2518. A Sad Interior And A Cheery Messenger

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No. 2518-241. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, October 18, 1885, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, May 23, 1897.

And she went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. {Mr 16:10}

1. Some of you, dear friends, have seen those small pictures by famous Dutch artists where, with many little touches — very lifelike, very suggestive, very homely, — they depict an interior. Now, Mark is that kind of painter; he delights to give us interiors. He is best pleased when he can record something which no one else seems to have described, or when he can take a description by someone else, and fill in the details, the finishing touches that have been omitted. I do not remember that we are told by Matthew, or Luke, or John, how the disciples behaved themselves while their Lord was in the grave. It is left to us to imagine their feelings, with this exception, — that Mark tells us that “they mourned and wept.”

2. Remember, this was on the morning of the third day after our Lord’s death. They had had the Jewish Sabbath for quiet reflection, and, no doubt, for lamentation and mourning; but this is the morning of our own Lord’s day, the first day of the week; and when Mary Magdalene comes into the room, she tells them that she has seen the risen Lord. And what is the scene which is presented to her eye? In two or three words, Mark just stipples it in like this, “as they mourned and wept.” They were mainly men, I suppose. If Mary came only to the eleven, they were all men; yet this is how they are occupied: “They mourned and wept.” We know most of them; we have read so much of them, and they stand out in such clear light, — these early leaders of the Church of Christ, these first few chosen men, — that I seem to be almost able to see them all in my imagination now, not grouped around a table as they are in that famous picture of the last supper, but sitting together in the room, and not able to restrain their emotions. They are all mourning, and most of them are expressing those emotions in a way not usual for men: “They mourned and wept.” There were sighs, and cries, and salt tears. It was a scene of sad sorrow which Mary came in on; you can almost picture her as she stands at the door with her hand on the latch. She pauses for a moment before she can communicate the news; they are so unhappy, they are so broken down, it is such a funeral gathering, that she can scarcely find her tongue. At last she breaks out, “Christ has risen! I have seen him. He has risen from the dead! Cease your mourning. An angel has descended from heaven, and has spoken to me, and said, ‘He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.’ ” After she has delivered her message, she stands still, almost petrified, because she finds herself not believed. Perhaps no one speaks; it may be, no one says, “Mary Magdalene, you are mad; we do not believe you”; but they weep on. They look around as much as to ask each other, “Do you believe it?” And each one seems to say, “I do not believe it myself”; and again their eyes give themselves to their copious weeping, and their hearts still yield themselves to their perpetual mourning. “She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept.”

3. I want, at this time, first to speak about the sorrowing assembly, — that mourning and weeping band of disciples to whom Mary came. Then I will say something about the consoling messenger whose message ought to have transformed that mourning and weeping into the opposite, namely, into joy and gladness; and, in the last place, I will tell you about the reassuring reflection that I see in this narrative.

4. I. First, let me take you to this interior which Mark has so beautifully painted, and ask you to look at THE SORROWING ASSEMBLY: “She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept.”

5. What made them weep? What makes men weep about the death of Christ? It does make them weep; we are not all turned to stone, we are not all brutish. There are times with some of us — we wish they were more frequent, — when the cross of Christ seems to touch our innermost heart, and makes the rock that lies within our nature stream with living floods of tears. Why do we mourn over Christ crucified?

6. First, because, like these disciples, we have some faith in him. They had been with him, and they had been with him because they had believed in him. They had so believed in him that they had left all and followed him, and been subjected to reproach for his dear sake. They had heard him preach, and the power of his teaching had won their hearts. They believed that he was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Deliverer of men; yet now he was dead, and the very fact that they had believed made them feel intense sorrow of heart as they looked back on what he had been to them. If they had had no faith in him, they would have said, “He was an impostor, and he is put away, and that is the end of him; and it is always a blessing when an impostor at last comes to his end.” But because they had believed in him, therefore they sorrowed to think that he was gone. You and I, dear friends, who do believe in our Lord Jesus Christ at this present moment, cannot without deep sorrow think of him as dead. When once we have vividly realized that the Son of God died on the tree, and see how he died in utter and extreme anguish, we can only grieve. We ask, “Why should he die? Why should he be put to death like this?” And we begin to cry and sorrow because of this great crime of crimes. Oh you Christ of God, were you despised and rejected by men? Oh you Lover of men, were you hated, and cast out, and crucified? Oh you who came to save the guilty, did man put you to death?

