In Jesus, ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD are yes and amen! The amazing thing is by fulfilling his promises to us, he receives glory. By his keeping his promises through Jesus, he proves he is God. It was this way on the Sunday morning Jesus rose from the dead. AN EMPTY CROSS, AN EMPTY TOMB, AND AN EMPTY BURIAL CLOTH proved God kept THE PROMISE.

EASTER
By Delbert Young

The Promise

The Promise

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The Promise

Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 1:20, John 3:36, Matthew 13:42, Acts 1:1-3, Luke 9:22, Luke 24:7, John 19:34-35, Galatians 6:14, Isaiah 53:9, Matthew 27:57-60, Psalms 22:18, Luke 23:34, John 20:5-8, John 20:20, John 20:25, John 20:27-28, John 7:5, Mark 3:21, Matthew 25:30, Luke 18:29-30, Joh 10:10, John 11:26

There was a man who was a miser. He was so tight that he squeaked when he walked. He took all the money he could pinch and put it under his mattress. Eventually, he became sick and on his deathbed, he said to his wife, “I want you to promise me that when I die, you’ll take my money from under the mattress and put it in my casket. That way I can take it all with me.” His wife agreed. He did die and his wife kept her promise. She took all that money and went to the bank and deposited it, and wrote out a check for the exact amount and put it in his casket.

She “tweaked” her promise. Sometimes we make promises like that to God. Do we keep our promise? Have you ever told God if he would do something for you, you promise you would do something for him, but then not exactly do what you said? Most of us have. However, God is not that way with his promises to us. God does not “tweak” his promises. Of the thousands of promises in the Bible, not one time can we find when God did not keep his promises. God is the promise keeper.

For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. [2 Corinthians 1:20] 

That is why Christianity is so powerful. In Jesus, ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD are yes and amen! The amazing thing is that by fulfilling his promises to us, he receives glory. By his keeping his promises through Jesus, he proves that he is God. It was that way on the Sunday morning that Jesus rose from the dead. AN EMPTY CROSS, AN EMPTY TOMB, AND AN EMPTY BURIAL CLOTH proved that God kept THE PROMISE. He is the promise keeper.

But, maybe you are processing and wondering about that Christianity stuff. How can a person believe that something as strange as a man dying a horrific death on a cross, being placed into a tomb, and then raising from the dead really happened? I can’t tell you why everyone believes it, but I can tell you why I believe it. I researched and I studied and found proof that I could not deny. It’s about that proof that I want to talk today. But, before we look at proof, let me show you the motivation that caused me to diligently look.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” [John 3:36] 

They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [Matthew 13:42] 

I knew that if the part about God raising Jesus from the dead was true then hell must be true as well. I didn’t want to spend eternity in hell. It was a serious issue and one that I did not take lightly.

INFALLIBLE PROOFS– I found a man named Luke in the Bible. Luke was like me in that he was a Gentile and did not know much about the scriptures. He heard about Jesus after Jesus had ascended and decided to prove or disprove if Jesus was who he said he is. Luke was an educated intelligent man. He was a doctor. Luke recorded his research into a treatise – discourse, research, computation – that he shared with a good friend named Theophilus. It was so powerful that it became two books in the Bible called Luke and Acts.

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: TO WHOM ALSO HE SHEWED HIMSELF ALIVE AFTER HIS PASSION BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of god: [Acts 1:1-3]

Luke found MANY INFALLIBLE (reliable, foolproof, dependable) PROOFS that proved Jesus did arise from the dead. Thoseinfallible proofs changed Luke’s life forever. So much so, that Luke became a martyr hung to death from a tree in Greece because he would not deny Jesus. Those same infallible proofs changed my life too. What are those infallible – reliable, foolproof, dependable – proofs? I would like to look at some of them through the EMPTY CROSS, EMPTY TOMB, AND EMPTY GRAVE CLOTH.

THE EMPTY CROSS– The Roman Empire adopted the cross as the means of execution of criminals and those involved in revolts. There were times when the Romans lined the roads with hundreds of crucified people. The cross became a vile and repulsive symbol representing the most horrific death imaginable. Roman soldiers impaled a person with nails through the hands and feet and tied them to a cross then lifted the cross as the person hung there to die. Death took hours and eventually came by suffocation. Hanging in that manner blocked the air passage. To breath, the person pulled up with the nailed hands and pushed with the nailed feet. The pain was excruciating. The person strength eventually gave out and they suffocated.

