JESUS HAS RISEN
Key Verse: 16:6
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”
Welcome to the Easter Sunday worship service. Children are eagerly waiting Easter weekend to have their spring break. Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection over the power of death. Jesus came into this world to free us from the power of sin, death and Satan and give us eternal life in the kingdom of God. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price of our sins. They placed Jesus’ body in the tomb. However, death could not keep Jesus in the tomb. Jesus rose from the tomb and appeared to his followers. The risen Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene. He changed her life forever. A new history began through his resurrection. Later, the risen Christ commissioned the disciples to share the good news to all people of the world. Today, we can experience the power of Jesus’ resurrection by meeting the risen Jesus. The risen Jesus will change our lives. I pray that we all may meet the risen Jesus through our Easter Sunday service and share the good news with others. May God bless all of us to have victorious Christian life!
PART I HE HAS RISEN! (1-7)
Here we see the beginning of the first Easter Sunday. Who were the first Easter Sunday worshippers? They were three faithful women. Look at verses 1-2. “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.” Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb.” Mary Magdalene with Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus was laid in 15:47. Mary Magdalene was faithful to follow Jesus to the end. She witnessed how Jesus suffered and died on the cross and tears flowed from her eyes like a river. It was the most sorrowful moment in her life. She loved Jesus and had a personal relationship with Jesus. Though Jesus died and buried in the tomb, she wanted to be with Jesus forever. Before Jesus was laid in the tomb, he did not have a proper burial because the Sabbath started too soon. Therefore, she waited for the Sabbath day to be over. As soon as the Sabbath was over, Mary and two other women were on their way to the tomb. It was very early morning just after sunrise. Nobody visits the tomb in the early morning because it is a scary place. But it did not bother Mary and two women because they loved Jesus. Love drives out fear. When we love someone, we are so brave to do anything. Jacob in the Bible worked for 14 years because he loved Rachel. So these women headed to the tomb of Jesus. What was their purpose of visiting the tomb? They wanted to clean and anoint Jesus’ body. They wanted to serve Jesus even though he died. Their relationship with Jesus continued beyond Jesus’ death. But the disciples were hiding with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders. (John 20:19) The disciples stayed home and wept. In my experience, men are more pragmatic than women. Practically, to the disciples everything was over and they gave up hope when Jesus died. But the women were seeking Jesus without any calculation. Simply they wanted to anoint the body of Jesus to give respect and honor to Jesus. These women acted while the disciples were hiding. They sought Jesus even though they might not receive any benefit from the dead Jesus. Their personal love relationship did not end even though Jesus died. Their relationship continued. Women’s love for Jesus was so beautiful and pure beyond description. Later, Mary Magdalene was blessed to meet the risen Christ first because she was seeking Jesus with a pure heart. She proclaimed the resurrection to the disciples by saying, “I have seen the Lord.” (John 20:18) We need to have desire to be with Jesus in order to experience the power of Jesus’ resurrection personally. Seeking Jesus with a pure heart is precious.
Look at verse 3. “And they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” While they were walking to the tomb they asked each other how to roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb. They needed the disciples who were strong like E.J. The stone was very large and they weren’t strong enough to roll the stone away to get in to the tomb. The obstacles did not stop their desire to serve Jesus. They simply pressed on. There are many obstacles when we try to come to Jesus. There are obstacles of our past failures, fear, shame and guilt, and pain and suffering. There is always something to prevent us to experience the power of resurrection. Some people never experience the power of God because they do not move their feet due to their worries. When we simply move forward to meet Jesus, we will experience the power of God. Do not worry about our future in advance but “just do it.” What happened when they arrived at the tomb? Look at verse 4. “But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.” God solved their problem when they arrived there. No problem is too big to God. We experience the power of God when we simply obey God.
Then as they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed. This young man was an angel that had rolled the stone away and his appearance looked like lightening. Seeing such an angel in a dark tomb where they didn’t expect to see anything except the body of Jesus made them very frightening.
But the angel told them not to be alarmed. He delivered the first good news of the resurrection of Jesus. Look at verse 6. “The angel said, “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” The angel knew why they came to the tomb. It was to anoint the crucified body of Jesus. The angel’s news has two parts. First, you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. God sent his one and only to save sinners as his expression of love according to John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus was born in a poor manger. Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18) He healed a man with leprosy and he forgave and healed a paralyzed man out of his love. He called Levi and ate with sinners. Jesus fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish. He spent many hours to pray to God in lonely places. He obeyed the will of God the Father by taking the cup of suffering. He was crucified on the Roman cross. His crucified body was laid in the tomb. Now three faithful women came to mourn and anoint the dead Jesus. Jesus’ life on earth is a beautiful story filled with grace and love and compassion. It is so beautiful to move our hearts to cry by saying, “O, beautiful Jesus my Lord, your cruel death made me to cry endlessly.” If the story of Jesus ended in the cross and grave, it is a beautiful but sad and tragic story. Three women who followed Jesus ended their lives crying near the tomb. All who follow Jesus end their lives in the tomb. M. Elijah Park served the work of God in Washington faithfully for last 40 years. He still visits campus and feed the students with the word of God. If he looks for Jesus crucified in the tomb, he will be most pitied among all men because he spent his life only for the crucified Jesus. We know he is one of the most blessed servant of God. Why? The story did not end in the grave. Cross and grave is the first part of Jesus life. Jesus’ death was necessary to forgive our sins. Jesus paid the price of our sins through his death on the cross as the Lamb of God. Jesus’ death was for our sins. God put all our sins to Jesus and sacrificed him in our place. However, the cross and grave are the prelude of the resurrection. Without death there is no resurrection. Without blood there is no forgiveness. Without cross, there is no crown. The crucifixion was just the beginning of God’s salvation work. Jesus claimed victory over the grave.