    Alas! and did my Saviour bleed?
       And did my Sovereign die?
    Would he devote that sacred head
       For such a worm as I?

7. In proportion as we believe in him, we feel that we would melt away in tears of grief to think that he should die. Shall such brightness be eclipsed? Shall such glory be dishonoured? Shall such immortality be dragged down to the gates of death? We can only mourn that Christ should die; and if we dwell on that thought, we shall get into that vein in which the disciples were when they mourned and wept.

8. No doubt they mourned and wept, principally, because they loved him, and therefore lamented for his loss. Was Christ really gone? “Alas!” they said, “our Head is taken from us, our Master and our Lord, our perfect Teacher, our complete Example, our blessed Friend, our tender Comforter.” They had lost more than she who loses her husband, or than he who has lost his spouse, or than the child who is bereaved of his mother. They had lost “every precious name in one.” And, brethren, if we were to always think of Christ as dead, if we were so unwise as to forget that he lives for ever, it would seem, indeed, to be the greatest loss that heaven or earth could sustain for the Son of God to be put to death like this. As it is, we love him so, that we cannot think of his being put away from the sons of men, and being rejected by them, and put to death by them, without feeling our hearts breaking that he should suffer so. Love for him and our esteem for him go to deepen the tides of our grief.

9. And this is all the more the case when we think of the sorrows he endured. I imagine that I hear John saying across the table, “And I saw them pierce his side, and immediately there came out blood and water.” And I hear James say, “And I saw them offer him vinegar.” And I hear Peter say, “And I saw them scourge him.” And I hear Bartholomew say, “And I heard from the distance his cry, ‘I thirst.’ ” And then they would break into a chorus of weeping again. It was not only that he was gone, and that they had lost him, but that he had died in such a way as he did die. They could not without tears contemplate his being put to the death of a felon in such extreme agony, deserted by the Father, and crying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” without saying to themselves, “How could it be? This is an affliction that cannot be borne, a deep sorrow that cannot be fathomed, that he should die, and die like this!” I protest, I have sometimes felt within myself as if I would have stopped his dying if I could. What! has he died to save my soul? The ransom price is altogether too great! Have you never heard of the two brothers, one of whom must die, and each was eager to suffer instead of his brother, and they contended with each other, as though they were rivals in love with death, which one of them should die so that the other might live? And, sometimes, when love is strong in us, we seem to say to the great Master, “It would be better that I should die and perish than that you should be nailed to a cross.” He never left it to our choice. He had the advantage over us. He bought us with his precious blood before we had an opportunity to debate with him in a discussion of love. He bore our sins in his own body on the tree, and gave that matchless unequalled life so that he might redeem you and me from going down into the pit. Yet we cannot think of his suffering and grief without mourning and weeping.

