Are You Ready to Feel the Earth Move?
This morning we will look at three stages of Christian life. One is doing things because we feel like we are supposed to. Then there is living in guilt and not knowing what to do next. The third, there is following a God given calling upon our lives. We have to make a choice where they will stay, of those three choices the one we stay at is either safe and secure or it will scare us to death. It is this decision and commitment to follow Christ wherever he leads to gives excitement and purpose to life.
Jesus I pray for the people within this room. They are at different stages of life, from different parts of the world, from all different walks of life – but there is a common bond between us, and that is you. You go before us, this morning give us boldness to follow You as we never have before.
The Resurrection Causes Us To Expect the Unexpected (vv. 1)
“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.”
In order to buy spices to prepare Jesus’ body for proper burial, the women would have had to have waited until sunset on Friday when the shops reopened after the Passover Feast. It was too late by then to prepare Jesus’ body.
Knowing that the shops were closed, Luke tells us that they chose to follow those who took Jesus’ body to the tomb to see where he was to be buried. John 19:39-40 tells us that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea had already anointed the body, or placed over 75 pounds of spices around his body, and wrapped Jesus’ body in a cloth.
Apparently, Nicodemus’ and Joseph’s burial preparation was not adequate to the women’s standard so that night they prepared the spices, they had purchased. The next day they rested during the day of Sabbath in observance of the law.
It was a hot climate and after two and a half days, a body would have been well on its way toward decomposition. This willingness to deal with the decay shows the women’s devotion to Christ. Their willingness to purchase the expensive spices also shows their love for Him.
So the men (in John 19) and the women coming to him here early in the morning did not expect a resurrection of Jesus. If they had expected Jesus to come back to life, then they all would have been there waiting outside the tomb. Not to mention the male disciples are in no way even interested in going to the tomb until after they heard he had risen.
If the men and the women had expected Jesus to be raised again, why waste the money on spices, and why shed all the tears? No one really expected to see Jesus Christos again. Later on the angel says, “just as He had said (v. 7),” – but they didn’t believe Him. They expected to see the decaying corpse Jesus that they had laid in the tomb. But they did not expect to really see the Jesus who said, “I am the resurrection and the Life (John 11:25).”
What Jesus do you expect to be in your life? The disciples loved Jesus, the women loved Jesus but they did not believe in the resurrected Jesus (that would come later).
There are all kinds of different Jesus’ – There is little baby Jesus. We get him out once a year, set him some where in our homes, he may even bought him at Wal-Mart, he’s life size and plastic. But you know what, little baby Jesus is safe. He’s easy to take out and put away when it’s convenient or the season is over. Little baby Jesus doesn’t ask very much of us, only that we say, “awww how cute.”
There is also Sunday School Jesus – He’s there for me at the building and I can leave him there. He doesn’t follow me around, he is made of felt and I can pick Him up, stick Him on a flannel board, and next week when I come back, He’ll be right there. He had some interesting things to say but it’s not like I am going to take him with me anywhere.
There is also the dead Jesus – This Jesus makes me feel horrible. He went through all the agony of the crucifixion and bore my sins, and then he died. They buried Him, the disciples were sad, his mother was sad. Those close to him went away without hope. Tears were shed. This Jesus makes me feel guilty because of all the bad things I have done.
Is there another Jesus? And if there is another Jesus what do we really expect Him to be like, and how does this other Jesus affect us? Let’s have a look.
The Resurrection Causes Us To Live A Faith in Life (vv. 2-8)
“And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
The women did not expect to be able to get into the grave to prepare his body, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” A better way to read this sentence is, “and they kept on asking who will roll the stone away?” From the time they left their home, to the time they arrived they were asking this question.
“Salome, how are going to move that stone?” “Mary, I don’t know how, but we must go and do this.” They were driven in a respect for the dead, to anoint his body in a fitting way, they were fixated, they had to do this, even though they didn’t know how they would accomplish it.
These women were fixed on taking steps of faith in death. How they were going to do it, they didn’t know – but they took step after step that took them to the tomb. All along the way, they were looking down. They were carrying the weight of the spices, they were carrying the weight of the reality that their beloved teacher and friend has been brutally crucified.
And when they arrived and looked up, “And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.”
