Introduction: Thanks for tuning in to our Easter service!
Our Easter series of messages are entitled Questions from Calvary.
- I am examining questions because, when asked honestly, questions reveal what is on the mind and in the heart of the asker; they reflect what a person is thinking or feeling.
- Today’s question, which I have titled, A Challenging Question, was spoken by an angel,
- It is found at Luke 24:5 (NLT)—…“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?”
- The resurrection of Jesus is the most significant event in history and essential to our faith.
- Jesus suffered and died for our sins on Good Friday, but it is His Easter resurrection that proves that the Son’s death was accepted by the Father as sufficient to cleanse us of sin.
- In fact, Paul wrote at 1 Corinthians 15:17 (NLT), …if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. [1 Corinthians 15:17-19]
- An angel’s question, asked on Easter morning, challenged two women (Mary the mother of James, and Salome; Mark 16:1) to remember Jesus’ promise that He would be raised from the dead! (Mary Magdalene arrived earlier than the others and left; John 20:1-2.)
- Let’s consider this angel’s question…
An angel’s question [was]… (Luke 24:1-9)
#1 - Received by the despondent. (Luke 24:1-4; C/R: Matthew 19:26; 27:62-66; 28:1-4; Mark 16:3; Luke 23:50-56)
- Luke 24:1 (NLT)—But very early on Sunday morning [Gk. the first day of the week] the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. [Jews had no names for the days of the week, numbered them in relation to the Sabbath, the seventh day.]
- After Jesus’ crucifixion and burial on Friday, these women had returned home to observe the Sabbath, prepared spices after sundown on Saturday, then rose early to go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ corpse. (Luke 23:50–56)
- Imagine how they felt: filled with despair, burdened by grief, their hope of God’s kingdom being ushered in perished when Jesus died.
- When they approached the tomb; they saw in the early light that the grave had been disturbed!
- Luke 24:2-3 (NLT)—2 They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 3 So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus.
- These women were surprised to find the stone moved; in fact, they had discussed the problem of who would move it for them (Mark 16:3).
- They apparently weren’t aware that guards would be at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ disciples from stealing His body and claiming a resurrection. (Matthew 27:62–66)
- Luke 24:4a (NLT)—As they stood there puzzled... [perplexed, confused, uncertain, bewildered, to be at a loss] two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. [Matthew and John identify them as angels, but Luke doesn’t.]
- The guards proved no problem, because when they saw the angel, they fainted! (Matthew 28:2-4)
- These women believed Jesus was dead, so they went to honor His passing, to prepare His corpse to be permanently laid in a tomb.
- Their Savior was deceased; their hoped-for Messiah had expired.
- They thought humanly, and forgot, or didn’t fully grasp, that in Jesus, they were encountering God for whom nothing—even resurrection—is impossible! (Matthew 19:26)
- These women had benefitted from Jesus’ teaching, had grown in their trust of God, had been inspired by His words to live more faithfully, but now He was dead!
- : Is your Savior alive or dead? If you are relying on Jesus’ death for forgiveness of sins, but have no on-going relationship with Him, your Savior might as well be dead!
- A living relationship with Jesus is like one with any person; it includes on-going conversation and interaction, but also intrusion into your life, influence on your decisions, and confrontation when you go astray!
- : Are you looking for a dead Savior who will get you into heaven, but leave you alone on earth? That’s not who He is! He’s alive!
The angel’s question…
#2 - Reminded [the women] of Jesus’ words. (Luke 24:5-7; C/R: Matthew 16:21; Luke 9:22; John 6:67-69; 2 Corinthians 1:20)
- Luke 24:5a (NLT)—The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. [They went from being puzzled to being terrified by the shining appearance of these men in gleaming clothes, radiating a dazzling light, which caused them to bow!]
- Luke 24:5b-6a (NLT)—5b Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6a He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!
- This angelic question was the first announcement that Jesus was alive.
- It seems that the first three human witnesses (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome) all thought Jesus’ body had been taken.
- The angel challenged these women to remember what Jesus told them months before.
- Luke 24:6b-7 (NLT)— 6b Remember what He told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that He would rise again [lit., been raised by the Spirit, passive] on the third day.”[Matthew 16:21; Luke 9:22]
- Since Jesus had predicted His resurrection, they should have been expecting it, but obviously they did not, since they brought spices to anoint His dead body.
- Every one of Jesus’ words, and EVERY promise of God either has come true or will come true. (John 6:67-69; 2 Corinthians 1:20)
- It is the living words, the truths spoken by our living Savior, that transforms our lives when applied to us by the Holy Spirit.
- : What words of Jesus have changed your life?
The angel’s question was…
#3 - Responded [to] with action [by these women]. (Luke 24:8-9; C/R: John 11:25-26; 14:26; Romans 10:13-17; Philippians 4:6-7; James 2:17-26)
- Luke 24:8-9 (NLT)—8 Then they remembered that He had said this. 9 So they rushed back from the tomb to tell His eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened.
- This news was too fantastic to take casually; it propelled them into motion!
- They had a message to convey to the disciples—and to anyone else who would listen!
- These women experienced news so wonderful that it had to be shared—and so have you!
- When we receive, or rather spiritually experience (John 14:26), this news that Jesus is alive, it changes us—and causes us to become concerned for others.
- Experiencing the Easter reality of Jesus’ resurrection compels us to love and serve others (James 2:17-18), and also to share this wonderful news that Jesus lives (Romans 10:13-17)—and because of that, we too, can live eternally by faith!
- By faith, we can trust Jesus’ promise of peace when facing trials and sorrows, such as this coronavirus, because He has overcome this fallen world of sin and sickness. (John 16:33)
- We can find comfort and freedom from worry through prayer (Philippians 4:6-7) by giving our worries and cares to God, who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
- As we close this Easter service, let’s worship as we reflect on the life, the death and the glorious resurrection of our living Savior through this song: What a Beautiful Name.
- John 11:25–26 (NLT)—25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in Me and believes in Me will never ever die. Do you believe this…?”
- : Do you believe this? Discuss this question with your family, friends, watch party.