March 31, 2024

Series: Easter

Book: Luke

This sermon is part of Easter 2024. You can watch more here.


Sermon manuscript:

You might see this morning as a national holiday.  You might see the pastels and think this is just a fun event but all over the world men, women and children are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.  Amen?  There are tribes, tongues, and nations celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.  Amen?

It’s because 2,000 years ago Jesus resurrected from the dead.  I know that sounds crazy.  We’re going to talk about it this morning but that’s why we are here and this is the most important place we could be this morning.  

I know for me and my family this Easter celebration is a special celebration because the last two weeks of our life have been a whirlwind.  Really, over the last 4 years we have seen my mom pass away in 2021, my brother pass away in 2022, our dog pass away in 2023, which isn’t the same but dogs are awesome, and then two-weeks ago my wife and her family had to make end of life decisions for her father, so that death is becoming a subject in my life that I never wanted.

I know you’re supposed to start off with funny stories, keep it light, make some jokes but this is the reality of my life right now.  I am 49 years old and I feel like I am living the life of a 70-year old because people are dying around me left and right.  It’s just where I am in life right now.  It’s just weird.  

I think it’s possible there could be some of us who feel like life is really weird right now.  You might be in a place of grief, you might be in a place of pain, your career might be upside down, but I want you to know I am glad you’re here this morning.  

God’s Word invites those who are hurting and those who are hopeful to draw near to His throne.  Especially on a day like Easter Sunday.  We don’t have to wait till all the pieces of life come together.  We don’t have to wait until our life is falling apart but God’s Word invites us to turn to Him and we will see that in our passage this morning.  Let’s look at Luke 24, verse 1.  

If you’re new this morning you can grab a devotional and turn to page 99.  You can turn to Luke 24 in the New Testament.  You can lean over the shoulder of the person next to you or you can follow along on the screen, but please know we love God’s Word and we love studying God’s Word together.  Let’s look at Luke 24, verse 1: 

Luke 24:1, “1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.”

We are all coming from different places spiritually, so let’s start off with big picture.  The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is captured by four different perspectives known as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  The gospels.  This morning we are studying Luke.  You with me?  

Every other spiritual writing throughout human history is written by one person claiming to be the final authority but the life of Jesus, this is unique, has four different perspectives and Luke 24 is just one of those four perspectives.  Does that make sense?  

In verse 1 we see the word “they.”  Do you see it, “They came to the tomb.”  The “they” are a group of women who are coming to the tomb. You can see the names of the women in verse 10 but these women are coming to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body for burial.   

Now, this isn’t going to jump off the page but Luke is describing the first people to witness the resurrection of Jesus are women.  Today that observation might not seem significant but in the first century, the testimony of women wasn’t valid in a court of law, therefore, if you are trying to make up a claim about someone resurrecting from the dead, you don’t start off with women.  Does that make sense?

It’s because Luke isn’t trying to make up a story.  Luke isn’t trying to get people to believe something that isn’t true.  Luke is like an investigative reporter simply recording the events.  Look at verse 2: 

Luke 24:2, “2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.”

Again, the women make their way to the tomb and in verse 2 the stone is rolled away from the tomb, so that at this moment the women have to be completely confused.  Just lean into the story a little.  

Jesus’ life is the most unique life that has ever existed in human history.  People around the world are still captivated by the life of Jesus and these women had just spent the last three years with Jesus.  

They had seen Jesus walk in water, they had seen Jesus give sight to the blind, and the followers of Jesus were just starting to become disciples of Jesus.  They were just starting to grow in confidence.  They were just starting to be sent out to proclaim the name of Jesus, so that people weren’t just responding to Jesus but they were responding to followers of Jesus.  

And then, what seems like out of nowhere, Jesus is falsely accused, falsely charged, falsely put to death at the cross in the most horrific death we can imagine, and on their way to grieve the loss of the most amazing person they have ever met they see someone has been tampering with his burial site.  Look at verses 3: 

Luke 24:3, “3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” 

The question these women are asking is the question every person should be asking which is, “What happened to Jesus’ body?”  Listen, Jesus resurrecting from the dead is NOT on their radar, so that they must be thinking, “Did someone steal the body?  That’s what they ask in the gospel of John.  Did someone relocate the body?  Dead people don’t get up and walk out of a tomb.  What happened?

It’s possible you are thinking, “Maybe people resurrecting from the dead wasn’t a big deal back then?” No!  Nobody in all of history has every rose from the dead or claim to resurrect from the dead, so that these women are expecting Jesus to be dead.  

Sometimes people say, “Maybe Jesus didn’t really die?  Maybe people just thought Jesus was dead?” But, then you should really go and read about Jesus’ death because Jesus was whipped with bones and metal tips that dug into His skin and would rip out pieces of flesh.  

Then, Jesus was nailed to a cross, and I don’t mean to be graphic, but just to be clear, when you nail someone to the cross, and then stand the cross right side up, it means the weight of your body is going to collapse onto itself so that the person will struggle to breathe.  

