Early on the first day of the week (Sunday)
Actually, Sunday worship began BECAUSE of this event. Previously, Jewish worship was on Saturday (the Sabbath).
This is GOOD NEWS! That’s why this is one of the gospels. Gospel = “good news.”
Mary Magdalene was one woman who followed Jesus to the cross, and saw him die, and watched where he was buried.
She was from Magdala (town name) near Galilee. She was a woman from whom Jesus had cast out 7 demons. So, she was obviously quite thankful to Jesus for that.
She followed him to Jerusalem, and helped him in his earthly ministry, and provided some financial help.
Now, because of the short interim between Jesus’ death and the coming of the Sabbath, the women at the cross didn’t have enough time to anoint his body with spices. So, because of the Sabbath, they had to go home to rest (from Friday sunset – Jesus’ death, to Saturday sunset – end of the Sabbath). Then, the next day, Sunday, they came early to the tomb to anoint his body – they couldn’t wait any longer to anoint him for death (but they were good Jews following the Sabbath, so they couldn’t go Saturday).
When they arrived, there was a violent earthquake and the stone rolled away from the tomb. They were obviously alarmed. But a young man (angel) said, “Do not be afraid. Jesus is gone. Go to Galilee and meet Jesus!” But, the women couldn’t understand fully this testimony, so they went to Peter and John and said, “They took away our Lord, we don’t know where they put him.” This caused sudden and intense action from the disciples. They raced to the tomb (John was younger, he won). John did not enter the tomb, just bent over and looked inside. He saw the cloths lying there. He was likely thinking logically and reasonably.
Then, when Peter arrived, he suddenly, unthinkingly entered the tomb (he’s a man of action). And he noticed the cloths were folded up nicely and neatly.
- In this story, Mary was “feeler”
- Peter was “doer”
- John was “thinker”
Mary was too sorrowful to think and believe.
Peter was too busy to think and believe.
But, finally, John went inside, he saw and believed. (He thought deeply, logically, systematically).
- There was a violent earthquake.
- The tomb opened.
- Jesus was not there.
- The cloths were there.
- The cloths were folded in order, nicely and neatly. (Did you fold your blanket this morning?)
If we think about this logically, this event CANNOT be logically explained WITHOUT the resurrection of Jesus.
So, Peter and John returned to their homes, but Mary stayed, crying, she bent over and looked in again. Two angels appeared again, one at the head, one at the feet. “Woman, why are you crying?”
Then, at that time, Jesus, who rose from the dead appeared to Mary, but Mary didn’t realize it was Jesus because her continual crying blinded her – so she couldn’t recognize him.
He said, “Woman, why are you crying?”
She thought he was the gardener, so asked for Jesus’ body if he’d carried him away.
At that time, Jesus called her by name, “Mary.”
At that moment, she was so surprised that this man knew her name, so she turned and recognized him and called him, “My Master! (Rabboni)”
Her immediate reaction was to grab him and hug him.
He said, “Wait, I’m busy, I must return to God my Father. So, you have a mission, to go to the disciples and tell them.”
So, she went to the disciples and told them “I have seen the Lord.”
This is the very first preaching of the gospel, the good news.
In the matter of Jesus, Mary had at least 3 Guiness World Records.
- The FIRST person at the tomb
- The FIRST person who saw him AND the FIRST person Jesus called by name
- The FIRST person who delivered the gospel message to the apostles. (She was sent as an apostle to the apostles)
Jesus’ death and resurrection is of paramount importance for several reasons.
#1: This is the fundamental doctrine of Christianity
(if you don’t believe this ONE thing AT LEAST, you aren’t a Christian). The whole Bible, the whole faith, the whole Christian life stands or falls on this one point. If it’s not true, everything is vain, a lie, futile. Also, we are still in our sins, all Christians are lost, and most to be pitied of ALL men in the world. (1 Corinthians 15).
The heart message of the gospel is Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Have you ever been in another religion before? Or do you know of the big differences between other religions and Christianity?
Other religions keep silent about the death of their founders (plus, ALL the founders have MASSIVE tombs that are visited every year by millions of followers on pilgrimage).
But, Christianity ALWAYS preaches about our founder’s death! We boldly BOAST in his death! Why? Because he IS NOT dead! He is Risen!
#2: This is an essential part in the application of our salvation.
Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
“Since we have been justified in his death, how much more will we be saved in his life?”
Salvation is provided, offered to ALL humans unconditionally in his death.
But it is applied in his death ONLY to those who believe in him.
(Unlimited Limited Atonement)
It was necessary that he must die and rise again in order to 1. Be a King, 2. give us forgiveness, 3. give us the Holy Spirit
#3: This is a manifestation of divine power
- In OT, the standard for divine power was the Exodus, the power in which God brought Israel out of Egypt.
- In NT, the standard for divine power was the resurrection of Jesus – it demonstrated his holiness.
Also, this divine power is available for us if we belong to Jesus.
Romans 8:11 “And If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Him to life will give eternal life to our mortal bodies.”
Jesus goal, vision, dream is to raise us in the Last Day – those who believe in him.
So, if we summarize the whole story of the Bible in the very shortest sentence…
OT: (John 5:39) “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by the Scriptures, you receive eternal life. But these Scriptures are the Scriptures that testify about ME.” From Genesis to Revelation, ALL testify to Jesus.
So, OT from Genesis to Malachi, this is the Prophecy of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
- NT from Matthew to John = the Historical Facts of the Death and Resurrection
- Acts = The Fruit of the Death and Resurrection
- Epistles (Letters) = Spiritual meaning, blessing, interpretation of Death and Resurrection
- Revelation = the Prophecy of the Returning King
- Historical Fact = Jesus died and rose again
- Historical Faith = Jesus is still alive now
- Saving Faith = Jesus is still alive now IN ME (as my Savior, as my Lord, as my King)
God has given Jesus the name that is above all names so that at his name, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Revelation?)
This vision of God will be fulfilled absolutely, unconditionally.
Do you kneel down and confess that Jesus is Lord? If we do this now, here, in this lifetime, we will experience eternal blessing and life.
But, if we do NOT do that and do not confess, then we have to do that in the world to come, in Hell, eternally.
Let me close with that vision of God.
This is God’s absolute vision in the matter of Jesus’ Lordship – it will be fulfilled absolutely
Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above all names, that at his name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, on the Earth, above the Earth, below the Earth, that Jesus is Lord.
Do you believe that there is the glory of God even in Hell? There is.
- If we do this on Earth, we will forever in heaven as well.
- If we do not do this on Earth, we will forever in hell anyway.
God bless us all with this word.