Easter Sunrise Service
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. 2And 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. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he£ lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
We often use the word hope in various ways talking about things we have no control over:
I hope my plane is on time and my flight is not cancelled.
I hope Martinez doesn’t get hurt and recovers to full strength.
Some hope that he will get hurt.
This is not how the Bible uses the word hope. It is certain.
Our passage today recounts for us the story of when Jesus came back to life after death. This is Easter. This is what we are celebrating!
The Big Idea: Christ coming back to life after a brutal death guarantees our hope.
Overview of the 2 main points: WHAT & HOW
I. WHAT hope the resurrection guarantees
Key question: Where is Jesus NOT in this scene?
V2,6. Jesus is not trying to get out. This is to let in the eyewitnesses.
Jesus died to settle an account with God, our account from our wrongdoings and sin.
Here’s the problem with sin. Somebody’s going to pay.
Illustration. You borrow my cell phone and break it
If I forgive you, I am still out 200.00. Two options: u pay or me
Yes, sin wrecks relationships but it is first an offense against the holy God?
God has the same two options: you pay or he pays. The problem is that he says no sweat, the payment is just every day of eternity suffering for it.
V2,6 point: not his sin and he is not still paying for it. He came back to life again.
So here is the crux of our sure hope: if we are a follower of Christ, then Gods just anger against us for our sin is not still waiting for us. We should be scared if Christ was still paying for it by suffering in he’ll as we speak, but the reality is is that the tomb is empty. God is the one who paid a costly sum, the perfect, sinless life of his son, to replace the cell phone that i broke, to continue the illustration.
What is our sure hope? God’s anger is paid off for Jesus’ followers, the tomb is empty, Jesus is not still paying the debt off. In this scene he is back to life again!
HOW the resurrection guarantees hope
Verse 7,9,10 Key question: why this travel to Galilee from Jerusalem, north 60+ miles?
Two of the big themes running through Matthews account of Christ’s story is that Gods redemption of sinful man has not only included the Jews but us Gentiles too, a big part of the population in Galilee. Secondly, Galilee was a poor place, the region of his birth. Christ identifies with and saves only those who are ‘poor’ in spirit.
One commentator points out these two themes and traces them in a few verses from Matthew. Just a few verses after our passage we see Jesus telling the disciples to go into all the world and make followers of Jesus from all the nations.
Also, Christ became poor and came to the poor.
2:23 23And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
5:3-sermon on the mount: 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Are you poor in heart / poor in spirit? That’s who he saves. That’s who he came back to in Galilee.
Poor in heart is, God would be good to send me to hell.
The opposite is, I have lived an ok life, God really owes me a good life because I pray pretty good, he owes me a good job because I know people who have done worse things than I have. This is not poor in heart but ‘middle class in heart.’ Are we middle-class in heart?
Keller Generous Justice quote : “…most scholars over the centuries have understood that God’s blessing and salvation come to those who ‘acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy.’ … My experience as a pastor has been that those who are middle-class in spirit tend to be indifferent to the poor, but people who come to grasp the gospel of grace and become spiritually poor find their hearts gravitating toward the materially poor…you cannot say, ‘I wont help you because you got yourself into this mess,’ since God came to earth moved into your spiritually poor neighborhood [Galilee], as it were, and helped you even though your spiritual problems were your own fault. In other words, when Christians who understand the gospel see a poor person, they realize they are looking into a mirror. Their hearts must go out to him or her without an ounce of superiority or indifference.” p103
When we are poor in heart, we are humbled because we are more poor and more of a sinner than we thought so we won’t look down on others.
So, How is our hope sure? It is sure on this fact that has riches to think deeply about every day: Christ left his splendor and riches of heaven to became poor to make us rich in him. He makes us who are poor in spirit to be adopted children of the king and to spread this wild news to others.
Application: When we begin to get our head around these two themes of why Jesus went to Galilee, namely to spread the good news to the Gentiles of God’s anger removed for followers of Christ AND that he identifies with the poor, it results in bold humility.
We will not look down on others because we see just how sinful and poor we are—that is who Christ came to save and visit after he came to life again.
At the same time we will have great boldness because the rich King became poor in my place and died the death I should have died, making me a son of the King. Oh, and he has all authority given to Him so as I tell others of these great things, Gentiles from Galilee on out, I have great reason to be bold! This is a firm hope. A real hope. A sure hope. A hope that is guaranteed!
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart
A fountain ever springing
All things are mine and I am his
How can I keep from singing?!
Thank you that Jesus in not still paying by being dead in the tomb.
Make us part of your mission to tell this great adoption news in bold humility.
Change our lives too through thinking much on this truth: Jesus left his riches to be poor, that I might live to know God as his very child.