on the empty tomb – summary 10.25.06 message

We come to the end of the Synoptic Gospels with this message. The resurrection is the centre of Christian faith – without it, there is no Christianity. I remarked last night how I have heard preachers pontificate about what they will do in heaven, how they will sit down with one apostle or another, and get questions answered… (as if they will get right to the head of the line! At least we will have all eternity to stand in line!) What I would like to do is just sit and listen to their stories. I would like to hear the apostle John tell about the moment he saw the empty grave clothes and what was going on in his mind. I’d like to hear about what happened on the 27 unreported days of the resurrection period and some of those infallible proofs we don’t know anything about. Maybe the Lord will give us a couple thousand years for a Bible Conference with the twelve apostles (and Paul) as the speakers. I wouldn’t mind sitting and listening to all that.

“The resurrection message animates Christian living, witness, and hope. You must order your life by the reality of the resurrection.” In our message I reviewed the sequence of resurrection events as we have them from the various Gospels. One of the significant features of the resurrection events is that the apostles themselves, all of them, not just Thomas, had to be convinced by the actual appearance of the Lord to them. This fact teaches us how difficult it is to reach people who cannot see a risen Christ literally. It also teaches us how important it is for us to live the resurrection life so that people can see the truth of the resurrection in us. The second thing we covered in the message is a summary of resurrection teaching. What did the Lord talk about in the resurrection? Mainly the great commission. I didn’t realize this before, but the Great Commission was uttered by the Lord in various forms on separate occasions. Lk 24 on Resurrection Day. Mt 28 on a mountain somewhere in Galilee – couldn’t be the same day. Jn 21 by the sea of Galilee in the form of “feed my sheep” to Peter. Acts 1 on the Mount of Olives on the last day of the post-Resurrection period. Mk 16 seems to be a summary statement, summing up the main theme of the Lord’s teaching throughout the forty days. The Lord’s point in repeating all this is to teach us that this is the agenda of the post-Resurrection age. We are left here on earth to represent Christ, proclaim his gospel, make disciples of him, feed his sheep, until he comes. That’s it. No building mega-churches. Simply making disciples. We closed the message with a brief look at the disciples’ reaction to the Lord’s final leave taking – not sorrow and despondency, but obedience, prayer, and joy. They were anticipating the ministry the Lord promised them after the empowerment of the Spirit.

In the end, this ministry, the Lord’s ministry is what we should be all about. The Lord didn’t save us so “that you have life and you can now live that life to achieve worldly comfort, provide for your family and pay your bills and be happy.” The Lord saved you to serve, to live the resurrection life, and to preach the gospel.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3