Our Resurrected Savior

Rod Hutton March 31, 2024 Matthew 28:1-20

Good Morning and Happy Easter – He is Risen…He is Risen Indeed

I am so thankful that you are all here to celebrate our Resurrected Savior this morning, I am thankful for the Worship team for leading us in rejoicing together, I am thankful for the setup team and those who helped us to make today special, but again I am most thankful for each of you choosing to be with us.

We celebrate the resurrection on Easter and I am equally thankful that we gathered together Friday night to remember the death and burial. For there could be no resurrection, without Jesus going through death.

Death is a fact that every one of us has to consider. Death is not pretty. Death is difficult to celebrate.

Two weeks ago, I missed being with you on a Sunday, because I had traveled to North Dakota to gather with family, there were over 60 family members who traveled from as far as Africa because death impacted our family.

Joseph Bayly, a Christian Author who experienced the death of 3 of his 7 children reflected on death like this…He said,

Death destroys beauty, Violent death creates obscenity – tasteless horrid and raw. We cannot beautify death, A corpse is never beautiful…no embalmer’s art can possibly restore it…

Death is something that is also so very personal, that 20th-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger said “Death is something nobody can do for another”

It is not surprising that in Scripture, Job describes death as the King of Terrors

But is it really death that we fear…

Life – we know we have life, we may not know what will happen tomorrow, but we presume that we will be alive…life is certain, because we are living it.

Death – death is something that we also see as certain, because death has touched every one of our lives, some expectantly and others through tragic and unexpected loss, but death is seen as a certainty none the less.

But the fear, is it of death’s certainty? Or is it of what we cannot see on the other side?

Shakespeare describes it well in Hamlet…when contemplating suicide, Hamlet says

The dread of something after death

The undiscovered country, from whose bourn,

No traveler 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 death…the undiscovered country from which no man returns…which makes cowards of us all.

The one terrifying certainty of life – death – produces a deep spiritual anxiety regarding death…

Hebrews 2:15 tells us the fear of death subjects us to slavery all of our lives

Our spiritual anxiety towards death can reveal itself through different responses

  • Some will choose to live this life as all that there is – denying the reality of death
  • In response they may seek to accumulate wealth, success, fame and relationships, but yet we become devastated when thus things are not enough…
  • Thus self-preservation and self-entertainment become the key
  • A different response may be to acknowledge there is something after death, and so we seek to appease the god who we see controlling life and death
  • This can lead to a life of moralism, a life of religiosity, in the hope that we can earn the satisfaction of whoever is controlling life after death.
  • This belief also leads us to selfishness and broken relationships because we are constantly having to compare…If I am not better than you, how will my god be pleased and accept me…
  • It is the adage of self-preservation that says when we meet a bear in the woods, I don’t have to be faster than the bear, I just have to be faster than you.

But Thankfully, we are gathered today to be able to address the issue head on.

Where there may be spiritual anxiety towards death – I say, let’s face it head on today, because today we are talking about

Jesus Our Resurrected Savior

He is Risen…He is risen Indeed

Today we are focusing on the one who conquered death and gives to us a certainty that we can know what lies on the other side.

To find the truth that drives away fear…turn with me to Matthew chapter 28. If you are using the Bible in your chair, you will want to turn to page ___.

As we read together –

  • I want you to notice how straight-forward Matthew describes the resurrection – He is not bringing in lofty theological terms and he is also not referring back to the OT to try to prove anything. He simply wants to allow the facts surrounding the resurrection and the events that follow to stand for themselves…
  • As I read – I want you to consider, why was it that Matthew closes the gospel so simply, and without further explanation…


With the simplicity and clarity of what Matthew has written, this Easter Morning, I would like to share with you

3 Actions that any soul must take to transform the soul-corroding spiritual anxiety of death into fearless living now.

Our first action to address any uncertainty, any anxiety is simply to view the facts.

