Sermon Notes: Resurrection Sunday 2023 – Matthew 28

Resurrection Sunday

April 9, 2023

Matthew 28:1-20

The resurrection of Jesus is the central event behind every New Testament text. 

Without Jesus’ resurrection, there would be no reason to record what is recorded. There would be no reason to work so hard to meticulously copy the Scriptures and preserve them from the decay of time and the destruction of invading hoards. 

If Jesus is not alive, we might read about some Jewish rabbi who made some audacious claims and got whacked by the Romans, along with a few other hot and bothered folks.

But, Jesus is alive, and his resurrection launched a movement that is continuing today as the kingdom of God advances and is evidenced by local churches on the front lines of its advance. 

We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection today because Jesus is alive. 

Matthew records for us in his historical narrative of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus 5 scenes he wants us to witness for ourselves so that we will believe, be saved, keep on believing, and get after the mission of Jesus to all nations. 

What are these 5 scenes in Matthew 28 that he wants us to see, and that have been preserved so we remember?

INTRODUCTORY NOTE: The Lord wants us to see and believe. He invites us to “behold”, and witness what he has done, and he does that with the 5 scenes I’ve mentioned already. So, as an introduction, let’s witness that he wants us to see it and not miss it. V. 2, 7, 9, 11, 20

  1. Matthew uses the word “idou” 5 times in chapter 28.
    1. The word means “behold”.
      1. Sometimes it is combined with the word “kai”, translated it means “and”. Combined with “and” or alone, this word functions as a demonstrative particle.
        1. A demonstrative particle is used by the author to focus our attention on what immediately follows. The author wants us to see something amazing.
        2. Literally it translates, “Lo and behold”. 
      2. It expresses a certain passion and an invitation to see and believe it for yourself.
        1. Good southern storytellers always use this phrase when telling about something that happened they witnessed, and want you to know.
          1. Example: “Lo and behold, Ima Jean whipped that car around, gunned it, and caught up to me. You shoulda’ seen it.” 
      3. Matthew uses this little demonstrative particle to record and invite us to see what Jesus’ people witnessed and experienced.
        1. What does Matthew want us to see?
  1. Jesus is alive, and he provides cosmic wonders so the two Marys can see that Jesus is alive. V. 2; v. 1-6
    1. These two disciples’ faith had been shaken, and the only thing that could stabilize their faith was an empty tomb.
      1. These tombs were covered with massive stones that required a lot of manpower to move. 
      2. What does God do?
        1. God provides signs and wonders in order to show these women that Jesus is not dead, but alive.
          1. The angel whose appearance is like lightning.
          2. The angel’s descent caused an earthquake. 
          3. The angel’s clothes are so white they are like snow (unusual for their time and place). 
          4. The guards are so afraid they pass out.
          5. AND, The angel does not draw attention to any of these signs and wonders themselves, they serve to put on display something grander.
            1. The angel uses these wonders to show the Marys the empty tomb.
        2. NOTE: Their faith was not in the signs and wonders God provided.
          1. Their faith is rooted in Jesus who is not dead, but alive. 
    2. We don’t ignore that Jesus chose women to be the first witnesses and good news proclaimers of his resurrection.
      1. Women were just north of property in the Greco-Roman world, and these women had few rights. 
      2. In fact, a woman’s testimony was not even considered legitimate.
        1. Jesus chose women, I believe, to:
          1. To highlight the fact that his resurrection was a fact and that he does not need to follow any culturally backward norms to validate the testimony that he is alive.
            1. Jesus goes against the grain of the world system and bears witness to the facts. 
          2. To elevate women to the same level of importance as men.
            1. Historically, everywhere the good news of the kingdom goes women are elevated to co-regent of creation attached to Adam’s side not over his head or under his feat. 
  2. Jesus is alive, and he has the angel instruct the two Marys to go tell his disciples he is alive and is going ahead of them to Galilee, and they’d all see him there, and as they obey, he reveals himself to them in a personal encounter. V. 7 and 9; v. 7-10
    1. Matthew wants us to see that Jesus sends instructions that are to be followed. 
    2. Matthew wants us to see that Jesus meets his people in personal encounters as we hear and obey his word.
