Somebody I Love Was Murdered (But He Didn't Stay That Way)
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Isa 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked-But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

 1Co 5:7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 Mr 16:1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?" 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away--for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.
 7 "But go, tell His disciples--and Peter--that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."
Someone I Love Was Murdered (But He Didn’t Stay That Way)

The strangest thing happened to me yesterday. I was pouring over Scripture, trying to piece together a message for today, and quite frankly, feeling a little pressure because I was coming up with nothing.

The phone rang. A friend of mine needed me to come out to the airport to pick up some expensive diet supplements that were not allowed on his flight. It’s the sort of interruption that can be upsetting when one feels a deadline closing in.

But I also know that to begrudge such interruptions is often a foolish thing to do. If it is in my power to help someone, I ought to do it. That’s what our mission statement is all about. “Learning to live for the sake of others rather than ourselves.”

 God knows my time line, He will deliver what I need for a message, in the meantime, I need to cheerfully meet the immediate need that has been placed before me.

On the way back from the airport, I saw a bumper sticker on a car that gave me the title for today’s message: It said, “Someone I Love Was Murdered.” That’s all it said.  Isn’t that amazing? I mean if I make excuses and don’t drive out to the airport....I don’t see the sticker, and I don’t have this message.
Although the title seems more like a “Good Friday” message, I can’t help but think about the ladies on their way to the tomb on Easter morning. You know, if Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome would’ve driven out to the tomb on Easter morning, I think they would’ve had that bumper sticker on their car. “Someone I loved was murdered!”

It’s why they were on the way to the tomb. They had observed the  Body of Jesus hurriedly taken down from the cross and carted off to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.  He and Nicodemus did what they could in preparing the Body for burial in keeping with Jewish customs, but the sun was setting and the Sabbath was about to begin, and well, they just had to stop.

The ladies witnessed all this and decided to go home and prepare spices for a more proper burial on the day after the Sabbath. After all “someone they loved was murdered.” And they were going to honor Him with a proper burial.

Perhaps “murdered” is too strong a term. The dictionary defines murder as unlawfully taking the life of someone with malice of forethought.  Can we apply this to the death of Jesus? I think we can. Yes, He had a lawful trial, but He was pronounced guilty before the Jewish council on the testimony of false witnesses.

 Mt 26:59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward

The false witnesses make this trial a mockery of justice and in that sense,  the sentence pronounced upon Jesus was “unlawful.” Was there malice  aforethought?  

 Joh 11:49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all,  50 "nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish."  51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation,
 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.  53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.

Someone, these ladies loved.....was murdered. And it happened just as the prophet Isaiah had spoken of it 700 years before Jesus went to trial!

“He was taken from prison and from judgement.....” Arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and treated like a common criminal. Scourged, mocked, spit upon, found guilty and sentenced to die, and no one defending Him. “who will declare His generation” In other words, who will speak up for Him?
His disciples had headed for the hills when He was arrested, and we have no idea where that denier Peter has fled to. The beloved John was present at His crucifixon along with these ladies and His mother Mary, but they were just observers.

Isn’t it interesting that the only defender Jesus had on earth on this day was the thief on the cross!
Responding to the other criminal who was deriding Jesus he said, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

The thief knew that Jesus was innocent, and if he could’ve had a bumper sticker placed on his cross, it probably would’ve read, “Someone I love was murdered” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today, you will be with Me in Paradise!

These three women, hurrying off to the tomb on Easter morning loved Jesus. We can’t argue that. It was evident in their service to Him in life and in death. In life, the Bible tells us that these women had ministered of their substance to Him in His travels in Galilee.

This is the true essence of love, it is service to others. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because it is consistently backed up in Scripture. “When you learn to live for the sake of others rather than have learned how to love!  These women lived sacrificially for Jesus....they loved Him.
Imagine then how they must have felt when they arrived at the tomb and found it empty. In one moment, they must’ve felt terribly betrayed....violated!  Someone had taken the body away and they were robbed of one last opportunity to express their love for Jesus.

But wait...the body hasn’t been stolen! Jesus is alive! “He is risen............He is not here” the angel said!  Oh the joy of it all. Oh the terror of it all! Something incredibly holy has happened here!

These women fled from the tomb and trembled! Ohhhh oh....ohhh sometimes it causes me to tremble,,,,,tremble....tremble. Were you there when God rose up from the grave!

He was dead! He had given up the ghost on the cross! These women had seen it with their own eyes. They saw His lifeless body placed in the tomb, even this angel in the tomb testified, “Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He was dead! But now He is alive!

I need a new bumper sticker! Somebody I love was murdered...but he didn’t stay that way! He is risen! .......

What could this mean? And again, we turn to our OT reading from Isaiah.

V9 - They made His grave with the wicked, (He died between two criminals) But with the rich at His death. (He was buried in a rich man’s tomb) This one verse identifies Jesus with all men! It identifies Him with every person present here this morning! He died for all, from the lowest to the highest!

God the Father poured out His wrath against all the sins of the highest and lowest,  and because the shedding of blood is necessary for the forgiveness of sins, He made His own Son an offering for our sin. (v10)

And because Jesus willingly obeyed and trusted His Father even unto death, Isaiah says, “He shall prolong His days (His human nature taken on at the immaculate conception would live on in eternity) and so will you and I if we put our trust in Him! He would see the fruit of His death....(His seed, namely those who believe the gospel.

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved!” Mk 16:16)

And Isaiah says, “ He shall divide the spoil with the strong” What is the spoil? It is that which has been plundered! And what exactly has been plundered? Death has been plundered!

Oh the blessed empty tomb! The first thought that these women had when they came upon the empty tomb was that the grave had been plundered! Little did they know how right they were!  

 1Co 15:55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"  56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I like the way Hosea put it:

Ho 13:14 "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes.

Jesus would have no pity on the grave. He would plunder it! His intent was to destroy it’s sway over men completely! And He did it by removing the power of the stinger of sin. As Isaiah said, “He made intercession for the transgressors. He took the punishment that we all deserve. He took the stinger...and all that it was meant to deliver to us.

And the travail of His soul, (v11) satisfied the demands of our just God, and the evidence of God’s satisfaction with His payment for sin was found in the empty tomb!  (NKJV)

Yes, “Somebody I love was murdered”....and it was my own sin that caused His death. It was my sin that put Him on the cross.  When all is said and done....I am the murderer! “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; And the lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all! (Is 53:6)

And where would we be, if our Lord would’ve remained in the tomb? Where would our hope be?
What kind of future would we have to look forward to? What good would all your good works do you? What good would your church attendance do you? What good would your baptism do you?

But He is risen!  And because He is risen those women were able to continue expressing their love for Him! Their love for Him didn’t have to stop with one final application of perfume and spices. It could and would continue beyond the grave.

And so it is for us! Jesus is alive and for those who have faith, we can continue expressing our love for Him in worship and praise and selfless acts of love for others. Halleluiah! He is risen! “Someone I love was murdered, but He didn’t stay that way!”