We will spend some time doing so now and I would encourage all of us to

I. Intentionally Engage the Evidence of the Resurrection

Recall what I asked you to listen for…Matthew did not attempt to add anything to prove the resurrection, he does not point to OT prophesy or even Jesus’s own predictions…He also did not choose to theologize the events to explain the meaning for you and for me…

As an example – there is no mention of the theology of the resurrection – Since Jesus is risen, therefore one day, those who believe in Him will also be resurrected…it’s true, but it is not included here…

NT Wright said that “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.”

You see, it is not just Matthew…the Gospels of Mark, Luke and John each present the resurrection in a similar fashion, each emphasizing different details, but all sticking simply to the facts

Straight forward facts without interpretation

What does that tell you…

During my years in the Navy – when a significant event happened, we often wrote out an Incident Report…and do you know what needed to be included, the straight forward facts…the boss was not particularly interested in my interpretation or opinions about what happened…He just wanted the facts, so that he could come to his own conclusions.

I remember writing one of these reports for the first time, about a mistake that I had made…my first draft included my views and opinions explaining what I had done…I don’t think the captain read more than the first two paragraphs before he kicked it back to strip it down to just the facts.

So what does this tell us about the gospel accounts of the resurrection?

Then what we have here are the early circulated accounts of eyewitness testimonies of the resurrection, of those who saw Jesus alive as well as the immediate pushback that they received in the response of the Chief Priests.

If the presentation of Jesus’s life and ministry were like our worship team, where the song of Christ is represented through the blending and fullness of the instruments and the interwoven harmonies, the closure of the song, is like the dropping out of every instrument and every voice except one that will carry the perfect melody without anything to distract from each note and each word. The entire story comes to fulfillment through this final voice

  • Everything previously presented about the identity, the ministry and the heart of Jesus comes to a climax right here.
  • Because if this is not true – then nothing that came before even matters
  • But if it is True – it give me shivers – because then everything about this man Jesus…His identity, His ministry, and his purpose and His teaching. We have to consider all of it.

Matthew gives us three piece of evidence that I would like us to intentionally engage with to consider the claim the Jesus is Alive.

The first…

There was an empty tomb (Matt 28:6)

Today, whether it is in a TV crime show or in an actual police investigation…what would be the first thing needed to prove that someone is dead?

There has to be a body. And if we were trying to prove a death after the burial, they would have to exhume the grave, dig up the body, and prove that what is buried is the body of the deceased…gruesome, yes, but if there is a question that must be answered, this may be the only way…

So what do we see here in Matthew…

Two women come to the tomb to examine the grave. They are coming to anoint the body with spices as part of Jewish burial practices. They had every expectation that what they would find would be the body of Jesus laying the tomb. In Mark, it even describes that they were asking themselves who would roll away the stone that they might enter the tomb…

What do they find

Matt 28:2 – And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord had descended and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.

The angel invites them to look in as he says to them…

Matt 28:5-6 the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; For I know that you're looking for Jesus who's been crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where he was lying.”

Even the angel does not say – just believe me – he invites them to go look for themselves.

We do not want to move too fast to miss that the first witnesses of the empty tomb were women.

We can say a lot of things about these women –

  • they can be seen as more caring for Jesus, wanting to care for his body even in death
  • they did not fear being associated with Jesus, even in His death,
  • The disciples were not at the tomb mourning – they were behind locked doors, hiding…

But what does it say that Matthew, Mark Luke and John all record that the first witnesses were women…

  • It helps show the truthfulness of the facts shown.
  • If these men were conspiring to tell a tale of events that had not occurred, they would have chosen witnesses that could not have stood before the courts and be seen as credible, they would not have chosen these women, or even chosen women at all.
  • Why not Peter or Mark, of James and John the Sons of Thunder…certainly you would not chose woman with a past like Mary Magdelene

We can see even in the NT that there was still prejudice against women that they could not be credible witnesses…

  • But before we go too far judging the culture 2000 years ago, let’s not forget that it was only about 100 years ago that our nation changed the constitution to allow women to vote.
  • We don’t have to agree with that view of women – but we can see how it helps us to engage with the facts of the resurrection.
  • What can we conclude then – why do the gospels list the women as the first witnesses? Because we are reading factual accounts of what happened…not rewritten or embellished to explain, but simply the facts that speak for themselves…

But then – you might say. Matthew never records that they looked in the tomb, it just says they left the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples…

Can we truly say the tomb was empty?

