Matt 28:6-7                                      Come and See                                     7/17/2016        <~>

#1.      The Empty Grave (Matt 28:5-6. Luke 24:5)

#2.      Come and See Where the Lord Has Lain (Matt 28:8, Luke 7:47, John 20:1-9)

#3.      The Message to the Women (Matt 28:7-10, Col 2:14, Matt 4:13-16, Rev 7:9)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew 28:1 (2X). Today is the feast of Easter. This day is a memorial to the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the grave on Sunday, April 5, in AD 33. That is why we are turning to the last chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Many things tie together here on the day of Christ's resurrection. First, let us go to the tomb where the body of Jesus was buried. Come and see what happened there at the gravesite. Therefore, the title of this sermon is; "Come and See" (2X). This chapter is full of surprises. The first surprise is in verse 1.

Mt 28:1 In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first (day) of the week, came        Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

       It is a surprise to see that the KJV translators really messed up this translation. The word "week” does not exist in the Greek NT. The concept of a 7-day week became known in the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD only because the Christians worshipped every 1st day of the week. The word week in the KJV is either derived from the singular word "Sabbath", or from the plural word "Sabbaths", but there is no consistency in the translations. We would do better to leave it alone and just use Sabbath or Sabbaths as they appear in the Greek texts. Then, to our surprise, Matt 28:1 reads as follows:

 Mt 28:1 U But after the Sabbaths (plural), at the dawning into the first of the Sabbaths (plural), came   Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

There is no question that this event occurred on Sunday morning. And so, what we conclude from these words in verse 1 is this: The OT Saturday Sabbaths came to an end. because the Ceremonial Law ended when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, and a new era of Sunday Sabbaths came in its place. God commanded us here in Matt 28:1 to make the switch: Instead of honoring Him on the 7th day of the week, we must honor Him on the 1st day of the week, on Sunday. After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus never met with His disciples on Saturday. But on four different occasions, He met with them on Sunday. That is why the NT church has always worshipped on Sunday; they could read the Greek text. Therefore, if a church returns to Saturday worship, it means that they are ignoring what God has commanded here in Matt 28:1. By their actions, they show that they prefer the Law of Moses rather than the resurrection of Christ. Let's now move on to the next verse, and there we read about:

Whenever we read in the Bible "the Angel of the Lord", whom do we think of? Yes! The Angel of the Lord is no one else than the Lord Jesus Christ. The word "Angel" is really the word "messenger". Is Christ a "Messenger"? The Bible says that He is "the Messenger of the Covenant". Now we read in:

Mt 28:2 And. behold, there was a great earthquake: for the Angel of the Lord descended from   heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

Mt 28:3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

        When the Lord Jesus ended His sufferings for our sins on the cross, He cried out victoriously,

"IT IS FINISHED". We must believe this! It meant that the payment for our sins was paid in full. Shortly thereafter He said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit", then He died. We must believe this! It meant that His Spirit went to heaven and His dead body went into the grave, the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. Then they rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb. Two days later, on Sunday morning, would Christ send an angel ahead of Him to roll the stone from the entrance, so that He could crawl into His body again? Would He send an angel to sit on the stone so that He could occupy Himself with entering into His body? You can see that this is not a likely scenario. What is the most likely scenario? Of course, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself descended from heaven, He rolled back the stone, the body and spirit of Christ were united in an instant, and He sat on the stone to show the soldiers that He was victorious. "Death is swallowed up in victory". And to show that this was indeed Christ, God wrote in verse 3: "His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow". Compare this with Matt 17:2. "And (He) was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light". Is this not proof that the "Angel of the Lord" was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ? But God made sure we may not think that this simple scenario is all that there is to the resurrection of Christ. The Bible says that all three Persons of the Triune Godhead brought about the resurrection of Christ. God says in Rom 6:4, "Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father". Jesus says in John 10:17. "I lay down my life, that I might take it again". And God says in Rom 8:11, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you", and so on. And so, there is much more revealed in the Bible, and not revealed, about the resurrection of Christ. We cannot fully understand God. But now we read in the next verse:

