For Resurrection Sunday at Midvalley Bible Church we included a Continental Breakfast before the Worship Celebration. Good thing we didn't plan a Sunrise Gathering because it would have been snowed out here in Utah. For the occasion we had a choir sing two very moving songs: "How Beautiful the Body of Christ" and "It is Finished--Just Begun."
Ken spoke on Matthew 27:62 ff about "The Great Cover Up." So many ironies in that brief passage:
1 - Religious leaders condemned Jesus for breaking the Sabbath; yet they met together on that Sabbath to carry out the business of securing the tomb (27:62).
2 - Religious leaders did not believe in Christ but must have believed what He said about rising after three days (27:63). They secured the grave so His disciples could not steal the body. Little did they know that the disciples had forgotten Jesus' prediction and thought He would stay dead!
3 - They called Jesus "that deceiver" (27:63) but that's what they became (28:11-14).
4 - They set a guard over a dead person so He couldn't get out! (They believed ABOUT Jesus but not IN Jesus.) and also they didn't want disciples to steal the body and claim that Jesus had risen, yet that's exactly what they told the guards to spread around.
Although the religious leaders thought Jesus' prediction a hoax, when it came true, rather than believe it, they started propagating a hoax (28:13).
5 - The women who heard the angel ran back to the city (28:8) shortly after the guards who saw the angel ran back to the city (28:4 & 11). Both groups had the exact same news. The guards were told to cover it up (28:13-15); the disciples were told to disperse it (28:19-20).
6 - It wasn't that religious leaders COULD not believe, but they WOULD not believe. They rejected Christ. They even made up false doctrines about Him. And the men who spread the false teaching made lots of money doing that (28:15). This same thing is happening today. Sadly, people would rather believe a lie than The Truth.
In conclusion, the stone was not rolled away for Jesus to come out (He could go through stone walls--John 20:20 & 26) but so people could see in. Jesus is risen indeed. We put our faith in Him for everlasting spiritual life.