Our Resurrected Savior

Dr. Brent Aucoin March 31, 2024 Matthew 28:1-20

Joseph Bayly was a Christian American author. He and His wife together gave life to seven children.

Two of his sons became pastors—ministers of life

Over the course of Joe Bayly’s life, he experienced the death of not one, and not two, but three of his seven children.

Joe Bayly had the tragic experience of looking upon the corpses of three of his beautiful children.

He makes the statement, in his book The View from Hearse

“Death destroys beauty. Violent death creates obscenity—tasteless, horrid, raw. We cannot beautify death. A corpse is never beautiful…no embalmer’s art can possibly restore it.–Joe Bayly, The View from a Hearse

Death even has a smell—the moment you first encounter the aroma of decomposition you never forget it.

There is no way for us to beautify death….

Have you ever, ever, ever said of a corpse….man I wish I could look like that?!!

The horror and aroma of death is constantly around us in this world.

Not surprising that the Scriptures say in 18:14 that death is the “King of Terrors”

In Psalm 55:4-4, David facing death says,

4 My heart is in anguish within me,

And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

5 Fear and trembling come upon me,

And horror has overwhelmed me.

Its terror is so great 17th century French author Francois de la Rochefoucauld’s (Franswah de la Roshe-fou-cauld) said, “Death, like the sun cannot be looked at steadily.

Martin Heidegger, 20th century German philosopher said, “Death is something which nobody can do for another.

Why can’t we look at it steadily without flinching, recoiling?

Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Macbeth answers this when he is contemplating about escaping life’s hardships through suicide. He says, but….

the dread of something after death,—
The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;--Hamlet

There it is! The dread of something after deaththe undiscovered country from which no man returns….which makes cowards of us all.

The one terrifying certainty in life—death—produces in every human without exception a deep spiritual anxiety regarding death.

The Bible would say, in Hebrews 2:15 that we all have a fear/anxiety of death that subjects us to slavery all of our lives

Ernest Becker, American cultural anthropologist wrote the Pulitzer prize winning book, The Denial of Death… confirms this biblical claim when he observes….

The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity — activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man.—Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death

Our spiritual anxiety regarding death leads us to various responses

  • To deny the reality of death by living this present life as if it is all there is
  • Thus we accumulate wealth, success, fame, relationships and we are devasted when those pursuits do not pan out.
  • Self-preservation and Self-enjoyment at all costs now becomes the most important pursuit—

This kind of response to death…actually leads to more evil in relationship with others.

My life now for me…My enjoyment now…must come at the expense of who…others…..


  • We may respond to the reality of death by attempting to appease a deity in the afterlife. We become super focused on morality and religiosity in the hope that something in after-death reality will be happy with me.

This approach to death also leads to evil in relationships …constant comparison in trying to be better than you.

In the end with either response…according to Ernest Becker, mankind

He literally drives himself into a blind obliviousness with social games , psychological tricks , personal preoccupations so far removed from the reality of his situation that they are forms of madness — agreed madness , shared madness , disguised and dignified madness , but madness all the same


when the awareness (of death) dawns that has always been blotted out by frenetic , ready – made activity , …. the fear of death emerges in pure essence.

Over time here with you as a pastor I have often mentioned that I personally struggle with anxiety and fear.

  • Part of the dynamic of any anxiety and fear is the tendency not to face reality and deal with its problems appropriately.
  • When we suspect something coming is unpleasant or in fact experience something unpleasant, we tend to recoil, deny, and not deal with it.
  • But the steady stream of a trickle of fear is always there every cutting a deeper gorge into which all thoughts are eventually drained….until you are tossed to and fro by a tsunami of anxiety.

On this Easter Sunday let’s together deal with the spiritual anxiety of death…facing it head on

Today we are talking about

Jesus Our Resurrect Savior

He is risen!

[Expected response] He is risen indeed

Turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 28.

Matthew is the first book of the NT in the back section of your bible.

For those using the chair Bibles, that is on page 25 in that back section.

As we read, I want you to notice in this account there is

  • no theologizing about the meaning of the resurrection
  • Unlike me… in my introduction, I have already applied it—but Matthew will not do that.
  • o Furthermore, I will draw out some implications from the Great commission passage in our third point but Matthew will not do that.

So, please notice as we read Matthew’s lack of explanation and theologizing….ask yourself why?!

