The Resurrection Morning

Sermon Notes of Reverend Harvey Alford Matney
(1868 – 1951)
April 8, 1917 – Sealy, Texas

Introduction

On that first Easter morning 2,000 years ago, Satan’s world was turned upside down. He and his minions had thought they had won a great victory when Jesus was buried in that tomb. But three days later, Jesus came triumphantly back to life, taking back the authority in this world that Satan had stolen from Adam.

I am sure the religious leaders, whether they would admit it or not, saw that something significant had taken place. They had returned to the temple in darkness to find the temple veil ripped from top to bottom. Scripture also records that many dead saints were seen walking in Jerusalem that day. Seeing your recently deceased grandpa walking the streets must have been a little unnerving. Jesus had given them the ‘Sign of Jonah’ as he promised. It was the only sign he said they would get from him.

For the next 40 days, Jesus would visit with his disciples, especially Peter, and confirm all the things he had promised. When he ascended to heaven, the promised Holy Spirit would fall on his followers and turn a frightened group into an army on fire for God.

Preached almost a century ago, my grandfather’s sermon examines that wonderful day. — Harrison Woodard

Matthew 28:5-7 KJV

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which 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; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Mark 16:6-7 KJV

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. 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.

The Resurrection Morning

Welcome happy Easter morning; with its resurrection glories, which drives the sorrow from the believing heart. What an everlasting fortress the resurrection doctrine furnishes for our fainting faith.

With what fear and trembling the little party must have heard the words of the angel at the tomb. A feeling of loneliness drew them to the tomb. But the touch of the resurrection hand had worked its charm of life in that garden for all men.

We cannot meditate near the place where he lay without learning something of his infinite love. From the depths of Gethsemane’s woe and the height of Calvary’s sufferings he comes with supreme exultation. His glory shines on the ground of deepest humiliation.

The resurrection was the beginning of hope and courage to the despondent church. It was like an open window in heaven, through which light and consolation falls on our daily life. This light we need all along the way to guide our lives and transform them into powers for good.

Christ’s resurrection was the most stupendous and yet the most credible event known to the world. Hope and faith center here.

No wonder Paul says, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead?” Is it? What do you think about it?

The facts testified to are that a man died and the same man was alive again. And they believed their testimony.

No natural law was rudely violated, but the universal law of life was exemplified. Christianity itself is the best evidence in the case. Its roots are now and always in the divine, and its miracles are not outward proofs, but parts of the revelation itself.

God was not revealing Himself exclusively to Sadducees and scientists, but to men as they have lived and live.

If we admit the general Christian conception of religion, its miracles are perfectly natural. They are what we should expect in a supernatural movement.

Our conclusion is the complex outcome of life and by no means the colorless result of the syllogism, or historical inquiry. It is only half educated folks who fancy science that have made faith in this matter more difficult.

The resurrection has always been a matter of faith and not demonstration. Science is utterly incapable of determining the facts of ultimate religious realities. The more thoroughly scientific it is, the more absolutely it is confined to the functions of classifying, observing and systematizing phenomena.

Science cannot prove the existence of the spirit, nor can it disprove it. It cannot prove or disprove the immortality of the spirit, the existence or nonexistence of God.

Religion begins with the spirit, God, immortality, consciousness and it rests its promises on our faith.

Whatever the early Christians doubted, they did not doubt the resurrection. There are recorded disputes about other things, but not about the resurrection.

There is no use talking to the wind. Something happened to change the band of fleeing disciples into these world-defying world conquerors.

This thing was not done in a corner, nor did it take an age to do it. Too much came of it to treat it lightly. The supernatural was there, and to some it is still the power of God and the wisdom of God. While to others it is still foolishness.

The anti-religious views have lived long in the lower ranges of human thought. They have been equally the enemies of humanity, of its hopes, its inspirations and its aspirations.

There is the voice in every human heart which without equivocation cries out, “I shall live again!” And the old, deep question of Job is ever being repeated, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14)

He answers, I will! I will! I will!

 

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