He has Risen! – Easter Sunday – 2019


He Has Risen: Mark 16:6

Resurrection Sunday 2019

AUDIO FOR THIS SERMON CAN BE FOUND HERE

There are times when the economy of words in the Scripture just cannot be outdone.

In fact, while I wish to turn your attention to just 3 words in our text today – in the original Greek, it was only 1 word: ἠγέρθη

“He has risen.”

No more important words in the whole of human history have ever been spoken. And none with more eternal significance.

And I want simply to take them one at a time to gain a taste of that importance and significance.

We start with this emphasis:

HE, has risen

Who it is that is being spoken about here makes all the difference.

The preceding verses set the stage.

Mark 16:2–6 ESV

And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome did not come seeking just anybody – as the angel said to them: “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.”

Note 3 things in that statement:

  1. They came seeking Jesus, the one who’s Father, Joseph was told: “you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

There were many in that day who bore the name Jesus.

Jesus or Joshua, was a very common name in that time. In and of itself it meant nothing except that in this case, Joseph was divinely instructed to give Him this name because of what He would do: He would save His people from their sins.

Joshua, his namesake in the Old Testament, the successor to Moses would be the one who finally led the Jewish people into the Promised Land: The one who would bring them into full possession of the promises of God.

And so it’s only fitting that this Jesus, THIS Joshua would be the one to finally bring all those who sought God to inherit all the promises of God to those who love Him and are loved by Him.

As the Apostle Peter would later write: 1 Peter 1:3–6 ESV / Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

But as I said, they came seeking a specific Jesus: The Jesus who was – as the angel called Him – “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Mark 16:6 ESV / And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

In other words, you seek the One who fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament regarding the Messiah. The One who was born in Bethlehem but reared in that cast-off backwater Nazareth – a place where He fully identified with us as having nothing earthly to recommend us to God.

For Nazareth was known not only as having no prominence, but was proverbial as a place where nothing good could be expected to issue from. Just like out of this fallen human race in rebellion against God.

  1. Mark 16:6ESV / And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

You seek the crucified One. The one who was the sacrificial Lamb of God, designated to take away the sins of the world.

The One appointed to take upon Himself the guilt of fallen humanity that all those who put their trust in Him as their sin-bearer before God, might have the full forgiveness of sin, and be granted eternal life with Him.

But we must also notice that they sought a WHO, and not a WHAT.

You may have come here today seeking a “what.”

Comfort from your grief and the pain of a lost one.

Maybe you’ve come seeking answers; an end to confusion in life.

Maybe you are here seeking peace or a sense of the transcendent.

Maybe you do not know what you are looking for exactly.

But I can tell you on the authority of God’s word that comfort, answers, clarity and transcendence are never to be found in seeking them themselves. They are meant, WE are meant as the human race created in God’s image – to find all of those in Jesus Christ alone.

In the WHO of all Creation.

The One in whose image we were created, and so the only one who can bring life to make the sense it is supposed to make.

When the Apostle Paul wrote his short letter to the Church at Colosse he mentioned how he struggled both for them and other Churches: Colossians 2:2–3 ESV / that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I pray with the Apostle Paul that you would find this Christ today in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

HE, has risen

He, this Jesus. This Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. This is the One they sought – and it bids me ask you today who is it you seek?

This Jesus was not the first one ever raised from the dead. In Jesus’ own ministry He raised at least 3 others.

In Luke 7 it was the only son of a Widow in the city of Nain. Then in Luke 8 it was the 12 year old daughter of a prominent man. And most famously in John 5 , Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, who Jesus loved.

Now it was true these all were given life again, but they would also go on to die yet again. They did not have life in themselves as He did.

Perhaps you are here today at an Easter service where mourning the loss of a loved one in the context of resurrection makes you wish they could be with you once again. But even if they were to return, it would only be for a season.

But this grand and glorious HE – this Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified – He comes bringing the hope of an eternal and everlasting life for all who look for and to Him.

As Peter would preach on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:24 ESV / God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

It was not POSSIBLE for Him to be held by death and the grave.

Oh! This Jesus, He is the very source and sustainer of life itself. And He, beloved can give you new life today, everlasting life if you will but turn to Him to satisfy God on your behalf for all of your sins.

