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WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES
Intro: I have always been amazed at how fast life can change. Things are one way one day, and the next day they are totally different. One day a spouse is here, the next day they are gone. One day you think you are well, the next day you discover that you are extremely ill. One day everything in your life is going well, the next day everything has fallen apart. One day it appears that there is no hope for your situation, the next day your problem has been solved. It is true that many changes can occur over the course of one day.
What a difference a day makes! That was never more true than the day Jesus rose from the dead. When the body of Jesus was placed in the tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus the day He was crucified, that was a dark and terrible day. As the sun went down that night, so did the hopes and dreams of all the Lord’s disciples and followers.
Mark is the only Gospel writer that speaks of that dark, dreary Sabbath that passed between the day Jesus died and the day He rose again from the dead. I am sure it was a long, miserable day for all those who loved and followed Jesus.
But, what a difference a day makes! Mark moves us beyond that tragic Saturday to a glorious Sunday, when the world changed forever.
I would like for us to look into the events of that first Lord’s Day, the day Jesus rose from the dead. Why is that day so important? That day is important because the events of that day have made a difference in every day that has and will follow that day. That day makes a difference because what happened that day has influenced many people in this room. That day is important because what happened that day can make a difference in your life today.
Let’s look in on that the events that occurred at that tomb just outside Jerusalem the morning Jesus Christ rose from the dead. I want to preach on the thought, What A Difference A Day Makes. I want that day to make a difference in your life!
I. v. 1-3 A MINISTRY OF LOVE
A. v. 1 Their Desire The three women mentioned in these verses observed the long, dark Sabbath day. They rested in their homes as they were commanded by the Law. Just the day before, they had witnessed the death of Jesus. They watched as His body was placed in a tomb and a stone was rolled over the opening to seal His body inside, Mark 15:46-47. As sundown, and the Sabbath began, these women went to their homes to wait.
When the Sabbath ended, on Saturday at sunset, they emerged from their homes, went into town and purchased “sweet spices to anoint the body of Jesus. Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus had already wrapped the body in linen strips and poured embalming spices on the body. The perfume these women were intending to use would have served the purpose of masking the smells of decomposition.
So, they go out on Saturday night and make their purchases. Their intention is to go to the tomb the next morning and perform one final act of love and service to the Lord Jesus Christ. For them, it was a way to have closure concerning His death.
B. v. 2 Their Devotion In that society, most people arose just before dawn, at around 5:30 AM. It would appear that these women got up earlier than that. They arose from their beds, gathered their spices together and made their way from Bethany, where they lived, to the tomb just outside the city of Jerusalem. It was a trip of some 2 miles.
Their love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ is seen in this labor of love. They are broken hearted over His death and they are in a hurry to get to Him so that they might minister to Him one final time.
C. v. 3 Their Doubts As they walked, they kept talking about the stone over the door of the tomb. It must have dawned on them after they purchased their spices that they might have trouble accessing the body of the Lord. After all, the tomb had been sealed by having a large stone rolled over the door. By some estimates, this stone could have weighed around 1,000 pounds. These ladies could never have moved that stone by themselves, and they know it. They are concerned about that.
They are also oblivious to the fact that the Jewish leaders had convinced Pilate that the Lord’s disciples might try and steal the body of Jesus. The Jews believed the disciples would take the body and claim that Jesus was still alive. So, they asked Pilate to post Roman guards at the tombs and to have the tomb sealed with Pilate’s official seal. Pilate did this for the Jews, Matt. 27:62-66. Had they known about that, their fear would have been even stronger as they made their way to that tomb.
(Note: As these women made their way to the tomb that morning, they were filled with sorrow, grief and fear. They were not going there looking for a living Lord, they were looking for a cold corpse. Do you know what their problem was? Their problem was they were still living in Saturday!
When that awful Saturday dawned, all they could see was the shattered remains of their hopes and dreams. These ladies, along with all the Lord’s followers, had placed all their faith and confidence in Jesus. They believed that He was the Messiah. They believed that He was the One Who was going to fulfill all the ancient prophecies. They believed that He was the One Who would be the King of Israel. They believed that He would establish God’s kingdom on the earth. All their hopes for life and eternity were bound up in what they believed about Jesus.
Then, all their fondest hopes and dreams crumbled to the ground like so much dust as they stood there at the cross and watched Him die. Faith turned to grief and grief to utter hopelessness as they saw His broken body taken down from the cross and placed in that tomb. When that stone was rolled across the door of that grave, it was a ringing statement of finality. That stone said, “It’s all over! It’s all over! It’s all over! Hope is gone! There is no future! There is no salvation! There is no kingdom! Jesus is dead! It’s all over!)
(Note: If the story of Jesus ended with Him being buried in a tomb and with a stone being rolled across the door, there would be no hope today. Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable, 1 Cor. 15:19.
