By Kevin Shrum
Pastor, Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville
Focal Passage: Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20
I want to make a recommendation: If Jesus has not been bodily raised from the dead, let’s close all the churches. Because if Jesus has not been raised from the dead there is no hope, no forgiveness of sins, no eternal life, no future, no Church.
I Corinthians 15:12-19 notes that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead: (1) Jesus is still dead, (2) our preaching is foolish, (3) our faith is empty, (4) we are still in our sins, (5) those who have already died are lost, (6) there is no hope in this life or the life to come and (7) we are to be pitied as fools for having believed the gospel.
But, Jesus has been raised from the dead (I Corinthians 15:20ff.). The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of the Christian faith, without which, there is no Christianity.
The Church is not a social club or a benevolence society. We are a redeemed people rescued from sin and death by Jesus’ own death and resurrection. Jesus did not come to make good people better. He came to make dead people live.
In Jesus’ death and resurrection, the death of death has been accomplished. As a result, we live as a forgiven, hope-filled, joyful people on mission.
Resurrected (Matthew 28:1-4). Matthew records the historical facts surrounding Jesus’ resurrection. These facts are important and convincing; they affirm the truth of the Christian faith.
(1) It took place on the first day of the week, the reason we now worship on Sunday. (2) Several women disciples decided to visit the grave to properly anoint what they thought was the dead body of Jesus, a body that had been hastily buried on Sabbath the Friday before.
(3) An earthquake accompanied Jesus’ resurrection. (4) An angel rolled the stone away as Jesus rose from the dead. (5) Out of fear the Roman guards fell as if they were dead. These same guards would be paid to lie about what they knew to be true, that Jesus was alive (Matthew 28:11-15).
Announced (Matthew 28:5-7). (6) The angel instructed the women not to be afraid. (7) The angel explained that Jesus had been raised from the dead; He was alive! (8) The angel gave evidence of Jesus’ resurrection by showing them the empty tomb.
(9) The angel instructed the women to go and tell the other disciples and that Jesus would soon meet them in Galilee. (10) The news of Jesus’ resurrection filled them with great joy. (11) Jesus’ appearance was one of many appearances He made (I Corinthians 15:1-11) over a 40-day period (Acts 1:3). (12) The women worshiped Jesus. (13) Jesus told them to not be afraid and to rendezvous with the other disciples in Galilee.
Commissioned (Matthew 28:16-20). (14) When the disciples encountered Jesus, they worshiped Him, while others doubted. (15) Jesus declared that all authority is His. (16) In that authority they were to go and make disciples of all kinds of people all over the world. (17) In addition, they were to baptize new converts, identifying them with Christ and His Church.
(18) Further, they were to teach and disciple these new converts. Finally, (19) Jesus promised He would be with them to the end. Facts are stubborn things. These are the facts we believe by faith. He’s ALIVE! B&R