In fact, the only way to breathe is to press yourself up to take a breath and then eventually a person will become so exhausted of this process, that a person suffocates to the point of death, so Jesus is definitely dead, so what happened?  Look at verse 4: 

Luke 24:4, “4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing.” 

The word “perplexed” means these women were at a loss.  These women are in a place of grief.  These women are grieving the loss of the most amazing person they had ever met, which is why I want you to see the God of Scripture meets us in our pain.  

I don’t know where everyone is coming from this morning but I am sure we have all experienced layers of disappointment on some level.  We have all experienced layers of frustration on some level and God’s Word doesn’t tell us to get ourselves all dressed up in pastels before we can come to Him.  He meets us right where we are in our pain and I want you to see how powerful this is because notice the “two men in dazzling clothing.”

These “two men in dazzling clothing” are angels.  I know our culture is fascinated with angels but angels are simply servants of God.  Angels are messengers and the God of Scripture has sent these angels to these women in their time of grief.  Look at verse 5: 

Luke 24:5, “5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” 

Isn’t that interesting?  These women just a few days earlier were just walking with Jesus, God in the flesh, but now in the presence of angelic beings, created beings, lesser beings, they are terrified, bow their face to the ground but the angels focus is always on Jesus, “Why are you seeking the living One among the dead?”  

This is an interesting question because Jesus had told His followers He would rise from the dead over and over.  The angels aren’t providing new information here.  It’s all over the Bible that Jesus is going to rise from the dead and these women had heard that message.  Places like Luke 9 where Jesus says, “I will be rejected, I will be killed, and I will rise on the third day.” 

Luke 18 Jesus says, “I am going to go to Jerusalem, they will mock Me, kill Me, and on the third day I will rise from the dead.”  Jesus talks about it over and over.  Throughout the Old Testament there are promises that the Savior will come, the Savior will be rejected and He will be raised.  The angels aren’t providing new information but they are simply reminding the women of what Jesus has already said.  You with me?

I am sure there are some of us who are thinking, “I wish I could see an angel.  I wish someone would show up in dazzling clothing to me.”  But we already have everything we need in God’s Word and the angels are simply pointing the women to Jesus has already said.  You with me?

Listen to me, Jesus isn’t just another spiritual leader who makes crazy claims.  Jesus isn’t just a good story about someone who models love and sacrifice.  Especially young people, listen to me, I know we see the Easter eggs, pastel colors, national holidays and think, “isn’t this something like St. Patrick’s Day?”  

It’s this just a fun holiday to get candy or wear different colors?  No, Jesus is God in the flesh.  Throughout Scripture there are promises that one day a Savior would come.  He would live a glorious life.  He would take our sin at the cross and He would resurrect from the dead to validate all His claims.  His name is Jesus!

I know there are Tik-Tok videos that say Easter is a pagan holiday and Christianity is just borrowed from other belief systems.  That isn’t true.  It’s not like Jesus was sitting around and thinking to Himself, “I bet it would be fun to die on a cross.”  No, the plan has always been for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and we will see that in the next verse.  Look at verses 6-7: 

Luke 24:6-7, “6 He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” 

That’s the gospel!  That’s why we are here this morning!  That’s what we are celebrating!  Verses 6-7 isn’t new information.  The angels are simply quoting God’s Word.  We don’t need to talk to angels.  We have God’s Word, so that in the midst of pain and grief the angels are pointing the women, “Remember God’s Word!”  

Second, there is so much to draw out of those two verses but let’s just focus on the word “must.”  The word “must” is the controlling word for the rest of the phrase, so that it reads Jesus “must” be delivered, “must” suffer and “must” be raised.  Isn’t that good?

The women knew Jesus died on the cross.  They were there when it happened but in the midst of all the events the women didn’t understand that Jesus had to die on that cross, so that we want to make sure we don’t miss that this morning.  

Sometimes today people see Jesus’ death and suffering as an example, as if Jesus is a role model for how we should approach life.  Some see Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as a nice gesture or a powerful story.  

This is why it doesn’t mean anything when someone says, “I am a Christian, I believe in Jesus.”  The women believed in Jesus and they are weeping at the tomb but the angels are reminding the women of the gospel that Jesus had to die and Jesus had to resurrect.  

Do you know why Jesus had to die?  I know this isn’t very popular in our day but Jesus had to die on that cross because of our sin.  Jesus had to die on the cross because of the brokenness of our world, because the world we see today isn’t the world God created.  Did you know this?

You can read this in Genesis 1-2 but in Genesis 1-2 everything is good, everything is perfect, Adam and Eve are naked and unafraid.  You know how when you are home alone and you just walk around naked?  

All of humanity was created to do that all the time but in Genesis 3 we see our sin distorts and destroys everything God created to be good so that our sin separates us from God and as a result we experience physical death and spiritual death in that moment.

I know that sounds abstract but you know this is true.  We know there is physical death from because people don’t live forever.  We go to funerals.  We remember loved ones.  We weep for those we have lost and we hate death.  