10. Then, dear friends, I should think that the eleven, as they sat together, must have mourned and wept as they thought of how they had treated this dear Lord of theirs. If even a friend dies, and we have ever been unkind to that friend, how our unkindness comes home to us when it is too late to atone for it! An undutiful son, when his mother dies, must feel a severe fretting of heart to think of his unkindness; but what must these disciples have felt as they remembered how they had treated their blessed Lord? They said to each other, “Oh, how we must have grieved him when we disputed among ourselves which of us should be the greatest, while he was talking about being delivered into the hands of wicked men, and being scourged, and put to death on the cross!” “Hold your tongues, all of you,” cries poor Peter, “say nothing, for it is I who deserted him and denied him. With oaths and curses I denied that I even knew him.” And when Peter wept, they would all weep, I am sure, as each would say, “But, brother Peter, we all forsook him and fled.” Then John says, “I was asleep in the garden that night when he said, ‘Could you not watch with me for one hour?’ ” And each one would be willing to confess his own wrong-doing towards the Blessed One, and all together would say, “Why did we not rally around him? Why did we not stay with him when they took him away, and bound him, and scourged him? Why did we not bare our shoulders, and put ourselves between the Roman lictors and his blessed flesh? At least, why did we not stand around the cross, and whisper comfort if we could not help him, and quote, at least, some promises of the Father to him, or remind him that there were some who loved him even if others were jibing and jeering at him?” Then they wept and mourned afresh.

11. And when you and I think of the death of Christ, must we not feel much the same as these disciples did?

    ’Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,
       His chief tormentors were;
    Each of my crimes became a nail,
       And unbelief the spear.

12. It was our sins that drew the vengeance down on his guiltless head, yet we have not treated him as we ought to have treated him, for even we who have known him the longest, and who have loved him the best, what poor friends we have been to him! He shows his wounds again now to our penitent gaze, and he says, “These are the wounds which I received in the house of my friends.” Oh, how little have we given to him, how little have we done for him, how few hours have we spent with him in solitude, how feeble have been our testimonies for him, how slack our prayers for his coming and for the triumph of his kingdom! I, for one, feel ashamed, and say,

    Well might the sun in darkness hide,
       And shut his glories in,
    When God, the mighty Maker died
       For man, the creature’s sin.
    Thus might I hide my blushing face,
       While his dear cross appears,
    Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
       And melt my eyes to tears.

13. I cannot keep on with this sorrowful subject; that terrible passion of our Master is enough to wring the last drop of grief out of our hearts. If we could once get into true sympathy with it, it would be tonight in this Tabernacle as it was in that upper room at Jerusalem, we should be mourning and weeping because our Lord was dead. I still had many things to say to you on this sacred theme; but if you could bear to hear them, I cannot bear to speak them.

14. II. So, I prefer to ask you to look at THE CONSOLING MESSENGER who came to the disciples, and said, concerning their Lord and ours, “He is not dead: he is risen.”

15. It is very important that we should have proper views concerning the resurrection as well as the death of our Lord. If I go down into my garden tomorrow morning early, with my spirit drooping and disconsolate, and say to myself, “Alas! the world is in a very bad state, and the church is almost as bad as the world; everything is going wrong, everything is wretched, sad, and miserable, even the very birds might begin to say, ‘What is that man doing? He is out of tune with us.’ ” And if I look at the flowers, surely they also might well begin to chide me, and say, “Master, what are you doing?” But if I go out, with many burdens and many cares all cast on the Lord, and with all the outlook, dreary as it is, still say, “The Lord lives, and blessed be my Rock, and let the God of my salvation be exalted,” then surely the mountains and the hills shall break out before me into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. God intends for his people to rejoice, and the world, wilderness as it is, is to rejoice with them. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” May God fill your souls with sunlight, all of you who are his people! If there is any truth that can flood our souls with joy, surely it is contained in the cheering message which Mary brought to the weeping disciples.

16. You and I, beloved, by our sins, killed the Christ of God; he died the accursed death of the cross; but he is not dead, he is not dead now. Some professing Christians go through a kind of practical charade of the life of Christ, acting it all over again throughout what they call the Holy Year; and then they must even have the “three hours of agony” on what they call “Good Friday.” Well, now, if I believed that Christ died on Good Friday, I would celebrate it with joy from the first dawn of the morning to the setting of the sun at night! It does seem to me that there is much of unbelief, after all, behind any attempt to go, even in imagination, through the three hours of agony, — the agony that was endured once and for all by him who said, “It is finished.” If it was not finished, I would help to go through it; but if it was finished, what have I to do with it but to rejoice in its sweet fruit, and triumph and be glad that he is not here, for he is risen, and gone into glory with the Father? That message of Mary Magdalene has changed the whole aspect of affairs, and though we have wept and mourned, now we will begin to rejoice.

