In celebration of Easter, Pastor Miles presented an earth-shaking sermon (pun intended, for all you Southern Californians). After watching their Savior die on the cross, Jesus' disciples and followers were scattered, scared and without hope. It was their edge of darkness. But that isn't the end of the story!
Darkness is simply the absence of light, but spiritual darkness is evil. Evil has a leader, who, up till this point in the Gospel of Matthew, has constantly been trying to get Jesus to sin and to disregard God's plan that He sacrifice Himself on the cross.
Why was God's plan for His own Son to die? God's biblical rule required blood sacrifice to eliminate sin. However, animal blood was not good enough. It had to be done over and over. Our own sinful blood was not good enough. Only the pure blood of Jesus could eliminate sin once and for all. When Jesus died and rose again, He conquered evil, He conquered sin, and He conquered the grave. Darkness could not hold Him down!
1. Darkness cannot hold Jesus down.
As we read Matthew 28, we find Mary and Mary Magdalene going to the tomb where Jesus was buried. But when they arrive, they meet angel who says, "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said " (v. 6) Jesus has told His followers that He would come back from the dead, and He fulfills His promise!
If death couldn't keep Jesus down, nothing could! When we see that He has promised the impossible and accomplished even that, we are free to believe everything Jesus says about our own lives. We are free to allow Him to lead us, guide us, and save us.
2. Darkness can't hold you down.
In verse 19 Jesus commands us, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." You've probably heard this before, but if Jesus is with us, who can be against us? Or better yet, who can be against you? Once Jesus is acknowledged as your Savior, you are also offered freedom from darkness and sin. But you must accept it in order to receive it.
3. Darkness can only be defeated in your life by faith.
Verse 17 of Mathew 28 says, When they saw Him they worshipped Him; but some doubted. During his three-year ministry on earth, Jesus performed many miracles with his disciples. Yet here they are, after all the wonders they have seen and believing that Jesus is the Messiah, still doubting that He has defeated death.
Doubt is part of human nature, but so is faith. In fact, we all want to believe, but many times, life (or some other force) tries to knock us down. Hebrews 11:1 says, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We need to overcome our doubt! We need to overcome our own edges of darkness and see that Jesus died to save us, as only He could do.