I will also not embellish either or explain as I go…as I normally might.

This is the Word of God on Easter Morning….

1Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.

2And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.

3And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

4The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.

5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.

6“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.

7“Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

8And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.

9And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.

10Then Jesus *said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

11Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.

12And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,

13and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’

14“And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.”

15And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

16But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.

17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.

18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

This Easter morning, I desire to develop…

Three actions that everyone must take to transform the soul- corroding spiritual anxiety of death into fearless living now

I. Intentionally Engage the Evidence of the Resurrection (vv. 1–10)

Before we read this resurrection account, I mentioned how stripped it was of editorial theologizing or commenting.

Just as one example, there is no mention of the theology of since Jesus is risen, that one day, those who believe in Him would also be resurrected.

N.T. Wright said, “If all we had was the stories of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, we would never know that anyone ever interpreted the resurrection narratives as providing a basis for a future hope beyond the grave.”

Each resurrection account in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, have slightly different details that are presented in very similarly stripped down fashion.

Straight forward—without interpretation.

What does that tell you?

Just think for a moment when you have to participate in a police report or an investigation in your workplace, those doing the investigation are not terribly interested in your opinion or explanation.

What do they want? The facts!

The more opinion you throw into your accident report, or your complaint report, or your harassment report, the more likely that report is to be viewed as spoiled or biased.

What does that tell us regarding this account in Matthew and similar ones in Mark, Luke and John!?!!

What we have here are early circulated oral accounts of eyewitness testimony of those who saw Jesus and the immediate pushback they received—the response of the chief priests.

If the presentation of Jesus in book of Matthew, has been like an orchestra playing all of its instruments highlighting the life and ministry of Jesus, then the resurrection account is like all the instruments dropping out except a lone flute carrying the melody

…and that is how Matthew ends…one lone instrument….left hanging…for you to hear singing the melody of Jesus’ resurrection.

Everything previously presented about the identity, the ministry, and the final work of Jesus comes to the climax right here.

  • And if this is not true, then go ahead write everything off that happened before!!
  • But if it is true…Oh my….everything about this man Jesus’ identity, his ministry, his works and His work…you must consider…..

Matthew gives us three pieces of evidence with which you must intentionally engage forming the basis for the claim that Jesus is risen

The first…

There was an empty tomb (Matt 28:6)

Folks, what is the first thing to do to prove that someone is dead?

Produce the corpse…exhume the grave… and bring forth the body and bones

Two women come to examine the tomb and met an angel with the stone rolled away and who invited them to look at the empty tomb.

Why was it two women were the first witnesses of the empty tomb?

Well outside of the probably obvious fact that women are more sensitive than men wanting to care for the body of Jesus…two women actually show this story is not likely to be made up.

You know through the NT there was a prejudice again women.

Only 100 years ago in our own country were women given the right to vote!

I’m not saying this is right, but women were not viewed as trustworthy witnesses.

2nd century AD critic of Christianity, Celsus said that the woman witness was “A hysterical woman …. deluded by Jesus’ sorcery and so wrenched with grief at his failure that she hallucinated him risen from the dead by a sort of wishful thinking” (the hallucination counterclaim is still with us today. some things never change)

If this was the cultural prejudice regarding women, and if Christianity made up the story of the resurrection, then why on earth would those making up the story have as their first witnesses of the empty tomb —women?

Why not fine upstanding men…not Mary Magdalene, woman of the city?!!!

The most likely reason as to why…is that indeed, women were the first witnesses…you are reading factual accounts.

Furthermore, the fact that the tomb was empty is confirmed by the authorities needing to make up some an explanation regarding what happened!

The second piece of evidence with which you must intentionally engage is

A group of His followers along with many others believed they saw Him living and touched Him after His death (Matthew 28:9)

His followers mentioned in this passage and other numbered witnesses (1 Cor 15:6 500—someone counted) believed they saw Jesus

How would you verify a historical claim?

On April 10th, 1979 in SW Oklahoma a line of severe Thunderstorms spawned several tornados.

  • Today 45 years later how would you prove that?
  • Are there still people from SW Oklahoma living today who saw that…Yes I am one. I remember when the tornado sirens blared, I went out on the back porch and looked west, and for the first and only time in my life, I saw a tornado..it devasted my home town.
  • Many in Lawton, OK could tell you about that day—since labeled Terrible Tuesday.

