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THE CONQUEST OF THE KING
Intro: The King of heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, came to this world from glory for one purpose: He came to die for the lost, Luke 19:10. God entered this world as a helpless infant, so that He might become the redeemer of men. By the time we arrive at Luke 24, the King has accomplished His purpose. Just a few days before the events recorded in this text, the King, Jesus, has been unjustly and unlawfully condemned by the very people He came to save. Those same people have conspired and labored to see Him crucified. With that done, they are confident that He is gone forever. However, through His death, He accomplished His mission in coming tot his world. The very thing they thought would rid the world of Jesus of Nazareth forever, was the very thing that allowed Him to accomplish His purpose in coming.
Today, we have not gathered in this place to mourn the death of Jesus, as tragic as it was. We have not gathered to discuss the illegalities of the case against Him and of the trial that condemned Him. We have not gathered here to vilify those who made it their mission to destroy Him. We have gathered here on this resurrection Sunday to celebrate His victory! You see, we don’t worship a dead man as do the adherents of every other major religion in the world! No, our Savior lives and we are here this morning to celebrate His conquest over death and the grave for us.
I want us to travel back to Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago. It is early in the morning. Dawn is just beginning to break over the still quiet and sleeping city. A tiny group of frightened women make their way through their twisting streets, headed toward a graveyard to perform one last labor of love for the One they believed would be their redeemer. While Jerusalem slept, events were taking place that morning that would echo through the halls of time for all eternity. Man didn’t realize, but the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords was waging war on their behalf. Let’s look in on these events and think for a while about The Conquest Of The King.
I. THE ASTONISHMENT AT THE TOMB
A. The Soldiers Were Astonished - Matt. 27:62-66; 28:4, 11-15 - These men were there to guard the tomb. They would have placed a cord over the stone and sealed it with a Roman seal. Anyone who broke that seal would have been in defiance of the Roman government! These men were there to guard a tomb, and they would do so even if it meant their deaths! These men would have been executed had they been found to be derelict in their duties. They had been warned that His disciples might come to take away His body, but nobody had warned them that angels would come and open that tomb. In the presence of the angels, those tough, crack troops fainted dead away!
B. The Saints Were Astonished - On the way to the tomb, this little group of women had debated among themselves how they would go about removing the stone from the door of the tomb, Mark 16:3. These stones weighed somewhere between 2000 and 3500 pounds! It would have been utterly impossible for them to have moved it by themselves! Yet, when they arrive at the tomb, the stone is already rolled away. More than that, the language seems to indicate that the stone was totally removed from where it should have been and was in a place by itself! That alone was astonishing! (Ill. Imagine the shock of going to the cemetery to place flowers on a loved ones grave and finding the grave opened and the vault and casket empty!)
What was even more astonishing was the fact that the body of the Lord was missing! They know He was dead when they left Him here, they had seen it with their own eyes, Luke 23:55. These women had watched Jesus die just a couple of days before. They had seen blood and water run out of His side when it was pierced by the Roman soldier, John 19:31-37. They had seen Him dead, now He is missing! They had spend the intervening days preparing embalming spices to put on His body, now it is gone. Dead men do not just get up and walk away! Yet, His body is gone! Luke tells us that they were “perplexed”. This word means “to be at a loss” (Note: The only ones at the tomb who were not surprised were the angels!)
C. Satan Was Astonished - The Bible doesn’t record this, but I am sure the resurrection caught the devil off guard! I don’t think he planned for this when he made every effort to bring about the death of Jesus Christ. But, he shouldn’t have been surprised! After all, he should have remembered the identity of Jesus. He is the Creator. He is the Prince of Life. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of glory. None of the obstacles there that day stood in His way. He did not hesitate to violate the law of Rome. He was not afraid of a few Roman soldiers. He was not even bound by the fearsome power of death! He certainly didn’t bow in defeat before the devil! He overcame every single obstacle to walk out of that tomb in victory over death and its power!