That fact is confirmed by the how the guards and the chief priests responded. We will talk about that more in a bit,

but for now, the second piece of evidence that we must engage with is that

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

In our passage today, Jesus reveals himself to the women even before they get back to report to the disciples

Matt 28:9 and behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him.

Now you might say – that is great, I see it in what was written, but the gospels were written 30 and even as much as 60 years after the resurrection…How are we supposed to verify what you are saying?

That’s a fair question and even if we explore all 4 gospels, it still looks like Jesus only appeared to a small number of people in out of the way places or behind locked doors…how are we supposed to confirm that?

Paul addresses this in

1 Cor 15:6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of them who remain until now

Essentially Paul is saying – you don’t believe me…go ask them…engage with the evidence of the resurrection…

Then – as if we needed more proof, we can see that

Those who had believed they saw Him carried out His mission—even though it meant their own death.

From that day forward, Jesus’s followers were radically and suddenly changed.

  • They had scattered when He was arrested
  • Peter had denied even knowing Jesus
  • Very few sought to be there for Him as He hung on the cross
  • They did not gather at the tomb to mourn, they fearfully hid behind locked doors

Yet suddenly – they are suddenly and boldly teaching of the resurrected Jesus…

Tell me, why would they do that?

  • Was it the wealth they would receive as the new and popular teacher in synagogue?
  • Was it the fame of planting a new mega church in Antioch?
  • Was it simply the acknowledgement and encouragement because the message would be wildly popular?

No…The disciples were mocked, ridiculed, imprisoned, tortured and eventually murdered for preaching the resurrected Christ…

Who does that?

Tell me - are you willing to go through that if the message you are teaching is a lie? Or even if it just lacks proof?

The best explanation for this evidence is that He is Risen…He is Risen indeed

31 years after the crucifixion, Christianity had expanded so rapidly that the emperor Nero would blame the Christians in Rome for the problems that existed in his capital…2500 miles from Jerusalem.

  • That would be a trip of about 2 to 3 weeks under perfect conditions
  • or an expedition of 2 to three months over land.
  • And yet – Christianity had become the plague in Rome

The tomb was empty, eyewitnesses were plentiful, and men were transformed…

But to deny the evidences of the gospels and the impacts of the resurrection, we would need to find a more compelling explanation.

  • Consider the things that we believe today are far less verifiable evidence…
  • The world believes in the principles of evolutionary biology – though the intermediate links are not present today…
  • Or the principles of clinical psychology or even the origin of the universe

If we are going to deal with the spiritual anxiety of death’s certainty, I want to invite you to intentionally engage with the evidence of the resurrection so that you can decide for yourself.

The second action to transform us to fearless living would be to

II. Resist our Innate Temptation to Deny Reality

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

Consider the reports that they would have received…

  • The Earth shook, the stone was rolled aside, an angel appeared
  • The guards said we were so afraid, it was like we were dead
  • When they finally were able to move again, they must have looked inside and they must have reported that the body was missing and they could not explain where it went…

The evidence of the resurrected Jesus made it to the chief priests, the same evidence that reached the disciples…

But they did not seek to verify and they certainly did not respond in amazement –

  • Now I understand what he meant when he said he would rebuild the temple in 3 days…I can’t believe it’s true…

Instead they went into denial mode – taking drastic steps to attempt to cover over the evidence…

  • They handsomely paid the guards to lie –

Matt 28:13 “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.”

  • Think about it – How much money would it take for you to lie in a way that destroys your own reputation? Let alone with a lie that doesn’t make sense…how did they know what happened if they were asleep?
  • Our innate temptation to deny makes us irrational and causes us to dig holes we could never get ourselves out of…

But let’s not just pass this off as the reaction of the Chief priests…it was an instinctive and understandable reaction. Consider the denials of the resurrection that continue today…

  • They were just an ancient society inclined to believe in the superstitious and supernatural. In other words, they were just gullible
  • Furthermore the trauma of the events from that weekend would have taken the disciples to wishful thinking and hallucinations that stimulated them to just make all of this up.

