We have for our subject this morning, the Resurrection. The Resurrection is spoken of forty-two times in the New Testament. You might say that there are two principal truths taught all through the New Testament; the death, and resurrection, of Jesus Christ. You touch one, and you touch them both. In fact, you take that out of the New Testament, and you take out the key to the whole gospel of Jesus Christ.
Over and over again, Jesus told the disciples that he was going to rise; and one very singular thing about it is that his enemies seemed to remember what he said about the resurrection, while his disciples seemed to have forgotten it; because, after he was dead, they went to Pilate and asked him to make the sepulchre secure. And when they laid him away Friday night, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus and those few women of Galilee followed him to his last resting place. There is not one solitary passage of Scripture that tells us that they had any hope of his resurrection. It seemed to have passed from their minds; or else they never received it when Christ told them, and he told them plainly.
Earth and hell did all they could to keep that body in the grave; but they could not do it. He laid there Friday night, and all through the Jewish Sabbath; and his disciples were mourning and weeping. As I said before, they had given up all hope of ever seeing him again; but you can see those hands that were cold in death Friday night, and see Death hovering over that sepulchre, laughing and saying: “I hold my victim in my own embrace; he has to pay tribute to me. He said he was the resurrection and the life; and yet he has not escaped me.” But the hour had come for Christ to conquer Death, for that was what he went into the grave for. Death didn’t take him into the grave; he followed Death into his own dominion and took the whole territory and bound him hand and foot, and came up victorious, and brought up a few captives to show his mighty power.
Yes, my friend, Christ went down into the grave for you and me; and it seems to me that one of the most precious truths in the whole Word of God is that our Christ is not dead. He doesn’t lay there in Joseph’s sepulchre; but he is risen. And now just see the proof that we have of it. Men and angels, bear in mind, guarded that sepulchre; they were going to make sure that his body should not come up, that he should not rise; they had gone to Pilate and got him to put soldiers to watch the sepulchre, and they rolled a great stone over it and put the Roman seal on it, and there they had that body secure, perfectly safe. And early in the morning, we are told by the Evangelists, these same women started to go to the sepulchre to anoint his body, and found out that he was risen. Why, do you think if they had thought he was going to rise that they would have left that sepulchre? They would have lingered around it; it would have taken more than a hundred Roman soldiera to keep those disciples away from the sepulchre, if they thought he was going to rise.
Now, early in the gray of the morning, you could see these women going toward the sepulchre. They had got their spices all ready to anoint that body again, and they were greatly troubled, because they did not know who was going to roll away the stone. And you see them as they draw near to the sepulchre; and the sun has just driven away the darkness of the night and that beautiful morning is bursting upon the earth, the best morning this world had ever seen. And one says to another, “Who shall roll away the stone?” But a messenger came from yon world of light; he flew faster than the morning light, and arrived first. And he rolled away the stone; and those men that had been sent there by Pilate, to watch and guard that sepulchre, began to tremble, and fell as dead men. One angel was enough to roll away that stone; not to let him out, but to let you and I look in to see that the sepulchre was empty, to let the morning light into that sepulchre to light it up that we might know that he had risen, “the first fruits of them that slept.” Yes, thank God, he has conquered Death and the grave; and you can shout now, “O grave, where is thy victory!” He went down into the grave and conquered it, and came up out of it; and now he says, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”
Oh, may God help us to realize what a precious truth we have to preach; that we are not worshiping a dead Savior; He is a resurrected Savior, and in such a day and hour as we think not he will return. And although we do not know when that will be, there is one thing we do know, and that is that he has promised to come; and that day is not far distant; we haven’t but a little while to work. We shall come up from the grave, by and by, with a shout. “He is the first fruits;” he has gone into the vale, and will call us by and by. The voice of the Son of God shall wake up the slumbering dead! Jacob will leave his lameness, and Paul will leave his thorn in the flesh; and we shall come up resurrected bodies, and be forever with the Lord. I pity those people who know nothing about the resurrection of Christ, and think Christ does not live, and was merely a man, and perished in the grave of Joseph of Arimathea. What hope have they got?
~ This is from “The Resurrection” in The Gospel Awakening