March 31, 2013 – Pastor Tim – “It’s Not Over” – Click to download
It’s no secret that today we are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
My intent today is not to try to prove it to you, because by virtue of you being here today, you have some sense of the importance of this day.
This is a high and holy day for Christ-followers. The apostle Paul said without the resurrection we have nothing. 1 Corinthians 15:15b-17, “for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.
Our intent this morning is not only to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, but to show some of the responses to the events surrounding His resurrection some 2000 years ago.
Yogi Berra, the former New York Yankee hall of famer player and coach is famous for his one-liners: He once said, “You better cut the pizza in four pieces. I’m not hungry enough to eat eight.” And perhaps the most famous of his one-liners is, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Shari and I went to the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach several years ago and watched as Tiger come back from 8 stokes down with 8 holes to play to win the tournament. I’m sure we’ve all read or heard those stories that have great “comeback” endings.
But perhaps there is no greater comeback story than that of Jesus of Nazareth over 2000 years ago.
Think about it, everyone, at the time of Jesus’ death thought it was over…
Only the triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), knew what was happening, and they only spoke of it in what is today called “the mystery of the Gospel.” The devil was rejoicing; the religious leaders were relieved; the disciples and the followers of Christ were mourning—lost with no direction. Now, the ladies who came to the tomb that Sunday morning thought it was over concerning Jesus; as did the rest of the disciples of Jesus. We know this, because in Matthew 26:56, Matthew says, “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
Let’s look at the response to Jesus’ resurrection after His crucifixion. Matthew 28:1-8, Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 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.” 8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
Matthew 28:9-20, “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
The Soldiers Are Bribed
11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ (which meant that the soldiers would be condemned to die) 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” (We will pay the government to support the lie.) 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. In Matthew 26:31-32, Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd,?And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Now back to Matthew 28, verse 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
It was not over then and it is not over now!