17. What did Mary say? She came with the best of news, for she said, “I have seen our risen Lord. First I saw an angel, and he told me that Christ was not there, for he was risen; and I ran to tell you that good news; and on the road, I saw him. I did not know him at first, but he called me ‘Mary,’ and I said to him, ‘Rabboni,’ and I tried to touch him, but he said, ‘Do not touch me; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say to them, "I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."’ I am sure that it was none other than the Christ. I am not deceived, for the tones of his voice are well known to me. I am an eye-witness that he is risen, for I saw him and I heard him.” Brethren, that our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, is a great fact of history, testified by many eye-witnesses. Hundreds of faithful men and women saw him after he rose from the dead. They could not have been deceived; they knew him too well. They were no impostors, for they lost everything by the witness that they bore. Many of them died as a result of bearing this witness, but they could not help it. They were so sure that they had seen him, that they affirmed it even though they died for it. Yes, beloved, the Lord Christ, whom you and I slew by our sins, is risen from the dead. He is not on the cross, he is not in the grave; it is true that he is not here in bodily presence, for he has gone up on high. A cloud has received him, but he still lives. He lives unsufferingly, triumphant in the skies at his Father’s right hand. Let that truth be the great joy and comfort of our hearts as we believe it.

18. Let us also, like Mary, tell the glad news to others as often as suitable occasions arise. This is an age of infidelity, and we are very glad for any arguments that are used to prove the inspiration of Scripture and the truth of its teaching; but, after all, the defence of the external bulwarks of the city of truth is only a poor affair. The real defence is from within, where men can speak of what they know, and testify what they have seen. Do not merely say to your children and neighbours, “Christ is risen,” but tell them what he has done for you. Tell what a gracious influence his death and resurrection have had on your own heart to renew you, to comfort you, to guide you, to make you “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” There is no getting over personal evidence. One eye-witness is better than twenty ear-witnesses; men will believe what you have seen if they do not believe what you have heard. Do not be slow, therefore, to bear your witness for “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness,” and who himself has said, “You are my witnesses.” If the risen Christ has been revealed to you, be sure to testify concerning him as you have opportunity.

19. But, alas! at first, the disciples did not believe the good news. They had the common and sad failing of unbelief in them, and they dishonoured the King’s messenger by doubting her word. Worse still, they dishonoured their Lord and Master by doubting his assurance when he told them that, the third day, he would rise again from the dead. Let us not doubt the great truth that he is risen. Dear friends, Mary Magdalene fell asleep nearly two millennia ago, but her testimony is as true today as it was that first Lord’s day morning, for truth is always, true; and those hundreds of people, who saw Christ after his resurrection, just as certainly saw him as if they had seen him only yesterday, for if they saw him almost two millennia ago, it was a fact, and a fact is as much a fact after two thousand years as it was at the first. Christ is risen; we must believe this glorious fact. If we do believe it, what then?

20. In the first place, the sin of Christ’s murder is condoned. All that sin of ours, which caused his death, is condoned. If he has risen from the dead, he has forgiven us the sin of putting him to death. Let your penitent spirits rejoice that the evil which you thought to do him has been turned to good account. He is no longer dead; neither are you condemned to die if you believe in him, nor shall you be for ever and for ever.

    “The Lord is risen indeed”:
       The grave has lost its prey;
    With him is risen the ransom’d seed,
       To reign in endless day.

