Matthew 28:1-8 (Part 1) – Are We There Yet? Yes, My Child We Have Arrived!

Posted: May 5, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 28:1-8

Jesus Rises from the Dead

Have you ever been on a long trip in a car with small children? It is an adventure in and of itself, is it not? The most famous line that is often repeated throughout the trip and sometimes it starts even before you get out of your hometown, “Are we there yet?” It is repeated quite frequently to the point of irritation for the parents, “Are we there yet?” “Are we there yet?” “Are we there yet?” Then, there is the “Stop touching me!”. “Dad, he’s on my side of the car?” And, then, there’s “Not touching you, can’t get mad!” among the other classics of a long road trip with the family. Road trips can be parental hell at times when the kids are whining, fighting, and, yes, they have to go to the bathroom AGAIN! Where do they get these weak, dime sized bladders? And why can’t they synchronize their bladders!!! Why can’t they just go to SLEEEEEP, take a nap, something! Just shut upppppp! But it is all worth it when you get to your destination and you watch your children having a great time doing things that they have never experienced before. All the irritation of the trip itself is soon forgotten or is at least seen as the necessary drudgery to get to the good stuff.

 

Our salvation stories are similar to riding in the car with kids on a long trip to get the fun-filled, happy vacation. All of the heartache, mistakes, misfortunes, and bad things that happen to us on the road to the cross seem like the hell of taking small children on a long road trip to a far off destination. It seems like hell when you are going through tough times, but once we are saved from ourselves, from our sins, from the consequences of bad life choices, we can look back on the road trip of our lives and smile. As we mature in Christ and learn more about just what He saved us from, we can look back on the the road trip of our lives as being tough to live through at the time but the oh so necessary part of us crying out at the cross for Jesus to come into our lives and take it over. I think back on my life with all its heartache, pain, joys, victories, defeats, failures, failures that could have destroyed me and see the guiding hand of my God. It is through the dark and winding road that I have my unique story of how I came to the cross, how I came to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. That’s not to say that the post-salvation part of the road has not had its ups and downs, its bumps and bruises and its failures but the trip has been worth it. Now, I grasp that all of the things that I go through is preparation for what God has prepared for me next. I have confidence now that I am not deserted. I have confidence now that God is with me and has His guiding and providential hand in everything that comes into my path. He even uses my mistakes and sins as teaching opportunities to prepare me for the next step, the next scene in this movie called my life. All the road trips and the irritations that go with them have a purpose in that God is preparing me for what He has prepared for me next. There is nothing wasted in God’s guidance of my life.

 

And what exactly is it that gives the Christian the belief and the hope that no matter what God’s got it covered and that there is always hope. It is because the tomb is empty. It is because Jesus rose from the dead just as He promised. That is the hope that holds our heads high. No matter how tough things get for us, we know we have that basic, in our back packet, trump card that defeats any card played against us. We have hope in the resurrected Jesus Christ. Nothing can take away our joy that we have in the resurrected Jesus. They can beat us. They can persecute us. They can take away our freedoms. They can jail us. They can kill us. But they cannot take away the joy that we have in Jesus. The resurrected Jesus gives us hope beyond measure. It is evidence that we too, through Him, can defeat sin and death. It gives us hope that we have a future eternity with Him in heaven. He made a promise of resurrection and He kept it. Even though He went through the hell of pain and death to get to the resurrection. And He rose from the dead. Nothing can defeat Jesus Christ not even sin and death. That is the hope of our salvation. That is the hope and joy that we carry with us. We arise from the dead through salvation in Jesus Christ. After that, there is nothing that is so great and so bad that we cannot have that basic joy of knowing that we will win through Jesus Christ. We get to the other side. We get to our final destination. The road trip was worth it.

 

So, let’s read today, with great joy the most wonderful passage in Matthew – Matthew 28:1-8:

 

28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

 

2 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. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

 

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

 

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

 

This passage is the key to our Christian faith. The resurrection is central and necessary to our faith. Without this passage, there is no Christianity. The reality of the resurrection bring joy! Jesus is not just another dead prophet. He is alive. He is alive still today. He is alive and with His people. It is the great news. It is the gospel! Just as Jesus promised, He rose from the dead. Therefore, we can be confident that Jesus will accomplish all that He has promised. We can be confident that everything He said about the kingdom of heaven is true. We can be confident that the way He told us to live our lives is truthful and beneficial to us. His resurrection also proves to us that Christ is indeed the Son of God, that He is of one and the same essence as God and not some false prophet or impostor. We can be certain that death is not the end for us also because of Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection proves to us that we have an eternity waiting for us in heaven. The resurrection gives us strength and fortitude in times of trouble. The power that brought Jesus back to life is the same power that lives in us now. That power brings us back from our spiritual death before salvation to the new life in and after salvation. The resurrection is everything to a Christ follower and it is our witness to a dying world that needs to know this gospel! There are those who will say its all a fabrication of the church and that none of this really happened (which we will talk about tomorrow), but if this is a lie, how has it survived for so long and deluded billions and billions of people throughout the last 2,000 years. How many lies survive for 20 centuries and are still going strong. People have died for this truth. People are miraculously changed from heartless killers into loving and generous people by the life changing truth of the resurrection. It is no lie. It is real. It is the foundation of our hope. It is the battlements of our joy. It is the foundation of our house. It is what brings happiness in the midst of world gone mad. It is the resurrection. Jesus is the Risen Lord. He is Alive. He is Alive. My hope is built on nothing less!

 

Amen and Amen.

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