Because Jesus is Alive

David Mora October 10, 2021

2 reasons to believe that Jesus rose from the dead

I. The Empty Tomb Fulfills Scripture (vv.1-10)

A. It fulfills Old Testament prophecy about the Christ

B. It fulfills Jesus’ own words about His resurrection

C. Facts are not enough for genuine belief

II. The Eye-Witness Testimony of Mary (vv.11-18)

A. Her mourning (vv.1-2, 11, 13, 15)

B. Jesus calls her by name (v.16)

C. Her joy swallows up her grief (vv.16-18)

2 Reasons to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

1. The empty tomb fulfills Scripture (vv.1–10)

Ok, let’s set the context for what we are about to explore here, but this involves a little bit of reading, ok? I just don’t want to drop you in the middle of a Gospel story with very little understanding of all that happened on the morning of the resurrection.

So, what I’ve done is use an aid to help us put in order the Gospel accounts so that those reading Matthew, Mark, Luke and John will be able to understand, as closely as possible, a step—by-step order of events in the life of Jesus Christ and his disciples.

As a quick footnote, you can pick up this book on Amazon marketplace.

One Perfect Life by John MacArthur]

It’s a very useful tool in case you want to read the Gospel accounts together and put in order.

Now, having said that, let me begin by saying that all of the Gospel accounts record for us that the resurrection of Christ took place on the first day of the week – that would be a Sunday. So, then on Sunday morning, the tomb is empty.

Now, putting the events in order, here’s what happened.

“(MK) Now when, the Sabbath was past, (JN) [on] the first day of the week, (MK) Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him…” (stop for moment) (John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 468-75.)

It was a Jewish custom to anoint a dead body with spices before the body begins to decay. So, in this case of Jesus, the women had already made a few of trips to Jesus’ tomb in order to anoint his body. Boy, are they in for a surprise! Let’s keep reading…

“…And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men…” (Ibid, 468-75.)

In other the words, the guards were so frightened by the appearance of these angelic hosts that they passed out! It’s not every day you see an angel! Let’s keep reading…

“…Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” (MT) As [light] began to dawn very early in the morning, (MT) the other Mary (MK) and Salome (LK) and certain other women with them, (MT) came to see the tomb, (Lk) bringing the spices which they had prepared. (Mk) they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they Looked up, they *saw that the stone had been rolled away, (JN) from the tomb – (MK) for it was very large. (Lk) Then they went in and, (Mk) entering the tomb, (Lk) did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.

(Mk) They were alarmed [and] (Lk) afraid and bowed their faces to the earth. (Mk) But [one of] the angel[s] – (Mk) a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side – (Mt) answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus (Mk) of Nazareth (Mt) who was crucified.

(Lk) Why do you seek the living among the dead? (Mt) He is not here; for he is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where (Mk) they have laid (Mt) the Lord. (Mk) But (Mt) go quickly and tell His disciples – and Peter – that (Mt) He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, (Mk) as He said to you. (Mt) behold, I have told you.” (Lk) They said to them [further], “Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words. (Mk) So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled (Mt) with fear and great joy, and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid (Mt) [but] ran to bring His disciples word.”

[After hearing from Mary Magdalene] (Jn) Peter therefore (Lk) arose and (Jn) went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there (Lk) by themselves, (Jn) and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. marveling to [themselves] at what had happened.” (Ibid, 468-75.)

I left out Mary’s account deliberately because we’ll get to that at around the end of the sermon. It is perhaps one of the most touching and reassuring accounts in all of Scripture – the fact that Jesus would come to his disciples and meet them at their point of need just goes to demonstrate for us why Jesus is called the sympathetic high priest (Heb. 4:14-16).

The main reason why I wanted you to see these accounts are for this reason: Turn to John 21:24

“This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.” – John 21:24

In other words, what I just read to you is not some fabrication of anyone’s imagination – the life, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is a real event – it’s a historical event – it really happened – it’s not made up. That’s why the Apostle John can say in 1 John 1:1-4

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” – 1 John 1:1-4

In other words, Christian fellowship is centered on whether you believe the eyewitness account of the Apostles and those who bore witness to Christ. Well, what is that – the Bible! To put it simply: you need to believe that this book is 100% the Word of God.