21. Listen. Inasmuch as Christ rose from the dead, all the sins of those who trust him are put away. You have often heard me explain this wondrous story, how Christ became the Surety for his people, and how he paid their debt; lest it should not be all paid, he was kept in the prison-house of the tomb until a full search had been made, and it was proved that he had suffered the whole penalty, and that the debt of his people was paid. To do this leisurely, three days and nights were spent, and when in heaven’s high court, it was declared that the Messiah had finished transgression, and made an end of sin, “Go, Gabriel,” said the Father; and like a flash of flame the angel descended, bearing the warrant that the debt was paid, and that the Surety must go free. There he lay, sleeping that grand sleep of death for us. When he awoke, he unwound the napkin and the grave-clothes, and laid the napkin in one place and the grave-clothes in another, for he was in no hurry. He folded them up, and laid each in its proper place; and then, when all was quite finished, he, in the splendour of his resurrection-life, went to the open doorway where his servant stood who had opened the gate for his Lord, and out he came in the majesty of his resurrection body. He was risen from the dead; and in that moment God set his seal to the clearance of every soul for whom Christ was the Substitute. All of us who believe in Christ may know for certain that he died for our sins, and that he was raised again for our justification; that is, for our clearance. Since the cross paid the debt, resurrection took the bond, and tore it in pieces; and now there is nothing standing in the records of eternity against any soul that believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. His rising from the dead has made us clear from every charge. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who is risen again.” That rising again has cleared us from all the sins that can ever be laid to our charge.

22. Nor is that all. Those poor disciples thought, when Jesus died, and remained for a while in the tomb, that all was over with his kingdom. The King was dead, and so far as they could see there was no one to occupy the vacant throne. He had taken the sceptre of sovereignty in his hand, and ruled mankind in love; but that sceptre had dropped from his dead fingers. He had preached righteousness in the great congregation, but his powerful voice was silent. But when they knew that Christ was risen, they understood that his resurrection meant a living King and a triumphant cause, and that truth would conquer and righteousness rule, and that the race of mankind should not go down into perdition. Oh dear friends, dry up your tears! While you think of how your Lord died, you may well let them flow; but, since he lives, and reigns, there is no reason for sorrow now. Proclaim it among the nations that the Lord has risen from the dead, and by his rising he has brought to all his people life, light, joy, hope, purity, and everlasting redemption.

23. III. Finally, beloved, there is, in this resurrection of Christ from the dead, A REASSURING REFLECTION for all who believe in him.

24. It should assuage our worst griefs to know that Christ was the Representative of his people. When he died, we who believe died in him; and when he rose again, we rose in him. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Therefore, if you believe in Jesus, have no fear of death; do not dread it for yourselves, and do not lament it for those who have fallen asleep in Christ already. It does seem to us a very painful thought that this poor body, which has been the companion of our souls for so long, must gradually grow feeble and worn out, its senses by degrees ceasing to assist the mind, and the whole fabric at length decaying, and turning to a handful of dust, lying rotting beneath that green grass in the cemetery far away from the place where it was accustomed to work and live. Ah, but, concerning even this mortal body, we have good news, for he who died, and rose again, did not merely live as for his soul, but he lived as for his body, too! When his disciples “were terrified and frightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit,” he said to them, “Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” Then he took a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb, and ate before them, to let them see that it was his corporeal self, his very body that died on the cross, that was alive again. Every believer can say, with Job, “Though after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God: whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” Therefore there is no fear of death for us, for sin, the sting of death, is taken away, and we can cry even to the last enemy, “Oh death, where is your sting? Oh grave, where is your victory?”