Verifying the report about a man Jesus being seen after his reported death only required individual to go and talk to witnesses that were still living.

The apostle Paul after mentioning 500 people having seen Jesus says in 1 Cor 15:6…”most of whom remain” until the time of his writing…point?!

…go talk to them…the veracity of the claims could be verified..or denied.


Those believed they saw Him carried out His mission—even though it may have led to their own death.

From this point on, Jesus’ followers were radically and suddenly changed carrying forth the great commission that we will address in just a moment.

Please tell me for what earthly gain did they do this?

  • Was it the wealth they would receive from being a T.V. evangelist?
  • Was it the fame they would receive from being a mega church pastor
  • Was it the acceptance they would engender from preaching a widely popular message to a fawning world?

No. his followers were mocked, ridiculed, tortured, and eventually murdered.

Please tell me who lives like this for lies?!

….and dies like they did for lies?!

The best explanation for this evidence is that Jesus is risen from the dead.

31 years after the crucifixion, Christianity had rapidly expanded so much so that the emperor Nero would blame the vast number of Christians in Rome for the troubles that were happening in the capital of the empire.

Those who deny the evidences offered by the Gospel and the aftermath of the rapid expansion bear the responsibility of providing a more compelling explanation.

We in our world, tend to believe all kinds of things on much less evidence.

  • Such as principles of evolutionary biology
  • Or some principles of clinical psychology
  • Or some principles of cosmology
  • Or many principles of historical geology

Folks, if we are going to deal with the spiritual anxiety of death’s reign, I invite you to intentionally engage the evidence.


II. Resist Our Innate Tendency to Deny Reality (vv. 11-15)

Matthew’s narrative includes how the guards and the chief priests responded to the reports of Jesus’ resurrection.

The same evidence of the resurrected Jesus reached the chief priests.

And they went into extensive denial mode.

They handsomely paid the guards to tell the lie… “the disciples came by night when we were asleep and stole the body.”

Think about that plan for more than 30 seconds and you will see that plan was not thought through very well…if the guards were asleep how did they know the body was stolen??!!.

Our denials of reality make us irrational and deepen the holes we dig for ourselves.

But….this is instinctive and understandable reaction.

Another of the modern efforts to explain away the resurrection is that ancient society was inclined to believe in the superstitious and supernatural—i.e. they were more gullible.

Furthermore, the trauma of the events for the disciples along with wishful thinking and hallucination stimulated them to make all of this up.

Were the disciples gullible…guilty of hallucinatory wishful thinking?!

Even before the events of the resurrection, the disciples themselves were in denial, they were not inclined to believe Jesus when he said, “I’m going to die and be raised again.”

Peter said, “No my Lord! May it Never Be”

Martha, in John 11, says to Jesus about her dead brother Lazarus…I know he will rise again in the last day…but not now Jesus.

It’s not true, that the ancients were more superstitious, or gullible, or prone to the supernatural than we moderns are today.—That’s our own “chronological snobbery” against them in the words of C. S. Lewis

They had the same struggles,

And our text actually says, “some doubted

The American Psychological Association’s definition of denial is “a defense mechanism in which unpleasant thoughts, feelings, wishes, or event are ignore or excluded from conscious awareness.”

And this defense mechanism seems to be hardwired into us.

We instinctively, naturally, and it would seem intentionally—filter out reality that we do not like.

Sigmond Freud built part of his psychological system on the tendency of humans to suppress.

I mentioned this quote during the Good Friday message from Aldous Huxley, a non-Christian English philosopher who said...

“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none,. …For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

Huxley, was saying that He rejected God, because He wanted to participate in sexual freedom however He wanted.

The apostle Paul would say that all humans suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

If anything, the disciples were hardwired against believing in the resurrection and it took an enormous amount of physical evidence to change their minds and, subsequently, their lives.

Today friends on Easter Sunday…what are you denying?

Certainly, it’s understandable that we do not like to think about realities that are unpleasant…and death is the most unpleasant reality ….

Friends, when Rochefoucauld (Roshe-fou-cauld) said, Death, like the sun cannot be looked at steadily.

He was right…unless the blazing reality of death has been eclipsed

  • Not by our efforts to deny
  • Not by our efforts to somehow overcome with our attempts to appease an afterlife deity.

