Sunday, 21 March 2010
09:50:04 PM (GMT)
:3 the title is the station you may go to to hear some music and I think it also
plays today's sermon. So if you're at all interested, its there for you.
Matthew 28: 1-15
1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the
other Mary went to look at the tomb.
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.
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."
8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to
tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him,
clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go
and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
The Guards' Report
11While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and
reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12When the chief priests
had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of
money, 13telling them, "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." 15So the soldiers took the money and did as
they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to
this very day.
Easter is coming up. The day we celebrate Jesus' resurrection and so here are the
most popular explanations from people who claim Jesus did not rise from the dead.
And basically it boils down to- Either the tomb was occupied or it was empty.
And yes, these are real theories.
"The unknown tomb"
The most common method of disposing of crucified people, for many were crucified in
that time period, was to dig a mass grave and toss them in. It is said that Jesus
must have been thrown into one of these mass graves, and that Joseph did not give him
his tomb at all. Then everything else was fictitious.
"The wrong tomb"
Everybody went to the wrong tomb. That of course Jesus wasn't in the tomb and the
stone was rolled away because they went to the wrong one. Mary and the women, the
angel, and Joseph all went back to the wrong tomb. And as for the Roman guards who
were there to guard Jesus' tomb... I don't know what explanation is given for them.
Because they were stationed there throughout Jesus' burial and they themselves rolled
the stone into place and stayed there until the whole time.
"The Legend Theory"
The whole thing was made up. Maybe Jesus was crucified, maybe he wasn't. But
certainly everything about the tomb was made up. And as for the 500+ people who
claimed to have seen Jesus appear before them after the third day... I guess they
say that didn't happen either. Even though Christianity didn't go underground,
churches began very shortly after Jesus died. And if the whole thing about his
resurrection was made up, people would still be around who knew otherwise. His death
was very public.
That only his spirit was resurrected. That his body actually decayed in those three
days and it was his spirit that moved the boulder. This theory really baffles me,
because if people can believe his spirit returned then they must also believe that he
was the son of God, right?
All post resurrection sightings were actually the same hallucination. All 500+
people (and yes, it is well documented that there were that many people who saw him
in the same city as well as others including one particular gathering of about 500
people who all saw him) had the same hallucination. They thought he was there but he
"Stolen by Disciples"
That they successfully stole away Jesus' body. That the Roman guards actually did
fall asleep or instead helped them recover Jesus' body. Disregarding that the Romans
killed their soldiers whenever they failed. That these soldiers were either careless
enough to all fall asleep while the boulder was moved or their drinks were drugged
somehow or bribed or something. When Jesus died, Joseph was about the only
person who had any hope that he indeed was going to rise from the dead. Everyone
else basically forgot that he even said that AND the disciples were cowering in a
hotel thinking they too would be killed.
This one, that the disciples faked everything, it just doesn't make any sense. All
except for John were eventually tortured and killed! Some beheaded, one crucified
upside down, some stoned. Do you think they would have been tortured and killed for
something they KNEW was not true? These men gained no luxury no royal treatment no
servants nothing material for being Jesus' disciples so why would they have died for
"Stolen by the Authorities"
Bottom line, if the authorities stole his body or had it taken... why? Why on earth
would the people who had him killed stage that he fulfilled his last prophecy, one
that many people were unaware of? Why?
And the most popular, the "Swoon" theory.
Jesus never really died. He fainted or he vinegar in the sponge was drugged, either
way he passed out and woke up in the tomb. Let me clarify the documented procedure
for Roman soldiers when they crucified someone. To ensure death, they speared the
individual through the ribs and into the heart. These soldiers have DONE THIS
BEFORE. They were on Crucifixion duty and had done this many times. If a soldier
failed to ensure a person sentenced to crucifixion was dead, he himself would be
killed. This was law and it is documented. Jesus was checked by FOUR roman soldiers
who all agreed that he was very dead. So to believe that Jesus woke back up in that
tomb a time after having been stabbed through the ribs and into the heart AFTER being
tortured, AFTER being on the cross, the man who could not carry his own cross all of
the way to the site and was helped by someone else, the guy who's arms were
dislocated from the crucifixion procedure. This man didn't die?? He was able to
WALK? The crucifixion process was that the feet were nailed through between the
bone and the Achilles tendon. How can anyone, ANYONE explain that this person
did not die?
Jesus planned it all. The vinegar he was given DID have have a drug in it BUT OH NO!
Jesus was stabbed into the heart and died instead of appearing dead and waking up
later like they had planned. So Joseph found a double. He found a man which looked
exactly like Jesus! He gave the man instructions and the disciples all pretended
that he was Jesus. And that goes back to the other one, that they all later died
(except John) for a lie. Or that these men who had traveled with Jesus all this time
were fooled by a double.
HE. IS. RISEN.
Why do people try so hard to dismiss God? Do you not want to need a savior? Do you
WANT to believe that Jesus was not the son of God?
"Don't confuse me with the facts. I refuse to believe whatever you have to
tell me" It is the honest truth that there are indeed people who say almost exactly
that. I have met one. He was asked "do you believe in Christ your savior?" to which
he answered no. Then he was asked "If Christ really were the son of God,
would you want to know?" to which he also replied no and then left.
Can you dismiss eye witness accounts, dismiss that 4 guards pronounced Jesus dead,
dismiss that tombs have been discovered which contained crucified individuals, or say
that the whole thing was fiction? That the church even got off the ground and
thrived while people still alive could say "no he didn't rise from the dead, his
tomb's right there." or "I saw him thrown into a mass grave myself".
Jesus IS who he said he was. The word is true and his purpose is clear. To save
sinners that all men will come to know him. That you have a personal and imperative
need for him, even if you do not know it. It is about changing your reliance from
this earth, these people, or anything else and putting it to God. It is personal and
it is imperative.
And those who do believe that he rose from the dead, to you I say the truth. The
greatest evidence of a risen Lord is to live a changed life. The old is gone and the
new is come.
May this Easter be so much more than eggs, colorful outfits and family gettogethers.
You know why we celebrate.