Just about daylight, the world of two women, both named Mary, was rocked, as they approached the garden tomb of their recently deceased friend. If an earthquake wasn’t shocking enough, they were also startled by a stranger dressed in white and whose countenance was like lightning. However reassuring this angelic messenger was, his message must have startled the women all over again, as he announced that their friend, buried some 48 hours earlier, was no longer there!
While each Gospel writer conveys the details a bit differently in their accounts, there is one unmistakable detail that is crucial to the historical accounting, and also to the theological value—“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.” However, that is not the phrase to which I would direct your attention in this service.
(Matt 28:5-7a 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;
Let me transport you on a journey of thought through the corridors of time, departing from this platform, but following five brief stops, returning you to our point of origin. At our first stop, I would invite you to come and see the God of UNTOLD POWER
Although we will not disembark at any of our stops, look through the window of time past—see the Psalmist standing beside our train on the platform. Listen as he speaks—
Come and see the works of the LORD … (Psa 46:8 NIV) Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf! (Psa 66:5 NIV)
You see, while the world continually tries to explain God away, the heavens still declare his glory and the firmament still shows us his handiwork! And those who have accepted Him by grace through faith experience His untold power, working mightily on our behalf. Isaac Watts hardly scratched the surface when he erupted in song—
I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command and all the stars obey.
There’s not a plant or flower below but makes Thy glories known;
And clouds arise and tempests blow by order of Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care,
And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God, art present there.
In only the amount of time required to move from one thought to another, our train pulls away from the station of the Psalmist and we come to the platform of the Prophets. There stands the prophet Isaiah, waiting and ready to invite us to come and see the God of UNSURPASSED GLORY
Hear the aged prophet as he quotes for us the very words of the Holy One of Israel, inviting us to come and see:
For I know their works and their thoughts; and they shall come, and see my glory. (Isa 66:18 KJV)
Understand, my friends, while believers celebrate this Easter, the world around us castigates the very thought of our God! Yet, in the fullness of time, God will step out onto the stage of eternity and reveal reality to a domain of deniers and doubters. While man has accomplished untold feats at which we marvel, no person or thing will ever surpass the glory of God that is yet to be revealed!
Godfrey Thring captures a glimpse of His unsurpassed glory when he wrote the third verse of the great hymn Crown Him with Many Crowns:
Crown Him the Lord of life! Who triumphed o’er the grave;
Who rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.
His glories now we sing, who died and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.
But before we can begin to digest this unsurpassed glory, our train of thought makes its escape from platform two, arriving at our third stop where we discover the disciple John, whom Jesus loved, and who penned the words exclaimed by a young man named Nathanael; but it’s Phillip who invites us to come and see the God of UNCHARACTERISTIC HUMILITY
You see, our train of thought has brought us to Nazareth—the “poor side of town”—and surely a community with a poor reputation, because when Phillip told Nathanael that he had discovered the person about whom Moses and all the prophets had written, Nathanael exclaimed, Nazareth! Can anything good come from there? Phillip simply invited him, Come and see.
Yes, the King of Kings has dispelled the myth that we must have all kinds of human advantages in order to be significant in this world. Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus Christ is the most significant person who ever lived, but he came from the most remarkably humble beginnings and lifestyle! He rode on a borrowed beast, sailed on a borrowed boat, and went to a fish’s mouth to get enough money to pay his taxes. The foxes had holes, the birds of the air had nests, but the Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head!
But just as our minds start to focus on his humility, we’re off again! And before we have a moment to contemplate the humanity of the Christ, we find ourselves at the fourth stop along the track of time—only now we find ourselves startled by a thundering voice that invites us to come and see the God of ULTIMATE JUSTICE
The reminder was transcribed for us by John the Revelator, who said—
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. (Rev 6:1 KJV)
But what shall we see? We will witness the white horse conquering – and freedom diminishing! Ah, friends, while today sin has conquered the lives of so many people, and while Satan may be having his “field day,” there is coming a justice and a judgment that will set all things in order. Although we live in a world of terrorism, wars and rumors of wars—a world where politicians pretend they can legislate or negotiate peace—we know there is no peace apart from the Prince of Peace, whom the world mocked, rejected, and hung on a cross!
Through the telescopic lens of prophetic revelation, we witness the red horse removing peace, so that people begin killing each other in unprecedented numbers. This isn’t so farfetched—we witness it on the nightly news.
(Rev 6:3 KJV) And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
And a third seal is opened … and I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat upon him had a pair of balances in his hand … and the black horse of famine consumes as food prices soar!
You know, the most developed nations of our world have numerous relief agencies whose work is never completed—we’ve watched them most recently in Haiti and South America following devastating earthquakes. Even in America we’re increasingly focused on food for the hungry and feeding the children. But there is coming a day when all the human effort the world can muster will be woefully inadequate. This God of justice, today rejected by presidents and peasants, will unleash such righteous judgment that the entire world will notice!
And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see (Rev 6:7 KJV)
Come and see what? Come and see the pale horse unleashing death and hell—devouring 25% of the world’s population.
By now some of you are thinking, Pastor Dale, why in the world would you bring such morbid detail to our attention on such a wonderful day of celebration? Because while you and I know the Risen Christ as our Savior, and can rejoice, as many as 3 billion of our fellow human beings have never heard that there is good news!
What the starving masses of humanity need today is the Bread of Life—the Living Christ! What the thirsting multitudes of this world need is a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name—that they may never thirst again! What the warring people groups of our globe need today is for someone who knows Jesus Chris—and the power of His resurrection—to bring them news of the Prince of Peace!
It may be morbid, but the reality of our world is that most of this world will see and feel the effects of these horsemen of the Apocalypse! But they don’t have to witness it firsthand, because between them and a godless eternity stands someone with the solution—you and me, who know the Savior!
And being shaken to the depths of our souls by this troublesome tour, we find ourselves stepping off the time trolley into a garden. We glance around us—there is no conductor—there is no train! But there stands the white-robed angel beside an empty tomb, inviting us to come and see the God of UNLIMITED SALVATION
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matt 28:6 NIV)
You see, the purpose of his death was the payment of your sins and mine. The purpose of his resurrection was to prove to the heavens and the earth that he, the Christ is, indeed, the victor over death, hell, and the grave!
Low in the grave he lay—Jesus my Savior!
Waiting the coming day—Jesus my Lord!
Vainly they watch his bed—Jesus my Savior!
Vainly they seal the dead—Jesus my Lord!
Death cannot keep his prey—Jesus my Savior!
He tore the bars away—Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes.
He arose the victor from the dark domain
And he lives forever with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Because he lives, we too can live also. Because he lives, others can live also, but they must hear the good news in time—the same good news that we celebrate today! In the time tha it has taken you to read this blog, somewhere in this world 1,605 people died—most of them without Christ!
In the wake of the resurrected Christ, the instructions given were plain and simple—Go, tell your world! Is it fair that any one of us should hear the Gospel twice until all have heard at least once? Let’s determine to carry our celebration to the streets, inviting others to Come and See!