Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

April 16, 2017 Sermon

“The Rock that Rolled”
Matthew 28:1 – 10
Ted Jansen April 16, 2016  Waynedale UMC
Resurrection Sunday
 
Intro:   There was a pastor who had a birthday around Easter and the congregation wanted to do something special for him.  They decided to buy him a new suit.  He was so touched by the gift of this suit that on Palm Sunday he stood before everyone and, with tears in his eyes, announced, "Next week, on Easter, I am going to preach to you in my birthday suit."
This same pastor had a 5 year-old daughter and she noticed that he always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon.  One day she asked him why he did this.
"Well, Honey," he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages, "I'm asking the Lord to help me to preach a good sermon."
"Well then, how come He doesn't do it?" she asked.
 
1.)        The Rock that Rolled!  I mentioned in a program staff meeting that that would be the title of my sermon for today.   Diane and Jeannette mentioned that that should be sweet and delicious.  I said no Diane and Jeanette, you didn’t hear me correctly.  I am not going to have Rise and Roll donuts for you or the congregation!  The title is the Rock that Rolled, not Rise and Roll.
            Then Jim and Krissy said oh, that means that you are going to start your sermon with some rock and roll music. I said that would be fun but that is not the theme.  It is not Rock and Roll.      
Jane said, I get it!  You are going to have some illustration about bowling!  That is a rock type of object that rolls.  Hmm, I like to go bowling but no, this is not a message about bowling.        
            At times you work hard to get your message understood and some people just don’t get it!  I decided that I should be very clear about my message.  I am going to preach about a rock that rolled.  I invite you to hold on to the rock you have.   
 
2.)        On Friday Jesus died on a cross after being crucified.  He was on the cross for six long and hard hours.  When he breathed His last and gave up His spirit the Romans took His body down.  Joseph asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and this is what happened according to Matthew 27:57 – 61.   
             As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
 
3.)        Joseph was a disciple and a wealthy man and had a grave prepared.  He covered Jesus with linen and rolled the stone over the entrance and did all this while the women sat watching. 
As I was doing some research on grave stones in the Roman times there were two types.  One style was the large disc shaped stone that rolled on a type of grooved track.  This was heavy and once in position it was hard to roll away. 
The other was a type of square stone that was pushed into the grave like a cork into a bottle.  There are pictures of both of these on the internet from the past.  What we do know is that regardless of the shape of the stone it was placed to seal the body inside. 
 
4.)        The women, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, watched this whole process with Joseph because they did not have time to anoint the body of Jesus.  They would come back after the Sabbath when it was proper and lawful to do this task.  They were not sure how they would be able to get to Jesus’ body to take care of anointing Him.  But they did see that Jesus’ body was wrapped and place in the tomb and rock secured the tomb. 
Some of the religious leaders had heard the disciples and Jesus talking about rising after the third day so they contacted the Roman authorities to make sure that the rock did not roll!  We read these words in Matthew 27:65, 66.     
 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”  So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
The Roman guards were placed with a seal, which was a way of saying to all people, “stay out, do not touch, keep away!” This Roman seal consisted of some cords and a wax seal in the middle clearly identifying it as under the protection of the Roman authorities.  You could die if you messed with the Roman seal.  This rock was not going to roll! 
 
5.)        When someone died in ancient times the stone would remain in front of the tomb and the body would naturally decay.  Some ancient cultures would collect the bones of loved ones put them in ossuaries.  These were special bone boxes that families had to keep the bones of family members together.  After the bones were collected the place in the tomb could be used again for another person.  This process might take anywhere from 8 or more years, depending on the circumstances and conditions.  This was the normal process.  This is what was expected after each death.  Jesus was no different. 
            That is what the people in Jesus’ day believed: the disciples, the religious leaders, the Romans, and those who were in Jerusalem.  You put a rock over the grave.  Why believe anything else could happen?   
 
6.)        An inexperienced preacher was to hold a graveside burial service at a pauper's cemetery for an indigent man with no family or friends. Not knowing where the cemetery was, he made several wrong turns and got lost.
When he eventually arrived an hour late, the hearse was nowhere in sight, the backhoe was next to the open hole, and the workmen were sitting under a tree eating lunch.
The diligent young pastor went to the open grave and found the vault lid already in place.  Feeling guilty because of his tardiness, he preached an impassioned and lengthy service, sending the deceased to the great beyond in style.
As he returned to his car, he overheard one of the workman say to the other, "I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years and I have never seen anything like that."
 
7.)        I want you to think about your rock as a symbol.  What are the things that weigh you down and take away your joy?  What are the things that press upon you?        
            This rock can feel like depression, it can feel like a loss in life; like death, divorce, the end of a job, or a change that you have hard time coping with.   
Maybe this rock symbolizes stress, tiredness, financial struggles, parenting burdens, legal troubles, alcohol or drug abuse, struggles with self-esteem, suicide? 
Or maybe it symbolizes something like a struggle with your weight, or not liking your job, or feeling like others have a better life, or wondering why you struggle with mental health issues.    
  
8.)        “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.  There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.  The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.   The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”  (Mathew 28:1- 6.) 
 
9.)        An earthquake rumbled from heaven and rolled that stone away from the tomb.  God brought a dead man, His one and only Son, Jesus, to life.  An angel rested on top of the stone to let people know that no earthly power or mandate or seal could keep Jesus in the tomb.  The guards who were toughened, trained and strong shook and were like, “dead men.”   
These alive, strong guards who were guarding a dead man, were now looking like they were dead when a man rose from the dead and tomb and a rock was rolled away.   
The angel spoke to the women to come and see the empty tomb, to know that Jesus Christ was alive.         
 
10.)      I want you to know that because a rock rolled we are a people who have hope.  We have hope because the tomb is empty and Jesus Christ is alive.     
A rock rolled because death could not hold Jesus for more than three days!  A rock rolled so the angel could tell the great news!  A rock rolled so that we would know that new life is possible with God!   A rock rolled and that means that Jesus is here today, like He was present so many years ago.  He brings healing, hope, sight, grace, love forgiveness, love and joy! 
 
11.)      Hold your rock and believe that God can make a rock roll.  It rolled away from the tomb on Resurrection day and it will roll away the weight of life.  The power of the Risen Lord through the Holy Spirit tells us that with God all things are possible. 
            Pray to the Lord who rolled the rock and brings new life to His Son.  Understand this day.   
 
12.)      A Sunday School teacher wanted the children in her class to know what was Easter was all about. One boy said that is when we get dressed up in costumes and get candy.  No, the teacher said that is Halloween.  A girl said that is when they give thanks and eat a lot of turkey.  No, that is Thanksgiving.  Another girl said, I know that is when Jesus died, was buried and on the third day came out of the grave.  Yes, that is it said the teacher, but the girl went on.  And if He sees his shadow we will have another six weeks of winter! 
 
13.)      Resurrection day, the day we call Easter, is the day that the rock rolled!  Jesus is alive and here today.  We can have new hope, new love, new joy.  The rock rolled.  New life is before us. 
            How do you need to pray today?  For new hope, for miracles, for a person that is far from God, for the ability to forgive someone, for someone to have new joy.  Pray and hold this rock!    
            I want you to hold on to your rock and let it be a symbol of your prayer to the Lord.  You might want to make a new commitment to the Lord Jesus as your Savior.  You might want to begin praying for a person.  You might want to begin praying for a need for healing.  What type of prayer does this rock symbolize today for you?