One infallible proof of which Luke spoke was the prophecy by Jesus that he would die on the cross, but not just die on a cross. Repeatedly, (28 references in the gospels, 12 times in Luke alone) Jesus gave great detailed prophecy of his cross experience.

And he said, “The Son of Man MUST suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he MUST be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” [Luke 9:22]

‘The Son of Man MUST be delivered into the hands of sinful men, BE CRUCIFIED and on the third day be raised again.'” [Luke 24:7] 

Jesus gave details of his betrayal, the condemning to death, the Jews turning him over to the Romans, the mocking, being spat on, scourged, and then crucified on a cross. He made it so clear and repeated it so many times that there should be no doubt that when it happened everyone would know what was going down, but that was not the case. The disciples ran scared. Peter denied that he knew Jesus. Everyone wept and lost hope and faith. It took an infallible proof to change that and make them believe. THEY SAW JESUS DIE on a cross and Jesus didn’t die a typical crucifixion death. He died a horrible, violent, and unquestionable death. There was no way that Jesus could have faked it. No one could possibly live through his crucifixion and IT HAD TO BE THAT WAY. There could be no question if he were dead. It had gotten late and it was the evening before the legal Passover. The bodies had to be off the crosses and buried before Passover began which was sundown. There were two others crucified that day with Jesus. To speed death, the executioners broke their legs. They suspected that Jesus was already dead, but to make certain they drove a spear into his heart.

Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies SO THAT YOU ALSO MAY BELIEVE[John 19:34-35]

John was an eyewitness. John witnessed a trained Roman soldier take a spear and shove it into the side of Jesus. John witnessed blood and water gush out as the soldier removed the spear. I did a little research on this. Around the heart is a fluid-filled sack called the pericardium. It protects the heart. When the heart stops beating at death, the blood begins to coagulate allowing the blood cells to separate from the water. The gush of blood and water could only mean one thing. The spearhead had traveled through the lung, through the pericardium, and through the heart. There was no doubt that Jesus was dead, and John said he wrote this so we could believe. It is an infallible proof. Everyone knew that Jesus died.

However, that cross did not hold his death. In fact, the repulsive representation the cross held of death became the sign for life, victory, and hope. People began to wear the cross around their necks. The cross became something in which to glory and not despise.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. [Galatians 6:14] 

The cross now makes us look good. They crucified Jesus exactly as Jesus repeatedly said they would. Jesus was dead, dead. John saw it happen as blood and water came out. The cross lost the meaning of death and received a meaning of life and hope. That CROSS, now EMPTY, became an infallible proof that Jesus is exactly who he said he is.

THE EMPTY TOMB– In Biblical times, society handled the dead in different ways just as it does today. People were buried in the ground (Gen 35:8), cremated (1Sa 31:12), placed in tombs – mausoleums (Mar 15:46), etc. Also, there was the place where “common people” were buried (Jer 26:23). That is most likely where his loved ones would have buried Jesus. Because they did not, we find another infallible proof. If Jesus is who he said he is then he must be buried in a rich man’s grave. The prophet Isaiah prophesied it in the scriptures seven-hundred years before Jesus was born! Remember God is the promise keeper.

He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; HE WAS PUT IN A RICH MAN’S GRAVE. [Isaiah 53:9] 

The Jews and Romans did execute Jesus like a criminal. However, a rich man buried Jesus in his grave. Luke recorded this in Luke 23:50, but we will read from Matthew.

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus… 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. [Matthew 27:57-60] 

That prophecy was only one of about a thousand prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. According to a work called Prophecies of the Old Testament, Jesus fulfilled 1,093 prophecies. The prophecies range from his conception to his ascension. For example, here is just one.

They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. [Psalms 22:18] 

David wrote that prophecy in 10th century B.C. – a thousand years before Jesus was born – and it happened while Jesus hung on the cross.

…And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. [Luke 23:34] 

They placed Jesus in a rich man’s tomb, but no one realized, not even those closest to him, the infallible proofs that were happening all around. How could one man fulfill over 1,000 prophecies UNLESS he was exactly who he said he was? How could those prophetic promises continue to be fulfilled even as he hung on a cross and after he was dead unless he was exactly who he said he was? God made it so clear that no one should miss it. Jesus is the Son of God. That tomb, now empty, became an infallible proof. He is the promise keeper. 

THE EMPTY GRAVE CLOTH They wrapped the body of Jesus in white linen. Still not yet believing, women came early Sunday morning to clean and better prepare the body of Jesus for eternity. When they arrived, they found the large stone moved and the body gone. Mary Magdalene ran and told the disciples and John and Peter ran back to the tomb.

