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April 9, 2020 4:00 am
It is the testimony of the knees of Jesus that is the greatest testimony as to the reality of his resurrection, we would expect that his friends would attest to his resurrection with the unexpected incident is marked the lie that proves the resurrection. That's John's lesson today. Part of his continuing study titled the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But before that, John. Tomorrow is Good Friday and this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Your message may be available by lifestream only, but even this year, as every year your sermons on Good Friday, and resurrection Sunday will probably be heard by many people who don't usually attend church who may not even be Christians. So here's a question for you. How does the makeup of the audience affect the preparation of your sermons on Good Friday and Easter, and do you do anything different because you know many unbelievers might be there and you be preaching to them. Well, yeah, I think.
Always make sure that I make the gospel clear but but here's the here's the thing that we all are aware of believers love nothing more than the reality of the gospel. If I go to a meeting and somebody gets up and preaches the gospel. I don't know how many times I've heard the gospel preached.
I don't know how many times I've heard all the nuances of justification, redemption and adoption transformation, propitiation, and all of those things I've I've heard the gospel every possible way from great preachers and and I've I've read books on the gospel. I never ever weary of hearing the gospel right and it particularly on Good Friday because it's timer on the Lord's table where inevitably going to talk about the gospel. I've never had any Christian come to me and say I'm really tired of hearing about the gospel. Nobody would ever be tired of hearing the good news of salvation which is been granted to them so I know if I preach the gospel in all its glory and all its fullness. The saints will be blessed and unbelievers will hear the truth so II don't have to apologize to believers when I preach the gospel, realizing nonbelievers are going to be there because I know the saints rejoice in every hearing of the gospel now on Easter Sunday resurrection Sunday.
I do realize that the church is full of unbelievers, probably more than on Good Friday and I'm preaching the resurrection.
So I just make sure that in preaching the resurrection which by the way is not preached anywhere near as much as the cross is we hear a lot more about the cross and we do the resurrection right so I realize that even the saints in heaven hurt as much about the resurrection, but I want to make sure that I preach the resurrection in such a way that the gospel and the way of salvation is unmistakably clear and again. Of course the same thing is true that the believers love to hear about the resurrection they would they want to be reminded that Jesus said because I live, you shall live also. We all live in the hope of eternal glory we live in the hope of heaven because he rose from the dead. So again, preaching the resurrection brings joy to the saints, and red brings truth to the nonbelievers, and I think you can do both and you can reach the unconverted at the same time you're bringing joy to the believers. Yeah, absolutely. The resurrection is one of those doctrines that never gets old.
You can turn to it again and again for fresh joy and inspiration and encouragement. And with that in mind, friend, let's get back to John study of this wonderful truth. Follow along as he looks at the lie that proves the resurrection. Let's open our Bibles to Matthew chapter 28. I want to read for you. Verses 11 through 15. The text of our message as we look together to God's word. Matthew 28 beginning at verse 11 we read now when they were going behold some of the garden came into the city and showed out of the chief priests all the things that were done and when they were assembled with the elders and had taken counsel they gave much money under the soldier saying say he his disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears.
We will persuade him and secure.
You, so they took the money and did as they were taught in this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day out is obvious that just a preliminary reading of that passage that it is all about a bribery is all about ally regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I like to call this particular portion which is included only in Matthew's gospel the lie that proves the resurrection, GB Hardy, a Canadian scientist some time ago, wrote a book.
It was a book about destiny. It was a book about life, about philosophy and ask two very important questions. This scientist said I have only two questions to ask one has anyone ever defeated death to did he make a way for me to do it. Also, this scientist found the answer to his question. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and he found the hope for his own resurrection in it as well. Yes someone did defeat death, Jesus Christ did. And yes, he made a way for you and I to defeated as well. In fact, there is no hope of life after death there is no hope of heaven there is no hope of eternal blessing and joy without the resurrection of Christ. Still, in spite of the fact that the resurrection is the only hope of salvation for man. The only key to eternal life. The majority of people rejected to reject the resurrection. For whatever reason, is to commit a kind of spiritual suicide is to forfeit all hope of the future life is to damn your own solo an eternal hell without God, and in so doing, you not only lose the future but you lose the meaning and the value of the present for the future has no meaning that how can the present have any meaning.