Were the disciples that gullible? Were they guilty of hallucinatory wishful thinking?

Even before the resurrection, the disciples were inclined to deny what Jesus had taught them. Remember Jesus’s response to Peter when Peter rebukes Jesus for saying he must suffer, die and be raised again…get behind me Satan…

The disciples were not looking for the resurrection, because they did not believe Jesus when He told them what would happen…

C.S. Lewis describes our modern denials saying that

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

The disciples had the same issues we have today – did you hear in verse 17 today that some were doubtful…

Even the disciples were predisposed to deny

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

And there is one thing the psychology can do well – they can describe a problem well…

It is true that we instinctively, naturally, and it would seem intentionally—filter out reality that we do not like. That is the problem – the solution is that we must resist the temptation to deny reality and engage with the evidence that reveals the truth.

In Romans chapter 1, Paul says that all humans suppress the truth in unrighteousness…

So if anything, the disciples would have been most inclined to deny the resurrection to hold onto what they previously believed. It would take an enormous amount of evidence, undeniable facts to change their minds and subsequently change their entire lives.

My friends – It is resurrection Sunday – can I ask you…What are you denying?

Certainly it is understandable that we do not like to think about the realities that are unpleasant…no one likes to be thinking about death, it is a most unpleasant reality and we want to look away

It is like staring at the sun, you cannot look at it steadily.

But like the reality that we have coming next week…

The resurrection eclipses even death

Therefore when we allow the reality of the resurrection to overcome our denials regarding death, we will find an even more glorious reality that we can turn to today as we…

III. Embrace the meaning and mission of the resurrection

Matthew closes by sharing the final command from Jesus to his disciples and I recognize that we rightfully get our purpose and mission as a church from these last verses in Matthew

But before we adopt the mission, I would like us to explore how each part of the great commission 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

Consider the implications of Jesus saying go back to the mountain in Galilee and I will meet you there…

Many critical pieces of Jesus’s story happened on the mountains…

  • The Sermon on the Mount gives echoes of Moses on Mount Sinai as Jesus describes true righteousness
  • On the Mount of Transfiguration, the divine radiance of Christ was revealed to Peter, James and John
  • On the Mount of Olives – from here Jesus would enter Jerusalem and where he also proclaimed he would come again

Throughout redemptive history, mountains have been a meeting place with God, the burning bush, where Eelijah defeats the prophets of Baal…even the Garden, in Ezekiel, the Garden of Eden is called the Mountain of God.

Now, after the resurrection – Where does he tell his disciples to meet him…a mountain in Galilee

Could that be the Mount of the Transfiguration where he told the three “Tell no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead”?

What kind of a picture does that bring out…

God dwelled with man in the garden and then because of sin, there were thousands of years, millenniums where death reigned separating us from God,

But now - The resurrected God-man Jesus is dwelling with His people on the mountain…

God has made a way back for His people to dwell with Him. The death that has reigned since Genesis 3 has been overcome…

Secondly, the Greta Commission passage regarding the Living Jesus signifies that

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”

If you look back at Matthew 1, the Gospel started with a genealogy

I know you all love reading the genealogies that are throughout the OT…but look what comes after Jesus…no more lists of names

So what you say…

Think through redemptive history and consider who 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,

That’s right – none of them could standup as the example of God’s righteousness

But the search of the man who could bring forth righteousness was found in Jesus of Nazareth…and yet Jesus in his life was accused of being

  • a drunkard
  • demon possessed
  • a sinner
  • a common criminal
  • and even a blasphemer

and though not stated – even his disciples considered him a failed Messiah…

They were not gathered outside the tomb on the third day waiting for his glorious return

Then consider what Jesus said about himself…He said he was

  • to be God in the flesh come down from heaven
  • to be the Son of God
  • to be the one Daniel prophesied about – the Son of Man
  • to have the authority to forgive sins and
  • to have the authority to judge

Who are you going to believe and why would you believe them?

Why would I believe Jesus over all the rest?

Because god raised Him from the dead, vindicating every claim Jesus had made.