These women were about to be challenged to go deeper in their faith. Now was a time to take steps of faith in life. In their minds they could see themselves preparing a body for burial (as hard as that was) but they couldn’t see themselves doing what the Resurrected Jesus was telling them to do! When we encounter the Resurrected Jesus, it changes everything.
They discover that there is an angel there who tells them that “He has risen; he is not here.” And look at their response – (v. 8) “And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
They had the strength to do what they were supposed to do. Women were supposed to take care of this kind of stuff. Are you ok, with doing what you feel a good mom or dad is supposed to do? Are you ok with doing what a good spouse is supposed to do? Go to church, be a nice person, don’t cuss, help out somewhere.
They had the faith to make their way to the tomb – they didn’t know how they would move the stone, but they went anyway. But when the angel told them to be missionaries, when the angel told them to proclaim, “He is Risen.” They are over come with fear and trembling.
In bewilderment they fled. They said nothing – they were afraid. These women who had the strength to prepare the decayed body of their good friend – were blown away with what to do with a resurrected Jesus.
They did not expect to see an angel, to receive instructions, or to be sent as God’s representatives or messengers. They simply did not expect their lives to be any different than they were right then.
They want their friend, healer, teacher, that Jesus back. They want the Jesus they can hug, and have smile at them. They don’t know what to do with the Resurrected Jesus who sends them to be on mission. They don’t want things to change, but God has a bigger plan.
Get this, being a Christian is more than doing what you are supposed to do. You don’t need the Resurrected Jesus to do what the world expects for a good person to do. When we encounter the Resurrected Christ He sends us and calls us to do things that are beyond what our tiny minds can fathom. We must have Him, if we are to accomplish the size of tasks He calls us to.
The women “8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” When was the last time you encountered Christ and upon understanding the scope of what he desires to do through your life that it left you trembling?
“Lord I can’t do that” bewildered “Lord, how is that even possible?” When was the last time as you stood in His presence that you could say nothing, under the weight of the calling upon your life – “Lord you will do this through my life?”
The Jesus who had been with them, is now the resurrected Christ who would go before them. The angel said, “’He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” He is not here – where is here? He is not where you are at this moment. Right now you are standing in the tomb, under the weight of spices to anoint a body.
Drew, you don’t know how bad of a person I am. If you could see my heart then you would know that there is no way that Jesus could forgive me. He is not here – He has Risen! He has moved on. It is time for you to move on as well. Jesus goes before us, He call us to do great things on His behalf, “just as he tells us.”
The Jesus on the cross does leave us feeling guilty, he died for our sins – but the Resurrected Jesus tells his angels to give a message to the disciples. Remember all the disciples had left Him, and denied Him, and felt absolutely hopeless.
1 Corinthians 15:17, 19 “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” The resurrection changes things.
The angel says, “tell his disciples and Peter” – why does Jesus specifically send a message to Peter? Matthew 26:69-75 “Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. 70But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. 71Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” 73After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.” 74Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”
Peter swears that he would never leave Jesus, even if it cost him his life – but only a short time later, sure enough he denies Jesus on three different occasions. Peter felt horrible because of his sin, but Jesus was going before this disciple who had fallen and failed.
Because Jesus completed our restoration back to God, and finished what was required for salvation – we who have failed and fallen in Christ can keep on going. We can start over. He still goes before us; He still calls us to follow Him.
He goes before us into eternity, John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
When the disciples get to Galilee Jesus sends them on a mission; Matthew 28:16-20 “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Just as Jesus sent the women, and the disciples, Jesus also sends us. What if I fail “Jesus is not in the tomb, He is Risen.’ “How will I know what to do?” Jesus goes before us, He will lead the way. What if I die, “Jesus has prepared a place for us.”
We are in three areas of faith, one is doing what you are supposed to do, walking in death. One is to do what we have been sent to do, walking in life. But don’t get stuck in the tomb – Jesus is not there, He has gone on before you. What step of faith do you need to take this morning?
The first step might just be asking Jesus for forgiveness of your sin, and thanking Him for dying on the cross. He did this for us as a gift that each person can receive or deny. Another step might be moving beyond the guilt of your send and asking God to show what He desires to do through your life.
Someone here may already know the answer to that question, but has been holding back and not fully surrendering to what God has told you or called you to do – whatever the commitment is, do it today.