Furthermore, to deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ and therefore deny the hope of eternal life goes against the grain of the human heart Solomon in Ecclesiastes 311 said God has set eternity in their heart there something inside man that reaches out for immortality that reaches out for eternity. That is not satisfied with life only on a temporal level. The religions and philosophies and personal anticipations of the human race throughout all of history reflect this desire for immortality. The resurrection of Jesus Christ becomes the key to that hope of eternal life. Jesus said because I live, you shall live also. I am the resurrection and the life he that believes in me, though we were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die in the Bible says if Christ did not rise that no one has any hope. But if Christ be risen from the dead, then we have hope for future life, but in spite of in spite of the fact that to deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ literally is committing spiritual suicide. Men continue to do that very thing. And not only here religious man but even religious ones. Through the years there have been a myriad of explanations offered to explain away the truth of the resurrection.
I want to suggest some of the theories to you. First of all, and a somewhat common theory is the swooning theory. This is the theory that Christ never really died that the reason he got out of the grave was because he was never really dead to begin with shock from the loss of blood on the cross and the wounds and all that went on send him into a semi-coma and when they took him off the cross and put them in the tomb. The aroma of the spices in the coolness of the tomb revived him and when he came out of the grave. The disciples assumed that he was resurrected on that theory doesn't work in the first place. It wasn't even dreamed up until 1600 by man named Venturini. Furthermore, all the records are emphatic. The early records about the fact that Jesus was dead. The women who carefully wrapped his body in linen and anointed him along with Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus was 75 pounds of spices. They must have known whether or not he was dead.
That proximity to the body and that tender loving care offered to that body would've revealed any life that was there. Furthermore, history will stand the test of scrutiny that the Romans knew when someone was dead they were experts at execution. They were proficient at determining death and when they came by and did not break Jesus legs because he was already dead was because they knew that and then they rammed a spear into his side and out came the blood in the water around the heart again indicating that he was dead. Furthermore, if this theory is true, it means that Jesus successfully survived severe beating and loss of blood, crucifixion, and further loss of blood. The spirit thrust into his side. Again, draining the blood out of his body through a gaping wound. He survived entombment was 75 pounds of spices on his already weakened body. He survived three days with no food or water woke up without any medical assistance, having lost most of his blood moved the stone walked out and convinced everyone that he was fine and alive from the dead. Once he got outside overpowered the Roman guard and then walked 7 miles to Emmaus on feet that have been pierced with nail ridiculous. It's absurd as a second theory that we could look at that's the no burial theory.
This is another theory that's been offered by those who deny the resurrection. It's the no burial theory that says Christ was never put in the tomb, so obviously he wasn't there on Sunday since he wasn't there Friday or Saturday.
We don't expect them on Sunday.
They thought he would be in the tomb, and that's why they thought he had left the tomb, but the truth was, he was thrown in a pile in a pit with a lot of other criminals. This theory doesn't work either because is no evidence to indicate that that happened. The testimony is all contrary to that. Furthermore, why did the Jewish leaders then seal the tomb and why do they post a Roman guard if the body was thrown in a pile they could easily disprove the resurrection by going back to whatever pit that wasn't bringing the body and say here is why not just produce the body know the no burial theory doesn't work the third somewhat common theory is the hallucination theory that everybody who thought they saw Jesus after his death, hallucinated it was a pathological problem. They thought they saw Jesus because they wanted to see him so badly.
I can remember reading that when I was in seminary the argument that these people had such an anticipation of resurrection, that they were so excited about Jesus rising that they actually projected their their own hallucinations because of the strong desire for this theory doesn't work either. How could the church be built on hallucination pocket 500 people have the same hallucination at the same time, and since they didn't even believe or expect the resurrection. Where was this strong desire that brought them to hallucinate. The New Testament is clear that they had no anticipation of the resurrection.
Furthermore, we asked the question if this is all it was just a hallucination.
And where was the body where was the body.
All of these theories have to answer the question. Where was the body, show us the body. Then there is the telepathy theory that's been suggested by some that there was no physical resurrection but God sent back mental images. He sent back mental pictures by some divine slide projector and put them on the minds of people so they would think he was alive at three doesn't work either. It makes God a deceiver. It founds Christianity on deceit and make flyers out of the apostles and it must've been a telepathic movie because it ran for 7 miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. It also held a conversation with the people and even ate with them.
Furthermore, the disciples at first didn't even recognize Jesus. Could it be that God's projector was out of focus and again you gotta go back to the same problem. Where's the body if this is just telepathy. If this is just hallucination. Where's the body if he was just thrown on a pile of criminals are in a pit somewhere where's the body then produce it. You can easily discredit the resurrection. Then there is, fifthly, what I suppose you could call the sťance theory and that is that a medium conjured up the spirit of the dead Jesus by our occult power and that in a demonic way. This cultic sťance took place in which the dead. Jesus made an appearance.