The resurrection of Jesus leaves us no option to deny Jesus’s claims…

Now the only choice we have is whether we will follow the one to whom all authority has been given, or whether we will deny Him.

Luke 12 says

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!

Jesus is alive…and he has been given all authority – The question for you – Will you follow?

Next the Great COmminssion Passage regarding the Living Jesus signifies

A new mankind is possible – “Go there fore and make disciples”

The One who has all authority is making a new mankind, not in the old way that carries sin forward from Adam, but in a new life that can only come through Him…

How is He doing is

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

Martin Heidegger’s statement that Death is something that no one can do for another was wrong

Joseph Bayly’s statement that you cannot beautify death – also wrong

On the cross, Jesus died the death we deserve for our sin

And God used death, the death that we fear, as the instrument by which He would overcome death that we might live a fearless life.

God used the most horrific death, crucifixion – and God transformed it to the most beautiful picture of redemption

Consider – Why do we have a cross displayed today? Why do many of us where crosses…because it is a picture of beauty that allows me to stare at death and live a fearless life.

And the Baptizing – that is a picture of our repentance, forgiveness and the beauty that we share in the death burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Happy Easter my Friends…

And then this new mankind fearlessly lives

  1. A transformed way of life – “teaching them all that I have commanded”

It’s hard to imagine a life without the fear of death. But if there were it would be this….

  • 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…
  • Imagine a life that is simply free to love and not compare yourself with everyone else. So when someone is better than you at something, looks better than you in those jeans, has more wealth or success, you simply are happy for them and not envious
  • Imagine a life where when death raises its head, you simply 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….

My prayer is that you will embrace the meaning and the mission of the resurrection to follow the One who has conquered death, the One who hold all authority, the One who is remaking mankind, and the One who promises to be with you always…

I mentioned earlier the funeral in ND… I had the joy of celebrating the lives of Jim and Leona Hutton. Jim was my Dad’s closest brother and for years of my life, I never fully understood why my uncle and aunt from North Dakota would travel so far just to be a part of my life.

I understand far more now – their lives were focused on living a transformed life because they believed that Jesus Christ our Savior Lives. During the memorial, another uncle and my cousin, Jim’s son did a short skit to show the way Jim came to believe…in it he asked a simple question that I believe we should all consider.

We are all going to face death one day, it could be many years away, or it could be today…but when we die, there is a question we all need to answer.

Why should God welcome you into heaven?

  • Is it because you went to church every week?
  • Is it because you did some good deeds?

The resurrection provides us with a different answer.

The answer is that we don’t deserve for God to welcome us into His home.

But the resurrection tells us that Jesus’s death on the cross on my behalf, on your behalf, pleased God the Father. God’s justice was satisfied. And His way was simplified…

Why should God welcome you into heaven…

  • If you profess Jesus as Lord – rejoicing that All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him – I want to follow my Lord
  • And you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. Praise the Lord He is Risen.
  • It is clear – You will be saved.

If you are here today – and you cannot say that these things are true for you…

Will you Intentionally Engage the evidence of the resurrection?

Will you resist the temptation to deny the reality of the resurrection?

Will you embrace the meaning of the resurrection?

It is Resurrection day and Jesus wants to welcome you into His kingdom…

Will you all join us today that we might transform any spiritual anxiety that we might live a fearless life.

For He is Risen…He is Risen Indeed.


Rod Hutton


Pastor of Faith North Ministries - Faith Church

Director - Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries

Executive Director - Vision of Hope

Chair of the Northend Properties Board - Northend Ministries

Certified Biblical Counselor - Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries


B. Mathematics – University of Minnesota
M.A. – National Security Affairs – Naval Post Graduate School
M. Div. – Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Rod Hutton and his wife Kathy have been married for 34 years. They have five children, Chris, Tim, Malia, Grace and Josie. The Hutton’s came to Lafayette on assignment with the Navy to Purdue University which afforded the opportunity to attend Faith Bible Seminary. In 2018, Rod retired from Naval Service and joined the staff to lead the efforts in opening and operating the Northend Community Center and in 2019 he was ordained as a pastor with Faith Church. In 2024, he transitioned to the role as Director, Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.