Jesus is Promised: Future

Jesus is Promised
Jesus is Promised

Jesus is Promised: Future

Matthew 28:1-10

 

  1. Introduction

In college I was asked to prepare a lesson to teach my speech class. We were to be graded on our creativity and ability to drive home a point in a memorable way. The title of my talk was, “The Law of the Pendulum.” I spent 20 minutes carefully teaching the physical principle that governs a swinging pendulum. The law of the pendulum is: A pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it was released. Because of friction and gravity, when the pendulum returns, it will fall short of its original release point. Each time it swings it makes less and less of an arc, until finally it is at rest. This point of rest is called the state of equilibrium, where all forces acting on the pendulum are equal.

I attached a 3-foot string to a child’s toy top and secured it to the top of the blackboard with a thumbtack. I pulled the top to one side and made a mark on the blackboard where I let it go. Each time it swung back I made a new mark. It took less than a minute for the top to complete its swinging and come to rest. When I finished the demonstration, the markings on the blackboard proved my thesis.

I then asked how many people in the room BELIEVED the law of the pendulum was true. All of my classmates raised their hands, so did the teacher. He started to walk to the front of the room thinking the class was over. In reality it had just begun. Hanging from the steel ceiling beams in the middle of the room was a large, crude but functional pendulum (250 pounds of metal weights tied to four strands of 500-pound test parachute cord.). I invited the instructor to climb up on a table and sit in a chair with the back of his head against a cement wall. Then I brought the 250 pounds of metal up to his nose. Holding the huge pendulum just a fraction of an inch from his face, I once again explained the law of the pendulum he had applauded only moments before, “If the law of the pendulum is true, then when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and return short of the release point. Your nose will be in no danger.”

After that final restatement of this law, I looked him in the eye and asked, “Sir, do you believe this law is true?” There was a long pause. Huge beads of sweat formed on his upper lip and then weakly he nodded and whispered, “Yes.” I released the pendulum. It made a swishing sound as it arced across the room. At the far end of its swing, it paused momentarily and started back. I never saw a man move so fast in my life. He literally dived from the table. Deftly stepping around the still-swinging pendulum, I asked the class, “Does he believe in the law of the pendulum?” The students unanimously answered, “NO!”

  1. Ken Davis, How To Speak To Youth, pp 104-106.
  2. The reality of what the disciples and the followers of Christ had been through from the entry into Jerusalem to the arrest of Jesus to his crucifixion to his burial cannot be under estimated.
  3. This was an emotional rollercoaster.
  4. There had been a stoppage to the burial of Jesus on the Sabbath.
  5. There was not embalming in Israel but there was burial preparation which would have included wrappings, spices, perfumes, possible leaving of personal possessions.
  6. The only factor they were able to fulfill before Jesus was entombed was the loose wrappings around the body.
  7. These women were ready at first light which would have been the conclusion of the Sabbath to go and minister to the body of Jesus.
  8. They knew there were guards there, but they went knowing that this was a responsibility they had.
  9. This is the paramount event in the Christian life.
  10. Paul states in I Corinthians all about the resurrection. Ultimately he states that if Jesus did not rise from the dead then your faith is worthless.
  11. Jesus’ promise of resurrection gives us the hope of life now and future life.
  12. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus we have NO HOPE.
  13. This is why this one event is the most debated event in all of Faith.
  14. Even back in the time when this occurred we see Matthew write that the soldiers were bribed.
  15. All someone had to do to debunk the faith in Christ was produce the body.
  16. These disiciples who were so ready to return to fishing and to their professions after Jesus died are ultimately and radically changed to be true followers of Him.
  17. All but 1 of the remaining disciples died a gruesome, painful death such as Peter being crucified upside down, there were beheadings, and torture.
  18. They would not have gone through that if they had not believed, seen and known Jesus was alive.
  19. 4 stages to our belief in Jesus
  1. Something Happened v. 1-4
    1. The realization that something had happened
    2. These women would have been scared and the guards were petrified literally.
    3. There was a realization that something had happened here
    4. They walk up in the dim of light and are greeted by an angel.
    5. They realize that something had happened that they could not easlily explain.
    6. They were confronted by faith and belief and skepticism all at the same time.
    7. When did you realize the first time that Jesus had done something?
    8. You may not or may not now understand what he did but you know he did something
    9. We have been flooded in our society by skeptics who look at the same event that we as Christians look at and come away with a different conclusion.
    10. How? How does someone look at this moment and walk away unchanged?
    11. These women knew that there had been something special happen.
    12. If you are here today and sit as a skeptic, you cannot deny that there was something that happened long ago at the time of Jesus.
    13. You know that lives were changed, and people believed.
    14. You know that time was marked and a religion was born.
    15. You could say this about Islam or Mormonism, but this is different.
    16. A total choice to follow or not, something happened.
  • Hearing the Story v. 5-6
    1. This declaration came from someone other than Jesus
    2. This declaration was a point where the angels were declaring that Jesus had risen
    3. This was the telling of the gospel good news for the first time
    4. This was a declaration that could have easily been dismissed were it not for the persons declaring it
    5. I love how in verse 5 the angels “answered.” I don’t see where the women asked a question, but it must have been written all over their face.
    6. This moment was the first time that the message was shared after Jesus was risen.
    7. This is the first time the words are spoken into existence that Jesus is not here, he is risen.
    8. There is a level of proof here that Jesus is not in a tomb.
    9. Every major leader of all religions except Christianity has a burial site. There is not one for Jesus!!
    10. Who shared Jesus with you?
    11. Was there something in their life that told you they were special or had something special?
    12. Was there a moment that their declaration of who Jesus is, made sense to you?
    13. Did you stop and listen because of who they were?
    14. When was the first time you heard and it made sense?
    15. If you are a skeptic today, do you hear plainly what the claim is?
    16. Separate out all the other excuses, but you must confront the claim that Jesus is not here, he is risen.
    17. You can say you don’t believe, but you cannot say that the message was not clearly spoken to you that Jesus is risen.
  1. Step of Faith v. 7-8

God does not expect us to submit our faith to him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity.

