Day Eight Sunday: Resurrection

Matthew 28: 5 – 8, John 20: 1 – 23, Luke 4: 4 – 49

What happened on that radical resurrection morning was more of a miracle than it would be for the sun to rise in the west. He arose!

Two approached the grave concerned with the removal of the gravestone in order to prepare it for the final entombment. The stone, to them a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, was a pebble to the Easter angel who had moved it away.

The correlation of the Greek texts of two different gospels reveals the stone had not simply been tilted away from the cave. It had been moved away a great distance uphill. These stones customarily weighed about three thousand pounds.

When God does something He does it right. He can roll away any stone in your path to spiritual truth and maturity.

An angel messenger met the visitors with the most hopeful message. Matthew simply focuses on the message of one of the two saying:

The day of the resurrection was the day —– THE SON ROSE BEFORE SUNRISE.

The angel said: “Fear not!” The Greek verb tense used means “stop being afraid.” All His little cadre of friends could say was, “We had HOPED that He was the one to redeem Israel…” (Luke 24:21). Their hope had died. When hope died fear was given birth. In the moment of death everything seems frozen to those grieving.

There was only yesterday – there was no tomorrow.

They were living on the wrong side of the resurrection. Today those who are still searching for some man-made, humanistic solution to our problem are living on the wrong side of the resurrection also. In the resurrection, the empire of joy, peace, and liberty was brought to light.

Biblical Christianity is a faith of promise, not of nostalgia. Its thrust and momentum is always forward. It moves inexorably into the future. It calls us to what lies ahead in Christ. This inspires and enables one to cope. This is the hope Easter inspires, there is reason to find out how to live through the resurrected Son of God who arose before sunrise.

Historian Arnold Toynbee, in his monumental work entitled,  The Study of History, devotes a chapter to saviors. He lists them in four categories:

The savior with a scepter —- the political savior.

The savior with a book —- the philosopher savior.

The savior with a sword —- the militant savior.

The man-god or god-man savior —- those of Greek mythology.

Professor Toynbee points out that each of these finally capitulates to the ultimate enemy, death. Politicians, kings, military leaders, philosophers all die. All of these demigods ultimately surrender to death. Then this imminent scholar concludes:

“When the last civilization comes to the river of death, there on the other side filling the whole horizon with Himself will be the Savior.”

If someone were to say to you they saw a dead man walking, you might think that person to be a candidate for residence on the “funny farm.” If five were to tell you that you might think it a joke. If ten bonded together with that story you might think it a conspiracy. If 500 said it, at the very least, don’t you think you ought to at least look in the coffin.

These did and so should we.

“Seen” as used in the texts means to behold. It can mean to comprehend. They had experienced the power of an elevating presence.

On Resurrection Sunday, or Easter, we reach the culmination of Holy Week. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event of the Christian faith. The very foundation of all Christian doctrine hinges on the truth of this account: