1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8Then they remembered his words. (Luke 24:1-8)
Yes! He is alive! Just as he said! He overcame the grave and he is alive!
Put yourself in the place of these women. They were coming, hoping to properly embalm the Lord’s body, and they found the stone rolled away already. A stone which could not easily be rolled away. And where were the guards? The tomb had been sealed and guards placed outside. Where were they? Why did they leave their post? To leave an assigned post in those times would have been cause for the death of the soldiers. What had happened to cause this to happen? Matthew 28:2-4 tells us “2there 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. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. Did they faint? It surely sounds like somehow these men passed out from what they saw! When word got back to the chief priests and elders, they told the guards to tell this story as they gave them a large sum of money to do so….(Matthew 28:13-14) “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” This makes me laugh. If they were asleep, how would they know who took the body? If the governor were to find out that they were ALL asleep on the job, no matter what the chief priest say to him, these men are in big trouble. Admitting to sleeping on the job? All of them at the same time? They are still in big trouble.
Let’s go back to the ladies who came to the tomb. Matthew tells us that the two ladies who came were Mary Magdalene and another Mary. Luke says there were more than two ladies at the tomb that morning. I don’t really think it matters how many were there, but ladies, isn’t it awesome to hear that WOMEN were the first ones to find out that the Lord had risen from the dead? These women ran back to the apostles to tell them what they had seen and heard. Have you ever been in a group of ladies who were so excited they were speaking so fast and probably didn’t make a lick of sense? I have a feeling that was what happened. Luke 24:11-12 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Jesus also appeared to Cleopas and another man on the road to Emmaus. They didn’t recognize him at first, but when he broke bread with them, they realized that it was He in their presence. Jesus then appeared in the presence of the 11 Apostles. In the flesh. Flesh and bones. He ate with them, opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he told them to stay in the city until they were “clothed with power from on high” (v.49)
Each of the four Gospels give different witness accounting of what had happened that Sunday morning, but they all concur on one thing. Jesus was alive.
Matthew 28:5-7 5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then 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.”
Mark 16:5-7 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ “
Luke 24:4-7 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ “
John 20: 10-18 10Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
Dear ones, we celebrate today because Jesus overcame the grave. It was written in the scriptures that he would be crucified, die and be buried, and rise again on the 3rd day. He was placed on the cross to take our place, to bear our sin, so that we would be sinless in the sight of God. It’s a free gift for you. The Lord died for you right where you are in this time. You don’t have to clean up anything. You don’t have to redeem yourself first to accept this gift. God loves you. It may be hard to believe with the sin we all bear, but he will never leave or forsake you. He wants you to be a part of his forever family. Put out your hands. Accept the free gift of His Son. Jesus didn’t die. He is alive today and will return for His people.
Celebrate! He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!