Mt 28:4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

      Whenever we read in the Bible that God appeared to men, we read that the men fell to the ground and were paralyzed with fear. The last one was the Apostle John, who wrote in Rev 1:17, ''And when I saw Him. I fell at His feet as dead". When Almighty God appears to mortal creatures we truly realize how sinful we are and how infinitely pure God is. It will be a glorious event when the Lord Jesus Christ shall come out of heaven and appear to His saints. But when He appears to the unsaved, they will know that a great calamity has come. "Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn" (Matt 24:30). Why will all the tribes of the earth mourn? It is because they did not believe:

#1.     The Empty Grave (Matt 28:5-6. Luke 24:5)

        There are three points I want to cover today concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. #1, The empty grave. #2, The place where the Lord had lain. #3, The message to the women. First let us look at "The empty grave". We read in Matt 28:5,

Mt 28:5   And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek  Jesus, which was crucified.

Mt 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

      Is this the Lord Jesus talking to the women? That is indeed true. He struck fear in the hearts of the unsaved soldiers, but to these women who were already saved He said, "Fear not". To the Apostle John the Lord Jesus said in Rev 1:17, "Fear not". You see, if we are not saved we must fear God, for He can throw us into Hell. If we have sins that have to be paid, we must fear Him, for our God is a consuming fire and a righteous Judge who demands that every sin be paid. But if we have been saved, we have become an adopted child of God, and He is our Heavenly Father. We do not fear our Father like the unsaved do. We give Him reverence and honor and praise, and that is an entirely different fear than that of the soldiers. If we say that we fear God, we mean that we have a reverence and a love for our Heavenly Father. That is why the Lord Jesus said to the women, "Fear not". They did not recognize Him, just like the two disciples walking to Emmaus did not recognize Him. The Lord Jesus said to the women, "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said". Don't you remember, He said that He would rise the 3rd day. "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" (Luke 24:5). Have you ever mourned for someone who has died? Have you ever brought flowers to a grave? If this was a saved person, then ask yourself these questions, "Why am I here? He is not here. He has gone ahead of us into heaven. Why seek ye the living among the dead?" I cannot forbid you to bring flowers to the grave, but ask yourself these simple questions, and do not let your mind be ruled over by your emotions. Moreover, we know that one day all these dead people will arise with new immortal bodies and they will be joined again to their souls. Then all the saved ones shall rejoice and be with Christ forever. God says, "Comfort one another with these words". Let us rejoice with them. And let all the unsaved mourn and wail when they will be cast into Hell forever. But here, at the gravesite of the Lord Jesus, the women had brought spices to slow down the decay of the body of Jesus. They were willing to become unclean by touching a dead body, just to have a dead Jesus be with them a few days longer. Can you see the dedication and the love of these women for Jesus? They did not know what we know now. Nobody expected the Lord Jesus to have risen from the grave. Nobody expected an empty grave at this point in time. But now we know that there would have been dire consequences.

Please turn in your Bibles about 255 pages to your right (<-) to the 1st  Epistle to the Corinthians 15:12 (2X). This chapter is entirely dedicated to the resurrection, but particularly the resurrection of the body. As you know, the resurrection of the soul takes place at the time we become "Born Again". When a saint dies, his soul! goes immediately into heaven, and his body goes into the grave. The resurrection of the soul is not in question here in 1Cor 15. The way to understand this chapter is that all the verses in this chapter relate to the resurrection of the body. We read in 1Cor 15:12,

1Co 15:12 1T Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that       there is no resurrection of the dead?

     For example, the Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection of the body. Therefore they remained unsaved, because the resurrection of the body is an integral part of the Gospel. Without it we would not have salvation. Without the soul the body is an empty shell. But without the body the soul is only half the person. Without His body the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is not complete. We read in:

 1Co 15:13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

 1Co 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (= empty).

 1Co 15:15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

 1Co 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

 God so identified Christ with us that if Christ's body would not have been raised from the grave, we also would not be raised with a glorified body. Instead we would be raised with a body that is still under the wrath of God, destined for Hell. If there were no resurrection for human beings where God gives us glorified bodies, then Christ would not have been raised from the dead. In fact, Christ would not have come to suffer and die on the cross, since that would have been a futile attempt on His part.

1Co 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins.