But a more glorious reality which we turn our attention to now.

III. Embrace the meaning and mission of the resurrection (vv. 16-20)

I recognize that we rightfully get our purpose and mission as a church from these last verses of Matthew

…But before we adopt the mission of these verses…

Recognize that each part of this great commission passage is implicitly laden with the meaning of the resurrection.

The Great Commission passage regarding the living Jesus signifies….

God Has Conquered the Reign of Death

…here at the end Jesus says, go back to a mountain in Galilee and I am going to meet you there.

Throughout Matthew, mountains have been a part of Jesus’ story with the disciples

  • Sermon on the mount—echoes of Moses on Mt. Sinai
  • Mount of Transfiguration—the divine radiance of Jesus revealed on a mountain.
  • Mt. of Olives—from where Jesus would come as he entered Jerusalem during Passion week and also where He proclaimed He would come again…a mountain.

Not only in Matthew, but throughout redemptive history, mountains have been an important part of the redemptive story

In the beginning, the Garden of Eden is referred to as “the mountain of God” where Adam and Eve dwelled with God.

So… Now, post resurrection, where does Jesus tell his disciples to go to meet him?

A mountain in Galilee… Hmmm…

Jesus had previously told three of his disciples on a Mountain in Galilee after His transfiguration …“Tell no what you saw until the Son of man has risen from the dead.”

So, If Jesus’ post resurrection meeting with his disciples was the mountain of transfiguration,

What picture do you have…?

Here is the image you have---the resurrected divine God-man Jesus dwelling with His people on a mountain…and tell me what that hearkens back to…?

The garden of Eden, where mankind dwelled with God, on the mountain of God.

God has overcome millenniums of death reigning and made a way back to dwelling with Him in life.

And regardless of if all these mountain connections are valid….the point is still, God has made a way back to Himself that had been gone since Eden.

The Kingdom of God and Life and all that it represents has overcome the kingdom of death that has reigned since Genesis 3.

Secondly, the Great Commission Passage Regarding the Living Jesus Signifies

There is only one man in history Who has been vindicated by God and there will be no more “sons of…” genealogies— “All authority has been given unto me”

Do you remember what Matthew started his Gospel with?

A genealogy!!

I know one of the reasons you love the NT is that there are no genealogies. …read the rest of the Bible from Matthew on and what will you discover?

The person of Jesus ends the ---the genealogies…!

So what? !!

Here is the so what….

God the Father has found

  • The obedient Adam
  • the unfaltering Abraham,
  • the non-deceiving Jacob,
  • the true suffering servant Joseph,
  • the non stuttering and no sinful anger Moses
  • the faithful Israel
  • the non-adulterous King David,

The search for the man who would bring forth righteousness has been found in Jesus of Nazareth.

Although during his life, the people at that time accused Jesus of being

  • a drunkard
  • or demon possessed
  • sinner
  • a common criminal
  • or a blasphemer…

Even because of His death his own disciples thought he was just another failed false messiah who died without bringing forth Israel’s deliverance from an foreign oppressor.

They were not waiting for Him on the third day at His grave. They were going back to their occupations…

Furthermore, Jesus of Nazareth made unbelievable claims about Himself….

  • to be God in the flesh come down from heaven
  • to be the Son of God
  • to be the figure that Daniel prophesied about ---from heaven…the son of man
  • to have the authority to forgive
  • to have the authority to judge

What justifies that that the crowds’ aspersions regarding who Jesus was were wrong

and what Jesus’ own professed self-identity claims were valid?

What was it….?!

God’s raising Him from the dead was VINDICATION regarding ALL THESE CLAIMS.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ has not left us with the option of saying that Jesus’ claims about his self-understanding of who he was were misguided or faulty….Got has vindicated all his words, His claims, and His actions…..

Let your eyes linger here and consider this….

Now the only choice you have is what will you do with this one who has all authority….. and this living man whom you will meet one day…..

Will you come to Him and recognize Him as such or…will you going on denying that there is a living human who has eternal authority over you….

Luke 12:4-5 4“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!


Third, the Great Commission Passage Regarding the Living Jesus Signifies…

A new mankind is possible—“Go therefore and make disciples”

This One Who has all authority is making a new mankind not through physical procreation (like Adam) that procreates the spread of sin…

…but through spiritual regeneration imparting God’s life in mankind once again.

