Matthews 28:1-10
A Visit to the Tomb
Inspired by The Empty Tomb by Charles Spurgeon

Today, we must visit a tomb.  That seems a bit strange.  Most people don’t enjoy
going to graveyards.  Among our list of favorite things to do, no one places,
"Visit the mortuary."  Yet, as Christians, we chose to visit this tomb and to
visit it often.

The tomb that we seek to visit is not just any tomb.  It is the tomb of our
Savior.  This is the place where the body of Jesus was once laid.  Strange how
sweet this place is to us.  Surely, it is not like the tomb of others.
   There was weeping here once, but no longer.
   There was sorrow here once, but no longer.
   There was hurt here once, but no longer.

Now this place is to us our hope, our future, our very salvation.  Let us
consider some thoughts about this tomb this morning.

    I. Let’s notice the details of the tomb.
        A. I believe that every detail we know about the tomb as some
            significance.  I do not know that I understand the significance, but
            I believe it has one none-the less.
        B. Notice some of the details that the Bible gives us of the tomb.
            1. Hewn out of a rock.

Mark 15:46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the
linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was HEWN OUT OF A ROCK, and rolled a
stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

                a. That is not uncommon in that region of the world for the
                    land is mostly rock.
                b. Rock is in such an abundance that it is difficult to see how
                    anything else could grow.
                c. But is the tomb rock only because that is the terrain of the
                    area, or is God trying to tell us something more important.
                d. I think God wants us to understand something more important.
                e. I think God hewed the tomb out of stone for two reasons.
                    (1) God wanted us to know that no one snuck the body of our
                         Lord out through a back door.  There was no back door
                         and there was no making a hasty second entrance into
                         that rock tomb.  Anyone and everyone who entered and
                         exited that tomb had to go by the unit of soldiers that
                         Pilate had posted, that unit which numbered between four
                         and sixteen of the best trained soldiers in the world.
                    (2) God wanted that tomb to stand for as long as the world
                         (a) Rock does not easily erode rock does not easily
                         (b) Granted, with time and water, it can; but most
                              spots selected for a burial would be out of the
                              reach of waters and selected from the effects of
                         (c) I cannot speak as to whether God wanted the Ark of
                              Noah or Christ’s burial shourd to ever be found, for
                              they were made of wood and cloth.  But the tomb, the
                              tomb was hewn in rock because God wanted to leave
                              a permanent witness to this event.
                         (d) Whether the tomb has been found or ever will be
                              found, no one knows for certain; but it is my belief
                              that this one artifact is one of the few that God
                              selected to be a witness to the world that Jesus
                              is alive.
            2. It was borrowed.

Matthews 27:59  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean
linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he
rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

                a. We understand that Jesus, although He owned everything, while
                    in human flesh, had very little.
                    (1) The Bible tells us that Jesus was helped in His ministry
                         by a band of godly women.
                    (2) Jesus bear record that He had no place to lay His head.
                    (3) From an earthly perspective, He had very little.
                b. So Jesus had no tomb of His own.  Instead, He was laid in
                    the tomb of another.
                c. Again, is this just because of circumstances or is God giving
                    us a message.
                d. I believe God is giving us a message.
                e. Jesus was laid in a borrowed tomb to remind us that borrowed
                    sins put Him there.
                    (1) Why should He need a tomb?
                    (2) Death is the by-product of sin. Jesus had no sins of
                         His own.
                    (3) Jesus did not and could not die until He took upon
                         Him the sins of another.  And that is just what He did.
                    (4) Jesus took your sins and my sins.
                    (5) They were not His.  They were borrowed.
                    (6) Every time we think of the borrowed tomb that Jesus
                         laid in, we should think of the borrowed sins that
                         put Him there.
             3. It was a virgin tomb—that is, it had never been used before.

John 19:41  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in
the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

                    (1) A virgin tomb for the virgin-born Son of God.
                    (2) How appropriate!
                    (3) As His journey to this earth began within a virgin
                         womb, God choose to lay His body in a virgin tomb.
                    (4) As often as we think of the virgin tomb, let us remember
                         the virgin womb.

