Brad Espin    27 March 2016     COME OUT AND LIVE                            [1]

                                                     John 11:25

 I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me though he may die he shall live

1. THE EMPTY TOMB

                                                                               

The empty tomb of Jesus of Nazareth has been the Christian message proclaimed for 2000 years because if the tomb had still contained the body of this self-proclaimed Messiah His disciples would have given up, hid from the authorities, gone back to their old jobs (fishing) and there would be no story to tell no Gospel to proclaim and all four Gospels which described the discovery of the empty tomb would serve no relevance for today.

The location of Jesus’ tomb was known to the disciples as He was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin (wealthy and prominent) those who had plotted Jesus execution and therefore the location of his tomb would have been known to the Sanhedrin and to the Jewish authorities. 

The information of the empty tomb and risen Christ was passed down to others that even Paul previously a zealous Pharisee who persecuted the early church confirms the details of the Resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:3–5 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve

2. THE COVER UP

The Jewish leaders were so afraid of the news received that the tomb was empty they bribed the soldiers to tell the people that the disciples stole the body of Jesus.     Matthew 28:13–15

However all four Gospels confirm that the empty tomb of Jesus was discovered by women and you may ask well what has this

to do with anything

Matthew 28:1–6  Mark 16:1–7  Luke 24:1–12  John 20:1–12

In the 1st first-century in Palestine (Roman - land of the Philistines) even though women were allowed to testify in a court of law the patriarchal nature in Jewish society implied that a woman’s testimony was worth far less than that of a man.
Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and all his disciples fled (except John) and went into hiding and even Peter denied Jesus out of fear that the authorities would arrest him. However it was women who remained with Him and they were present at His crucifixion, when they took the lifeless body from the Cross and they were first witnesses at the empty tomb.

Why would the disciples and early Christians claim that women found the tomb empty knowing that their testimony accounted far less than that of a man?

The tomb was empty because the man from Galilee, carpenter from Nazareth who had been buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea was no longer in the tomb, He had risen from the dead and proved that He was more than just an ordinary man, he was the Lamb of God, the Living Word, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Gate, the Way the Truth and the Life, the Good Shepherd, the True Vine…He was the Great I am, the Lord of lord’s and the King of kings…the Resurrection and the Life.

They may have tried to cover it up but His resurrection from the dead proved who He claimed He was…the risen Son of God our only hope of salvation.  

Because He lives we can face our tomorrows.

3. ROCK CAVE TOMBS

 

In ancient Israel tombs were cut into the rock and most werecaves found in the land of Israel where there is limestone and like many of the people Abraham buried Sarah in a cave tomb

Genesis 23:17-19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre, that is, Hebron, in the land of Canaan.

Each tomb belonged to a family after a generation, the bones were moved to a bone chamber or, later, into ossuaries and the benches used for new burials.

Genesis 25:9-10Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite.

Rock tombs belonged to those who were wealthy and those who were not wealthy and regarded as common people were buried in the ground.- Jacob

Genesis 49:29-33 "I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place.

According to the Gospels, Jesus was laid out in a rock-cut tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea.

The word cave comes from the Latin root "cavus" meaning  a hollow, absence or an empty space and the Indo-European root keu- means "to swell, vault, hole," and the word cave is linked to cage, excavate, accumulate, and church all which carry  a sense of placement, opening, and bounded space.

4. SAFETY & SECURITY

Let us consider some caves of the Bible and the reasons why people chose to live in them.

Genesis 19:29-30 Now Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar; so he dwelt in a cave with his two daughters."

Judges 6:2 And the hand of Midian prevailed over Israel; and

because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves and the strongholds.

Some like Lot and the people of Israel chose to dwell in a cave because they were afraid of others

God used a natural cave to protect Moses from seeing His face.

Exodus 33:21-34:2 And The Lord said, "Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand upon the rock; and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by;

Like the cave of Makkedah, caves were used as a natural den or jail that kept people bound or imprisoned.

Joshua 10:16-18 And it was told Joshua, "The five kings have been found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah." And Joshua said, "Roll great stones against the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them;

For many like David the cave of Adullam a cave became to them a mighty fortress or a place of safety to dwell where they felt protected and safe.

1 Samuel 22:1-2 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. And every one who was in

distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented, gathered to him;

Obadiah hid God’s prophets in the cave and fed them daily with bread and water.

1 Kings 18:3-4 Now Obadiah revered The Lord greatly; and when Jezebel cut off the prophets of The Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.

The Resurrection has a very profound and significant message and implication for your day to day living in this world and caves will, according to Prophecy, again be used in the end-time.

Isaiah 2:19-21 And men shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of The Lord, and from the glory of His majesty,

Revelation 6:15-17 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?

However God is calling forth a generation of those who will put their hope and trust in Him to come forth from the cave and live the Resurrected life that Jesus gave to us.

                                                           

5. A PLACE OF COMFORT

                                      Elijah Escapes from Jezebel

1 Kings 19:1-18 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar

of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the

angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.   And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”  11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”   15 Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria.16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.

It is natural for each one of us to go back or retreat into a position of safety or comfort when we experience trouble or persecution in this world.

Yes even Elijah who was zealous for God knew what it felt to experience fear, yet he had forgotten that God had protected and provided for him 3 1/2  in Cherith and Zarephath.

The cave represents a prison – He came to set the captives free, a cave represents a safe place – He is your Hiding place – a cave represents a place of death – He is your life

Where are you this morning? What are you running or hiding from?

Etymology of Horeb 

  • dry up, be in ruins, lay waste, desolate 
  • fight or slay –sword (word of God)come to life

Horeb a dry place where God brought forth water – life

Elijah ran to a cave firstly because it was on that same Mountain 600 years earlier that God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, on the same mountain where the Israelites arrived, on the same mountain mount Sinai where Moses received the law, on the same mount Horeb where Moses struck the rock for water.

God is faithful and He protected and provided for Elijah as he ran away to the cave a place of safety and security – place to die.

Being in God’s will does not mean because you receive provision and protection it only means that God is merciful, gracious and faithful…God is not interested in your comfort…He asked Elijah “what are you doing here” twice. God wants you to obey and be in His will for His Purpose and plans for you.

6. A DWELLING PLACE

Jesus Resurrection implies that He has rolled the stone away so that you may come out and not be afraid and know that He has conquered the enemy and because of Him you too are a conqueror.

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerorsthrough Him who loved us. 

Galatians 4:25 For Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to Jerusalem which is now in bondage with her children but the Jerusalem above is free which is the mother of us all.

We are children born of spiritual birth because of the Resurrection and as such we are born into freedom not slavery not fearful because whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Are you a slave to fear or a child of God…it is through the Resurrection that Jesus has set us free, given us life brought us from the cave, the tomb, the place of death, removed from us the stench of death and taken away from us the grave clothes and clothed us with bright white righteous garments.

John 11:38-40 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odour, for he has been dead four days." Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?

You must not only hear through others or see through others but you must experience yourself the life that Jesus came to give.

Jesus overcame the Tomb / Grave and He has become our Cave, our mighty fortress our strong foundation…in Him we live and move and have our being because we are placed in Him.

John 11:25 I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me though he may die he shall live.

We have died with Him in Baptism therefore we shall live and reign with Him, no longer buried in the caves of our forefathers but standing on the Rock of Ages, living in the Cleft of the Rock, abiding in Christ the Resurrection and the Life…a Life of Responsibility…Sounding the trumpet so that others may live.