Who He is that is risen makes all the difference in the world. So much so that even Jesus when first appearing to Mary Magdalene asked her: “Whom are you seeking?”

It is as thought He was saying: “Think about it Mary – if Jesus was who He said He was, and did the things He did – why would come seeking Him in a graveyard?”

And if we are seeking just a Jesus who will help us with our woes, comfort us in our sorrows and be a wonderful teacher and example – we’re aiming far, far too low.

Whatever your grief or care or concern today dear one, do not come to this Easter just seeking some sage, symbol or religious figure.

Come seeking the eternal Son of God – God incarnate, in human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.

And He has risen.

HE, the angel said, has risen

But there is a 2nd word of vital importance here:

He HAS risen Past tense.

When these women went to the tomb, they in fact hadn’t the slightest hope that Jesus was raised up from the dead.

They went with the intent of mourning Him, and memorializing Him.

And it wasn’t because they had no understanding or belief in the Jewish teaching that there would one day be a resurrection of all the dead for final judgment. They fully understood that.

They went with the thought that one day He would be raised up too – but for now, all that filled their vision was His being gone. That overshadowed everything.

So we can only imagine their shock when this angelic messenger told them Jesus had ALREADY been raised.

What could that possibly mean?

And we must note here in passing how it is that their lack of faith was no hindrance to His rising up.

He does not depend upon us to act, but He does all for us, in our dreadful weakness and unbelief

So they came not believing.

Did it mean He hadn’t really died, but just swooned under His injuries as some even today might teach?

Did it mean someone else had come earlier and taken His body like Mary Magdalene certainly thought at first?

No. Neither of these. The truth was, this Jesus had already been raised from the dead.

And here, we must fall back on that one word in the original Greek to capture what is being said. Quite literally it should be read: He has been raised up already!

In fact, of all the things clearly demonstrating the nature of the Trinity it is this act. For in Acts 3:15, Peter confronting his enemies reminds them: Acts 3:15 ESV / and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

God raised Him from the dead. Romans 8:11 tells us it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. And Jesus Himself declared in John 2 that if He were killed, He would raise Himself from the dead.

Jesus being raised from the dead was the quintessential work of the whole Godhead in carrying out the reversing of the curse that has plagued the human race since our first sin of rebellion in the Garden of Eden: Death has already – in the raising of Jesus been overcome.

And for all who trust in Him, as 1 Cor. 15:22-26 tells us: 1 Corinthians 15:22–26 ESV / For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

This, He has proven to be the truth by His own resurrection from the dead.

What greater proof could there be?

Thirdly then:

He has RISEN

What does it mean that He HAS risen – so what?

And how I wish we could spend a few hours together sorting through the wonder of this beloved – but let us just cite a few choice things that come to certainty in the fact that Jesus has indeed risen.

  1. As I’ve already alluded to: Death has a end. Because He has risen and overcome death – He can bring life to each and every one who puts their trust in Him.
  2. As Paul would teach in Romans 4, Jesus was given over to be crucified for our sins, but He was raised for our justification: He was raised to prove that sin had been fully paid for in such a way, that all who believe in Him might be pronounced JUST – NOT GUILTY – before the judgment bar of God. Before the God who knows the very thoughts and intents of our hearts. Who knows all of our deepest and most hidden sins.
  3. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we can have absolute confidence that everything He promised to those who love Him will come to pass. If He can overcome the universal enemy of man in death, what CAN’T He do?
  4. Because He has been raised up, we know that there will be a final reckoning and judgment which will bring ultimate justice to this universe. A universe plagued by so much injustice and corruption. There WILL be final judgment against all those who thought they escaped punishment in this life through death. All injustice will be set to right.
  5. Because He has been raised, He will – as those who trust Him – raise us up one day to be with Him.
  6. Because He has been raised, we know that all who died in Him believing will return with Him when He comes.
  7. Because He has been raised, we have the guarantee of all that is promised as ours as put to us in Romans 8:32–39ESV / He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Not the least among these all being that Jesus Christ Himself has been raised to the right hand of God the Father – to pray for, intercede on behalf of, all those who put their trust in Him – in ALL things.

HE HAS RISEN!

And all that is His as God the Son, is ours if we are in Him by faith.

What a glorious resurrection this is indeed.

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