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Easter Means Joy

Scripture: Matthew 28:1-10

I. Easter means the joy of life beyond the grave for you.

A. Mary Magdalene and another Mary were on their way before dawn to see the tomb where Jesus had been placed (vs. 1). But they were in for a surprise when they reached the tomb. An angel told them that Jesus’ body was no longer at the tomb. Instead, Jesus had been risen from the dead (vs. 5-6). Jesus is God’s Son. And God has the power over life and death. Thus, God was able to overcome death’s grip and bring Jesus to life.

B. Revelation 21:3-4: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’”

II. Easter means joy beyond belief.

A. The two Mary’s shouldn’t have been surprised by Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus had told his followers many times that he was going to be killed and then three days later rise from the dead. This is why the angel says in verse 6, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” One place where Jesus said he would rise from the dead is found in Matthew 26:32. But the women could not believe it. Our joy in the resurrection many times runs ahead of our faith. Our faith is trying to catch up to our joy over what Jesus has done in defeating death. We have joy beyond belief.

B. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that Jesus has power unlike anyone else. Since Jesus is risen, can’t He also bring light into your darkness? Can’t Jesus do the impossible? Remember the joy of Easter. Let your joy run ahead of your belief when you are in a dark place.  Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

III. Easter means the joy of forgiveness.

A. Jesus calls His disciples brothers in verse 10. Let’s remember what these “brothers” had done to Jesus just a few days prior when Jesus was on trial for His life. The 12 disciples all failed Jesus. They all ran for their lives as soon as Jesus was arrested. Could Jesus really forgive them? Yes, he could and he would. Their relationship had been broken by their sinful betrayal. The fact that Jesus still called His disciples brothers said that he could forgive them. And that is what the disciples wanted and needed more than anything else. They wanted the joy of forgiveness.

Application:
Receive forgiveness from Christ for your sins and have the joy of eternal life.

Sources:
The Gospel of Matthew
Commentaries on Matthew by D.A. Carson and R.T. France

SERMON DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1) How do you think you would have felt if you were walking toward Jesus’ tomb in the dark on Easter Sunday morning? The resurrection of Jesus gave the women “great joy” (vs. 8). Why should the resurrection bring us great joy as well?

2) Would you have believed the angel’s words about Jesus on Easter? Have you ever had a time where your joy in Jesus ran ahead of your faith? If you struggle to have joy in your faith, how can you grow your joy?

3) What might you have called the disciples instead of brothers in vs. 10? Do you see how much Jesus wanted to forgive the disciples and how much he wants to forgive you?