Now, here’s the skinny, my friends: If a person doesn’t believe in the Scriptures – if you don’t believe in these eye-witness accounts - you are not league with what this book says. And if you are not in league with the words of this book: you are not in fellowship with…God.

And I’ve come across more than enough people in my day to tell you that there are a good many people who are not in league with this book. I’ve even run into people here who pass on through the Northend who believe in strange writings that hold to some kernels of truth, yet is outside of the Canon of Scripture, and for some reason or another, they would much hold to those strange teachings rather than what was eye witnessed by the Apostles.

I came across a false teacher two weeks ago here at the Northend. My oh my was he a strange fella! He was a young man – perhaps in his early twenties. He was also a well-dressed young man. In fact, Alfonso Gomez introduced me to him!

I had assumed he was a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ because he was sitting down out there in the North Works area reading his Bible. The cover to his Bible had fallen off, so I offered him a brand new Bible.

And then the following discussion I had with him slowly began to go downhill fast. He claimed to be a…pastor and a Christian. He directed me to his online site and had requested me to follow him. At some point in the discussion, I had asked him what he believed about the Person of Jesus Christ – at that point, the discussion went downhill fast!

I realized exceptionally fast that I was literally speaking to a false teacher…all based on his understanding of who Christ – that Christ was…a sinner, like you and I. I’m telling you the discussion became dark and depressing in terms of how deeply lost this young man was.

I went to my office, grabbed a Gospel track, and I walked him through the Gospel track and urged him to repent of his sins and surrender his life completely over to the sinless spotless Son of God before it’s too late.

In other words, I was telling him to surrender his mind to what this book says if he want to have true fellowship with Christ and his people. Unfortunately, the young man did not do that and he walked out and I’ve not seen him since.

But apparently, this young man was urging other Christians to follow him and his teachings on his personal Youtube page.

What you and I face today is no different than what the Apostles and the early faced in their day. For instance, in 2 John 1:10, the Apostle John warned a lady had to tell a lady in the church to stop offering hospitality by inviting false teachers into her home. So, the Apostle said to her that…

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” – 2 John 1:11

In those days, these teachers who would go on a teaching circuit to gain popularity and status – however, they had no place to stay, so they would seek out the hospitality of Christian families to open up their homes to stay in.

We don’t know how long they stayed in the care of the church’s hospitality, but it was enough time for these false teachers to spread their false teaching about Christ to these families so as to perhaps win them over in their false teaching and thus, pulling people out of the church and into the hands of these false teachers.

These people were called Gnostics – what they taught was hard to pin down because their teaching changed and evolved over time. But here’s what they were known for

Matter is evil and the spirit is good. Therefore, God cannot incarnate into human flesh.

[REFUTED in Colossians 2:9] “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form

At the incarnation, Jesus only appeared to be human, but in reality he was a spirit being.

[REFUTED in John 1:14] And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus was not truly bodily resurrected from the dead, he only appeared to have resurrected in the flesh.

[REFUTED in Luke 24:39] “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you plainly see that I have.”

Can you see how all of this goes back to what you believe about the Person of Christ and its affect on the empty tomb? Can you see how all of this goes back to fellowship.

This was not an isolated incident, my friends. False teaching was rampant in the early days of the church. And the Lord would providentially use this movement to spiritually strengthen God’s people to shore up what they believe about the Person of Christ and the empty tomb.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

Transition: Ok, so to recap –

The empty tomb fulfills Scripture. It really happened based on the testimony of many brethren.

There’s a reason why we’ve said this past year in John 20:30 that Jesus did

“many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” – John 20:30-31

The prophecies concerning the coming of Messiah and his death…

a. It fulfills the OT prophecy about the Christ

I want you to remember what Jesus said to his accusers

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me…” – John 5:46

And for the benefit of his disciples…

“…beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” – Luke 24:27

In other words, our Lord showed his disciples every prophecy that pointed to Himself [his death, burial, and resurrection]

Turn to Isaiah 53. This is perhaps the most well known passage pertaining to the suffering and death of Christ, the Messiah.

