Sermon Outline On Luke 24:1-12
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
‘I just want to know what counts.’ Deep Irish brogue. Dark, deep eyes. The statement was sincere. ‘Don’t talk to me of religion, I’ve been down that road. And please, stay off theology. I have a degree in that. Get to the heart of it, okay? I want to know what counts.’
That is how Max Lucado describes his encounter with Ian, a student at a Canadian university where Max was visiting.
‘I grew up in the church,’ Ian explained. ‘I wanted to go into the ministry. I took all the courses, the theology, the languages, the exegesis. But I quit. Something just didn’t click.’
He summarized his frustration with one question. ‘What really matters? What counts? Tell me. Skip the periphery. Go to the essence. Tell me the part that matters.’
Lucado then shares that it was years later before he was certain about what he should have shared that day. He refers to the words of Paul in 1Corinthians 15: 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
‘First importance,’ Lucado stresses, ‘First importance.’ And then Paul writes:
that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 1 Cor. 15:3-5
‘There it is. Almost too simple. Jesus was killed, buried, and resurrected. Surprised? The part that matters is the cross. No more and no less.’ so Max says. It’s the cross. That’s what matters. Lucado describes it as ‘history’s hinge.’
A hymn that sheds light on this mystery is a favorite of mine. I never remember it is my favorite until I sing it. Then I come to the last words of the second verse:
from my stricken heart with tears / two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love / and my unworthiness.
Did you see the B. C. comic strip this past Friday? Peter (the B.C. comic character) is sitting and says to his friend, ‘I hate the term ‘˜Good Friday.”
‘Why?’ is the response.
‘My Lord was hanged on a tree that Friday.’
‘If you were going to be hanged on that day, and he volunteered to take your place, how would you feel?
‘Have a nice day.’
Max tells us that, ‘being religious without knowing the cross is like owning a Mercedes with no motor. Pretty package, but where is your power?’
We Protestants prefer the empty cross as our symbol as opposed to the crucifix with Jesus hanging there. We say with resurrection the cross is empty, BUT I suggest to you that the cross is empty without resurrection. In other words, it is resurrection that brings power to the cross.
Let’s take a moment to look at Luke’s unique view of the resurrection that brings power to the cross. His account of that first Easter morning begins with they came to the tomb, they prepared, they found the stone rolled away, they did not find the body, they were perplexed. We are five verses into the telling when we learn that the they are women. The women are frightened by two men dressed in dazzling white, who are later identified as angels.
They said to the women, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.’ Jesus has risen! He is alive! He is risen!
Listen closely now to what the angels say next. They say, ‘Remember how he told you…The angels are saying to these women that Jesus spoke these words to them. Jesus said to them, ‘the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’ Sounds rather creedal, doesn’t it? ‘…and in Jesus Christ, his only son our Lord. Who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. The third day he arose from the dead…
Luke tells us they remembered and they returned to tell the eleven and all the rest. In the Acts of the Apostles we learn that there are at least 120 followers of Jesus by the time of his resurrection. Following this resurrection account, Luke tells us of two other followers of Jesus who are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
Did you notice what just happened here? Luke treats his accounting a little differently. Several women go to the tomb. We are given the names of three and then told ‘other women.’ Fred Craddock points out that these women are NOT treated like messengers. Rather they are treated as disciples. They are not given instructions to go and tell the disciples. These disciples who are women hear, remember and go to tell all the other disciples. They have seen the empty tomb, and they go to share the good news.
The other disciples hear the report of the empty tomb. Luke says these words seemed like idle talk. They cannot believe what they are hearing. If we are honest we would agree even today. It sounds too good to be true. Even to this day it seems unbelievable. Grace, the unmerited, unconditional love of God, sounds unbelievable.
God would love them that much. God would love you and me that much. Paul would later remind us that it is by grace that we are saved through faith.
In a devotional written for this day, Barbara Brown Taylor writes ‘He is risen. Believe that and the rest will take care of itself.’
Peter told the early Christians, ‘God in God’s great mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus.’ 1Peter 1:3 But on that first Easter morn, Peter did not believe what he was told. He had to go see for himself. Peter went to the tomb. He experienced for himself the empty tomb. The scripture says, ‘he went home, amazed at what had happened.’
THE TOMB WAS EMPTY! HE HAS RISEN!
Resurrection is what brought power to the cross! Jesus death on the cross could only mean forgiveness and hope for us when the tomb was empty. Without resurrection the world would have thought a fool died for nothing. Ian wanted to know, ‘What really matters?’ Max Lucado’s answer’“ the cross.