Mr 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

  • Sabbath was past- The Jewish day ran from 6PM to 6PM, so this tells us that sometime after 6 PM on Saturday night, they went to buy these spices.
  • Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome– Luke mentions that Joanna and other women were also there (Luke 24:10; cf. Mark 15:41).
  • Bought sweet spices to anoint Him- That the women came to anoint Jesus’ body on the third day after his burial showed that they were not expecting to find an empty tomb. Thus, they brought spices to complete the anointing that John records Joseph and Nicodemus had begun.

2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

  • John 20:1 says that Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb while it was still dark. She may have gone on ahead of the other women.
  • Matthew tells us that these women came to the tomb late on the Sabbath day as it began to dawn upon the first day of the week. Most likely, this is taking place between the hours of 5 and 6 AM.
  • This particular morning after the Sabbath of Passover week would be known as first fruits. The meaning of first fruits is that there is more to follow.
  • In addition to the redemptive implications of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is also significant for the believer in that it is the guarantee of our own bodily resurrection and glorification. This is spoken of in great detail in 1 Cor 15, the resurrection chapter.

3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

  • How was this large stone rolled away? We know from Matthew’s gospel that at the time of the resurrection, there was a great earthquake for the angel of The Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat upon it. (Matt 28.2)
  • It should be noted that the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out, but to let the doubting disciples in.

4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

  • The angel who rolled away the stone (Matt. 28:2), had then entered the burial chamber. Luke records that there were two angels in the tomb; Matthew and Mark focus on the one who spoke. 

6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

  • Women were the first to witness the empty tomb and hear from the angel that Jesus was risen (Mt  28:1-8 ; Lk  24:1-8 ; Jn  20:1-2 ). The role of women in this account is astonishing since Judaism did not accept the testimony of women as legally valid.
  • Not only was the tomb open, it was also empty. In Luke’s gospel, the question was asked, Why seek ye The Living among the dead? And the answer to that question is the very central doctrine of the Christian faith. Jesus Who was crucified is risen!!
  • Jesus Christ is risen! Jesus is alive! Jesus IS The Resurrection and the Life! The risen Jesus is why we are here celebrating today. The risen Jesus is why we will gather to celebrate next Sunday, Lord willing. The risen Jesus is Who we live for and love more than anything and anyone.

In a court of law, the testimony of two or three eyewitnesses confirms the validity of something actually taking place.

  1. All 4 gospels and the first chapter of the book of Acts end with the eyewitness testimony of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and His ascension into heaven. (Mt 28:2-15; Mr 16:1-11; Lu 24:1-12; John 20:1-18)
  2. Mary Magdalene at the tomb, early in the AM (John 20.11-18) Mary Magdalene’s name heads the list in all four Gospels.
  3. Peter, a little bit later that same day (Luke 24.34; 1 Cor 15.5)
  4. 2 disciples of the Emmaus Road. Midday of that same day (Luke 24.13-32). We will see this in verses 12 and 13.
  5. 10 disciples in the upper room that evening. Thomas was absent. (Luke 24.36-43; John 20.19-25)
  6. 11 disciples in the upper room 8 days later (John 20.26-29. Thomas is with them.
  7.  7 disciples on the Sea of Galilee (John 21.1-23)
  8. 11 disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matt 28.16-20.
  9. 500 brethren at once (1 Cor 15.6)
  10. James (1 Cor 15.7)
  11. Rest of the brethren (1 Cor 15.7)
  12. Paul on the Road of Damascus (Acts 9; Acts 22; Acts 26)
  13. John on the isle of Patmos around 90 AD.

Here are 12 eyewitnesses of the people seeing the Lord Jesus after He rose from the dead. Many of them would end up being martyred for their testimony that Jesus Christ is alive.

It is interesting to me that in His 3 years of public ministry, we read about the miracles of Jesus raising the dead, cleansing lepers, giving sight to the blind, turning water into wine at a wedding feast and feeding a crowd of thousands by miraculously multiplying a little boys lunch of 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish. In spite of all of these undeniable miracles, the enemies of Jesus asked Jesus for a sign that would prove who He was:

Matt 12.38-40 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

In other words, the grave would be to Jesus Christ what the belly of the fish was to Jonah. Just as Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the great fish, Jesus would be laid in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights.

  • Just as Jonah came out of the belly of the great fish. Jesus would rise victorious out of the grace and the clutches of death on the 3rd day.
  • The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (Luke 24.7).
  • John 2.18-22 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
  • It is at this point that Matthew tells us that some of the guard went that were watching over the tomb of Jesus went and told the chief priests that they had a problem on their hands. The One that they crucified had risen from the dead! The last thing that these religious leaders wanted was an empty tomb and a Risen Christ.
  • Remember, the Jewish rulers had gone to Pilate and secured the sealing of the stone and the setting of the watch over the tomb (Mt 27:62-66).
  • Matthew tells us that upon hearing of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that these religious leaders then gave a large sum of money to the soldiers and told them to tell others that the reason why Jesus was not in the tomb was because His disciples had come and stolen the body away. In spite of the infallible evidence of His resurrection, these religious people were more concerned with protecting the religious and dead rituals of their ancestors than follow believe in and follow The Risen Lord Jesus Christ. 