25. And, further, Christ being the Representative of his people, they also shall live again. When our Lord Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother shall rise again,” she answered, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” You may say the same concerning your brother, or father, or mother, or child, or sister, or husband, or wife. Those who have fallen asleep in Jesus have only gone over into the better country, where we will follow them in the Lord’s good time. We will not sit and mourn and weep, for the woman stands with her hand on the door, and she looks at us while we are mourning and weeping, and she says, “Christ is risen; I saw him in his resurrection glory.” To me, the very hinge of the gospel is the resurrection of Christ. Whenever I get doubting, I always fall back on that great truth, he did indeed rise from the dead. The disciples saw him; the best witnesses that could be found saw him, heard him, touched him. Since he did indeed rise from the dead; then there is a future state, there is a resurrection. I am in Christ, I am trusting in him, I shall rise, and I shall live in him. He has said, “Because I live, you shall live also”; so I shall live, and with the psalmist I can say, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices: my flesh shall also rest in hope.” Though my body shall see corruption, yet it shall be raised in glory, and power, and incorruption, like that risen body of my Lord.

26. There is the gospel. Perhaps some of you will say, “We do not understand that to be the gospel”; but it is. This is the gospel, that Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he rose from the dead on the third day, and that whoever believes in him has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation.

27. My dear unconverted hearers, do you think that our Sabbaths are mere days of sport, and that when we assemble in congregations, we do it just to while away the time? If so, you think very unworthily of high and holy things. No, sirs, preaching the gospel is to us a matter of life and death; we throw our whole soul into it. We live and are happy if you believe in Jesus, and are saved; but we are almost ready to die if you refuse the gospel of Christ. Do not let any preacher be to you what Ezekiel was to the people of the age in which he prophesied. The Lord said to him, “You are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear your words, but they do not do them.” Oh, that the Spirit of God would come to close quarters with you, and make you feel that the Lord’s message is not sent to be criticized, but to be accepted and obeyed! May God grant it, for his mercy’s sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Mt 28}

1. In the end of the Sabbath as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the sepulchre.

While the Jewish Sabbath lasted, they paid due respect to it. They did not even go to the sepulchre to perform the kindly task of embalmment; but when the old Sabbath was dying away, and the new and better Sabbath began to dawn, these holy women found their way back to their Lord’s tomb. A woman must be first at the sepulchre since she was last at the cross. We may well forget that she was first in the transgression; the honour which Christ bestowed on her took away that shame. Who but Mary Magdalene should be the first at the tomb? Out of her Christ had cast seven demons, and now she acts as if into her he had sent seven angels. She had received so much grace that she was full of love for her Lord. “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the sepulchre.” You can just see them in the grey light of the dawn; it is not bright enough to discern their form and shape; but in the early dawn they are coming into the garden, and finding their way to the new sepulchre.

2. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: —

The women must have wondered as they felt that tremor beneath their feet. If you have ever felt an earthquake, you will never forget it; and this was a great one, not one of an ordinary kind: “a great earthquake.” Death was being upheaved, and all the bars of the sepulchre were beginning to burst. When the King awoke from the sleep of death, he shook the world; the bedchamber in which he rested for a little while trembled as the heavenly Hero arose from his couch: “Behold, there was a great earthquake.” Nor was the King unattended in his rising, —

2. For the angel of the Lord —

It was not merely one of the angelic host, but some mighty presence-angel: “the angel of the Lord” —

2. Descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

Jesus was put in the prison of the tomb as a hostage for his people; therefore he must not break out by himself, but the angelic sheriff’s officer must bring the warrant for his deliverance, and set the captive at liberty. He was imprisoned because of human debt; but the debt is paid, so he must go free. Like a flash of fire, the angel descends from the right hand of God. He stands at the mouth of the tomb, he touches the great stone, sealed as it was, and guarded by the soldiers, and it rolls back; and when he has rolled back the stone from the door, he sits on it, as if to defy earth and hell ever to roll it back again. That great stone seems to represent the sin of all Christ’s people, which shut them up in prison; it can never be laid again over the mouth of the sepulchre of any child of God. Christ has risen, and all his saints must rise, too. The angel “rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.” I think I see there one of the grandest sights that man ever beheld, for one greater than an earthly king is sitting on something better than a throne.

3. His countenance was like lightning, and his apparel white as snow:

Dazzling in its purity, like the apparel worn by Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, whiter than any fuller can make it.

