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Sabbath School Lessons on The Wonder of Jesus
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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 40 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 11: The Power of His Resurrection *
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
- Keeping Jesus in the Grave
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Read Matthew 27:62-64. Does this suggest that the Jewish
leaders were paying closer attention to what Jesus said
than His own disciples?
- 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.)
- 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).)
- 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
- The Failure to Keep Jesus in the Grave
- Read Matthew 28:1. What day of the week is this? (Sunday
- 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.
- Read Matthew 28:2-3. How do you think they decided in
heaven who got this job? If you were an angel, would you
- 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.)
- 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
- Would the angel have only humans to be concerned
- 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.)
- 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.")
- 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!)
- 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
- 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.)
- Read Matthew 28:11-13. Compare Matthew 27:63. Who is the
deceiver? How big is this conspiracy to give a false
- 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
- 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
- Instead of saying the body was stolen, why not
just deny it was gone? (Because that point was
obvious - the body was gone.)
- 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 (!)
- 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.)
- 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?
- 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
- Read Matthew 28:18-20. What kind of authority has been
given to Jesus?
- 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.)
- Friend, will you accept your commission from Jesus and act
- Next week: The Efficacy of His Priestly Ministry.
* Copr. 2008, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.