“THE EASTER STONE”
A young mother found herself on the last train out of Poland
during Hitler's regime. She had her first born toddler and her newborn nursing infant with her. The bombing was fierce and
the train had to stop many times for the passengers to take cover. The food ran out and there were no liquids to be had. Consequently,
when they arrived at their destination, the infant was starving and ill. A group of nuns met her there and took the baby to
their hospital where they would nurse it back to health. The mother felt great relief at the apparent reprieve. But the joy
was short lived. The next morning she was given the news that the hospital had been bombed during the night and that her baby
had not survived. The mother was given a flashlight to search for her babies body. What a tragic scene. Imagine the confusion,
grief. The hopelessness of a mother who herself was a doctor whose hands and skill had no doubt saved many a life could do
nothing in this situation.
A life without Easter would provide the same sense of hopelessness.
But imagine a different
ending. As the mother desperately seeks through the rubble, her little one in tow. She is crying loudly together with many
others in the same situation when all of a sudden, there is another cry. The sound of an infant. Could it be? She runs to
where the sound comes from and there in the rubble she finds her baby still alive. What incredible relief, mingled with joy.
All the questions now do not need to be answered. All the what ifs no longer matter. Her baby is alive.
That's what Easter
does. Easter changes the mood of the crucifixion into joyful rejoicing. Not just then, but now. It is the event that separates
the Christian Faith from all other religion and gives to it it's power.
Each holiday has a message. The message of July 4th in the
United States is the nation's independence from England. The message of Memorial Day is the death of patriotic men and women
who died from their country. The message of Mother's Day is "mom".
The message of Today is NOT the Easter Bunny, Easter candy,
Easter dinner and Easter bonnets. The message of Easter is the message that Jesus is ALIVE and ABLE!
The Gospels do not explain the Resurrection; the Resurrection
explains the Gospels. Belief in the Resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith.
In Luke 19, Jesus had spoken IF His disciples should hold
their peace, the STONES would immediately CRY OUT!
Let us look this morning a one stone in particular that did so - The
Stone that I am referring to is the Stone Placed at the Entrance of Tomb of Jesus. It did and is crying out to us, not in
an audible voice, but through the scriptures. Let’s listen to the cries of the stone.
I. THE REASON FOR THE STONE
1. TO SEPARATE a "barrier
between the Living & Dead.”
A. A BOUNDARY THAT
MAN COULD NOT CROSS.
1. No mere human could get out of the grave.
still in grave!!
B. A GULF OR SEPARATION THAT
the story of the rich man and Lazarus death is a
great gulf. Once on the other side there is no return.
Where a man spends eternity will be determined
on this side of the grave. There will be no
C. A SEAL THAT
MAN COULD NOT BREAK.
1. Death is an appointment that
all will keep. Ez 18:4
D. AN ENEMY MAN COULD
Satan demons, the Romans and the unbelieving Jews
thought they had won.
2. TO SECURE
A. The only way that the tomb COULD BE EMPTY
would be for Jesus to rise from the dead.
3. TO SHOW THE POWER OF GOD
A. When God wrote LAW
He didn’t put it on corruptible
paper but in Stone
B. But on that 3rd and
glorious morning God said I’ll roll
the Law that grace may abound
C. The Stone symbolized and
signified that Jesus had Died
fulfilled all that He came to do "to give
His life a
ransom for all."
II. THE REMOVAL OF THE STONE Matt. 28: 2-7
1. DISTURBING EARTHQUAKE v.2a
A. Earthquakes remind
us of several things:
2. DIVINE INTERVENTION
A. The Stone symbolized
a barrier between the Living &
Dead; Now that Jesus Had Risen, "Death Had Been
B. All conquerors have been
conquered by death..
C. Only one
conqueror who has conquered death
"Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:18)
crossed the boundary, bridged the gulf, broke
the seal, overcame the the last enemy
2. Go to Stalin
tomb you find Stalin, Go to Buddha’s
find Buddha, Go to Mohamand’s tomb you will
find Mohanmand. God to Jesus Tomb you find
3. DELIGHTFUL DECLARATION
v.5 "Fear not."
A. Word of COMFORT -- "fear
not YE" In the midst of
Peril & Problems (death, darkness, dread)
B. Word of COMPASSION -- "for
I know ye seek Jesus"
C. Word of CONFIRMATION
-- "He is not here, for He is
risen! Come, see"
D. Word of COMMISSIONING
-- "Go and tell his...He
has risen from the dead"
III. THE REVELATION OF THE STONE (Matt. 28:5-7)
Luke 24:2 says "they found the stone rolled away". We come
to v. 3 and it says they "found not the body of the Lord
Jesus." If that little word not were missing from this verse,
we would then need to do away with the whole Bible.
The women found the guards in disarray, the angel to testify;
but there were three things they never found:
1. A BROKEN PROMISE
– They Found a Fulfilled
A. As surely as He kept
His promise to rise, He will keep
all other promises made to us: Rapture, Resurrection,
Return, and Reign.
2. A BRAGGING DEVIL
-They Found A Victorious Savior
A. The CURSE on him
B. His CLAIMS were REFUTED
C. His CHAINS are still
3. A BLOCKED ACCESS
A. For BACKSLIDDEN SERVANTS
B. For BURDENED SAINTS
C. For BROKEN SINNERS
In a cemetery in Hanover, Germany, is a grave on which were
placed huge slabs of granite and marble cemented together and fastened with heavy steel clasps. It belongs to a woman who
did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Yet strangely, she directed in her will that her grave be made so secure
that if there were a resurrection, it could not reach her. On the marker were inscribed these words: "This burial place must
never be opened." In time, a seed, covered over by the stones, began to grow. Slowly it pushed its way through the soil and
out from beneath them. As the trunk enlarged, the great slabs were gradually shifted so that the steel clasps were wrenched
from their sockets. A tiny seed had become a tree that had pushed aside the stones.
The dynamic life force contained in that little seed is a
faint reflection of the tremendous power of God's creative word that someday will call to life the bodies of all who are in
their graves. He will also bring back every person drowned at sea, cremated, or destroyed in some other way. This is no problem
to the One who made something out of nothing when He spoke the universe into existence. Unbelief cannot deter the resurrection.
But faith in the risen Christ opens the door to blessings that His resurrection guarantees -- a glorious new spiritual body
and a home in heaven. In new bodies we will be reunited with saved loved ones to live with Jesus throughout all eternity.