March 27, 2005

Matthew 28:11-15 Sermon Notes

Category: Bible - NT - Matthew :: Permalink

Matthew 28:11-15
(March 27, 2005, Sermon Notes)

Jesus’ resurrection was good news for His disciples. But Matthew doesn’t tell us about Jesus appearing to them. Instead, he tells us about Jesus’ appearance to the women and about what happened when the report of His resurrection reached the Jewish leaders. He wants us to see what happened when God confronted them with Jesus’ empty tomb.


The Jewish leaders remembered that Jesus had talked about rising after three days. They feared that His disciples would steal His body and so they sealed the stone on the tomb and posted a Roman guard outside.

But their efforts couldn’t keep Jesus from rising. When He had risen, an angel rolled away the stone and the guards fell like dead men (Matt. 28:1-3). Later, some of those guards came to the Jewish leaders and reported everything that had happened. The angel’s actions made the guards into witnesses who would testify to Jesus’ enemies about His empty tomb.

The Jewish leaders don’t question what the Roman guards say. They believe their report — which means that they believe that an angel from God rolled away the stone. They condemned Jesus to die, but God vindicated Him by raising Him and sending an angel to confirm it.

Jesus’ empty tomb demands a choice. The Jewish leaders recognize what had happened. They understand what it means. But they refuse to humble themselves, repent, and follow Jesus.


The chief priests summon the elders for another council. They can’t deny the empty tomb, but if they work quickly enough they can stop the report of the resurrection from spreading and being believed.

They concoct another story and use money from God’s temple to bribe the guards to spread it. Anyone who pays for lies is afraid of the truth. They know Jesus wasn’t a deceiver, but they become deceivers to keep people from believing that God raised Jesus from the dead.

They tell the Roman guards to say that they fell asleep and, while they were asleep, Jesus’ disicples stole His body. They assure the guards that Pilate won’t punish them for sleeping.

But if they had really been sleeping, wouldn’t they be punished? And if they were sleeping, how did they know it was Jesus’ disciples who stole the body? And why didn’t anyone arrest the disciples and find the body? They claim too much and they do too little.

The story is convincing only to those who don’t want to believe the truth. The lie catches on, but the lie still confirms the truth. Even Jesus’ enemies didn’t deny that His tomb was empty on the third day.

That truth demands a choice: you can join Jesus’ enemies in believing a lie, which leads to your own destruction, or you can join Jesus’ disciples in rejoicing in the truth of Jesus’ resurrection, which is your salvation.

Posted by John Barach @ 6:22 pm | Discuss (0)

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