Perusal* – Spring 2014, A Rolling Stone…

(* perusal; to examine or consider with attention and in detail)

Luke 24:1-8; “Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them,[a] came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”8 And they remembered His words.”

Jesus is the living Word, only because He is alive! Having been crucified, confirmed dead by Roman soldiers keen about execution, His body was laid to rest before the high Sabbath night began. When the two Marys’ returned after the high, holy Sabbath, they were surprised to find the large stone affixed with a Roman seal lest it be disturbed and moved out of its rolling trough. The stone was rolled in a trough to cover the tomb’s entrance and prevent graves from being robbed.  Luke declares to Theophilus that two men in radiant apparel stood by, while Matthew records an earthquake, the second in three days, rocks Jerusalem and an angel rolls back the stone and sat upon it, causing the soldiers to become afraid and desert their post.  This fact speaks to Joseph of Arimathaea’s wealth and his love for our Lord.  Strange events during this Passover - the consequence of death by crucifixion would be followed by the unintended consequence of the resurrection. 

The purposes of the resurrection are many but it primarily displayed the satisfaction of God the Father with the obedience and passion of His Son.  Jesus was committed to the grave as sin’s hostage, for our debt was imputed to Him.  But as the earthquake and angels conspired to roll back the stone, Jesus was already gone from the tomb. He was ceaselessly active during the three days his body lay in the tomb as His spirit returned to His Father for a brief celebration before returning to declare victory to his disciples.  The rolled away stone is an eternal monument to the fact that the grave could not hold Him, or those that believe in this monumental event.

The rolling stone also reminds us that the resurrection is the foundational event for Christians.  It is the keystone of Christianity. The words of the great Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon are appropriate; “Disprove the Resurrection of our Lord, and our holy faith would be a mere fable. There would be nothing for faith to rest upon if He who died upon the Cross did not also rise again from the tomb. Then “your faith is in vain,” said the Apostle, “you are yet in your sins,” while “they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” All the great Doctrines of our Divine religion fall asunder like the stones of an arch when the keystone is dislodged—in a common ruin they are all overthrown, for all our hope hinges upon that great fact. If Jesus rose, then is this Gospel what it professes to be; if He rose not from the dead, then is it all deceit and delusion, but, Brothers and Sisters, that Jesus rose from the dead is a fact better established than almost any other in history; the witnesses were many; they were men of all classes and conditions; none of them ever confessed himself mistaken or deceived; they were so persuaded that it was a fact that the most of them suffered death for bearing witness to it!”

It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of scripture to you this Easter and that a heart of stone may be rolled away and a new heart of grace and gratitude be transplanted by the risen Lord Jesus Christ!

The Lord is risen indeed!

Sola Deo Gloria!

Pastor Carey