  1. Here is where things for the believer and the non-believer take two different roads.
  2. The believer makes the step or the leap of belief in Jesus.
  3. These women saw and believed and went to tell.
  4. They needed no other convincing.
  5. The women were sent on an assignment to tell the disciples
  6. I think this is a good spot to speak about why this action is a significant point of affirmation and proof of who Jesus is.
  7. In this culture, women were seen as property and were meant to be silent.
  8. Their testimony in any court of law was seen as miniscule compared to a man.
  9. Their words of testimony would easily be dismissed by anyone
  10. Yet God chose these women to be the first to bare testimony of who he is.
  11. This is a shocking turn of events.
  12. They were to be the first testimony of the resurrection, which is the pinnacle of the Christian faith.
  13. This proves even more that this was not a fake event brought about by men.
  14. Any man would have used other men to give the testimony first.
  15. Do you feel like the most unlikely candidate to spread the gospel? Good, because he uses the most unlikely.
  16. This step of faith is one that everyone must take.
  17. If you are a skeptic, I do not deny that this historical claim to resurrection takes a step of faith.
  18. There is no doubt that I know people who are unwilling to take this step
    1. Maybe because of their unbelief in the supernatural
    2. Maybe their unbelief in the story of Christ
  • Maybe their hardness of heart towards God because of an unfortunate interaction with a believer in Christ
  1. Maybe because they don’t see the life change that is promised in Christ in some people that claim Christ.
  1. I am not sure what the excuse might be, but ultimately there is a point that you and you alone must deal with your own spirituality in relation to Christ.
  2. Are you going to make this step of faith or are you going to deny that Christ did these things? Every believer must come to this point and must make a choice.
  3. Every non-believer must interact with this story and come to a firm conclusion.
  4. The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us.
  1. The Realization v. 9-10
    1. Reality set in for these women as they see Jesus
    2. Their step of faith is met with the realization that Jesus is risen.
    3. They no longer need to rely upon someone else’s story to tell that Jesus is risen, but rather they have an understanding themselves.
    4. They realize that all the promises from the Old Testament and what Jesus had told them as he taught among them were true
    5. Their skepticism is washed away and they realize that Jesus is the Messiah.
    6. No longer must they wander in darkness and struggle in their faith, they now know Jesus.
    7. They do not have to wait any more for an affirmation of their faith but can trust in Jesus all the more.
    8. What started out as a step of faith is met with an assurance of salvation.
    9. I pray that if you claim Christ that you have a deep realization of who Jesus is.
    10. I hope you no longer need assurances from a pastor or a bible study teacher or a youth leader that Jesus is real.
    11. I pray you have had a personal interaction with Jesus.
    12. What started out for you as a story told by someone else, that you believed has now turned into a personal relationship with Jesus.
    13. If you are skeptic here today this is the point that you cannot experience without taking that step of faith.
    14. This is the part that those who do not know Jesus cannot understand and begin to mock.
    15. You have heard comedians and atheists and others who do not know Jesus belittle the knowledge that the Christian has of Jesus.
    16. This will not stop until they trust Christ in their own lives.
    17. Do you realize that knowing who Jesus is in a personal way assures us that all of his promises are real
      1. He goes to prepare a place for us – John 14
      2. We will be absent from the body and present with the Father. II Cor. 5:8
  • He is coming back one day – Revelation
  1. He sent a comforter in the Holy Spirit – John 14:26
  1. ALL OF IT IS TRUE!!!
  2. This is why when we know Christ we can encounter anything in life, because he is real!
  1. Conclusion
    1. There are stages to belief
    2. Every believer goes through them
    3. Every believer knows Jesus
    4. Every believer trusts in Christ
    5. If you are here today and you haven’t made that step of faith and thus you do not know Jesus, then today is the day to trust Christ
    6. You have heard the story, now it is time to believe, it is time to ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life.
    7. As Christians, let us live our lives knowing that Jesus is risen rather than wondering if he did.

Three elements of personality are involved in making a decision to become a Christian, or in making any significant decision for that matter. They are the emotions, the intellect, and the will.

For example, a young man meets a young woman. They are immediately attracted to one another. They both say to themselves, “Now there is someone I’d like to marry.” At that point, if the emotions had their way, there would be a wedding. But the intellect intervenes, questioning the impulsive emotional response. Would we be compatible? What is she really like? Can I afford to support her? Both conclude it would be better to take some more time and answer a few questions before they proceed. So the two begin spending more time with each other. He eventually concludes that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Now his intellect has sided with the emotions on the idea of marriage.

But the final and heaviest vote remains to be cast — that of the will. It stops the march toward the altar with the questions, “Am I willing to give up this lifestyle for another? What about my freedom — is it worth the trade? Am I willing to assume the added responsibility?” The marriage will occur only when the will finally agrees with the emotions and the intellect. And so it is in coming to Christ.

  1. Jim Peterson, Living Proof, NavPress, 1989, p. 170.