Online Worship for Easter Three, Sunday April 18, 2021
Sermon for Easter Two – 4/10/05 -- Sunday April 18, 2021
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.
8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
Who lives to stand by us,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His Blood –
It didn’t happen to me, and it wasn’t my money – but was there when the deal went down. I was working for Atlas Van lines at the time and my boss and I were sitting at a truck stop in Louisiana when a man knocked on the driver’s side door of the truck. My boss opened the door and asked what the man wanted.
He said that he had a bunch of TVs with built in VCRs in his truck and he was trying to sell them for $100 (in 1989). He wanted to know if we were interested. My boss dug into his wallet and came up with $100. The man took the money, thanked him, and said he’d be right back with the TV/VCR.
He disappeared amongst the hundreds of trucks in the lot – and never returned…with the $100 or a TV/VCR.
It is a general rule of thumb when purchasing something that -- if the deal seems to be too good to be true – then it probably is.
If you find a new $20,000 vehicle for $200 then chances are – there must be something very wrong with it (like the engine is missing).
If someone knocks on your door and offers to sell you a $1000 TV for $50, then you should be skeptical.
If it seems too good to be true, then it usually is…
This morning we will ask again what the Resurrection of Jesus meant to those who first heard the news. 1) In the eyes of the Roman Soldiers, it was a sensitive problem to be reported. 2) In the eyes of the Religious leaders of the Jews it was something to be covered up and denied.
What was the Resurrection of Jesus to the women who first found the tomb empty?
What was the Resurrection of Jesus to the Disciples of Jesus when they first heard the news?
Is the Resurrection of Jesus – too good to be true?
May God the Holy Spirit strengthen our faith in Christ and in the power of His Resurrection through these words. Amen.
And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles.
Do you have trouble remembering things? Do you get up from your chair and go into the other room – only to find that you can’t remember what you got up to go get? Do you find it easy to remember the most useless bit of trivia – but unable to remember for sure the ages of your children?
We aren’t the only ones who forget important things.
Jesus told his disciples beforehand on a number of occasions exactly what was going to happen – but it seems that they forgot!
When we are told here that ‘they remembered His words’ – it wasn’t the Apostles that remembered (the eleven remaining disciples) – but the women who had been reminded by the angel inside of the empty tomb.
They are simply called ‘the women’ and we only know a few of them by name -- Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James (also called Salome). These three were the chief women of a larger group of women who followed Jesus and supported Him when He traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem.
They are referred to like this (Luke 8:2-3):
“…and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.”
We may not know them all by name, but we do know what they had planned to do that early Sunday morning – to finish embalming Jesus’ body. They had been there when Jesus was first laid to rest (Matthew 27:61) and remembered the stone and were concerned about removing it – until they arrived and found it rolled away.
It seems that Mary Magdalene didn’t go into the tomb and didn’t see the two angels.
Instead, she went to find Peter and John when she saw the stone rolled away, assuming that Jesus’ body was missing.
The other women went into the tomb and there they found two angels, who said (Luke 24:5b-7):
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ And they remembered His words.”
When the angel reminded them, they remembered what Jesus had said – and then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to the rest.
What was the message of the Resurrection of Jesus to those women? It was a message to be told, one to be repeated again and again.
In fact, the original language indicates that they repeatedly told the disciples. But they didn’t stop with the disciples -- they sought out and told the rest as well.
What did they tell them? They didn’t just relate simple facts, they also reminded them of what Jesus had said. So, they didn’t just mumble a few words about the angels and then go back into seclusion. It doesn’t even appear that they were afraid!
The women were among the first to truly proclaim the good news of the Resurrection. It was, to them, a message to be told repeatedly despite unbelief.
The good news that Jesus is arisen should be the same for us -- something to be repeatedly told. We shouldn’t just stop with a basic – “Christ is Risen,” either. Our Lord Jesus would have us above all direct people to His Word.
It is amazing enough that Jesus arose from the dead – but that He said He would do so beforehand confirms that we need not doubt nor wonder about any of His other promises either. The Resurrection confirms that every one is good as gold.
Let’s learn from the example of the women – and not wait – but hurry to bring news to others. We don’t know how long it will be before the Lord Jesus returns – but we do know that -- those who do not know Him will face eternity IN their sins. We can’t afford to wait.
We can’t afford to sit on our hands and assume they know. We can’t afford to sit and wait for them to come to us and ask – we have to seek them out – like the women did. The fact that some will not believe – shouldn’t hinder us either!
How did the Apostles receive the message of the Resurrection – not as you might expect!
And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
If your car was making a funny sound, you might take it to a mechanic – who better to listen to the sound and figure out what is wrong, right? In a similar way we might think that the disciples, those men who had been with Jesus for 3 years and who heard all His promises would certainly put two and two together right?
They wouldn’t be like the religious leaders of the Jews – silence the women or at least ignore them, would they?
The message of the women seemed to them, at first, like idle tales, and they would not believe them. The word translated ‘idle tales’ is actually a medical term often used to describe the babblings of a feverish or insane patient! In the ears of the disciples the words of the women – were like the incoherent babblings of a crazy person.
Even though the women repeatedly told them – at first -- they did not believe them.
What was the message of the Resurrection to the apostles? It was at first, simply -- too good to be true.
We might be inclined to cut the disciples some slack. We know that we aren’t told these things so that we look down our noses at them and proudly imagine that WE would have believed. I mean, after all, it’s not like people come back from the dead every day!
We might be inclined to cut them some slack because we ourselves on occasion have in our own minds doubted God’s Word – and nobody is perfect! Hey, at least Peter went and checked it out, right?
We need to see such doubt for what it is – sinful weakness.
When Jesus walked with the Emmaus disciples that first Easter, He didn’t cut them slack, He rebuked them, saying (Luke 24:25-26):
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
We also sin when we do not take God at His Word, when we doubt Him or question His promises. The scriptures indicate that even Peter was slow to believe. The resurrection warranted some further investigation – but marveling to himself – he went away. He didn’t return to defend the women.
He didn’t believe and rejoice – but wondered what this could mean. Even seeing the linen cloth carefully set aside -- showing no hurried departure – only raised more questions, rather than lead him to a conclusion.
May the reaction of the disciples stand to us as a warning not to doubt the Word of God! God forgive us for Jesus’ sake when we do, and may he move us to rejoice in the Truth and never consider it – too good to be true. Amen.