4. And for fear of him the keepers shook, and became as dead men.

First a palsy of fear, and then a stiffening of fright, fell on them, for they had never seen such a sight as this before. They were Roman soldiers, who knew nothing of the meaning of cowardice; yet at the sight of this messenger of God, “the keepers shook, and became as dead men.”

5. And the angel answered and said to the women, —

We had almost forgotten them; we had been thinking of the earthquake, and the angel, and the flaming lightning, and the frightened soldiers; but this angel’s thought is all about the women. He whose countenance was like lightning, and whose garments were white as snow, said to the women, —

5-7. “Do not fear: for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead;

Notice the angel’s words; first “See,” and then “Go.” You cannot tell the message until you know it. You who would serve God, must first be instructed yourselves. “Come, see the place where the Lord lay”; and then, “Go quickly.” If you have seen, then go. Do not sit down, and admire the sight, and forget the thousands who have never seen it; but come, see the place where the Lord lay, and then go, and “go quickly.”

7. And, behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you shall see him: lo, I have told you.”

That is a very beautiful touch of condescension on the Saviour’s part, — that he would go before his disciples into Galilee. Why, Galilee was the very opposite of a classic region; it was a district that was much despised. The clod-hoppers, the boors, the illiterate people of no account, lived in “Galilee of the Gentiles.” “Yet,” says Christ, “I will meet you there.” It was the King’s own rendezvous, — not in the courts of earthly monarchs, nor in the palaces of the priests, but away down in Galilee. What does he care for the grandeur of men, and their empty pomp and boasted wisdom? He goes to places that are despised, so that he may lift them up by the glory of his light: “Behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you shall see him: lo, I have told you.”

8. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy;

That seems a strange mixture: “fear and great joy.” Yet there was plenty of reason for both emotions. Who would not fear who had felt an earthquake, and seen an angel, and also saw that the tomb was broken open? Yet who would not rejoice who had had such a cheering message, and such an assurance that the crucified Christ had risen from the dead? Experience is the best explanation of experience; you must feel for yourself these two emotions working together before you can understand how they can live in anyone at the same time: “They departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy.”

8. And ran to bring his disciples word.

Good women! “They ran.” These staid matrons ran, and who would not run to tell about a risen Lord?

9. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, —

Happy are the ministers who meet their Lord when they are going up the pulpit stairs; blessed are the teachers who meet Jesus when they are going to the class. They will be sure to preach and teach well when that is the case: “As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them.”

9. Saying, “All hail.” And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

These holy women were not Unitarians; {a} knowing that Jesus was the Son of God, they had no hesitation in worshipping him. Perhaps these timid souls clung to their Lord through fear that he might be again taken from them, so “they held him by the feet, and worshipped him,” fear and faith striving within them for the mastery.

10. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid: go tell my brethren to go into Galilee, and there they shall see me.”

Note how Jesus dwells on this despised district of Galilee; I should like to dwell on it, too. He said nothing about classic Corinth, or imperial Rome, or proud Jerusalem; but his message is, “Tell my brethren to go into Galilee, and there they shall see me.” If we will be humble, if we will cast aside the pride of life, there we shall meet him who is meek and lowly of heart.

11-13. Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and had shown to the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Say, ‘His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.’ ”

You must often have noticed what a mixture of falsehood this was. “You were asleep; you are sure that you were asleep?” “Yes.” “Yet you say that the disciples came; you knew they were the disciples though you were asleep. And they stole him away? You know how they did it, you can describe the stealthy way in which they took away the body of Jesus; you were the witnesses of it, although you were sound asleep all the while.” Go, sirs, it is worse than trifling to listen to the lying of a witness who begins by swearing that he was fast asleep all the time; yet this was the tale that the soldiers were bribed to tell; and many a worse lie than this has been told to try to discredit the truth of God. The modern philosophy which is thrust forward to cast a slur on the great truths of revelation, is no more worthy of credence than this lie put into the mouths of the soldiers; yet common report gives it currency, and among a certain clique it pays. But the soldiers naturally said, “We shall be put to death for sleeping while on duty”; so the chief priests said, —

14. And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

“We can give some more of those arguments that have been so telling in your hands, and they will prevail with the governor as they have prevailed with you.”