And How does He bring about this new man?

  1. Forgiveness of sins through repentance — “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”

Martin Heidegger’s, statement “Death is something which nobody can do for another” was wrong….

Furthermore, it might could be said, that Joseph Bayly’s statement about not being able to beautify death is wrong….

On the cross, Jesus died the death we should have died for our sin….

…. God used precisely, the most feared entity—death--that has plagued humanity since Gen 3 to be THE instrument of victory—overcoming death by death.

Furthermore, one of the most horrific instruments that mankind invented to terrify—crucifixion—God has transformed, to something that is the most beautiful.

What do we do with crosses today?

  • We make gold and diamond studded jewelry in the shape of a cross
  • We place a cross on the highest pinnacle of our churches
  • We put them on a stage and drape them with purple sashes.

What would happen if I made jewelry out in the shape of a noose or an electric capital punishment death chair—you would say I am unstable.

But in Christ, LOOK AT THIS REALITY….death has been beautifieddeath has lost its stingnow I can stare directly at death…because I have a Savior who hung upon that most cruel tortuous instrument of death…

Jesus has beautified it for me….I can stare at death through Jesus….

And when we see God’s love for us in this way…without denying the reality of what it took for my sins to be forgiven—none other than the shameful slaughter of the Son of God—

This beautiful love and mercy leads to repentance……

“Baptizing” in this passage represents the one who comes to Jesus in repentance and receiving forgiveness of sin.

Happy Easter my friends.

And this new mankind also has….

  1. A transformed way of life—"teaching them all I have commanded”
  • Enjoying the good things of this world (a friendship, a good meal, a job well done, an encouraging word without clamoring for more as if this world is all that there is…and I must get all that I can…I must attempt to seek my earthly security…
  • Imagine a life that is simply free to love and not be better than someone else. So when someone manifests better skills, more beautiful looks, more wealth or more success, you simply are happy for them and not envious
  • Imagine a life when the threat of death happens you simply are able to look squarely at it and say…that’s my ticket to be with Jesus and there is no fear….

That’s the new man and that’s the one that the world so desperately needs to behold.

Finally, the Great Commission Passage Regarding the Living Jesus Signifies

The promise of the living presence of Jesus with His people—“I am with you always”

Matthew began with announcing that Mary would have a child and His name would be called “Immanuel”—God with us.

Matthew ends with sharing Jesus’ promise—and behold I am with you always even until the end of the age….


The memorial service for that Joe Bayly’s eldest son was the most heart wrenching, yet triumphant, hour I can remember. The church was packed not only with Joe’s friends, but also with all the new friends his son had made at college. These young people felt inexplicably deprived of a truly unique person to whom they had become unusually attached, but whose special view of life—and death—they could not understand. After few preliminaries, Joe Bayly went to the front of the church. The lump in my throat was so large I could barely swallow. The lump in Joe’s throat was so large he could barely talk. But he did, and his opening words are burned forever in my mind: “I want to speak to you tonight about my earthly son and his heavenly Father . . .” Joe poured out his heart. Tears streamed down the faces of almost everyone present. That night, the message Joe brought to his son’s college friends started a large number of them down a path in search of what Joe and his son had—and many of them found it in faith in Jesus Christ. That was Joe Bayly. —C. Everett Koop, MD October 1991 Bayly, Joseph. The View from a Hearse . Warhorn Media. Kindle Edition.

You may know C. Everett Koop’s name as the former surgeon general of the USA.

{Gospel Appeal}

He is Risen


Brent Aucoin

Dr. Brent Aucoin


President, Instructor - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor of Seminary and Soul Care Ministries - Faith Church


B.S.: Mechanical Engineering, Oklahoma State University
M.S: Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div.: Central Seminary
Th.M.: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Ph.D.: Baptist Bible Seminary (Clarks Summit, PA)

Dr. Brent Aucoin joined the staff of Faith Church in Lafayette, IN in July of 1998. Brent is the President of Faith Bible Seminary, Chair of the Seminary’s M.Div. Program, Pastor of Seminary and Soul Care at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); ACBC certified; instructor and counselor at Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries; and a retreat and conference speaker. He and his wife, Janet, have two adult children.

View Pastor Aucoin's Salvation Testmony Video