Matthew 28:6

Jesus did not only appear after his death, as ghosts are said to have appeared, startling nervous people in haunted places. His tomb was left vacant. His body had disappeared. This is an important fact in regard to the Resurrection.

I. THERE IS A NEGATIVE AS WELL AS A POSITIVE EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION. The positive evidence is in the appearance of Christ to his disciples; the negative evidence is in the empty tomb. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, men could have pointed to his sealed tomb, could even have torn it open and shown the corpse within. Why did none of the enemies of Jesus do this? No effort appears to have been made to take this simple means of confuting the preaching of the apostles. Yet it was manifestly in the interest of the Sadducean rulers of the Jews to have followed this course. But if the body of our Lord was not to be found, what had become of it? His enemies could have had no interest in hiding it - quite the contrary. M. Renan has suggested that Mary Magdalene carried the body away and hid it. Even if we can think the daring deed practically possible, psychologically it is impossible. Such an ugly fraud would certainly have been found out; for still the body would need to be disposed of. But in their despair none of the disciples were in the mood to invent a fiction of a resurrection. Their sudden transformation from despair to joy and confidence cannot be accounted for on the hypothesis of a fraud. The very lameness of this extraordinary theory, considered as the best that a great imaginative critic can devise, is a proof of the reality of the event he would fain find some means of explaining away.

II. CHRIST HAS RISEN IN THE FULNESS OF HIS POWER AND LIFE. It may seem to us of little moment that he should have brought his body out of the tomb. If he himself still lived, if his soul was still alive, could we not dispense with his body? Here we reason about a region of which we have no knowledge. We do not know how a disembodied spirit can act; we do not know what necessity there may be for some bodily instrument to enable it to communicate with other beings. It is enough to know the fact that Christ's full resurrection life was corporeal as well as spiritual. For us the important truth is that it was and is now a perfect, wakeful, and energetic life. Jesus is no dim shade flitting through the abodes of the dead; he is no sleeping soul like those of our blessed dead who, as some think, sleep in him awaiting their resurrection. He has risen into his perfect life. He is with us now, more truly living than during his earthly ministry.

III. CHRIST'S RESURRECTION IS A TYPE OF THE CHRISTIAN'S RESURRECTION. The physical circumstances must be different in the ease of other people whose bodies have long since mouldered to dust, perished by fire, melted away in the sea, or been devoured by wild beasts and cannibals. But the fact of a full and perfect life is what is alone important. Jesus, the firstfruits from the dead, is the promise of this life for his people. They who sleep in him will awake in his likeness. - W.F.A.

He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.
I. The place which the angel bade the women come and see was an open, EMPTY TOMB. Earth is the place of tombs. There is no tomb in heaven; no silent grave in hell. Every grave of earth will yet be empty.

II. MOMENTOUS TRUTHS were uttered from the open, empty tomb where the Lord had lain.

1. The first voice proclaims the evil and the power of sin. Sin dug for Death all his graves. Sin has slain the Beloved of the Lord.

2. The second voice proclaims redemption from sin. The open grave of Christ is a three-fold sign of


(2)liberty; and


III. There are some holy LESSONS which men may learn as they linger by the Redeemer's open, empty tomb.

1. Come and see the place where the Lord lay, and learn a lesson of penitence for sin.

2. Come and see the place where the Lord lay, and learn a lesson of love to Him. The grave of loved ones has a strange fascination.

3. Come and see the place where the Lord lay, and realize your union with Him and nearness to Him.

4. Come and be in alliance with those who honour Christ.

5. Behold He is alive for evermore.

(D. Rose, M. A.)

1. Standing where the Lord lay I am impressed with the fact that mortuary honours cannot atone for wrongs to the living.

2. That floral and sculptural ornamentation are appropriate for the place of the dead. Christ was buried in a garden.

3. I am impressed with the dignity of private and unpretending obsequies. Funeral pageantry is not necessary.

4. I am impressed with the fact that you cannot keep the dead down. The seal of the Sanhedrin, soldiers, cannot keep Christ in the crypt.

(Dr. Talmage.)

1. The resurrection of Christ considered in relation to Himself as the promised Saviour of men.

2. The resurrection of Christ in relation to the comfort and service of His immediate friends and disciples.

3. The resurrection of Christ from the dead viewed in relation to the enemies of our Lord.

4. The resurrection of Christ considered in its relation to the religious life and experience of believers.

5. The resurrection of our Lord considered in relation to the thoughts and feelings of Christians when contemplating death.

(T. Lloyd.)

I. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead we affirm to be a FACT.

1. Were the apostles deceived?

2. If not deceived, did they wilfully proclaim a falsehood?

II. Note some of its CONSEQUENCES.

1. The resurrection furnishes the only positive proof of our immortality.

2. It also assures us of our redemption, and this gives definite hope for the future.

3. It assures us of the redemption of the body.

(H. Ward.)