1Co 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 1Co 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

         In these verses God is confronting us with "facts" and "fiction". If someone believes, like many in Alcoholics Anonymous do, that we must hang on to "a god" to give ourselves psychological support for good moral behavior, then they have believed in fiction. If someone believes, like many churchgoing people do, that we need a spiritual crutch to keep us morally straight in this life, then they have believed in fiction. In fact, this is what many, who deny God or the Bible as their Authority, accuse us of. They say that we just need a spiritual crutch to lean on. But that is "believing in fiction". If someone believes that we all need to belong to a church, no matter which church, and we will not dispute the doctrines of our respective churches whether they are true or false, then they have believed in fiction. But believing the facts is different. If we believe the fact that Christ has been raised from the grave, because the Bible says so, and we believe that everyone else who does not believe it is on the way to Hell, because the Bible says so, then we believe the facts. If we believe that God has elected a certain number of people out of every race, and nation, and tribe, and tongue to inherit eternal life, because the Bible says so, then we have believed the facts. If we believe that God will give all His elect a glorified body at the second coming of Christ on the Last Day of this earth, because the Bible says so, then we have believed the facts. Therefore, "If in this life only we have hope in a Christ who has not been raised from the dead, we are of all men most miserable". And so we see that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead is an integral part of His atonement. He had to suffer for our sins, and He had to die on that cruel cross. And when the Lord Jesus cried out victoriously, "IT IS FINISHED", could God have taken Christ into heaven and consider His work FINISHED? NO! The payment for our sins was finished, but the purchase of our resurrected bodies was not finished. This purchase was completed when the Lord Jesus rose from the grave. It was only then that Christ became the firstfruits of them that slept, as we so clearly read in verse 20,

1Co 15:20 U But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

Do you remember the OT "Feast of Firstfruits"? That is the day of Easter. Now the grave is Empty.

 #2.      Come and See Where the Lord Has Lain (Matt 28:6, Luke 7:47, John 20:1-9)

         Please turn in your Bibles about 110 pages to your left (→) to the Gospel according to John 20:1 (2X). In the first 18 verses of this chapter God retells the story of the resurrection with particular focus on Mary Magdalene, and Peter and John. Christ said to the women in Matt 28:6, "Come, see the place where the Lord lay". What did God mean by that? Did He mean for us to look into the empty cave? We know it is empty, because the stone has been rolled away. We read in John 20:1,

Joh 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

Here we get a little bit insight into the dedication of Mary Magdalene and the other women who came to the tomb. They were at the tomb at the crack of dawn, before 6:00 O'clock in the morning, and they brought the spices to embalm a dead body. They were not busy collecting the spices on Saturday, because they rested on the 7th day. They had to do all that on Sunday morning. It means that they had to get up at least 3:00 O'clock in the morning to pack up ail the spices and get together with the other women in order to be at the tomb while it was yet dark. They had to get lanterns and torches to find the way to the cemetery. Keep in mind that this was Passover week, and so Jerusalem was filled with strangers and many were probably sleeping outside near the wails of Jerusalem. It was not safe for women to walk outside in the dark at this time of the year. And they were not even sure if they could get to the body of Jesus, because they had no strength to roll away the stone. But love for Jesus drew Mary to the place where the Lord's body lay. On another occasion the Lord Jesus said in Luke 7:47, "To whom much is forgiven, the same loveth much". Mary Magdalene had abundant cause to love the Lord Jesus, because He had cast out of her 7 devils. Her gratitude knew no bounds. Could this possibly explain the listlessness and the half-heartedness of many in the church today? When we view our sinfulness and our depravity as just imperfections, then we have a little sense of indebtedness to Christ. Then there will be little affection for Him. Driving an hour to church on Sunday is already asking too much. There is no sense of the amazing grace, which snatched us as brands from the fires of Hell. Let us pray daily that it may please God to grant us a deeper realization of our sinfulness, and a deeper appreciation of the infinite sacrifice of His Son, so that we may serve Him and glorify Him with increasing zeal and faithfulness. Let us go on with V.2.

Joh 20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus      loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not

      where they have laid him.