   II. Let’s notice a few of the details of that morning.
        A. As we approach the tomb, we notice that the great stone which blocked
            the door has been rolled away.
            1. This was the sight that greeted the women who had gone to anoint
                the body of our Lord that morning.
                a. The Bible describes it as a "great" stone. \\#Matt 27:60\\
                b. Its size and dimensions are not given.
                c. I read once where some engineers calculated that a stone, of
                    the size necessary to block a four to five foot cave entrance,
                    would have to weigh between 1 1/2 and 2 tons.
                d. Moving it was hardly the type of feat a few women or even a
                    few men would accomplish with some tools.
            2. An important question to ask is "Who moved the stone?"
                a. \\Matthew 28:2\\ tells us it was the angel.
                b. It was not the guards.  They would have never broken the seal.
                c. It was not the women. They were too weak.
                d. It was not the disciples.  They were too afraid.
                e. It was not the Lord because He didn’t need the stone to be
                    rolled away to get out.
                    (1) In His glorified body, Jesus could come and go as He
                    (2) Later that very day, Jesus will appear in a room where
                         the doors and windows are closed.
                    (3) He did not need the stone to be removed for Him to move
                f. No. It was the angel.
                    (1) And I do not believe they moved the stone to let Jesus
                         out, but to let the women in.
                    (2) After all, the women asked a good question as they
                         journeyed to the tomb, "Who is going to roll away the
                         stone from the door of the sepulchre?
                    (3) God knew they could not, so He sent a few angels to do it
                         for them.
        B. Then we notice the angels.
            1. Different people saw a different number of angels at different
                times in different places.
                a. I think by harmonizing the accounts that we can discern that
                    there were at least two angels.
                b. Some saw them outside the tomb and some saw them inside.
            2. However, their message seemed to have four thoughts to it.
                a. Do not be afraid.
                    (1) There was much to be fearful of that morning.
                         (a) Roman guards, earthquakes, angelic beings—and this
                              is what could be seen.
                         (b) I suspect that Satan and a great host of demons were
                              lined up around that tomb that day, in hopes of
                              giving death a hand.
                               i. Such an evil presence could surely be sensed.
                              ii. Strange, death had never needed a hand before.
                             iii. It’s batting average was 1000.
                              iv. Death had never lost a customer.
                               v. But then, death had never come up against the
                                   sinless, Son of God before.
                    (2) So the angel first speaks words of comfort.
                b. He is not here.  He is rise.
                    (1) That message is what makes this day so important.
                    (2) Jesus had made some pretty amazing claims.
                         (a) Jesus had claimed to be the Son of God.
                         (b) He had claimed that He would die for the sins of
                         (c) He had even claimed that on the third day He would
                              rise from the dead.
                         (d) He substantiated those claims with some pretty
                              spectacular miracles.
                    (3) However, of all the things Jesus claimed, this would be
                         the easiest to verify.
                         (a) Jesus would either walk out of that grave alive or
                              else everything else He said was a lie.
                         (b) if Jesus failed to rise from the tomb, He failed
                         (c) If Jesus failed to rise from the tomb, there would be
                              no reason to believe He was the Son of God.
                         (d) If Jesus failed to rise from the tomb, there would be
                              no reason to believe His death could remove sins.
                         (e) If Jesus failed to rise from the tomb, there would be
                              no reason to believe that His miracles were anything
                              more than fancy parlor tricks.
                         (f) If Jesus failed to rise from the tomb, everything
                              else failed too!
                               i. Death would not have been defeated.
                              ii. The power of sin would not have been broken.
                             iii. Everything altogether that relates to Jesus
                                   would be a fake and a fraud.
                    (4) But the message of the angels was that He is not here!
                         He has risen!
                    (5) Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have hope,
                         we have comfort, and we have salvation!
                    (6) What a glorious message the angels brought.
                c. Come and see.
                    (1) This is both an invitation to look and an invitation to
                    (2) These angels had just made an amazing statement (i.e.
                         that Jesus was rise from the dead.)
                    (3) Without doubt, such a statement demands some
                         (a) I have no problem with a person wanting to apply
                              reason to their inquiry of Christ.
                         (b) In fact, I would be concerned if a person did not
                               want to investigate the claims of Christ.
                         (c) A hasty, unchallenged acceptance of Christ often
                              leads to a shallow, uncommitted walk with Christ.
                    (4) And so the angel invited the ladies and now invites you
                         to come inside and look for yourselves.
                    (5) However, I will tell you before you begin your
                         investigation that no matter what evidence you find or
                         think you find, the last step of the journey to salvation
                         is the same for everyone.
                         (a) It will always be a step of faith.
                         (b) That is not to say that you cannot reason and study
                              this matter.
                         (c) Apologists far wiser than I can debate you and show
                              you things that I cannot.
                         (d) In fact, I believe some of them can almost prove with
                              reason and logic the person and resurrection of
                              Jesus Christ.
                         (e) Look up and read after Josh McDowell and Ravi
                              Zacharias to name a few.
                    (6) But no matter how much you may be convinced in your mind
                         or not, the last step will always be one of faith—
                    (7) For faith is the final step for every person who will
                         accept Jesus Christ.
                d. Go and tell.
                    (1) And after you have completed your investigation, go and
                         tell others what you have seen and witnessed.
                    (2) God is not afraid of what you will find out and He is not
                         afraid of what you will say.
                    (3) Many scoff.  I saw a website this week where a man claimed
                         he had preached the gospel of Jesus Christ for 19 years
                         before deciding that it was all rubbish and now has
                         dedicated his life to tearing down that which he once
                         (a) God is not bothered by that man’s testimony one bite.
                         (b) For every scoffer that arises, God will simply raise
                              up a Christian that will answer him.
                    (4) And along with the scoffers that go and tell, there will
                         also be a few  believers who will go and tell.
                    (5) And I will tell you that the best prove of a resurrected
                         Lord is not an empty tomb or a convinced convert.
                         (a) The best proof of an empty tomb is a changed life.
                         (b) No one can answer that for it is the on-going
                              demonstration of the rise Lord.

