Resurrection Sunday Sunrise Service: What The Tomb Teaches Us

Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina:

Mark 16:1-4 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.

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

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

4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (the mother of the Son of God), and Salome (perhaps one of Jesus’ sisters – Matthew 13:56) went to the Tomb following the end of the weekly Sabbath. It was their intention to finish preparing Jesus’ body for burial. The question foremost in their minds was,

Who shall roll us away the stone
from the door of the sepulcher?”

A large stone covered the entrance to Christ’s grave, a cave borrowed from Joseph of Arimathaea. When the stone was put in place three days before,

Matthew 27:65-66 Pilate said to {the Pharisees and chief Priests}, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the Tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

When the Tomb was sealed, it was done by the King to prevent anything happening to the contents. When Daniel was cast into the lion’s den we are told,

Daniel 6:17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.

By sealing the stone, it became an act of treason to open the door. This is much like the police tape put on a crime scene that says, “Do not enter, on penalty of law”. Jesus was laid to rest, but He was also effectively locked up. To insure that the seal was not broken, Pilate put his guards – Roman soldiers – on the door to guard it. The stone was in place, and it was very great. Who would move the stone for the women? Or would their trip be all in vain.

As they got to the sepulcher they found out:

Mark 6:4 … they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

The seal of the Law was broken. The immense Rock was already moved. The Roman guards – seasoned and worldly soldiers – were no where to be found.

Jesus was not in the Tomb!

Entering the Tomb, we read:

Mark 16:5-11 entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

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.

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.

8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulcher; 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.

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.

Leaving the empty Tomb, the two Mary’s and Salome were frightened and ran away – but Mary Magdalene came back to the Tomb. It was when she returned to that empty Tomb that Jesus came to her. Telling her “touch Me not, for I have no yet ascended to the Father” (John 20:17), Jesus tells Mary to return an tell the disciples what she has seen. Jesus has risen!

What are the three great truths we get from the empty Tomb of Christ?

1 The Lawful Seal on the Tomb was removed.

Pilate as Governor lawfully sealed the Tomb of Christ, sealing His dead body away from the Living. The Bible tells us that our God is “the Living God”. And yet the Scripture says that

We are ALL dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13).

God is LIVING, but we are naturally spiritually DEAD.

Romans 3:23 … all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…

Romans 5:12 … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

The seal of the Law stands between us and God. He is perfectly righteous, but we are NOT. He is perfectly HOLY, but we are not. Like David, we cry out for God.

Psalm 42:2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

How can we stand before the Living, when we are dead? As the Prophet said in Deuteronomy 5:26, “For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?. The answer is, no one can of themselves approach God.

But Christ died for our sins! Our Jesus came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to FULFILL them” (Matthew 5:17, ESV). By believing on Christ, He takes away the seal of the Law that keeps us from God. Just as the Tomb cannot hold Jesus as the seal of the Law is removed, the seal of the Law does not keep us from the Living God. God has “quickened us” given us life, because Christ fulfilled the requirements of the Law once and for all.

Romans 10:4 (ESV) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Romans 7:12 (ESV) So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The Law no longer holds Jesus in the Tomb, nor does the Law hold the Christian in spiritual death. Jesus broke the seal of the Law.

2 The stone was rolled away.

The two Mary’s and Salome, though they had every intention of serving Jesus, could not do so unless the stone was rolled away. There are many people today who believe that they can “get on God’s good side” by doing “good works”. Yet the Scripture says:

Isaiah 64:6-7 (ESV) We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.

Though we may want to work our way to God – and are as sincere as the Marys and Salome were – yet we cannot. Like Paul we cry out, Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24, ESV). We are not strong enough to roll the stone away. But Jesus rolled the stone away. As the Apostle said:

Titus 3:3-7 (ESV) For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Jesus did what was impossible for us, so that we can be children of God.

3 The soldiers were chased away.

The world, the flesh, and the devil did all that they could to keep us in the Tomb, just as the Roman guards tried to keep Jesus in the Tomb. They could not keep Jesus in death, and cannot hold the believer in death. Those who belong to Jesus by faith will not continue to walk in darkness. The seal is broken. The stone is rolled away. The soldiers are gone. Jesus promised:

John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

There is a lot of nonsense spouted off today about “I was made this way, so I can – guilt free – stay this way”. Hogwash! The Scripture tells us that

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

You who are saved by faith in Christ do not belong in the grave no more than Jesus belongs in the grave. The Tomb is empty. Blessed be the name of the Lord. May God lead you to Christ’s side this very day.

He is not in the Tomb. He is risen, just as He said!

Amen and amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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