How is it that they could touch. How is it that they can hold onto his feet. How is it that he could eat and where was the body. Why is the tomb empty if this is nothing more than simply some projection of a medium spirit. Further, there is another theory that's been propounded and that's the mistaken identity theory. This one says that somebody impersonated Jesus that somebody tried to dress and look like Jesus to falsify the resurrection by impersonation problem with that is, he must've crucified himself to produce the scars in his hands.
He must've stabbed the spear into his side to produce the scar that was there. That's a rather high price to pay to falsify some and how do you explain the post-resurrection miracles.
If this is just a an imposter. How can you explain walking through walls. How can you explain that controlling the fish in the sea, creating a meal, appearing and vanishing. It will ascending to heaven, in full view of the apostles, no impersonation can do that.
Furthermore, the disciples knew Jesus do well to be fooled, and then we asked the same question.
Where was the body where was the body were not on the French atheist has debunked the resurrection of Jesus Christ saying it was based on the testimony of one eccentric, delirious, frightened woman named Mary Magdalena at seven demons and was hysterical to the point of insanity. Did he forget the 500+ other witnesses that he forget the 10 separate appearances recorded in the gospel record of Christ after his resurrection, and I'll ask him the same question.
Where is the body where's the body wise the tomb empty.
If the Jews could produce the body to stop all apostolic preaching of the cross and resurrection is a real problem for any theory that denies the resurrection to come up with what happened to the body. Now all of those lies leave a lot to be desired, and if you're gonna deny the resurrection. There's really only one theory that you want to adopt and that's the one. These Jews adopted in Matthew 28 that's the theft theory that says the disciples came and stole his bottom. Now obviously, if the body is in there.
They knew you gotta explain why the body isn't there. If you can't find the body. You gotta explain that the best explanation is somebody came and took the body if the body didn't leave on its own because it never was raised from the dead. Then somebody had to take it. That's the only one that makes any sense because the only one that really explains the removal of the body. Now obviously you start with that theory and then you say well okay who took it well. The Jews wouldn't take it because why would they falsify resurrection. The Romans wouldn't take it because they were even interested in the issue. It must've been the friends of Jesus. So, this theory says the disciples came and stole his body and frankly of all the lies that they had at their disposal.
I suppose they could've the come up with one of the other of these theories I just mentioned, but none of them adequately explains what happened to the body. They came up with the one that is for them the most believable, the disciples came and stole the body.
The Matthew includes this year and at first, we might say what why do you do that Matthew here we are at the climax of the gospel. Christ is risen from the dead, why, and on a negative note, why bringing this ridiculous lie about the body being stolen.
Why not give us the testimony of the eyewitnesses. Why don't we hear like we here in John's Gospel, saying, my Lord and my God why we get an affirmation here. Why do you approach it like this in Matthew's answer to us would be twofold. Number one to demonstrate that the apostasy of Israel was full and final and that they denied the resurrection just like they denied everything else and that nation was to be set aside.
Secondly, it is the testimony of the enemies of Jesus that is the greatest testimony as to the reality of his resurrection, we would expect that his friends would attest to his resurrection, but the unexpected incident of his enemies attesting to it is a marked and significant proof of the resurrection. So Matthew, then in the most unique way brings in this incident of the lie about the resurrection of Christ. Now the narrative is rich and it's a compelling, apologetic, or defense for the resurrection. Let's begin with the plot itself. The plot itself. Verse 11 down to the first part of verse 15 now as we approach the text a little bit of background.
Remember the scene Jesus has been placed in the garden tomb is the morning of the third day Friday. He was buried. He was there all day Saturday.
Now it is in the morning of Sunday around dawn.
The group of women, there is an earthquake, as they approach when they get there. There is the stone rolled away lying on the ground sitting on the stone is a blazing flaming Angel and white garments sent from God. He is distended and caused the earthquake Christ has been released out of the grave.
He is alive. That announcement is made to the women.