      1. All through the Bible, God speaks and we are to hear and obey. This is God’s pattern. 
      2. Jesus sent this angelic being with instructions, and he is explicit that he has accomplished his mission in telling them what they are supposed to do.
        1. “See, I have told you.”
      3. The Marys are now responsible for the instructions they have been given.
        1. Matthew 7:24 “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them…”
        2. The resurrection does not change God’s pattern. The resurrection empowers our ability to obediently fulfill the mission. We are still to hear God’s instructions and get after obeying them.
          1. What we have available now because of the resurrection is all authority and empowerment through Jesus’ presence with us to effectively obey with effective outcomes in everything that Jesus has instructed us to do. 
      4. As we hear and obey God’s word, we have the promised presence of the Triune God with us individually and corporately and can worship the Lord in real and personal and powerful encounters with the living Jesus Christ.
        1. John 14:18-21 (CSB) 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. 21 The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
  3. Jesus is alive, and those who hate him and refuse to believe will try to discredit him and his disciples. V. 11; v. 11-15
    1. We should remember that just like in the garden of Eden God chose to make us co-regents and partner with us in subduing and maximizing creation, the Lord prepares us as his co-regents to continue on in the mission of working with him to see creation regained and he does it by reminding us there will be opposition.
      1. Jesus could have spoken the decree to bring about the end of all things at this moment and banished all unbelief and all opposition.
        1. Jesus could have done Revelation 19 had he wanted to. 
      2. But, that’s not how Jesus created it in the beginning to work, and that’s not how the mission will be accomplished.
        1. The work is going to be harder as he told Adam and Eve.
          1. There will be resistance in all things. 
        2. This resistance continues in active rebellion by agents of the dark kingdom through diversion, cover-up, and blatant lies that stand contrary to facts. 
      3. The Lord wants us to see that resistance to the resurrection happened immediately, and it will continue until the events of Revelation 19 and the physical return of the Lord Jesus to crush all opposition and bring the full measure of his kingdom to bear.
        1. So, we can expect opposition to preaching the good news in all manner of schemes. 
  4. Jesus is alive, and he is with us and in him we have all authority, so he sends us to make disciples of the nations. V. 20; v. 16-20
    1. As we read already in John 14, Jesus is alive and he has taken up residence with us. 
    2. Jesus has received all authority, and since he’s with us, he has sent us in his authority to make disciples of all nations.
      1. From Babel to this day, the nations have been scattered and have spread out over the whole earth under the judgment and condemnation of God for sin. 
      2. God, however, called Abraham to go and be a blessing to these nations through the good news of who God really is, so that through faith, they would be reconciled back to God. 
      3. In the fullness of time, Jesus, the one who called Abraham, accomplished salvation through himself in his life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
        1. He has called us as descendants of Abraham by faith, not physical descent (see Galatians and Romans) to go and complete the mission of Genesis 1:26-28 and see that all the scattered nations of the earth would hear and respond in faith.
          1. All of this is because Jesus is alive!

Application: So what?

  1. Expect the supernatural wonders of God by the Spirit to bear witness to the fact that Jesus is alive and advancing his reign.
    1. When we join with the Lord in making disciples of the nations beginning from right here in Rome, GA, we are joining in the stream of the supernatural work of the kingdom of God. 
    2. The same power at work in Jesus’ resurrection is at work in us to give us faith, life, and powerful witness in the world.
      1. God uses these things to draw attention to Jesus. 
      2. What signs and wonders have you seen that draw attention to Jesus?
  2. Enjoy and tap into the daily presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit as you hear and obey his word. 
  3. Expect all manner of opposition to daily encounters with the Lord and opposition to doing his work.
    1. This is part of the curse of sin, and we have Jesus’ authority, we have his word, and we have the Spirit to overcome the dark kingdom. 
  4. Go! Get after the mission. 

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