NEWS FROM A GRAVEYARD!"
preached by David P. Nolte
We all love good news! It might be that someone we love is coming to visit.
It might be that something we thought was forever lost is now found. It
might be that a prayer has been answered for the sick. It might be that
a loved one has come to know Jesus Christ. We all love good news. The Proverb
says, "Bright eyes gladden the heart; Good news puts fat on the bones."
Proverbs 15:30. Wouldn't Jennie Craig love to hear that? We are
also told that, "Like cold water to a weary soul, So is good news
from a distant land." Proverbs 25:25.The disciples needed their
tear dimmed eyes brightened. They needed cold water for their weary souls.
We know the account. Jesus died. With Him seemed to perish the disciples
hopes, dreams, plans, and confidence. They went into hiding for fear of
the Jews. But then, having gone to the tomb, the women were greeted with
the headline of the centuries: "He is not here, but He has risen."
Luke 24:6. Now, we're talking Good News! Good News from a graveyard!
But what story goes with the headline? What is the essence of this Good
- THE GOOD NEWS IS: DEATH HAS MET ITS MATCH!
- Jesus was dead. The disciples understood that. Experts checked that.
The Roman executioners knew when a body was lifeless. He was placed in
a tomb, the tomb was sealed and a guard set. It seemed that death had stolen
- But Satan's machinations, and man's devices could not hold Him in the
grave. The devil could not defeat Him. Death could not hold Him. The Tomb
could not contain Him. Death met its match!
- Listen to the commentary on this great truth:
- "And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death,
since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power." Acts
- "And as for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no more
to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: 'I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY
and SURE blessings OF DAVID." Acts 13:34.
- Let me illustrate: I never think about the resurrection without likening
it to a wrestling match between a greatly superior and an unquestionably
- In my less dignified teen years, my nephews and I used to wrestle.
I was 10 years their senior, and in weight and strength their superior.
Yet, for fun, I would allow them to put all sorts of holds on me and for
a moment appear to be defeated and about to cry "Uncle!" But
after awhile, I would have to show my prowess and would shrug them off
like a dirty shirt. Allowing them to subdue me momentarily only enhanced
- Just so, Jesus willingly acquiesced to His enemies, allowing them to
do their utmost - for a period of 3 days and nights! Then shrugging death
off like a dirty shirt, He arose.
The good news from the graveyard is that death has been denied its deadliness!
- THE GOOD NEWS IS: FEAR HAS BEEN VANQUISHED!
- When Jesus died, the disciples became a frightened, disoriented lot.
- "And the angel answered and said to the women, 'Do not be afraid;
for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is
not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where
He was lying.'" Matthew 28:5-6.
- "And after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple
of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he
might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came
therefore, and took away His body." John 19:38.
- "When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of
the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear
of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, 'Peace
be with you.'" John 20:19.
- The disciples were filled with fear! But Jesus stood in their midst.
- He knew where they were hiding out and sought them.
- He knew what they needed to hear and spoke peace.
- What do you fear? Oh, you're one of the macho, fearless ones who could
grab a bone out of a pit bull's mouth? Well, just between you and yourself,
what do you fear?
- Is it death? He's conquered it. "Since then the children share
in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that
through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death,
that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were
subject to slavery all their lives." Heb 2:14-15.
- Is it the unknown? The Future? The "What-if's?" God has the
answer: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace
of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7.
- Is it standing before Almighty God in judgment? He has taken our judgment
and offers us justification: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears
My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come
into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." John 5:24.
- A small child went with his father to see Grandma, who lived about
three miles from their home. They stayed longer than they planned and night
overtook them. Between home and grandmother's was a swamp and that night
the frogs croaking and crickets chirping, together with the darkness and
shadows of the trees, frightened the boy. He asked his father "Will
something catch us?" Father assured him that there was no danger.
Soon the boy asked the same question again and received the same answer.
But his father saw he was frightened and he took him by the hand and said:
"1 will not allow anything to harm you." And all his fears passed
away and he was ready to face the world; for his father had him by the
hand. How like our Lord Jesus who takes us by the hand when we are fearful.
We can say with David, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and
Thy staff they comfort me." Psalm. 23:4. The poet also says:
"There are days so dark that I seek in vain For the face of my Friend
Divine. Tho' the darkness hide, He is there to guide By the touch of His
hand on mine."
The good news from the graveyard is: "Fear not! Take courage! Jesus
Who lives has stripped fear of its fearfulness!"
- THE GOOD NEWS IS: HOPE HAS BEEN REBORN!
- Despair, gloom, misery were the order of the day - until they realized
that Jesus was alive and then hope blossomed eternal!
- The Resurrection gives hope because:
- It answers the timeless question posed by Job, "If a man dies,
will he live again?" Job 14:14. Job answered his own query,
"And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He
will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet
from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my
eyes shall see and not another." Job 19:25-27.
- It calms those who, standing by the grave of a loved one, question,
"Will we meet again?" In answer to that, Paul wrote, "But
having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, 'I BELIEVED,
THEREFORE I SPOKE,' we also believe, therefore also we speak; knowing that
He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present
us with you." 2 Corinthians 4:13-14.
- If death were the final word, Paul's words would be an apt description
of our state: "If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are
of all men most to be pitied." 1 Corinthians 15:19. But
there is hope:
- Hope of forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God
- Hope of meaning and purpose in this world.
- Hope of resurrection to eternal life.
- Hope of reunion with loved ones gone on in Christ.
- Hope of seeing Jesus Christ Himself in all His Glory.
- Hope of living in a new world devoid of all the trauma and trouble
of this world.
- The southernmost point of Africa is a point which experiences tremendous
storms. For many years no one even knew what lay beyond that cape, for
no ship attempting to round that point had ever returned to tell the tale.
That place was known as the "Cape of Storms," and for good reason.
But then a Portuguese explorer in the sixteenth century, Vasco De Gama,
successfully sailed around that very point and found beyond the wild raging
storms, a great calm sea, and beyond that, the shores of India. The name
of that cape was changed from the "Cape of Storms" to the "Cape
of Good Hope." Until Jesus Christ rose from the dead, death had been
the "Cape of Storms" on which all hopes of life beyond had been
wrecked. No one knew what lay beyond that point until, on Easter morning,
those ancient visions of Isaiah became the victory of Jesus over our last
great enemy. Suddenly, like those ancient explorers, we can see beyond
human death to the hope of heaven and eternal life with the Father. More
than that, we dare to believe that we shall experience in our own human
lives exactly what the Son of God experienced in his, for the risen Christ
says to us, "Because I live, you shall live also." This is the
heart of the Easter faith. Robert Beringer, The Easter People, CSS, 1984,
The good news from the graveyard is that death has met its match, that
fear has been vanquished and that despair has been denuded of its hopelessness!
Philips Brooks put it this way: "Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger; Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right; Faith and Hope triumphant say, Christ
will rise on Easter Day." That's the good news. And it didn't come
from CNN, it didn't come from Washington D.C., it didn't come from the
Democrat Herald. It came from a graveyard where an angel spoke to a crushed
heart and said, "He is not here, but He has risen." Luke 24:6.
He was not there, but He is here this morning because He has risen.
He is able to save you today because He is risen and ever lives to
intercede with the Father on your behalf. He is able to give you a
new life today because He is risen and He lives. The Living Jesus
calls you to Himself, to life, to forgiveness and to peace. Will
you hear Him calling, and will you come?
Story about fearful boy from Knight, 3,000 Illustrations
for Christian Service
Return To Resurrection Day Sermons
Return To Archive
Return To Home Page