spirit. Read through the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1:18-21; this is the power that Paul prays might be found in believers throughout time. This power is to be found in our lives DAILY!

Finally, for believers, Jesus has given us a resurrection mission for life. Before His ascension Jesus gave His disciples, those who followed Him and do so today, what we know as the Great Commission. “Go, therefore and make disciples…” It is now our responsibility to go and share the resurrection power in the lives of those who remain captive to sin, death and the grave. Jesus has the authority, and the power to back it up, to resurrect the life destroyed by sin today, not sometime in the future but right now, right where you are called to witness. Use this resurrection power to the glory of the risen Jesus.

For those who might be watching this video or reading this message and you do not know Jesus, there is still time to receive this resurrection power for yourself. Why wait? There is no time like now. You must first repent, acknowledge that you have sinned against God and in the sight of heaven. Then you must turn from your sin, those things that are keeping you separated from God. Turn to Jesus and run into His arms. The hard part is not returning to your former life. Find a solid biblical church in your area or reach out to this ministry. We are here to help you start you new life in Christ Jesus.

To the glory of the Risen Jesus and the resurrection power of God the Father!

Amen and Amen.

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