He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side. Then the other disciple also went in, and HE SAW AND BELIEVED – [John 20:5-8] 

The linen wrappings were… EMPTY! Something powerful had happened that caused John to believe. Why would people take the body, but first unwrap it and then leave the wrappings? Why would people take the body, but first neatly fold the face cloth and lay it to the side? How could people move that stone and take the body with trained Roman soldiers guarding the tomb? It was an infallible proof to John who said, He saw and believed!

This event set up a series of appearances of Christ. The Bible speaks of twelve different times that Jesus appeared and talked with people before his ascension. These are: (1) Mary Magdalene (Mk 16:9); (2) Other Women (Mat 28:9); (3) Two Disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luk 24:15); (4) Ten Disciples (Joh 20:19); (5) All Disciples (Joh 20:26); (6) To Peter (1Co 15:5); (7) All Disciples again (Luk 24:36); (8) At The Sea Of Galilee (Joh 21:1); (9) Five Hundred Brethren (1Co 15:6); (10) All Disciples in Galilee (Mat 28:17); (11) James (1Co 15:7; (12) Ascension (Luk 24:50).

Several hundred people saw Jesus before he ascended. One Sunday afternoon, Jesus appeared to ten of the disciples, but Thomas was not with them. Jesus came through a locked door and said, “Peace be with you.” Right! Dead man walking, who could have peace?

After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. [John 20:20] 

The disciples told Thomas, but Thomas did not believe it.

…he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”[John 20:25] 

A week later, the Lord showed up for Thomas.

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” [John 20:27-28] 

Every disciple saw Jesus and the wounds in his body that could come no other way except by crucifixion. It was Jesus! The disciples and hundreds of people knew that Jesus arose from the dead. They saw him! The reason that I know they all saw him is because they died as martyrs. They refused to deny Christ. Every disciple died horrible deaths as a martyr except John and he was tortured and exiled. Thousands of people died horrible deaths as martyrs crucified, fed to beasts, burned at stakes, beheaded, name it. They died rather than deny that Jesus lived. You cannot tell me that many people would die for a hoax. People dying before they deny is indeed infallible proof.

However, one of the most powerful infallible proofs to me concerns two brothers of Jesus named James and Jude. Let me ask you a question. What would it take to convince you that one of your siblings was the Messiah – the Son of God? It would take a lot, right. James and Jude absolutely refused to believe it until after the infallible proofs. Initially, they thought Jesus had lost his mind.

For even his own brothers did not believe in him. [John 7:5] 

When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” [Mark 3:21] 

After the resurrection, they not only believed, they both died as martyrs. James became the leader of the churches of Jerusalem. Eventually, the Jews beat and stoned him and finally James had his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club.  They crucified Jude at Edessa in A.D. 72. The brothers of Jesus dying as martyrs are infallible proofs to me.

THE PROMISE After the infallible proofs, we each come to THE major decision of life. It is simply this: “Will I believe the infallible proofs that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, or will I reject the proof?” It’s pretty simple. THE PROMISE to those who reject Jesus is to eventually find themselves in a horrible place called hell. That is why people who care desperately about you have told you about Jesus. Jesus described hell this way in a parable.

…where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ [Matthew 25:30] 

Hell is a very horrible and sad place filled with sad people. THE PROMISE to those who do believe is also clear and twofold. It is THE PROMISE. Jesus SAID that he will give you abundant life now and eternal life awaiting. He will keep his promise. He is the promise keeper.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much IN THIS AGE and, in THE AGE TO COME, ETERNAL LIFE.” [Luke 18:29-30] 

Jesus came to bring those who will follow him an abundant and full life. And He is the promise keeper.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have {and} enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).[Joh 10:10 Amplified Bible]

How is your life? Is it abundant and full? I know this. It is not without receiving Jesus. Do you need to get some things straightened out? Which will you choose? Will you choose –abundance, or will you choose hell? Jesus said it this way.

and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” [John 11:26] 

Do you BELIEVE THIS? THE EMPTY CROSS, EMPTY TOMB, AND EMPTY BURIAL CLOTH equals THE PROMISE.  He is the promise keeper. 

Other Related Easter Sermons:

Empty Promises – Easter sermon video audio notes

The Resurrection, He has Risen – Easter sermon video audio notes

Fear Not, Touch Me, Follow Me, Go Ye – Easter sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young

Thompson Chain Reference Bible, Christ, Christ Predicts His Own Sufferings 713

Fox’s Book of Martyrs, chapter 1, v. James

Fox’s Book of Martyrs, chapter 1, xi. Jude