Mary Magdalene saw that the stone was roiled away. Without looking into the tomb she jumped to conclusions. She ran to the house of Simon Peter who seemed to be the leader of the Apostles. John was there also. What was John doing there? These two apostles seem to have been more involved towards the crucifixion and death of the Lord Jesus. Both of them were among the highly favored three whom Jesus took with Him further into the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter and John followed Jesus when they brought Him in the high priest's residence. And John alone, of all the apostles, had witnessed Peter's denial of the Lord Jesus and he had witnessed Peter's bitter weeping afterwards. It stands to reason that from Friday night to Sunday morning John lovingly was consoling his fellow apostle, binding up the broken heart of his brother in Christ and telling him of our Lord's last words. The love and tender nature of John's character is shown to us here in his affection for Peter, even after his denial of Christ. Then Mary Magdalene brought them the bad news: "The stone is rolled away, the sepulchre is empty. They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him". Then Peter and John ran to the sepulchre. We read in verses 3-5,

Joh 20:3-4  Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.    So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

Joh 20:5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

We can say that John won the love race to the sepulchre. But John, most likely the youngest of the Apostles, waited for Peter to take the lead. We can also see here the providence of God: Two must be present to witness the condition of the grave and to witness of the truth. We read in verse 6-9

Joh 20:6-7 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

Joh 20:8-9 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and  believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

What was so special about the linen clothes? Well, they were laying in such a way that:

What did John see? What have most of us been led to believe about this passage of Scripture? What did Christ say to the women? "Come, see the place where the Lord lay". Did He mean, "Go look in the cave, and can you see it is empty? Can you see that the linen clothes have been neatly folded up?" No! The place where the Lord has lain referred to the linen clothes wherein He laid. If you look across the page at chapter 19:38 you see that Joseph of Arimathaea received permission to take the body of Jesus. And then we read in John 19:39-40,

Joh 19:39-40   And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and           brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the        body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

What was the manner of the Jews to bury? Look at Lazarus when he came out of the tomb. They wound strips of linen, with the spices, tightly around his body, and kept on winding until all the spices were buried under strips of linen. And so the dead body in grave clothes looked more like a white cocoon. Only the head needed a final treatment with spices, and then the head was covered with a napkin. What did Peter and John see that made them believe? What made them believe that Jesus' body had not been stolen? His grave clothes! What had taken place had been done decently and in order, not by a thief, and certainly not by a friend. The body was gone from the sepulchre, the strips of linen were left behind, and the condition of them indicated that Christ had passed out of them without their being unwrapped. The cocoon was intact, but it was an empty cocoon. It had collapsed because there was no body to hold it up. It was as if the body of Jesus had evaporated. This is what Peter and John saw, and it made them realize that Jesus had risen from the dead, because until this time "they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead". Here in the sepulchre they saw not Jesus, but they saw the trophies of His victory over the power of death. Now they understood what Jesus was saying at least three times when He still walked with them, that He would be crucified and at the 3rd day would rise from the death. Now we understand what Jesus said to the women in Matt 28:6, "Come, see the place where the Lord lay". Come and see the empty cocoon where the Lord has lain. Is it not amazing that His enemies remembered that He said, "After three days I will rise again" (Matt 27:63), but His friends had forgotten what He said? Did Christ rebuke the women when He said in Matt 28:6, "He is risen, as he said". But what about the napkin that was on Christ's head. Why was it rolled up in a place by itself? It indicates the difference between the head and the body. Christ is the Head of the church, and we are His Body. He is the Bridegroom and we are the Bride. Therefore, when we read in 1John 3:2, "we shall be like Him, for we shall see him as he is", it does not mean that we will be equal to God. Christ always remains as God. He is the Head, and we jointly will be the Body, and we will perform the service, which the Head commands.

Joh 20:8-9 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and  believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

So they finally believed. Is that faith? We have to understand that faith is not the pure and simple acceptance of facts based on reasonable grounds, but faith is the heart's welcoming of God's testimony in His Word. For example, the facts of creation demonstrate that there was a Creator, but the outward proofs of His hand do not move the heart of man. The facts of creation do not bring man's soul in communion with God: only the written Word, applied by the Holy Spirit, does that.