And, that is where so many are in our day. They are living in Saturday, and they do not even realize that Sunday is come! People move through this world enslaved by their sins, Eph. 2:1-3. They move through this world oblivious to the God Who exists to save them, Rom. 1:18-21. They move through this world without joy, without peace, without hope, trapped in their sins and headed to Hell. The problem with the majority of people is they are strapped in Saturday. They live in the darkness of their sins and depravity and are unaware that joy unspeakable and full of glory could be theirs if they only knew that the tomb was empty, that Jesus was alive and that they could be delivered from the bondage and the darkness of their sins.
I. A Ministry Of Love
II. v. 4-6 A MESSAGE OF LIFE
(Ill. When these ladies arrive at the tomb, their fear is changed to amazement. Mark says “when they looked. As they walked toward the tomb, they did so with their heads bowed and their eyes downcast because of their sorrow and their grief. As they neared the tomb, they lifted their eyes and saw that the massive stone had been rolled away from the door and that the way into the tomb was wide open.
They did not know that before they arrived that morning, there had been a “great earthquake and that an angel had come to the tomb and has removed the stone. They did not know that the earthquake and the appearance of the angel had frightened the Roman guards and that they had fled the scene in fear, Matt. 28:2-4.
All they see is the tomb opened and they fear the worst. Surely they are afraid that the Lord’s enemies have taken His body away. They were probably overcome with new fears that the body of the Lord might be subjected to greater indignities than it had already experienced. Seeing that stone rolled away must have chilled their hearts, so they ran the rest of the way to the tomb to investigate.
When they go into the tomb, they find “a young man sitting on the right side. He is clothed in a strange garment. We know from the other Gospel accounts that this is no ordinary young man. This individual is an angel! This angel begins to speak to the women. He has a message for them. It is a message designed to help them get stop living in Saturday. It is a message designed to help them experience the power of Sunday in their lives. Lets look at that message together.)
A. v. 6a A Message Of Peace He tells them to be not affrighted. When they saw the angel, they were filled with fear. The word affrighted literally means to be struck with terror. They see the angel and they are overcome with fear. But, he speaks to them and offers them a message of peace. He tells them that there is no need to fear. Things are not as they appear on the surface. (Ill. By the way, they never are! Nothing is ever as bad as your mind, your heart and the devil tell you they are!)
B. v. 6b A Message Of Power He tells them that he knows why they are there. He knows they have coming looking for the body of Jesus. He confirms what they already know. Jesus was crucified. He did die. They were not deceived by what they saw. They really did see Jesus nailed to a cross. They really did see His blood as it flowed from His body. They really did see Him yield up His Spirit. They really did see Him die.
He wants them to know that His cry of “it is finished! did not mean that He was finished! He died, but He did not stay dead! He joyous cry is, He is risen! The angel wants them to know that the power of death has been swallowed up by the far greater power life! The angel wants them to know that the empty tomb of the Lord is not a place of despair and defeat. That empty tomb is a place of glory, a place of power and a place of hope.
(Ill. The fact is, if Jesus Christ died on the cross and did not rise again from the dead, everything we live for and believe as Christians means absolutely nothing, Ill. 1 Cor. 15:12-20.
1. v.13 Christ Is Not Risen
a. He died in vain, Rom. 4:24; 5:10
b. He lied, Mt. 16:21; 12:40
c. He had no power to save then, and He cannot save anyone today!
2. v. 14 Our Preaching Is A Waste Of Time - (Ill. A big lie!) (We can help no one, all will go to hell!)
3. v. 14 Our Faith Is Foolish - All we do, our praying, studying, witnessing, working, hoping, holiness, praising is a waste of time!
4. v. 15 All Christians Are Liars - Our testimony is false, we are mentally deranged!
5. v. 17 We Are All Lost In Our Sins -Rom. 10:9; 5:10 Ill. Heb. 7:25 A dead Savior can save no one!
6. v. 18 Our Departed Loved Ones Are Gone Forever - They are all dead and in the ground, or in Hell today!
7. v. 19 We Are To Be Pitied - We are all fools, building our lives and our hopes on the corpse of a dead man. We are all hell bound
8. v. 20 Jesus Is Risen And because He is, all the negatives are transformed into positives. He is able to save the soul. He is able to give us His life. He is able to change us from the vile creatures we are into His image for His glory
Jesus is alive, just like the angel said! That was a message those women needed to hear that Sunday morning and it is the message you need to hear this Sunday morning!)
C. v. 6c A Message With Proof After telling the women that Jesus had risen from the dead, the angel invited them to look at the place where the body had been. As they looked, we are told what they saw in John 20:6-7. They would have seen the cloth strips that had been wrapped around the body, still lying there, undisturbed, as if the body had simply passed right through them. They would have seen the napkin folded, and laid to the side. They would have looked upon a scene of absolutely calm and order.
It was not the kind of scene they would have witnessed had people taken or moved the body. The message from that empty tomb is that Jesus is alive! For 2,000 years skeptics have tried to prove that the resurrection did not take place. They have concocted every kind of wild theory imaginable to account for the empty tomb. Every theory they propose is dashed to piece by the testimony of that empty grave!