“By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? 9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.10 But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as an offering for sin, He will see His offspring He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.” - Isaiah 53:8-10

What I want you to highlight in your mind are the phrases “cut off out of the land of the living” and his grave was with the wicked men, yet he was with a rich man in His death” and “when his soul makes an offering for sin” and “He will see His offspring He will prolong His days”, inferring to the fact that God will look upon the sacrifice of His Servant and “prolong his days”, in reference to his resurrection.[1]

This prophecy was fulfilled by Christ who came to be the offering for sin, and his body was taken by a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea in Luke 23:50-53

“And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51 (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; 52 this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.” – Luke 23:50-53

There are other passages that refer to the separation of Messiah’s garments during his crucifixion by the hand of the Romans. John cites Psalm 22:18 in application to the crucifixion.

But there is one that you may not be familiar with is found in the book of Daniel 9:24-27. This text talks about a number of future things. But the point to the end of the spear to this passage refers to the cutting off of the Messiah. Let me highlight the passage for you.

“Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah (i.e. the anointed one) will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” - Daniel 9:24

The first part of the verse 26 refers to the cutting off of the Messiah at a specific point in time, while the latter part of verse 26 refers to the arrival of a man called the antichrist (I’m sure at some point in time, we will tackle end time prophecy…)

But the point I want to underscore for you at the moment is that the word “to cut off” refers to someone’s death. This prophecy was literally fulfilled 480 years later in the cutting of the Messiah from the land of the living.

As far as the crucifixion of Messiah, all you need to do is to turn to Zechariah 12:10

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” – Zechariah 12:10

The rest of this passage goes onto explain Israel’s national repentance and future restoration, which has yet to occur on God’s appointed timetable.

Transition: We could walk through passage after passage – these are just a few – but what we just did was likely what Christ did with his disciples, walking them through passage after passage concerning Himself.

But to highlight the point again…

b. It fulfills Jesus’ own words about his resurrection.

c. Facts aren’t enough for belief.

It’s not enough to acknowledge that Jesus lived and died and even that he was raised again. Facts alone don’t bring a person to belief in Jesus Christ, such that you will have eternal life in his name. You must be born again. You must personally receive Jesus Christ and believe in his name.

if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” – Romans 10:9-10

The gospel is a message that proclaims Jesus’s Christ as Lord so he has authority over your life. You are commanded by Jesus to repent, to return to him and believe in him, or you will perish. There are serious consequences for how I respond to this good news about Jesus Christ.

Transition: Now, I want to close this out in summary with one last account – Mary Magdalene.

2. The eye-witness testimony of Mary.

11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb, weeping; so as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb; 12 and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She *said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they put Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and yet she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Thinking that He was the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you put Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17 Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene *came and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.”– John 20:11-18 (stop) (MacArthur, One Perfect Life, pg.568-75)

Here you have a woman who went from mourning to her grief being swallowed up with joy no sooner than her Lord called her by her name, “Mary” And no sooner than she recognized her Lord that she screamed out Rabboni! She grabbed him and didn’t want to let him go!

And our Lord responded by saying to her that he hasn’t even left yet, but to stop clinging on to him and go and tell the rest of the disciples that he’s ascending soon, and she does just that. But I look at this account and all I see in closing is small illustration of a greater reality. When it comes to…

a. Her mourning

b. Jesus calls her by name.

c. Her joy swallows up her grief.

Like Mary, when you see your Lord face-to-face. He will call you by your name. Your mourning will be no more. The pains of this world will be no more

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4

Why? Because you have entrusted yourself to these accounts and have said, Yes and Amen – even so, Come Lord Jesus!

Now, leave – and tell others…

[1] See also Psalm 16:10 - For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” Jesus’ body was resurrected before it underwent decay.


David Mora


Pastor of Northend Ministries - Faith Church


B. S. - Religious Education, Davis College
M. Div. - The Master's Seminary

David was raised in upstate NY and was saved in his early 20’s. Not too long after his conversion to Christ, David attended Practical Bible College (now Davis College) where he met his wife, Marleah. They were married in 2003.

In 2005, David and his wife moved to Southern California for his studies at The Master’s Seminary under the ministry of Pastor John MacArthur. After receiving his Master’s of Divinity in 2012, he came to Maryland and served at Hope Bible Church and was later ordained to Pastoral Ministry in the summer of 2017. While at Hope Bible Church, he served in a number of capacities, but his primary emphasis was teaching.

Pastor David joined the Faith Church staff in 2020 to assist in the efforts of serving the Northend Community. He and his wife have been blessed with four children, Leayla, Nalani, Jadon and Alétheia.