“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye, for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen; as He said.”
Isaiah tells us that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours, and here we have a case in point. (Perhaps the greatest point.) A few women are the first to hear the glad tidings.
They wept at the cross; they prepared spices and ointment; they came very early to the sepulchre.
What does all this prove?
That they loved Jesus.
And that God, as ever, bows down to the lowly to reveal His wondrous lovingkindness.
Ah yes, His thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways.
Here we have the greatest event in all history of all the ages, and the first who will hear of it are a few lowly women of Galilee!
Yes; we want to talk to you a little bit about the glad tidings of Jesus’ resurrection.
Let us look first at its contents.
And then for Jesus, first of all.
It was the victory over His enemies.
There was the world with all its wickedness. They had conspired against Him from all sides. And I mean the world both within and without the church of God. Finally there was not one left who stood with Him. They all left Him, even His own disciples. When Jesus finally hung on the accursed tree there was a terrible silence on the part of those who might be called His own.
And there was the devil and his demons. They were all arrayed against Him.
Lucifer, that is, Satan, inhabited a sorry man, Judas, in order to bring Jesus to the cross.
All through de life of .Jesus the devils fought against Jesus with bitter hatred.
But Jesus had the victory over both the world and the devils.
His life, His words and work, His trial and condemnation showed clearly how horrible the world and the devils were. The more they conspired against Him, the more it showed that they were wicked and evil. And the more it showed that Jesus was the Great Innocent.
But He also had the victory over the curse of the law. He bore the wrath of God against de sin of the elect. He erased the handwriting of sin that was against it, writing it on the bloody cross; and when He died; the sin and guilt was eternally gone.
He overcame death, the grave and hell, and in its stead he merited life, glory, and everlasting heaven for Himself and all those that were and are in Him.
His death on the accursed tree merited a glory that is not to be compared to any other glory.
It was a glory that transcends the glory of earlier resurrections, such as the resurrection of Lazarus, the young man of Nain and the resurrection of the little girl. They returned to the sinful life of man on earth. He inherited a glory that will be fully revealed when a new heaven and a new earth are manifested.
It is a glory that transcends the glorious life of Adam and Eve in the first Paradise.
His glory and victory is that of the new heaven and earth, everlasting, spiritual. He received a name that is above all other names in this world and that which is to come.
But there is more in the resurrection of Jesus.
His resurrection is the proof that God accepted the price for the sin of the world.
Therefore it is said that the resurrection of Jesus is the justification of the whole church of God.
And who are the objects of these glad tidings?
Let me tell you the answer to that question according to the vast majority of our present preachers: these glad tidings of Jesus’ resurrection are for everyone that hears the Gospel.
But it is not true.
Listen to the text: “Fear not ye!”
Why did the angel say this?
For the simple reason that you could still see that silly watch fleeing to Jerusalem. They had become like dead men, and ran.
O yes, the resurrection of Jesus is a cause for great fear for very many people. They will see this resurrected Jesus when He returns as Judge. And they will be condemned by Him.
And think on that Sanhedrin. Also for them it is a cause for everlasting grief and shame. Can you not see that Sanhedrin standing before the judgment seat of the resurrected Christ in the day of days?
And it has further implications.
It is exactly the risen Lord who shall judge and condemn the world of all the ages.
He does that now already at the right hand of God.
But He will reveal it when He comes with the clouds.
For whom then is the resurrection of Jesus a matter of glad tidings?
Well, look at the text.
First of all, for the women, chief of which is Mary of Magdala.
And in general they are the lovers of Jesus. Ask yourself this question, a question which God asks of all men who borne under the preaching of the Gospel: “WHAT DOYE THINK OF JESUS WHO IS CALLED THE CHRIST?”
The answer to that question decides whether or not the resurrection of Jesus is glad tidings for you or not.
Please, listen to what the angel says: “for I know that ye seek Jesus.”
That remark is the key. If you are a stranger at Golgotha, the garden of Joseph is a place of horror for you. But if you look with longing at the crucified Christ, the speech of the angel at the grave is as heavenly music in your ears.
Yes, yes, yes, I admit that these simple women sought for a dead Jesus, and also that they did not understand the theology of the resurrected Christ. But I also know this: these simple women loved Jesus, they loved God His Father; and they loved the truth.
And that’s the way it is today, yesterday and tomorrow.
The resurrection of Jesus is glad tidings to all the lovers of Jesus. And His resurrection is a cause of indescribable horror for those that hate Him.
For these last He is a consuming fire.
I said there: “for those that hate Him.”
And that includes all those who despise the truth, will never go to church, do not read the Bible, and never pray. It includes all those who never seek God in their heart; who never weep because of their sins; who never condemn themselves.
Jesus’ resurrection is certainly no glad tidings for those that corrupt the truth of the Word of God, and always make out a case either for man, or against God and His everlasting counsel. In other words, His resurrection is no glad tidings for the Arminians and the Pelagians, for those unhappy beings who knowingly corrupt the beautiful Word of God.
Jesus’ resurrection is no glad tidings for all those who just live, eat, drink, buy and sell, marry and are given in marriage, period. There are an increasing number of those in Christian (?) circles. Their god is their belly, and they are solely concerned with earthly things.
The only right way is from the Cross to the grave.
Only those who seek the Crucified One find the Risen One.
Christ’s resurrection is our resurrection from the dead.
For over 4000 years the earth was one great graveyard.
Israel’s poets sang: Did God create men in vain? Who is there among us who will not sleep the sleep of death?
Everybody lives, dies and falls into the grave.
Whenever someone commits suicide, we marvel and are amazed. I would say that it is strange that there are so few suicides. Look at man. There he lies in the cradle. It does not take long and the little boy and the little girl learn that they will live at the most 70 or 80 years, and then they will lie down cold and still like grandpa and grandma, and will be buried.
Why should anyone want to live? We all stare into the future and all you see is a hole in the ground, six feet deep, and the mourners go about the streets.
Moreover, the boys and girls that have Bibles and go to church and Sunday Schools hear of the judgment day when God will reward the good and punish the wicked. They hear of God who is a consuming fire. They can read of the rich man who opened his eyes in the flame, being in. torment.
Why should anyone want to live?
Well, here is a most glorious answer.
Jesus rose from the dead and took with Him to heaven the whole church.
Jesus arose from the dead and appears before our wondering eyes from our earliest infancy when mother and father tell us about His saving work.
Later He gives us His Holy Spirit of grace, and the Bible begins to live for us and in us.
We begin to seek the crucified Lamb of God and find Him. We follow Him to the garden of Joseph and we behold the risen Lord.
We cry out with the jubilant disciples: Jesus is risen indeed and was seen of Cephas.
And our wondering heart murmurs: If Jesus forgave Peter, He will also forgive me! Yes, beloved, we love Jesus! Do you?