Resurrection: The Power of God

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Matthew 28:1-8 “1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.”
Jesus has risen!
What do you think about when you hear the name Jesus
Is He a nice guy that you’d like to get to know?
Is He someone you’d rather not be around?
Is He your buddy?
Who is He?
Everyone take a deep breath
Why were you able to do that
Do you know that the only reason that you could do that is because Jesus allowed you to do that?
You know, many people, when they think of Jesus, might think about a very gentle, frail-looking man with long, golden hair
Who looks like He had hardly seen a ray of sun his entire life, even though He grew up in small village in a very warm, arid climate
Where most people didn’t make their living sitting in air-conditioned offices
But were farmers, fishermen, construction workers, carpenters
Working out doors in the hot, Judean sun
What kind of picture do you get of Jesus?
What kind of a man was He
When the apostle Matthew wrote his account of the life of Jesus, he gave us a picture that is very different from many of the paintings that we grew up seeing
We see a man who left audiences astonished
We see a man of whom people were afraid
We see a man who, time and time again displayed power and authority such as no one had ever done!
When Jesus started His ministry, He fasted for 40 days
40 days!
And at the end of the 40 days, when He would have been at His weakest, the Devil came to tempt Him
I don’t know about you, I’ve never fasted anywhere nearly that long, so I can only imagine how hungry and weak Jesus was feeling by this time
And I don’t know whether I would have been able to stand up to such temptation...”Turn these rocks into bread and have something to eat”
But Jesus looked the devil full in the face and told him exactly what to do with those temptations
Man shall not live by bread alone
Do not put the Lord your God to the test!
His power and authority over satan on display
In Matthew 5, Jesus takes on the religious leaders.
As He is teaching about The Kingdom, he motions to the religious leaders standing frowningly at the edge of the crowd and says
“Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of these guys, you will never enter my Kingdom. The kingdom of heaven”
He didnt mince words
When He was finished with this sermon, it says that the crowds were astonished at His teachings
They were amazed.
Why? Because He taught with authority. Not like the Scribes
Jesus power and authority displayed
In Chapter 8, a Roman centurion comes to Jesus begging him to heal his servant
Ultimately, Jesus does heal this servant
But it’s what He says to his Jewish listeners that is astounding
He says to them regarding this hated and reviled Roman, “I haven’t found faith this great even in Israel. Not even among the chosen people of God”
He goes on to say, “There is coming a time when people from all over the world are going to enter into my Kingdom, but you all, the ones who were chosen by God, will be thrown into outer darkness.”
Can you imagine the boldness and the courage that it took to talk like this?!
Jesus power and authority on display
One of His disciples said to Him, “Jesus, i would like to follow you, but I’ve got some things that I need to do first. My father has died and I need to go have a funeral....I’m sure you understand
Jesus didn’t mince words with Him either
“You follow me. Let the dead bury their own dead”
Does this offend you a little bit?
I have to confess, it offends me a little bit!
Only one with power and authority would talk like this
After this, they get into a boat to go across the Sea of Galilee
And a storm comes up. The disciples are afraid that they are going to drown
But what’s Jesus doing? He’s asleep in the back of the boat. Completely at peace in the face of immanent death
But they wake Him up, crying out to Him, “Jesus, we are all going to die! Save us!
And Jesus just looks at them calmly and says, “What’s the big fuss about? Why are you so afraid, o you of little faith
And He gets up, rebukes the storm and immediately there is a great calm
The men are astonished. “What kind of a man is this?”
They arrive at the other side
And they are met by two demon-possessed men who come running at them out of the tombs
And the demons are crying out, “What do you want with us, O Son of God? Have you come to torment us before “the time” (the time of our final judgement)
Do you hear the fear in their voices?
Everyone is the countryside is scared to death of these demons
The demons are scared to death of Jesus, the Son of God
Jesus gives one command and the demons come out of these men, into a herd of pigs which rush down the hill into the Sea and are drowned
What is the response of the people who live in the area?
Jesus, thank you Jesus
In chapter 9, Jesus goes back across the Sea to His own town
And the people bring to him a man who is paralyzed
Jesus forgives this man’s sins, rebukes the religious leaders,
And heals the man
And the crowds are afraid.
Afraid, because they have seen the power of God on display
Here is a man unlike any other, doing things that no one else can do, and they are afraid
He continues to heal
The daughter of Jairus, the Synagogue ruler
The woman with bleeding issues touches his cloak and is healed
Two blind men hear him passing by, and they cry out. Jesus heals them
Another man is freed of demons. Jesus fame grows
The people’s astonishment and fear grows
In Chapter 10, Jesus sends out His disciples to preach the Kindom of heaven
And He tells them to preach with boldness
Everything that I have told you, preach it from the housetops
If I have told it to you in the dark, proclaim it in the day
Be bold!
Well, His reasoning is, “What’s the worse that they can do to you? Drag you to court? Beat you up? Kill you?”
If you want to be afraid of someone, you should be afraid of Someone who has the power to not only kill you, but to send your soul to hell
These are the words of Jesus! Not mine!
It’s here. I have to proclaim it
But Jesus isn’t done.
He continues on, if someone doesn’t believe your words, if you are rejected in a village, it is going to be worse for them than it was for Sodom and Gomorrah!
He says, “It’s going to be dangerous out there. This isn’t an easy assignment. I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves”.
But you aren’t greater than I am. If this is how they treat me, this is how they will treat you
We can continue on through the Gospel of Matthew
We see Jesus displaying the power of God
We see a bold teacher who teaches with authority
We hear Him declaring truth to hypocrites
He calls them out, addresses them directly
Getting right to their hearts and calling out their evil motives and their exploitation of the people
We see His mastery over the elements
He see Him tenderly heal the sick
We hear His voice calling us to come to Him and experience His rest
Over and over again displaying His power and authority
Is it any wonder that the centurion at the cross, after death had overtaken Jesus,
declared with awe and wonder
“Truly, this man was the Son of God!”
Yes, truly He was!
But it wasn’t over even then
Jesus was not done displaying the power of God
The women, sad and distraught, make the dreaded trip to the tomb, expecting to anoint His body with the spices that they had brought
Instead, the Bible says, there was a great earthquake, the ground rumbling and heaving
An angel of God descending in brilliance and in power
Rolling the stone away from the mouth of the tomb
And the guards falling on their faces like dead men in their terror
And the words that they did not expect to hear, rumbling forth from the mouth of the angel
“He is not here. He has Risen!”
Jesus conquered death. Again, the power of God on display
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