Pulpit Thermos.
I. This declaration proclaims THE ACTUAL RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. A fact established by the clearest evidence.

II. This language expresses several FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS.

1. The humiliation of Christ.

2. The infinite love of God.

3. The Divine faithfulness.

4. The Divine sovereignty.

5. Christ's triumph over all His enemies and ours.

6. The certain and glorious pledge of the perfecting of salvation.

(Pulpit Thermos.)

As the flowers wait for the spring, and the yellow corn waits for the summer, and the stars wait for the morning, and as Lazarus waited in sweet silence for the voice of Jesus to awake him out of sleep, so do the blessed dead wait for the resurrection.

(G. W. M'Cree.)


1. The precaution of the Jews.

2. The departure of Jesus from the sepulchre.

3. The change which took place in the apostles after this event.


1. The sufficiency of evidence depends upon the number of the witnesses, their qualifications, and their information.

2. Their competency being established, now examine their credibility. Their testimony was honest, prominent, explicit, and constant.

III. DIVINE TESTIMONY. The Holy Spirit bears witness to Christ's resurrection.

1. By the predictions of the prophets.

2. By the miracles of the apostles.

3. By the success of the gospel.

(T. Gibson. M. A.)


1. In order to a true resurrection we must first have it clearly established that at the time of His burial He was really dead. The soldiers found Jesus already dead. He was buried in a new tomb; hence no other body could have been substituted for that of our Lord. Nicodemus, Joseph of Aremathaea, and the women who assisted at His burial are witnesses of His death.

2. The testimony of those who saw our Lord alive after His resurrection.

II. But passing from the fact itself, let us consider its relation to the Saviour's former utterances, "He is risen, as He said" (John 2:18-21; Matthew 12:40; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:22). Christ perilled His whole Deity and Messiahship on His resurrection. There is a three-fold attestation in this wondrous event.

1. It proved Him to be a prophet, a miracle-worker, and it threw back its authenticating light on everything said and done by Him during His earthly ministry. Thus we learn to view the resurrection of our Lord as the foundation of our faith. Take this chapter out of the gospel and all others are worthless.Two influences —

1. Hope through life — "God hath begotten us unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

2. An influence of comfort in bereavement and death coming from this theme.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Mark the expression a "lively" or living hope. The expectation of perfected salvation which the believer cherishes is not contented with indifference or inactivity. It is a living, not a dying or dead thing, and it animates him to most earnest efforts after the attainment of the object to which it looks. A ship's crew have been forced to leave a sinking vessel and commit themselves in an open and frail boat to the mercy of She ocean. They do not know that they shall be picked up, but they have an intense desire to be delivered and a vague hope that they shall be. Day passes after day. Their scanty stock of provisions is almost exhausted, the water is entirely spent, and hope in them is all but dead, so that every energy within them is paralyzed. But lo! far away on the dim horizon a sail appears, and in a moment the hope that seemed ready to expire is quickened into activity, First they raise a faint but thankful cheer; then they uplift any sort of a flag they can extemporize as a signal of distress; then they take to the oars and summon up the remnant of their strength, if by any means they may near the vessel's course, and attract the attention of those who man her. What a difference one short hour has made in those worn and haggard men! A little while ago they were ready to perish, but now they are all activity, for the sight of that far-off sail has begotten them to a "living hope." So Christ's resurrection brings living hope to the sinner's heart.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. And be assured that He is risen from the dead.

II. And behold the completion of human redemption.

III. And view it with penitential grief.

IV. Ye who love Him, learn to view without fear your own final resting-place, and rejoice in the assurance that His resurrection is the pledge and type of your own. Adore Him for the love which led him to sleep in the sepulchre that you might rise and partake of His glory for ever.

(J. Johnson, M. A.)

"Come and see the place where the Lord lay."

1. It is a garden.

2. It is a garden with a grave in it. The world has no unmingled cup of sweet to offer. Because that tomb is empty and Christ is risen there need be no blight without a blessing, no sorrow without a joy, etc.

3. It is a new tomb where never man was laid.

4. You can see by its size, its position, its adornments, that it belongs to a family possessed of wealth — it is a grave of the rich. Fulfilment of prophecy — Isaiah 53:9.

5. The heavy stone, which brawny arms had rolled against its entrance, making it fast, and setting a seal on it, is rolled away. The finger of God touches the mighty incubus and it moves.

