Last night, I spoke on the subject of what the resurrection meant to the ones who first witnessed it. The Scripture text I used was Luke 24:1-12.
Here's the outline of the message:
WHAT DOES THE RESURRECTION MEAN?
I. TO THE WOMEN
A. The women were identified/ named in verse 10.
B. The women were loyal and faithful supporters of Jesus – c.f., Luke 8:1-3; 23:46- 49; 24:1
*IN LIFE - 1 Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, 2 along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; 3 Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. (Luke 8:1-3)
*IN DEATH - 46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.
47 When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. 49But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching. (Luke 23:46 - 49)
*IN BURIAL - 1 But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. (Luke 24:1)
C. The women were the first to receive the news of the resurrection and one of them (Mary Magdalene) was the first one to see Jesus alive.
A. Their service was never in vain - How would you feel after realizing that all that you have worked for and all you have invested in with your strength, time & resources have come to nothing?
1 Corinthians 15:58 “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
B. Their sorrow turned into joy –
II. TO THE DISCIPLES
A. The disciples were student-followers of Jesus. Judas betrayed Him and later committed suicide. In contrast to the women, they all deserted Jesus when He was arrested. Peter, the most vocal among them, denied Him three times.
B. Imagine their fear, shame and sense of loss.
C. Then they heard the news from the women (verse 9). But they didn’t believe it (verse 11). They thought it’s too good to be true.
A. There are things that block our reception of the truth, even how Good the News is. Are we aware of any? How can we remedy it?
B. Jesus showed them kindness, love and forgiveness. How would you feel when you meet someone you know you have offended or have sinned against? I suppose that’s what Peter felt. That’s what the other disciples felt. Yet, Jesus Christ restored them into a right relationship with Him and commissioned them for ministry as His witnesses.
III. TO US
A. We were not there when it happened some 2,000 years ago. But, this greatest miracle in history has reached us today. What are we going to do about it?
B. Well, we have two options:
- We accept and believe it; or,
- We ignore and do not believe it.
C. I pray that we will choose to accept and believe it. But, why should it matter whether Jesus Christ rose from the dead? ANSWER: Because, if it is true (and it is) there are eternal consequences. His physical resurrection is important only if it’s true. If Jesus didn’t rise from the grave, then the unbeliever is no worse or better off than before. However, if Jesus did rise from the dead, then it is reasonable to believe that everything He claimed is true. If what Jesus claimed is true, then He died for the sins of the world and one receives eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul told the people in Athens that God wants all people everywhere to repent because he has set a day when He will judge the world by Jesus. He has given proof of this by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:16-33). Paul asserts that Christ has indeed been raised from the dead (I Corinthians 15:20-22).