15. So they took the money, and did as they were instructed: —

Plenty still do this, and I have no doubt they will continue to do so as long as the world is what it is: “They took the money, and did as they were instructed”: —

15-17. And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

Where will Mr. Doubting, and other members of his troublesome family not be found? We can never expect to be quite free from doubters in the Church, since even in the presence of the newly-risen Christ some doubted. Yet the Lord revealed himself to the assembled company, although he knew that some among them would doubt that it was really their Lord who was risen from the dead.

18-20. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

And we say, “Amen,” too. May he be most obviously with us here even now, for his sweet love’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Resurrection and Ascension — Sing, Oh Heavens” 317}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Joy Or Sorrow” 301}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — A Song For The Foot Of The Cross” 286}

{a} Unitarian: One who affirms the unipersonality of the Godhead, especially as opposed to an orthodox Trinitarian. OED.

Jesus Christ, Resurrection and Ascension
317 — Sing, Oh Heavens <7s.>
1 Sing, Oh heavens! Oh earth, rejoice!
   Angel harp, and human voice,
   Round him, as he rises, raise
   Your ascending Saviour’s praise.
2 Bruised is the serpent’s head,
   Hell is vanquish’d, death is dead
   And to Christ gone up on high,
   Captive is captivity.
3 All his work and warfare done
   He into his heaven is gone,
   And beside his Father’s throne,
   Now is pleading for his own:
4 Asking gifts for sinful men,
   That he may come down again,
   And, the fallen to restore,
   In them dwell for evermore.
5 Sing, Oh heavens! Oh earth, rejoice!
   Angel harp, and human voice,
   Round him, in his glory, raise
   Your ascended Saviour’s praise.
                  John S. B. Monsell, 1863.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
301 — Joy Or Sorrow <7s.>
1 “It is finish’d”: shall we raise
   Songs of sorrow or of praise?
   Mourn to see the Saviour die,
   Or proclaim his victory?
2 If of Calvary we tell,
   How can songs of triumph swell?
   If of man redeemed from woe,
   How shall notes of mourning flow?
3 Ours the guilt which pierced his side,
   Ours the sin for which he died;
   But the blood which flow; d that day
   Wash’d our sin and guilt away.
4 Lamb of God! thy death hath given
   Pardon, peace, and hope of heaven:
   “It is finish’d”: let us raise
   Songs of thankfulness and praise!
         Hymns and Poetry for Schools, 1840.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
286 — A Song For The Foot Of The Cross <8.7.4.>
1 Now, my soul, thy voice upraising,
   Sing aloud in mournful strain,
   Of the sorrows most amazing,
   And the agonizing pain,
      Which our Saviour
   Sinless bore, for sinners slain.
2 He the ruthless scourge enduring,
   Ransom for our sins to pay;
   Sinners by his own stripes curing,
   Raising those who wounded lay;
      Bore our sorrows,
   And removed our pains away.
3 He to liberty restored us
   By the very bonds he bare;
   And his nail pierced limbs afford us
   Each a stream of mercy rare;
      Lo! he draws us
   To the cross, and keeps us there.
4 When his painful life was ended,
   When the spear transfix’d his side,
   Blood and water thence descended,
   Pouring forth a double tide:
      This to cleanse us,
   That to heal us, is applied.
5 Jesus! may thy promised blessing
   Comfort to our souls afford;
   May we, now thy love possessing,
   And at length our full reward,
      Ever praise thee,
   As our ever glorious Lord!
                  John Chandler, 1837, a.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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