  III. There is much more to take in at this most sacred location, but I am almost
        out of time.
        A. Let me close by telling you why we have visited this tomb.
            1. It was not to convince the naysayers that Christ indeed has risen.
                a. At first, my thoughts were along that line.
                b. In fact, I spend some time looking for extra-Biblical arguments
                    for the resurrection.
                c. While doing that research, I found some pretty amazing comments
                    from Bible doubters.
                    (1) One man wrote that there was no miracle that could ever
                         occur which would prove to him that Jesus had risen from
                         the dead.
                    (2) Another wrote more or less declaring that, like Thomas,
                         he would not believe unless Jesus appeared to him.  His
                         thought was that if Jesus was able to appear to Thomas
                         and to Peter and to Paul, there was no reason that Jesus
                         could not also appear today and to him.
                d. In truth, I do not think that some doubters would ever be
                    convinced—even if Jesus did appear to them.
                    (1) They would still find some way to doubt.
                    (2) I personally have stood at a tomb which I believe has a
                         good probability of being the empty tomb of Jesus, but
                         even such a tomb as that has not changed the doubters’
                    (3) Then it occurred to me, that is not the reason for Easter
            2. No.  We do not visit the tomb this morning to convince the
                doubters.  We visit the tomb to celebrate the resurrection!
        B. On this day, if you doubt the reality of our God, the veracity of our
            Scriptures, or the reliability of our message, be gone with you!
            1. Your profane doubt has no place here.
            2. We are at the empty tomb of our rise Savior and we want to enjoy
                it and Him.
            3. 364 days out of the year we will debate and reason with you.
            4. 364 days out of the year we will invite you to come.
            5. 364 days out of the year we will plead for your soul.
            6. But this day is our day!  Leave us and let us celebrate the
                resurrection of our Savior.
            7. Scoff from afar if you must, but it will not deter us.
            8. For on this day, we celebrate the love of our God and the power of
                His deliverance.
            9. On this day, we relish the message of the angel—He is not here.
                He is risen!

In closing, I say to the Christian, celebrate this event.  Celebrate by
worshipping you God.  If you must, make yourself right.  Repent of sin that
hinders; but do so with the desire of coming into His presence once again and
of enjoying Him.

Lost person, trust Christ.

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