Joh 20:10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

   Why did God specifically mention their own home? Do you remember that the Lord Jesus at the cross gave His mother into the custody of the Apostle John? We read in John 19:27 (2X), "from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home". Mary, the mother of Jesus, was now residing in the home of John. Therefore John hastened to go home to tell the mother of Jesus that her Son was alive. What glorious news this was for her. It is also glorious news for us, because the resurrection of Christ proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that all the sins of all the elect have been paid in full. The righteousness of God has been satisfied on behalf of all our sins, not one has been forgotten. And when we detect in ourselves that we believe all that God has written in the Bible, and we can see by our actions that all these facts have not gone just to our head, but also to our heart, then we know that we have received a genuine faith from God, which means that we were chosen by Him from before the foundation of the world. It means that all our sins are gone! Christ took them away.

First, we have seen the empty grave and we have seen the dire consequences if that grave would not have been empty. Second, we have seen where the Lord has lain, which was not referring to the tomb but to the grave clothes wherein He had lain. Now we have come to the third subject:

#3.      The Message to the Women (Matt 28:7-10, Col 2:14, Matt 4:13-16, Rev 7:9)

Please turn in your Bibles about 145 pages to your left (->) to the Gospel according to Matthew 8:7 (2X). We are continuing in this chapter where we left off. We have seen that Christ has risen from the grave, but He has not resumed his position among the Apostles. He had not returned to His former state of earthly fellowship. Sometimes He appeared to them in a human form that was not recognizable as the former Jesus. But, He was not yet in His glorified body. The nail prints were still in His hands and the wound from the spear was still in His side. The Lord Jesus said to the women,

Mt 28:7  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth         before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

        Tell His disciples, and tell them quickly that Christ is going before them into Galilee. Now, is it not strange that the disciples stayed in Jerusalem? Instead of obeying immediately Jesus' command to go to Galilee they stayed for another 8 days in Jerusalem. It is understandable that they celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasted for 7 days after Passover, but two of those 7 days have already gone. In fact, Jesus did not wait to meet them in Galilee. Jesus met them in Jerusalem. Then:

Mat 28:8-9 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail (= rejoice). And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Now Jesus met them and they recognized Him immediately. They did not have to guess, or to ponder who this might be, like the disciples did on the road to Emmaus, or the disciples at the Sea of Galilee. The women recognized Him without any hesitation. And why could they touch Him? The Lord Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, "Touch me not". Why did He have an apparent double standard? The

only explanation I can see is that His words to Mary Magdalene have a spiritual meaning.

Mt 28:10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and

there shall they see me.

This time He said: Tell my brethren. Who were His brethren? They were James, and Joses, and Juda, and Simon (Mark 6:3). We saw that in last week's sermon. And tell them also to go into Galilee. Is that not a strange request? Their home was in Nazareth, of Galilee. Of course they would go home to Galilee. Why did the Lord Jesus emphasize Galilee two times? I believe this too has a spiritual meaning. Historically, they were trying to obey the Law of Moses and the commands of Christ at the same time, or one after another. But this cannot be done. When Christ has died for your sins you cannot obey the ceremonial Law handed down through Moses. Those ceremonial ordinances have been nailed to the cross (Col 2:14). But the spiritual interpretation of Christ mentioning Galilee can be found in Matt 4:13-16, where we read that Jesus left Nazareth and dwelt in Capernaum:

Mt 4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the  borders of Zebulon and Naphtali:

Mt 4:14-15 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of        Zebulon, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles:

Mt 4:16  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and      shadow of death light is sprung up.

      Jesus' ministry was centered in Galilee of the Gentiles. There is where He is sending His disciples and there is where He wants them to witness of His resurrection. This was not a region occupied by Gentiles, but God allowed the Jews give this region this name because God is now using this name to indicate that the Gospel must also be brought to the Gentiles. And then all those for whom the Lord Jesus suffered and died will hear the Gospel. Who are these people? Their names are written in the Book of Life, the Bible, and they are mentioned in Rev 7:9, where we read:

Re 7:9 After this I beheld, and, b, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

Galilee of the Gentiles. There shall they see Me. There shall they have fellowship with Me, since I have many sheep there among the Gentiles whom I must bring into the fold; and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one flock and one Shepherd. This is what we are commanded to do when the Lord Jesus said in,

Mt 28: 7  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

AMEN.               Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.