6. And find the sepulchre empty. Christ is risen!(1) The seal of truth is put upon all He said and did. God would have never raised a pretender.(2) The offering of Jesus for the sins of men is hereby accepted.(3) He has Divine life in Himself, and the same Spirit that raised up Jesus from death and the dark can raise up dead souls. This is the true power of His resurrection. Are we risen with Christ?(4) A pledge of His power and purpose to raise again from the dominion of the grave the bodies of the race He hath redeemed. Comfort for the bereaved.(5) Then He hath also ascended up into glory, He hath taken possession of His inheritance, and is the forerunner of the saints. "Opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers." Think of departed loved ones emerged from the ruins of the tomb, etc.(6) Then He lives to-day to be our Friend and Guide and Helper. How much we need Him, etc. Christian, gird up your loins afresh! Yours is a living faith in a living Saviour. Sinner! He is risen. What then? Then He is that man whom God hath ordained to judge the world.

(J. J. Wray.)

Why? For this reason: The fact of Christ's resurrection is at the basis of Christianity. Our whole religion must stand or fall with the coming to life again of the Man Jesus. "If Christ be not risen from the dead, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." God hath therefore hedged it round with special tokens, evidences which may well hush the doubter and strike the sceptic dumb. In the Old Testament we read that contact with the sacred dust of the Prophet Elisha did once raise a man to life; and a Jewish superstition invested the bones of their holier heroes with a similar power. Had this been an old and much-used grave, the enemies of Jesus would have been quick to suggest that as the cause of the resurrection. So Providence provides a new tomb, where never man was laid. Again, old tombs and ancient sepulchres often had secret passages, subterranean avenues, and connections with each other and the outer world. How ready would the unbelievers have been to suggest that by such secret means the body had been carried off by His disciples and interred elsewhere I Hence it is a new tomb, cut in the face of the solid rock, one only means of entrance and of exit, watched and tended by the Roman guard.

(J. J. Wray.)

I. A place of instruction.

1. The fact of His resurrection.

2. What is the significance of the fact? It means that the atonement is complete.

II. A place of life. Christ's life assures us of life for the body and soul of man.

III. A place of comfort — "Fear not ye."

IV. A place of hope.

(D. Merson, B. D.)

It is said that the Romans had a practice of lighting up their tombs. In Essex a tomb was once opened, when a lamp was found in the corner, and a chair near it indicating the rank of the tomb-tenant; and it is recorded that fifteen hundred years after the death of Tullia, Cicero's daughter, her tomb, which was accidentally opened, was found illuminated with a lamp. It was but a glimmering light, the rays of which were confined to the catacomb walls. But the light Christ sheds upon the grave falls upon the vista of eternity. You can now stoop, look in, and see immortality beyond.

(Blacket's "Young Men's Class. ")

Lend me your imaginations for a minute, while I endeavour to picture a scene. Christ had paid the price — the full price: that price was presented before the Father's judgment-seat. He looked at it, and was content. But as it was a solemn matter, it was not hurried over. Three days were taken, that the ransom-price might be counted out; and its value fully estimated. The angels looked, and admired. The "spirits of the just "came and examined it, and wondered, and were delighted. The very devils in hell could only express their satisfaction by biting their iron bonds, and sullenly keeping silence, because they had not a word to speak against the sacrifice of Christ. The three days passed away, and the atonement was fully accepted. Then the angel came from heaven — swift as the lightning flash — he descended from the spheres of the blessed, into this lower earth, and he came into the prison-house, in which the Saviour's body slept; for, mark, His body had been kept in the prison till God ratified His atonement and accepted it — He was lying there a hostage for His people. The angel came, and spake to the keeper of the prison, one called Grim Death, and said to him, "Let that captive go free." Death was sitting on his throne of skulls, with a huge iron key at his girdle of iron: and he laughed, and said, "Aha! thousands and thousands of the race of Adam have passed the portals of this prison-house; but none of them have ever been delivered. That key has been once turned in its wards by destiny; and no mortal power can ever turn it back again, and draw the bolts from their resting.places." Then the angel showed to him Heaven's own warrant, and Death turned pale. The angel grasped the key — unlocked the prison door, and stepped in. There slept the Royal Captive — the Divine hostage. And the angel cried, "Arise, Thou Sleeper! Put off Thy garments of death. Shake Thyself from the dust, and put on Thy beautiful garments." The Master arose. He unwound the napkin, and laid it by itself. He took off His graveclothes and laid them by themselves, to show He was in no hurry, that all was done legally, and therefore orderly. He did not dash His prison.walls aside to come out; but came out by legal process, just as He had entered in. He seemed to express Himself as Paul did, "No, verily, let them come themselves, and fetch Me out." So was the Master set at liberty — by heaven's own officer, who came from heaven to give Him just liberty — God's proof that He had done all that was necessary. Thou Lamb of God! I see Thee rising from Thy tomb in splendour ineffable, dazzling the eyes of the guards and making them flee away in terror. And when I see Thee risen from the dead, I see myself accepted, and all Thy dying redeemed people fully delivered.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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