April 24, 2022

Online Worship for Easter Two, Sunday April 24, 2022

Passage: Matthew 28:1-2
Service Type:

Sermon for Easter Two – Sunday April 24, 2022
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you. Amen.

Matthew 28:1-2
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. **

In the Name of Jesus, the Christ,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Blood –

After most gatherings of human beings...there are things left behind. When the event is over and everyone has left, there are still things that remain. Some are left behind to be reused: like trash cans and portable restrooms. Some things – like advertisement posters and programs -- have served their purpose and are to be gathered up and discarded.

After a large event, like a concert or sporting event...it often happens that people forget things. Phones, coats and purses that are left behind are collected and placed in the ‘Lost and Found.’ There the item waits for their owner to find and reclaim them. Sometimes they are never reclaimed.

After tragic events, like an accident or a homicide...there are things left behind...evidence bearing witness to the event. There is broken glass and plastic and skid marks; the outline of bodies, evidence tents to mark their place and to recreate the event.

After the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus there were things left behind. They are things that most wouldn’t notice or that we might pass by without a thought, like discarded items on the side of the highway. We probably don’t think them significant, but each of them was used and played a role. Jesus’ death and resurrection are actual historical events, so each of these things left behind have meaning and a message for us today.

What are these things left behind? They are a large stone, linen cloths, a face cloth, an uneaten meal, leftover broiled fish and honeycomb... all of these things were left behind and serve to confirm Jesus’ Resurrection.

We will mentally collect each of them during the Sundays after Easter. In each case we will ask: “What was its purpose? Did it serve its purpose? Why was it left behind? What, if anything does it mean? What does it teach or serve to remind us?”

May God the Holy Spirit bless our meditation upon what the Word of God says about each of these things. It is our earnest prayer always that the Spirit of God sanctify us by the truth, His Word is Truth. Amen.


It was a large stone according to the Gospel writers Matthew and Mark (Matthew 27:60, Mark 16:3-4) ...possibly carved out of a larger piece of rock. We picture it as large and round, because we are told it was ‘rolled’ into place by two men, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. If we came upon this stone some place apart from the tomb it would probably go unnoticed. If we saw it, we might only ask why it was made.

All four of the Gospel writers (Matthew 27:60, 28:2; Mark 15:46, 16:3-4; Luke 24:2; John 20:1) mention this stone because it served an important purpose. It was rolled into place over the mouth or entrance to the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid on Good Friday. The next day the same large stone was ‘sealed’ by Pontius Pilate and a guard set to guard it at the request of the Chief Priests and Pharisees (Matthw27:62-66).

What was the purpose of this Large Stone? We are told that it was rolled into place to seal the tomb in which Jesus’ body was laid. Even as we close up the casket and seal it in a vault and bury it in the ground...so they sealed the tomb with a large rock. It served a number of purposes. It hid the body and perhaps it’s decomposing odor. It served to keep animals from eating and scattering the remains.

In the minds of the Chief Priests and Pharisees, the stone also served to keep Jesus’ disciples from stealing the body and claiming that He had risen from the dead. The stone itself was practical. The fact that it was ‘sealed’ and ‘guarded’ was strange. The dead don’t usually need to be confined or placed under guard.
Did the stone serve its purpose? I suppose it did serve to hide the body of Jesus, but there was no need to confine the odor of decomposing flesh...because Jesus’ body didn’t rot. In fact, the Spirit of God had moved the Psalmist David to foretell that God’s Holy One, the Christ, would not decompose.

In Psalm 16, the Psalmist David wrote of his own confidence that He would not be abandoned in the grave and then also foretold that His Lord, the Holy One would not see corruption (Psalm 16:9-10, ESV):

“ Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”

After the Resurrection, on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter bore witness to this truth, declaring (Acts 2:29-32):

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.

The Stone was unnecessary as a barrier to Jesus’ disciples. They were hardly the bold ‘grave robber’ types after Jesus’ Crucifixion. They hid behind locked doors for fear of the Jews (John 20:19). They thought the same fate might befall them. Moreover, Jesus didn’t need Nicodemus or Joseph or any of the other disciples to roll the stone away.

For even as the LORD God sent angels to proclaim His birth, the humble coming of the Christ, the Prince of Peace; so, also He sent an angel to reveal what had already occurred. Christ had been raised from the dead.

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. **

It wasn’t the earthquake that dislodged the stone or rolled it away. It was rather that before the terrified eyes of the Roman Guard, a supernatural soldier descended from heaven and came and rolled back the large stone. The same flashing angel then sat upon the stone as if to say, “Let’s leave this right here where it is.” There was no longer a need for the stone for there was no longer a dead man within the tomb.

The Tomb was empty. Christ had arisen. The once practical use of the stone became impractical and unnecessary. There is no point in sealing up an empty tomb.

The Truth is that the stone didn’t confine the Christ in the tomb. Christ had already arisen that morning, but no one would have known if the stone remained in place. So, before the women ever arrived to finish embalming the body of Jesus, the angel rolled away the stone to show that He was already gone.

The Angel said as much (Matthew 28:5b-6):

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”

The LORD God didn’t have to have the stone removed. He might have simply declared, “The tomb is empty. Christ is arisen!” The LORD God knows how weak we are, what skeptics and doubting Thomases we are. He wanted us to be sure that Christ wasn’t in the grave...so He sent an angel to roll away the stone...to open the entrance to the tomb. The same angel invited the women to look and see, to verify that the Living Jesus was truly gone. Peter and John verified it.

The stone wasn’t only rolled away and discarded for you...but to show the whole world that Christ had arisen from death. Charles Wesley, drawing upon this truth, wrote of the stone using the words we will sing shortly (TLH 193:3):

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal; Christ has burst the gates of hell.
Death in vain forbids His rise; Christ has opened Paradise.

The stone served a single purpose...to conceal the dead. When Christ arose it was no longer needed, it had served its purpose. It was discarded like so many things left behind.

If we stumbled upon this stone today...we’d probably not even take note of it. If it wasn’t reused or buried; it has probably crumbled from the seasons and the weather. I doubt we’d be able to see signs of the wax seal once affixed to it by Roman Soldiers. We would probably walk by it...and not even notice.

We only remember the large stone...because it was rolled away. Once rolled away, it was forgotten. If it were found today it would have no value. No one would have it hauled away to a museum. The world would ignore it, like it does every other stone.

This large stone...though holding no value to the world...is precious to us. It says to us, “Look for yourself, the tomb is empty, Jesus has arisen. Your sins are forgiven.”

The Veil -- For before Jesus breathed His last, He declared: “It is finished!” Then when He died, the veil that hung in the Temple of Yahweh – symbolic of how sin separates man from God -- was torn in two from top to bottom. The message of God was clear – sin has been taken out of the way. There is now access to God through Jesus’ death.

The Stone – Then early in the morning on the third day, the large stone was rolled away and discarded. The open tomb shows that death has been defeated. He lives.

Sometimes we use little things to remind us of greater spiritual lessons.

We wear crosses -- to remind us of what God has done for us through the Cross.
We sometimes carry nails -- to remember the price paid for our Redemption.

It doesn’t seem practical to carry a large stone around, but maybe the next time you come across a small, flat stone... pick it up and tuck it in your pocket or purse. Then every time you reach into pocket or purse and touch it, be reminded of the Stone left behind, and rejoice that Christ is arisen.


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