Introduction: Have you ever had some really good news that was pretty
bad news for someone else? If you were in their presence, how did you
react? If you have emotional intelligence, you were probably
restrained about your good news and said something comforting to the
other person about their bad news. This week our study is about the
resurrection of Jesus. This was excellent news for us and terrible
news for Satan and his angels. In this case we don’t have to be
polite or show emotional intelligence. We can just cheer loudly.
Why? Because Satan’s goal was to kill you and keep you dead. Now
that Jesus has been resurrected, we know that if we accept Him we
will be resurrected to be with Him eternally. Let’s dive in to find
out more about our really good news and the fight to keep it a

  1. Keeping Jesus in the Grave

    1. Read Matthew 27:57-58. Jesus has just been crucified by
      the Romans. How difficult would it be for Joseph of
      Arimathea to ask for Jesus’ body? Would his life be in

      1. Read John 19:38-39 and Mark 15:43. What do the
        additional facts revealed by John and Mark tell us
        about Joseph’s situation? (The man was bold, rich and
        a member of the Jewish Council. Since he was not
        known to be a follower of Jesus, he could ask Pilate
        and Pilate might think this was some sort of
        “official” request. The fact that he was accompanied
        by Nicodemus, another very rich member of the Jewish
        ruling council, probably strengthened Pilate’s view
        of this.)

    2. Read Matthew 27:59-61. Why did Joseph roll a big stone in
      front of the tomb? Do you think that Joseph was expecting
      Jesus to rise from the dead? (These actions sure seem
      contrary to that expectation. Notice that the stone was
      positioned so that Joseph alone could roll the entry

    3. Read Matthew 27:62-64. Does this suggest that the Jewish
      leaders were paying closer attention to what Jesus said
      than His own disciples?

      1. How do you think the Jewish leaders reacted when they
        learned that council members Joseph of Arimathea and
        Nicodemus had taken charge of the body and had it
        placed in Joseph’s tomb? (My bet is that this made
        them more worried. If you cannot trust your own
        council members, who knows what these disciples might
        have up their sleeves! There was unexpected power and
        influence on the side of Jesus’ disciples.)

      2. What day was it that these Jewish leaders were
        petitioning the government and working out a
        preventative measure against fraud? (The day after
        the “Preparation Day” would be the Sabbath! These
        guys were violating their religious beliefs by
        petitioning the governor on Friday night (the
        beginning of the Sabbath).)

    4. Read Matthew 27:65-66. What reason would Pilate have for
      giving this order? (Let’s assume that Pilate assumed that
      the Joseph & Nicodemus group was making the official
      request. Now that the chief priests show up he realizes
      that is not the case. Something funny is going on. That
      would cause him to give some credence to what the chief
      priests suggest might happen. Besides, who wants somebody
      you just condemned to death coming back from the dead to
      haunt you?)

  2. The Failure to Keep Jesus in the Grave

    1. Read Matthew 28:1. What day of the week is this? (Sunday

      1. Notice the faithfulness of these women. They were
        there on Friday ( Matthew 27:61) and now we read they
        are there at dawn on Sunday.

    2. Read Matthew 28:2-3. How do you think they decided in
      heaven who got this job? If you were an angel, would you
      have volunteered?

      1. How do you think this earthquake happened? Was this
        angel moving at the highest possible angel-speed and
        it didn’t stop in time and caused an earthquake? Have
        you been in a sonic boom (where an airplane passes
        through the speed of sound)? What do you think
        happens if you pass through the speed of light? (I
        know human theory says this is impossible.)

      2. The angel sits on the stone. Why? Is it tired from
        going so fast and hitting so hard? (Imagine the
        outrage in heaven at the treatment of Jesus. What a
        privilege to be chosen to be the one to roll back the
        stone sealing Jesus’ grave. I can see the angel
        sitting there in triumph saying “Anyone want to
        challenge me?)