(Note: People are still astonished when they hear of the resurrection! Men have sought for 2,000 years to disprove the documentation regarding the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, if the resurrection can be done away with, then Christianity falls like a house of cards! The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the linchpin of Christianity. The only thing that separates Jesus from any other founder of any world religion or movement is not His death, it is His resurrection! According to the Bible, Christianity stands or falls on the reality of the resurrection, 1 Cor. 15:12-19.)
II. THE ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE TOMB
A. God knew that men would never grasp the significance or the reality of the resurrection. So, He sent angelic messengers to tell those who came to look for he body that Jesus was risen from the dead.
B. When the angel spoke, he first challenged their faith. He asks them a question that was designed to get their attention: “Why are you looking for a living man among dead men?” He is saying, you won’t find the Prince of Life in a cemetery!
C. The next words of this angel must have been like a thunderclap within the souls of these women: “He is not here, but it risen.” Those last three words, “He is risen”, changed the world forever! Though they didn’t understand it all then, and we still don’t understand it all today, life would never be the same after Jesus arose from the dead. When He died on the cross, He paid the sin debt of fallen man. He had satisfied the just demands of God relating to sin. Now, through His blood, man could be forgiven. But, when He rose from the dead, He forever conquered the power of death and opened the door to eternal life for all who believe on Him. Because He arose, death has no more power over the redeemed - 1 Cor. 15:55-57.
III. THE ABSENCE AT THE TOMB
(Note: If you remove the fainting soldiers and forget about the frightened women, and if you ignore the angelic messengers and the fact that the stone is removed from the door, the most astonishing thing about this whole event is the fact that the very person who should have been there wasn’t! Jesus, the man Who died just three days earlier is gone! His absence that morning speaks volumes to our hearts today.)
A. It Was The Fulfillment Of Prophecy - It should have surprised no one that He was gone, after all, the Old Testament prophet predicted that it would happen, Psa. 16:10. Even before His death on the cross, Jesus Himself had predicted His death and His resurrection, v. 6-7; Luke 9:22; Luke 18:32-33. Perhaps that’s why the angel seems to be chiding these women somewhat about why they are even at the tomb. Had they believed everything He said, they would have known that He would rise again.
B. It Was The Finalizing Of A Plan - A dead Savior saves no one! If Jesus had remained in the grave, His death would have been pointless and futile. Had He not risen from the dead, God’s plan to save humanity from their sins would have failed! But, because He did rise from the dead, He still lives today to save all who will come to Him by faith, Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:33-39.
(Note: Thank God He lives, because a living Saviour can hear you. He can see you, Pro. 15:3. He can comfort you, Heb. 4:15. He can help you, 1 Pet. 5:7. He can be there with you, Heb. 13:5.)
(Note: Because Jesus Christ got up from the dead, you and I have hope this morning. You see, He is the “first fruits” from the dead, 1 Cor. 15:20-23. That is, He is the first and he stands as the promise that there is more to follow! One of these days, all those who are saved by grace will exit their graves because He lives! One day, some of those who believe in Him will bypass their graves because He lives! Because He lives, His people have the dynamic of life working in them right now, John 6:40; John 17:3! We are as eternally alive right now as we ever will be!)
Conc: I don’t know how He did it. I don’t understand the workings and power of deity. I do not understand how God could put on human flesh, live in this world, be rejected by His Own people and still die for them on the cross. I do not understand how this same God could accomplish His once for all victory over death through His resurrection. But, I don’t have to understand it to benefit from it! While I may not can comprehend what He did for me and why, I choose to believe it! When the King was condemned, He was condemned for me! When the King died, He was dying for me. When the King arose from the dead, He was rising for me!
What is even more astounding is that when I received Him by faith I learned that I was in Him when He went through all those things. When He was condemned, I was condemned. When He died, I died. When He arose, I arose too! Because King Jesus waged war on sin and death and won a mighty victory and then arose from the dead in triumph over all His foes, I get to enjoy His conquest! The conquest of the King! It was more than just for Him. It was more than just for me. It was a conquest for all those who will receive Him by faith!