Second, he has risen! Look at the angel’s message again. Look at verse 6b, “He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” An empty grave was proof that Jesus has risen. Jesus conquered the power of death. Jesus triumphed over the final enemy death with the might power of God. All people great or small die one day. Many great conquerors and generals conquered the nations with their mighty fighting armies but they did not conquer the power of death. They all knelt down in front of death. Alexander the Great conquered many nations and established the Greek Empire. He said, “I have no more land to conquer.” He was so proud of his human achievements. But he yielded to the power of death at age 33 due to a fever. He just needed an Aspirin to be healed but there was no aspirin at that time. His empire collapsed after his death. But Jesus arose a victor from the grave. Mary Magdalene did not have to look for Jesus in the tomb because he arose from the grave. Jesus said in John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in will never die. Do you believe this?’ Let’s answer Jesus’ question “do you believe this?” Let’s say together, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the resurrection and the life.” Amen! There is no death because Jesus conquered the power of death. When we believe in the risen Jesus, eternal life has begun right now. This is good news to all men under the power of sin and death. Jesus’ resurrection freed all men who suffered the fear of death under Satan rule. Satan brought death to all human beings but Jesus brought eternal life to all people. The crucified Jesus became the risen Christ. The risen Jesus changed human history forever. The risen Jesus brought transforming power to all people.
PART II. JESUS’ APPERANCE TO MARY AND THE DISCIPLES (8-14)
Look at verses 9-14. “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.”
In verses 9 through 14 we see how Jesus helped Mary Magdalene and two of his disciples and ultimately his eleven apostles to believe in his resurrection. First, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene. Before meeting Jesus, she had been possessed by seven demons. Each day of the week she was tormented by one demon at a time. She suffered Monday blue demon on Monday -Tuesday talkative demon, Wednesday melancholy demon, Thursday complaining demon, Friday party demon, Saturday game demon, Sunday anger demon. Jesus saved her from demon possession and gave her a new life. Mary was so thankful to Jesus that she followed and served him and his disciples wherever they went. Now the risen Jesus appeared to her first because she wanted to be with him. God rewards those who seek him diligently. Did the disciples believe what she said? No. They thought what she said was nonsense. Probably they thought she was out of her mind because of too much fear and sorrow.
Then Jesus appeared to two of his disciples that same day. These disciples were walking in the country going to a town called Emmaus. While walking in the country their faces were gloomy and dark. Then the risen Jesus walked with them and explained to them that Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. Jesus opened their spiritual eyes and they recognized the risen Jesus. While listening their hearts were burning. Then they entered a house and sat down to eat. As Jesus was breaking bread they recognized him. Then they returned to Jerusalem and reported it to the Eleven saying “It is true! The Lord has risen.” But the Eleven apostles didn’t believe them either because they were junior disciples.
Finally, Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating. Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. Usually we don’t rebuke people while eating because it ruins appetite. But it was urgent for them to believe the resurrection of Jesus. So he rebuked them even during eating time. Lack of faith and stubborn refusal grieve Jesus most. But Jesus did not give up on them and used them the history makers and world mission team by sending them to preach the message of the kingdom of God. After Jesus rose from the dead, he stayed with them for forty days. He gave them many convincing proofs that he was alive and talked about the kingdom of God. Then the disciples came to believe that Jesus was truly alive. They became the witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus changed our lives too. God raised up 7 life testimony speakers last week. Kyle is among them. He knew Jesus only in every Christmas time. But he wanted to be a disciple of Jesus through meeting the risen Jesus.
In conclusion, Jesus commissioned his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” After planting resurrection faith Jesus gave them a command to go and preach the gospel to all people of the world. They obeyed Jesus’ great commission and changed world history. The risen Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Through his victory over death, he restored our relationship with God. He revived our love relationship to follow him to the end and gave us freedom to live for the glory of God without fear. In this Easter Sunday, let’s remember God’s power to raise Jesus from the dead so that we may have a living hope in the kingdom of God. May God give you a happy Easter with the risen King Jesus!
Let’s read the key verse 6. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”