We try to tell ourselves that death is a normal part of life but no it isn’t.  Have you noticed everyone is trying to stay alive?  We try to eat healthy.  We try to take care of our bodies.  When we get sick we don’t say, “Oh, well, guess I am going to die.”  No, we go to the doctor because we want to stay alive.  But no matter how hard we try we are going to experience physical death.  

We also know there is spiritual death in this world.  The God of Scripture created us to be with Him, worship Him, know Him, love Him but instead we worship everything else we can imagine.  We worship money, we worship sex, we worship power, we worship ourselves and then we wonder why we are so miserable.  

This is why Jesus’ death wasn’t a nice gesture, Jesus’ death wasn’t a model of sacrifice.  Jesus’ death was a “must.”  Jesus came to reconcile what rightfully belongs to Him.  Jesus came to restore the created He created to be His.  Jesus lives a perfect life and in so doing Jesus becomes suitable sacrifice to stand in our place in His death.  

Listen to me, this is why the angels say, “The Son of Man must be delivered over to death.”  Jesus comes to stand in our place.  Jesus comes to take the death we deserved.  Jesus comes to take our physical and spiritual death upon Himself at the cross and conquer death in the resurrection, so that when we are in Christ, we too will resurrect with Him.  

This is the hope of Easter.  When you believe in Jesus you are made alive spiritually.  You are reconciled to God immediately and one day, just as Jesus was buried and dead, one day we who are in Christ, just as Jesus rose from the dead, one day we too will burst forth from those graves.  That’s why we celebrate Easter!  

That’s why the angels say, “Why are you looking for the living One among the dead?” Jesus didn’t just die as an example.  Jesus’ death wasn’t a kind gesture for us to model.  No, Jesus comes to destroy death with the resurrection.  That’s the hope of Easter.    

For thousands and thousands of years, death had won.  Generation after generation death was reigning, funerals were happening, people were grieving and these women are expecting death to win again until the angels remind them, “Don’t you remember, don’t you remember how He spoke to you, don’t you remember what He said, He’s not here, He’s risen!”  Look at verses 8-10: 

Luke 24:8-10, “8 And they remembered His words, 9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.” 

Do you see a difference?  In verses 1-2 the women are walking somberly to the tomb preparing to grieve the death of their dear friend but in verses 6-7 the angels remind the women of the gospel, the angels remind the women of Jesus’ Words and notice how the women respond.

In verse 8 the women remember His words.  In verse 9 the women return from the tomb but this time they aren’t in awe of angels.  No, now they are running to tell others.  This time they aren’t worried about spices, in preparation for a funeral but they are “reporting all these things they have seen and heard.”  Do you see the difference? 

God’s Word isn’t inviting you to dress yourself up for Him.  God’s Word is inviting you to look to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, despite any pain or difficulty we might experience in life, remember His Words.  

This isn’t just how we walk through pain.  This is who we read God’s Word.  This is what shapes how we worship.  This is what shapes how we approach our career.  This is what shapes our parenting.  Jesus’ is alive!  Look at verses 11-12: 

Luke 24:11-12, “11 But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.”

I want you to see the response in verses 11-12.  Is it crazy to believe that Jesus rose from the dead?  Absolutely.  When you leave here today, you find someone and tell them, “I celebrated Jesus resurrecting from the dead” and just think about how crazy that sounds.  It’s not normal but when you believe Jesus’ resurrection isn’t just a story but that Jesus death must happen and Jesus’ resurrection must happen, then Jesus’ resurrection will change your life.  

That’s what happened in my life.  It isn’t because of my family.  It’s because of my wife.  It isn’t because I grew up in Texas.  I thought all this Jesus stuff was bonkers.  I used to make fun of people who made these types of claims.  

And then someone had to point me to Jesus’ Words.  Just like I am telling you this morning, someone told me, Jesus didn’t just die and resurrect.  Jesus must die and resurrect because of my sin.  

Without Jesus, physical and spiritual death will reign over me for eternity but through faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, there is hope, there is life, there is eternity, so I want to invite everyone to have that same hope this morning.  

It doesn’t matter if you have been to church or not or where you were born, when God created this world, He wanted you to exist, He wanted to have relationship with you, He wanted us to be with Him.  You were made for God.

We will have people at the back to pray with you and for you but I want to pray for us right now and invite anyone who wants to say yes to Jesus this morning.  Jesus is calling you to trust in Him right now.  


North Village Church

This sermon is brought to you by North Village Church, a non-denominational church in Austin. established in 2009 and built around Jesus and Bible teaching.

Are you looking for a church in Austin? At North Village Church we put Jesus at the center of our church family. We worship together every Sunday at 10:30am, encourage Christ centered fellowship through groups, and host special events such as Bible studies and Theological Training, to ensure that we are rooted in in God’s Word. We also serve our local community in association with several Austin based organizations.

North Village Church is made up of professionals, married couples, singles, and families who are wanting to experience the life-transforming power of Jesus. If you are a family with children or teens, we can support you with either or both our Kids Ministry and Youth Ministry.

You are welcome to contact us if you would like more information.


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