The Stone Was Rolled Away For Us (Mark 16:1-8)

Text:  Mark 16:1-8

I am not the most trusting guy in the world. There have been many times in my life where individuals will share something with me and I will then go online or to my books to confirm or deny what they shared. I have had arguments with my wife over issues and find myself not trusting her word over mine and then needing to confirm if what she says is truly right! It seems to me that for myself as well as others that we are the type of people that want proof. We want confirmation.

When we make a deposit into an ATM machine we typically want a receipt. When someone makes a radical assertion we want a photo or video. In the court of Law we need to validate things with witnesses. In journalism we want to site our sources. In the oil business we need signatures that are notarized. On and on we could go, but you get the picture.

The same is true for us today as we celebrate the atonement of Jesus Christ. Some 2000 years ago, Christ went to the cross on Good Friday. He suffered and died. Some of the last words He said were, “It is Finished.” What is finished? Death, Devil, Sin and the Wrath of God are finished. However, the story doesn’t stop here. The story of Christ on Good Friday extends to Easter Sunday where we read about the empty tomb. With that in mind, let’s read our text for today and see how the empty tomb validates and confirms everything that happened in Christ.

When I was a child I would ponder Resurrection Sunday and think to myself, “I am sure glad the stone was rolled away to let Jesus out.” I imagined that Jesus came to life in the tomb and simply had to wait in the tomb to be let out! It is a funny thought to consider, however, I often wonder if this is what the average person in the pew may also consider when it comes to the purpose of the rolled stone and empty tomb.

In Mark 16:1-8 we see that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James came to the tomb to anoint Jesus with spices. As they journeyed to Jesus’ tomb they discussed who would role away the stone for them in order to access Jesus’ body. “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” The stone was perceived as a great obstacle to the gals approaching the tomb. They were pondering who would remove it. Upon arrival they noticed right away that the stone had been moved for them. As a result they entered the tomb where they encountered a young man (i.e. angel) who revealed to them that Jesus was not present.

The great truth about Easter is that Christ arose from the grave before the stone of the tomb was removed. In the Gospel of Matthew we read that there was a great earthquake and an angel came down and rolled back the stone and the tomb was empty. Therefore, we can say that Jesus rose before the stone was rolled away. The stone wasn’t rolled away to let Jesus out. Rather the stone was rolled away for you and for me. It was rolled away to show the followers of Jesus and reveal to all people the victory which Christ had obtained over sin, death and the devil. It was as if the curtain was pulled back so God could reveal what His suffering servant accomplished on the Cross! The empty tomb is icing on the cake. It validates and points back to what Jesus did on the cross. It validates that death was not victorious and that what Jesus did on the cross was truly, truly sufficient.

More specifically today we are going to look over five implications of the Resurrection and the Empty Tomb. In other words, the stone was rolled away to show us and confirm to us some pretty profound things.

The first thing we can glean from the empty tomb and the resurrection is that Jesus is truly a Divine Savior. In Romans 1:4 we read, “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead” Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the beatings, the mess of death and the Cross is powerful proof that asserts His deity and the achievement of His redeemable labor. In other words, Jesus is not some mere mortal man. Jesus is not some wise moral rabbi who’s final destiny was a cross. Rather Jesus is a Divine Savior who tasted death and wasn’t limited to death. He lives today for you and me.

Secondly, the resurrection and empty tomb of Christ are validations of all of scripture and all that Christ taught. Not only was Salvation History fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Christ but also all of Christ’s teachings are validated by the divine and miraculous events of the resurrection. The empty tomb is like stamp of approval or a signature on the dotted line to validate, confirm and cement all of scripture and all of the teachings of Jesus as authoritative, binding, powerful and divine. If Jesus was a dead savior and if the death on the cross was the final word, much of everything that Jesus spoke would be invalid. However, the cross was not the final verdict. Death did not triumph. Therefore, everything that Jesus shared, did, and spoke to us in the scriptures has authority because of the empty tomb.

Thirdly, the resurrection and empty tomb confirm to us that our sins have been truly paid for by Jesus. Jesus who knew no sin was made to be sin for us and He was Judged and condemned by God the Father. The Resurrection and Ascension of Christ to the Father grants us comfort because we see that Christ is no longer found bearing or paying for our sins. When Jesus arose, He arose without our sin hanging, like a monkey, on His back. Jesus rose and ascended to the Father and sits in complete harmony with the Father. THEREFORE, in Christ we can have complete comfort that our sins have been truly put to death and we have peace with God.

Fourthly, because Jesus lives we can have comfort and confident that Jesus is our living advocate. Jesus continually presents our needs to the Father, defends us and prays on our behalf granting us continual reconciliation to the Father! "If Christ would have remained in death, He would not be able to apply righteousness to us... Rom. 5:10, 8:34." But since Jesus does live, His righteousness, His perfection (i.e. His obedience to God's Law) is by no means an empty idea or lifeless bank account of merits. Instead, Jesus’ perfection is given to us. He was truly obedient and His obedience is credited to us like it is our own!

Finally, the resurrection and empty tomb grant us assurance, tremendous assurance! John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never [never] die. Do you believe this?" What I love about John 11:25-26 is that there is a dual negative in the original Greek; whoever believes in Christ will “never, never” die! The empty tomb my friends, shows us that Christ has been raised up. He is the first one in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries. Jesus’ resurrection is a foreshadow of what is to come for us; Life, not death. Because of Jesus, we who die in Christ, the sinless one, have the promise that we will never, never die. When we die we are rid of this body of sin and death and are promised a resurrection unto eternal life with new bodies, free from sin and death. This is our assurance. Where Christ is we shall also be.

My friends, the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out… for nothing, absolutely nothing in space, time, or the powers of evil or this world would’ve been able to keep the Son of God in that tomb. Jesus is resurrected today, the empty tomb is God’s declaration for you and for me that all is complete in Jesus. You need nothing more. Jesus is a sufficient savior for you and for me.

Not only is there an empty tomb for us to see and know that what Jesus said and did is really, really true. Today we have the privilege of partaking in the Lord’s Supper. I invite those who confess Jesus as their Savior from sin and death to receive the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation, which He gives us in this sacrament. In other words, God sees it fit to not only show us an empty tomb but He chooses to still work in the church through the proclamation of the Word and gifting us Jesus, the forgiveness of sins in Communion.