Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What happened?

Luke 23:44 – 24:12

“What happened?”

This week has been an emotional roller coaster for the disciples. Last Sunday, they celebrated the return of the King to Jerusalem... or so they thought. They had watched Jesus cleanse the temple of the money changers, severely question the religious elite’s application of theology, and had been there when one of their own betrayed Jesus. In fear, they ran for their lives instead of standing up for Jesus.

Now in fear, they had locked themselves into a room... Maybe they wondered what went wrong, maybe they questioned if they were wrong about Jesus. Either way, they were grieving because their teacher had been dead three days. But the twists and turns of this week just kept getting stranger and stranger.

The women had returned from the grave with some story about Jesus being alive. They tried to convince the disciples, tried to get them to remember Jesus’ words, tried to get them to believe. Could it be? Peter, who had denied Jesus, ran to the tomb. If the women were right... I wonder what he was thinking.

What did happen?


I.         The events of “Good Friday.”


            A.        Jesus was crucified on “Good Friday.”


                        1.         Why do we call it “Good” when something very bad happened?


                                    a.         It is good because on that day, Jesus solved our worst problem.


                                    b.         The problem was sin which separates us from God.

Define sin...


          Sin is “trespass” or “transgress” or crossing a line. We ask what the line is there for and we step over it. This is willful rebellion against the known law of God.

          Sin is “falling short” of God’s glory this is also considered “error.” We cannot reach God ourselves so we set up an intermediator, an idol to take God’s place, try to earn our salvation through ritual or good works, or try to ignore God on our own.

          Sin is “iniquity” which means either foolishness, defilement, or perversity. Things like pride fit here.

          Sin is not doing what we ought to do. [“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.” James 4:17]

Sin is ultimately selfish. What ever we do, we do for our own reasons


                        2.         When Jesus was crucified, the veil (around 3 feet thick) in the temple was torn from top to bottom.


                                    a.         The temple was laid out in a way to limit access. The courts were open with gates on four sides. The temple had only one opening. Inside the temple was another building with one opening that only the priests could enter. In that inner sanctuary was a curtain, that was the veil that kept the priests from entering God’s physical presence.


                                    b.         Jesus was crucified the day the Passover lambs were being sacrificed at the temple. On that day the gates of the court temple were open, the door to the temple was open, and the door to the inner sanctuary was open. In other words, if you were looking into the temple, you would have been able to see the veil and been reminded of the separation between you and God.


            B.        When Jesus died, He changed the spiritual dynamics of how God and people interact.


                        1.         Before, only one person could enter God’s presence on one day of the year.


                                    a.         That was called the day of Atonement. Two goats were used. One goat provided the blood, the other goat was became the “scape-goat” that carried the sins of the people.


                                    b.         Jesus did both. His blood “atoned” (“make amends for” – Oxford University Press) for our sin. By being taken out of the city, Jesus fulfilled the carrying of our sins.


                        2.         Now the way is open through Jesus only.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, [20] by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body...” [Hebrews 10:19 – 20]


II.       The events of Resurrection Day.


            A.        The women went to the tomb.


                        1.         Their purpose was to put burial spices on the body.


                                    a.         They expected to have a problem with moving the stone. [Mark 16:3]


                                    b.         They were doing that “last thing” for the one they loved.


                        2.         What they found was different than what they expected.


                                    a.         They expected a body, they found angels asking, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” [v 5]


                                                1.)       Ever notice how we do that too? We go to bars or dance halls to find acceptance, easy our pain, or distract us.


                                                2.)       We go to churches that major on the experience and are thin on the truth of God’s Word and behavior altering grace.


                                    b.         They expected more sorrow, they heard the angels say, “He is not here; he has risen!” [v 6]


                                                1.)       Ever notice how we do the same thing? We grind our way through the week. Punch a clock, collect a paycheck, do email.


                                                2.)       Somehow we miss the joy.


                                    c.         They expected the natural course of life, “Then they remembered his words.” [v 8]


                                                1.)       Jesus taught His disciples to look at life differently based on what He said.


                                                2.)       Events are interpreted by what we think we know. That’s why remembering changed their perspective on what they were seeing.


            B.        Peter is torn between grief and guilt.


                        1.         Sound familiar?


                                    a.         Grief weighs us down.


                                                1.)       The “Why bother, what the use?” attitude.


                                                2.)       Hopelessness can keep us confused and muddled up (disordered and confused state: Oxford University Press)


                                    b.         Guilt devalues us.


                                                1.)       The crushed and dirty feeling sin naturally leaves can keep us from God.


                                                2.)       (Ill.) Of a $20 bill... crisp and clean v a $20 bill crumpled and dirty.


                        2.         Peter has a choice.


                                    a.         Grief can blind him, guilt can drive him away...


                                    b.         Peter chooses to run to the tomb to see for himself.


                                                1.)       Great people are people who have chosen to do things that are courageous, right, just, and holy.


                                                2.)       Peter doesn’t know what it means, but he suspects something has happened that will change him forever.


III.      Running in sandals: What did happen?


            A.        Theological truth:


                        1.         Jesus resurrection forever ended the question of Jesus identity.

“And who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Romans 1:4]


                                    a.         Jesus is the Christ. “Christ” is the Greek title for the Old Testament “Messiah.” The Christ is the anointed one of Old Testament who would sacrifice Himself.


                                    b.         Jesus is Lord. “Lord” was the substitute for the sacred name of God (which could not be spoken). It was so sacred, if it was to be written, the scribes would bathe, change their clothes, and destroy the pen after the name was written. When it was to be spoken, they used the word “Lord.” In English texts it is symbolized by “LORD.” (All caps) This is an unmistakable claim to the divinity of Jesus.


                        2.         Jesus resurrection became the difference between truth and error.


                                    a.         Some people do not like or want the cross of Jesus... it is either a stumbling block or foolishness.

“Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, [23] but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” [1 Corinthians 1:22 – 23]


                                                1.)       It has become the “in” think to write books or do TV specials to try to debunk, humiliate, refute the claims of Christ.


                                                2.)       People go through mental gymnastics to say Jesus was not who and what He claimed to be... They will reduce Scripture to a code and say the letters or numbers don’t add up to point to Jesus.


                                    b.         Its very simple. If Jesus rose from the dead (which has seldom been disputed) then Jesus is the Christ and Jesus is Lord... not a good teacher, not just a prophet, not even a visionary.


            B.        Personal truth:


                        1.         The resurrection implies a question. If Jesus is who He said He was...

“I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!” [John 8:58] (notice Jesus used “I am” not “I was” because “I am” is a translation of the sacred name of God.)

I and the Father are one.” [John 10:30]

“Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [7] If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” [John 14:6 – 7]

“Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" [62] "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." [63] The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. [64] "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as worthy of death.” [Mark 14:61b – 64] (Notice the people who tried Jesus seemed to understand the implications of His claim.)


                        2.         Will you accept Jesus’ claims and make Him your Lord?


                        3.         Will you truly (“to the fullest degree, absolutely or completely” Oxford University Press) celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord?


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