7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

  • Go, tell are the two things that all followers of Jesus are to do. Peter is given special mention only in Mark as an encouragement following his denials of Jesus (Mk. 14:66-72). The message for the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee recalls Jesus’ prophecy in Mk.14:28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee

8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. 9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils (The description out of whom He had driven seven demons comes from Lk 8:2).

10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

  • Mary and the other women ran to the apostles and told them what they had seen and heard. They were mourning and weeping over the loss of their Lord. None of the disciples believed the report of the resurrection of Jesus.
  • We are told in the gospel of John that after hearing this report Peter and John run to the tomb. When they arrive at the tomb, it was empty. They only found two separate articles, the linen clothes and the napkin. But they still do not know what has taken place.
  • John’s gospel tells us that when John looked into the empty tomb he found everything neat and in order.  Hardly the job of a grave robber.
  • John also tells us that sometime after the apostles left, Mary was alone weeping when she saw the empty tomb, and that Jesus asked her why she was weeping. For a reason that only God can explain, she thought that Jesus was the gardener and asked him where he took her Lord’s body. But as soon as Jesus called her by her name Mary, she knew that it was Jesus! Jesus calls His sheep by name.

12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

  • This Emmaus Road account is recorded in great detail in Luke 24.13-32. 

13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

  • Again, we read about the unbelief of the disciples after these 2 disciples tell them that they saw the resurrected Lord.

14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven (Judas had committed suicide) as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

  • Why did Jesus rebuke these men? Because they believed not the testimony that He was alive! The Bible says Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart. Heb 3.7,8
  • John tells us that the 11 had shut themselves in behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. Jesus stood in their midst and said to them Shalom, or Peace be unto you. Jesus showed them His pierced hands and feet.
  • They were troubled and thought that they saw a ghost. Jesus then asks them to give Him a piece of broiled fish to prove that He was not simply a disembodied spirit. Jesus had a physical, resurrected body, but not a body of flesh and blood. It was the appearance of their Resurrected Lord that renewed their faith.
  • John tells us that Thomas was not with them at this appearance. And he said that Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
  • Eight days later, Jesus (hearing every word that Thomas spoke) appeared and revealed Himself to Thomas and said, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. At which time Thomas calls Jesus My Lord and My God. Who is Jesus to you today? Is He your Lord? Your God?

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

  • Are you wondering why your spouse, son or daughter, co-worker or team members who are Christian are always sharing with you the gospel? Here is the answer. It is the command of Jesus to Go and tell!!
  • Gospel means “Good News”…this good news is for all the world, because Jesus tasted death for every man.
  • This gospel or good news is for all people and every ethnic group under heaven, for Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4.12
  • He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Would you please note that it is after you believe on The Lord Jesus Christ that you can be baptized?
  • But there is bad news as well. And these are also the words of Jesus Christ. He that believeth not shall be damned. This damnation is eternal. Nobody spoke more about hell than Jesus Christ.
  • What does it mean to believe on Jesus Christ and be saved? First let me tell you what it does not mean to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord.

It does not mean that you believe in God. The bible says that it is the fool who says in his heart, there is not God. To look up at the vast universe or a baby being born leaves one breathless and knowing that there is a God.

It does not mean that you believe in a historical figure named Jesus Christ. The bible says that the devils also believe those very same things and tremble.

To believe in The Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation means:

  1. That you repent (be sorry for, turn away from) of your sin and by faith trust in Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross as sole payment of your debt of sin, you will be set free from the guilt and penalty of your sin (Luke 7:50; 1 Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 2:15; Eph 2:5, 8; 2 Tim 1:9). This is what is known as the new birth, or being saved.
  2. It means that you receive Jesus Christ as Lord of your life and The Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of you and that you will begin to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:14; 8:2; 2 Cor 3:18; Gal 2:19-20; Phil 1:19; 2:12-13; 2 Th 2:13).  This is the beginning of a life of repentance. This is becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Closing Remarks

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not about religion, it is about life. Jesus said, John 10.10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

  • Jesus is The Savior of the world. He is not one of the ways to heaven; He is The Only Way to heaven. Jesus Christ gives us life, not mere existence.

A Roman jailer once asked the apostle Paul and Silas a very important question. Acts 16.30,31 Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

  • Romans 10.8 The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
  • Note that your confession unto salvation is that Jesus Christ is LORD! We do not make Jesus Lord, we receive Him as Lord of our lives.

Matthew 11.28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

  • Will you place all of your trust for the salvation of your eternal soul to The Lord Jesus Christ today? Your good works cannot atone for your sin and save your soul. Your observing of church rituals cannot atone for your sin and save your soul.
  • Biblical salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. I bid you today to be reconciled to God through faith in Christ.