Good News From A Graveyard Luke 24:1-8 (NKJV)

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1 Message for THE LORD'S DAY MORNING, March 27,2016 Christian Hope Church of Christ, Plymouth, North Carolina by Reggie A. Braziel, Minister Easter Message Good News From A Graveyard Luke 24:1-8 (NKJV) Please open your Bibles to the Gospel of Luke, chapter twenty four. And let's read verses 1-8. LUKE 24:1-8 (NKJV) 1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered His words.

2 I N T R O D U C T I O N The late Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, We need to often think of our own mortality. Well, there is nothing that will make you think of your own mortality more than to take a walk through a graveyard. This past Tuesday morning, I took a walk through the graveyard here beside the Church building. Except for some cars and log trucks whizzing by, the graveyard was a very quiet and lonely place. Every graveyard tells a story; a story of where lives...and hopes... and dreams came to an end. They were moms and dads...sons and daughters...grandmas and grandpas...brothers and sisters...and aunts and uncles just like you and me. At one time these people were just as alive as you and I are at this very moment. They were husbands and wives...and farmers and homemakers...and Sunday School teachers and Church officers. Some of the gravestones told sad tales, for instance... There's a gravestone of the infant son of Percy and Lucy Reams, who was born on February 6, 1922 and died just two days later on February 8 th th.

3 And there was the gravestone of little seven year old Mary Jackson and beside her the grave of her twenty two year old brother, John. I couldn't help but think of the tears that were shed by their parents they day they were laid to rest. But then I came to the graves of husband Edmon Waters and his wife Amanda. He lived to be 86, and she 82. But what caught my attention was the statement engraved at the bottom of their gravestone: It reads: Resting till the resurrection morning. Amidst all the sadness and sorrow in that graveyard, that statement was a wonderful reminder that for the Christian there is Good News From A Graveyard. *************************** Today we are here to celebrate the greatest news that ever came out of a graveyard and that is JESUS IS ALIVE! In order for us to fully appreciate that great news we need to look at it in the context of everything that had happened that week. First, let's consider...

4 I. The DARKNESS 1. Everything happened so quickly! Just a week earlier people had lined the streets waving palm branches shouting Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD as Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. 2. But by Friday of that same week everything quickly changed. Let me tell you the events of that Friday by the numbers: First is the number... 1 It was sometime between 1:00-1:30 A.M. when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethesemene, after being betrayed by Judas Iscariot. He was bound like a common criminal and led away. Next is the number... 6 For 6 hours Jesus went through 6 trials. First before Anas...then before Caiaphas... then before the whole Sanhedrin...then before Pontius Pilate...then before Herod...then before Pontius Pilate a second time.

5 Next is the number... 9 After being mercilessly beaten by the Roman soldiers, Jesus was led to Golgotha and nailed to the cross between two thieves around 9:00 o'clock that Friday morning. Next is the number... 7 Jesus made 7 statements while He hung dying on the cross. From the first, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. To the last, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit. Next is the number At 12:00 NOON, an eerie darkness fell over the land and it remained dark for Jesus' final three hours on the cross. Next is the number... 3 At 3:00 P.M. six hours after Jesus was nailed to the cross, He cried out in a loud voice... drew His final breath...and gave up His spirit.

6 Next is the number... 2 TWO secret followers of Jesus went to Pontius Pilate to request the body of Jesus so they could bury it. Those two secret disciples were Joseph of Arimathea (a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin) and Nicodemus, the man who came to Jesus by night in John chapter 3. Because Jewish law prohibited burials after sundown on the Jewish Sabbath, Joseph and Nicodemus had to work quickly to bury Jesus' body. Once they were done a giant stone was rolled over the entrance to the tomb, and Roman guards were stationed as guards at the tomb to prevent anyone from robbing the body of Jesus from the grave. 3. Jesus of Nazareth, the most loving, caring man who ever walked the face of the earth was dead and buried. It was A DARK FRIDAY indeed! But then came...

7 II. The DAWN 1. After the tragic events of that dark Friday, all was quiet on Saturday. But for the followers of Jesus, there was nothing typical about that Sabbath. 2. Behind closed doors there were many tears shed over the death of their beloved Jesus. Their hearts were broken. Their spirits had never been lower. 3. Early that Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women went to the tomb of Jesus. And notice, the women had carried spices with them. Evidently these women believed that in the rush to bury Jesus before sundown on Friday, that Joseph and Nicodemus hadn't used a sufficient amount of spices on Jesus' body, so they have come to finish the job. The spices were used to slow the decomposition of the body. 4. These women were fully expecting to find the body of Jesus right where Joseph and Nicodemus had placed it on Friday evening.

8 5. But when they arrived at the tomb, to their shock and disbelief, the seal was broken...the stone had been rolled away...the tomb was open...and when they stepped inside the tomb they did not find the body of JESUS. 6. Jesus was gone! The tomb was empty! They were totally confused about what had happened. But then two angels appeared and gave them GOOD NEWS FROM THE GRAVE- YARD! The angels said to them, Why do you seek the living among the dead? HE IS NOT HERE, BUT IS RISEN! 7. The angels reminded the women that this is exactly what Jesus had said to them back in Galilee. He had told them He would be delivered into the hands of sinful men...and crucified...and on the third day He would rise again. (v.7) And verse 8 says, And they remembered His words. 8. The scriptures tell us that shortly after this Mary Magdalene met Jesus alive! Then the two men on the road to Emmaus met Jesus alive! Then all the apostles except for Thomas met Jesus alive! Then all the apostles including Thomas met Jesus alive! Then over 500 people at one time saw Jesus alive! And the Good News From the Graveyard quickly traveled to those who were faithful followers of Jesus! HE'S ALIVE! HE'S ALIVE!

9 9. DARKNESS had been turned into DAWN! DEFEAT had been turned into VICTORY! TRAGEDY had been turned into TRIUMPH! DEATH had been overcome by LIFE! SATAN had been defeated! THE GRAVE had been conquered! 10. Yes, there's GOOD NEWS FROM THE GRAVEYARD! Jesus says in John 11:25,26 I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die, Do you believe this? 11. Edmund and Amanda Waters believed it! That is why we find engraved on their gravestone: Resting till the resurrection morning. *****************************************************

10 C O N C L U S I O N ILLUSTRATION: A Sunday School teacher had just finished telling her little third graders about how Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb with a giant stone sealing the opening. Then wanting to share the excitement of the resurrection, she asked her students, What do you think were Jesus' very first words when He came bursting forth from the tomb ALIVE? One little girl quickly raised her hand and said, I know, I know! Good said the teacher. So tell us, what were Jesus' first words. (Extend arms in the air) The little girl said, TA - DA! Now I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't say TA - DA! But that little girl certainly captured the true spirit of the resurrection! Oh folks, There Is Good News From The Graveyard This Morning and that is JESUS DIED...HE WAS BURIED...AND HE AROSE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY...AND HE IS NOW SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF HIS HEAVENLY FATHER. This same JESUS who has already conquered death has promised us that we have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, that even though we may die, one day soon He will come again, and He will call us forth out of our graves, and we sill rise to meet Him in the air, and He will take us to our eternal home where we shall never taste death again! Do you have that glorious hope this morning? Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? DO YOU BELIEVE? DO YOU BELIEVE?

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