If the Jews had the body, they would have produced it when the disciples started preaching the resurrection. If the disciples had taken the body, they would not have died for a lie. That missing body has always been impossible for the skeptics to overcome. His body was missing because He was alive! Jesus walked out of that tomb that morning in eternal victory over death and the grave!
(Note: That empty tomb is still preaching today! That tomb still tells this world that Jesus is alive and that He is able to save all who come to Him by faith, Heb. 7:25. My friend, if you are still trapped in the deadness and darkness of your sins, let me tell you that you do not have to remain in that condition. The Lord Jesus lives today and He can deliver you from the Saturday of your sins and transport you to the Sunday of His new life.
The message of the empty tomb rolled away the stone from the hearts of those sad, sorrowful, grief stricken women. That message brought them out of the gloom of defeat into the glory of life. It can do the same for you! Hear that message and heed it today! Let God roll the stone away from y our heart. Come to Jesus and be saved. Come to Jesus and let Him change your life today!)
I. A Ministry Of Love
II. A Message Of Life
III. v. 7-8 A MISSION OF LIBERATION
A. v. 7 A Command The angel sends them away from the tomb to carry the message to the disciples of the Lord. Those men were filled with fear and they were in hiding, John 20:19, but God wants them to know that Jesus is alive. There is no need to fear! There is joy. There is hope. Even Peter, the one who had so recently denied the Lord, is singled out. The Lord wants Peter to know that he is loved too.
Those three women came to that tomb that morning worried about rolling away one stone from a tomb. They didn’t know it, but God was about to use them to roll countless stones away from the hearts of millions. They were the first to spread the good news of that empty tomb!
B. v. 8 A Change They came to that tomb with sorrow in their hearts and they leave it a different way. The Bible says they were amazed. That phrase refers to a displacement of the mind. What they had seen and what they had heard at the empty tomb literally blew their minds. It was almost more than they could comprehend.
That phrase has the idea of “being overcome with awe of a religious nature. In other words, what they encountered at the empty tomb was not what they expected as they traveled there. But, what they encountered changed their lives, and replaced their sorrow with an overwhelming sense of the power of God. They knew that they were now a part of a great miracle and they ran to tell others about their risen Lord!
C. The Consequences Mark tells us that they did not talk about what they had seen and heard with anyone along the way. We know from the other Gospel writers that they did run to find the disciples and tell them, Matt. 28:8; John 20:1. This news affected the disciples too. Many of them ran to the tomb. We are told that John looked in and saw the evidence and that he believed, John 20:8. Later that day, Jesus would appear to more of the disciples.
The message of these women caused even more stones to be rolled away. Because of their testimony, many were brought out of the darkness and gloom of Saturday into the wonder and glory of Sunday!
(Note: Such is the power of the resurrection. When the resurrection is first encountered and believed, it fills the heart with amazement. When the Lord’s resurrection is embraced by faith, it brings about a change in the life of the person who receives its truth. When the death and resurrection of Jesus, which is the Gospel, 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rom. 4:25, are embraced by faith, a new birth takes place. A sinner becomes a saint. A child of the devil becomes a child of God. A new creature is born, John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17. A new life draws its first breaths.
That new life is not perfect, but it is different. It is a life that Christ lives through, Gal. 2:20; John 7:37-38. It is a life that strives to know God and the power of the resurrected Christ, Phil 3:9-10. It is a life that is no longer satisfied with Saturdays. It is a life that longs for the glories of Sunday to be real every day! It is a life that can’t keep the good news to itself. It has to tell others because it wants others to have what it enjoys.
That is the power of an empty tomb. It has the power to roll stones away in lives. It has the power to deliver us from the Saturday of our death. It has the power to allow us to live in the Sunday of His victory!)
Conc: What a difference a day makes! On Saturday everything looked bleak, barren and dead. On Sunday everything changed forever! On Sunday, the stone was rolled away and the world would never be the same.
On Sunday, some struggling believers had the stones rolled away from their hearts. They heard the good news that Jesus was alive. They believed that message and it changed their lives. They shared that message with others who were trapped in the deadness and darkness of their Saturdays. Many of those people believed and the stones were rolled away from their hearts. They were saved and started enjoying the Sunday of His glory and presence.
The message still rings today. I heard it one day. I believed it and I was transported from a dead, dreary, dark Saturday into a wonderful, glorious Sunday experience. I have seen others delivered and I am sharing that message with you today.
Why? Some of you are still living in Saturday. You have no hope. You are dead in your trespasses and your sins. If you die in that condition, you will die lost and you will go to Hell. I am here to tell you today that you do not have to stay in that condition. The Lord is able to roll away the stone from your heat. He is able to lead you out of your darkness into His light; out of your death into His light.
Just as He raised Lazarus from the dead, John 11, Jesus can do the very same thing for you. Don’t you want to be saved? Don’t you want to be delivered from your dead, depressing, dreary, dark Saturday and experience the Sunday of His peace, His joy and His salvation? If He is standing outside your tomb today, and He is calling your voice, please come to Him right now. Come and be saved. Leave Saturday behind and come find out what Sunday is all about!