        1. Would the angel have only humans to be concerned

    3. Read Matthew 28:4. What mistake had the chief priests
      made? (They were listening to Jesus better than the
      disciples, but they did not believe He was God. They
      brought a knife to a gun fight. Of course, the hostile
      Jewish leaders could never bring enough force to keep
      Jesus in the grave and neither could Satan.)

    4. Read Matthew 28:5. What kind of attitude does the angel
      show to the two Marys? (Here is a lesson to choose to be
      on God’s side. The angel’s attitude towards the woman is
      pure kindness. The attitude towards the rest seems to be
      “don’t tread on me.”)

    5. Read Matthew 28:6-7. Public relations people talk about
      staying “on topic.” Consider carefully the words of this
      angel. What specific “on topic” point is the angel making?
      (First, the angel reminds them that Jesus promised He
      would rise from the dead. Second, the angel offers to let
      them look, so they will have first-hand knowledge that
      Jesus is not in that previously guarded and sealed tomb.
      Third, the angel promises that Jesus will meet the
      disciples at a specified place. This is all about proving
      Jesus is alive!)

    6. Read Matthew 28:8-10. Why did Jesus appear to the women as
      opposed to immediately rocketing up to heaven? (Compare
      John 20:17. This shows His heart of love for them. This is
      a time of mixed emotions for them (“afraid yet filled with
      joy”), and Jesus comes to them to comfort and assure

      1. One issue faced by Christians is whether this story
        and this witness are all an invention of the early
        church. What evidence in this account refutes the
        idea this is a counterfeit account? (The IVP Bible
        Background Commentary tells us that the testimony of
        women in this culture was worthless. In a counterfeit
        story Jesus would have appeared to Nicodemus or
        Joseph of Arimathea – prominent, wealthy men whose
        testimony would naturally be given great credit.)

    7. Read Matthew 28:11-13. Compare Matthew 27:63. Who is the
      deceiver? How big is this conspiracy to give a false

      1. Put yourself in the place of one of the chief
        priests. When you first heard this story from the
        guards, would you think it was likely that the guards
        were asleep and the disciples stole the body? (No. If
        you thought that happened, you would insist that the
        guards be executed for dereliction of duty.(See Acts
        12:19) You would only pay “a large sum of money” if
        you thought they were telling the truth about the

      2. If you thought they were telling the truth – an
        angelic being opened the tomb and Jesus was alive –
        why try to cover it up? Why not just convert? (Think
        back to a time when you did something wrong, you
        wanted to keep it a secret, and you were in terrible
        turmoil because you thought it might come out. What
        would happen to you if it did come out? Then multiply
        that feeling by whatever the number of times you
        think would be appropriate if you had killed the

        1. Instead of saying the body was stolen, why not
          just deny it was gone? (Because that point was
          obvious – the body was gone.)

        2. How strong is the story that all the guards were
          sleeping and the large stone was rolled away and
          Jesus’ body taken? What is the likelihood of
          sleeping through the stone removal? How would
          you know what happened if you were all (!)

    8. Read Matthew 28:14-15. Would you have taken the money?
      What options did the soldiers have? (I would be glad I was
      not on the path to execution.)

    9. Read Matthew 28:16-17. “Some doubted.” Did the chief
      priests doubt? The believed that Jesus had been
      resurrected enough to pay “a large sum of money.” How
      could any of the disciples doubt?

      1. Why would the Bible record that doubt? (This is
        another evidence that the account is trustworthy. If
        you were trying to create a “bullet-proof” story, you
        certainly would not say that some of Jesus’ followers
        actually doubted!)

  3. Victory

    1. Read Matthew 28:18-20. What kind of authority has been
      given to Jesus?

      1. What kind of authority has been given to you and me?
        (Jesus, the authority over heaven and earth, rescued
        us from eternal death. Our responsibility is to share
        this with others.)

    2. Friend, will you accept your commission from Jesus and act
      on it?

  4. Next week: The Efficacy of His Priestly Ministry.