They check the tomb out. It is true, they begin to leave that place in Matthew's gospel, and as they move along the road they are met by the risen Christ who speaks with them. Meanwhile, remember what happened to the soldiers verse four when they saw the angel for fear of the him the guards did shake and became as dead men. I want you to remember this, the guards, the Roman guards saw the angel it was their fear of that holy angel that caused them to fade and go unconscious, they experience the earthquake the experience the moving of the stone they experienced the arrival of this heavenly messenger and it put them out. It was too fearful for them to even remain conscious. They went literally unconscious at the site of this holy angel, so they have experienced. The women then have come and gone and they're on their way to tell the disciples. When we come to verse 11. Now when they were going stop at that point they refers to the women back in verse 10 Jesus said to those women stop being afraid. Go tell my brother that they going to Galilee and there they shall see me so go tell the disciples that I'll meet them in Galilee.
Now the women are going and as they are moving out behold a startling thing. Some of the guard came into the city. Now we don't know precisely when the guard came to and got up and came into the city, but it was at the time when the women were going so the women are moving there to go to find the disciples to tell them that Jesus is alive.
The tomb is empty and we have seen him and held him by the feet and worshiped him, and they go to tell the disciples and is there going into the city looking for the disciples.
The guard is going as well and it says that some of them.
Not all of there may have been a dozen or more of them very likely a dozen of them, perhaps more. Some of them go to make a report to the chief priests and show them all the things that were done and we don't know why some are not all maybe some of them wanted to stay back by the grave and maybe some of them were too frightened because they were afraid to expose the fact that they had lost the body they were supposed to be guarding and therefore would lose their lives because Roman law said that if a soldier fails in his duty he pays with his life. Whatever the reason, just some of them went and they had a duty they failed to report back to the chief priest to say what in the report to the Roman commander pilot because Pilate had delegated them into the care of the chief priests go back to verse 62 of chapter 27 the next day that all of the data preparation this Friday. The chief priests and Pharisees came together to pilot a said Sir, we remember that that deceiver said while he was yet alive after three days I will rise again command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night and steal him away and say to the people he is risen from the dead and the last terror that is what happens at his resurrection will be worse than the first. What happened at his entry into the city. Pilate said to them, you have a guard go your way.
Make it as secure as you can. They went made the sepulcher sure sealing the stone setting a guard now.
What happened here is the Jews went said we want to guard Pilate said here's a guard, so in a sense, the Jews then took charge.
They sent the guard. They instructed the guard. Be careful. He said he's gonna rise the third day, be alert that his disciples don't come and steal the body on that third day, so they would've been very alert at this particular time on the third day, anticipating that this is in fact the time, which was most critical in order to keep their guard alert. So when the women are going to the disciples. The soldiers are going back to the chief priests who are really the authority over them.
By delegation to report what had happened. I want you to notice in verse 11 it says they showed on the chief priest all the things that had happened all the things that it happened.
They describe the earthquake. They describe the rolling of the stone. They describe the arrival of a blazing angel sitting on the stone. They describe the empty tomb.
It all happened and they describe it all. I believe that the Jewish leaders then were the first to hear about the resurrection and the sense that even before the disciples heard they heard, but they didn't believe they had said back in chapter 27 verse 42, let him now come down from the cross and we will believe him.
They say will believe the comes out of the coffee comes down from the cross. And here is something even greater. He came out of the gray but they didn't believe they didn't even investigate. They didn't even go to find out they didn't say all. Maybe it's true. Maybe he is the Messiah. Maybe he is alive. Maybe we ought to check it out. Not at all. They were so resistant and so blind and so sinful and so self-willed and so locked into their own religious believe that they would not even investigate the truth that was reported to them by the soul. They refused to believe the God of this world blinded their mind second with his four forces news brought shock. The news brought fear, but it did not bring repentance. And it did not bring faith. They were without excuse.
They were informed about the resurrection they didn't question it. They didn't question those soldiers validity. They didn't even investigate all they did instantaneously was saying we can't let this get out we got to stop it. Whether it's a real one or not we have to stop it were not interested were only interested in preventing people from hearing. That's John MacArthur with his timely study here on grace to you titled the resurrection of Jesus Christ in front of today's lesson or recent series like Genesis of the gospel has encouraged you.
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Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412. Also keep in firstname.lastname@example.org you can download any of John's 3500 sermon you can read the gray steel blog featuring articles on critical issues facing the church, and you can listen to a special Easter program of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It's our one perfect life audio special and it takes you from the scene at Calvary to the moments just after the resurrection drawing you into the profound significance of resurrection Sunday one perfect life is available for a limited time, go to our website and this into it today. Again, all of those resources are free of charge at TTY.now on behalf of John MacArthur and the entire grace to you staff this is Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378 or check your local listings for channel in time and be here tomorrow when John continues his look at the lie that proves the resurrection. That's our Good Friday broadcasts another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace