Pastor Barry Robinson

Letters to the Camberwell Congregation from Pastor Barry Robinson

Easter 2012


Download a PDF version of this letter.

March 2012

Dear Church Family,

Throughout the Bible, God used angels to make special announcements to human beings. For example, He used an angel to:

  • Send a message of destruction to Lot in Sodom – Genesis 19;
  • Announce the birth of Samson – Judges 13;
  • Announce the birth of John the Baptist – Luke 1;
  • Announce the conception of Christ – Luke 1:11;
  • Announce the birth of Christ – Luke 2:8-14.

It seems that when God has an announcement of extreme importance, He often sends that message through an angel. This is also the case with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

The activity of the angel on that Sunday morning is very important since he removed a number of obstacles.

1. He rolled away the stone - Obstacle One Removed

‘After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it’. (Matthew 28:1-2)

That stone represented the finality of death. For the two Mary’s and the disciples that stone was closure on the life of Jesus; it said, "He is gone forever."

But God through the angel took care of that stone. Not to let Jesus out, He was long gone before that angel ever arrived on the scene. That stone was rolled away so they could look into the tomb and see that it was forever empty. The finality of death had been defeated.

2. He removed the Soldiers - Obstacle Two Removed

‘His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men’. (V.3­4)

Matthew 27:62-67 tells us that the chief priests and the Pharisees were so concerned that the prophecies of Jesus might actually come true, and they wanted a guard to be posted at the tomb. So they sealed it with Pilate's seal and they posted a company of guards at the door.

That detachment of soldiers stood as an obstacle between the disciples and their entrance into the tomb of Jesus, just as this world tries to bar us from seeing that Jesus has risen.

However, when this angel appeared, he made short work of the soldiers. These battle hardened men fainted at his feet as if they had seen a ghost. The hindrance of this world had been removed.

3. He reminded the women - Obstacle Three Removed

‘As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” (Mark 16:5-7)

As this angel began to speak to the women that morning, the greatest obstacle of all was removed – That of unbelief. His message inspired them to belief in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

This is what he reminded them of:

a. The past

They were reminded of the crucifixion (V.6). Although they had both been there (John 19:25), the angel was emphasising the fact that Jesus was actually dead. And His death provided the sacrifice that was needed to save human beings from their sins and reconcile them to God.

b. The present

The angel tells them, “You are here at this tomb, but Jesus isn't. He is risen" (V.6). You see, a dead Saviour can save no one. But a living Saviour can offer salvation to all who come to Him by faith (Hebrews 7:25). In the resurrection, God the Father vindicates the death of His Son and confirms that He has done all that is required for our salvation.

Now, we can look to Him by faith and be confident of His power to save. That is the present state of affairs.

c. The promise

They are reminded that His resurrection should not have taken them by surprise (V7). After all, it was what He said would happen all along, (Matthew 12:40; 16:21; 17:7; 17:23; 20:19; 26:31; John 2:19; 10:17).

The resurrection should not have caught them off guard, but it did. It seems like the Jewish leaders had more faith in the promises of Jesus than His own disciples by posting a guard at the tomb.

d. The proof

The angel invited them to look at the place where Jesus had been laid and see for themselves that He has gone (V.6).

Later, when Peter and John arrive there, John records the fact that the linen cloths that had been wrapped around Christ's body were lying there like an empty cocoon, while the napkin that had been about His face was folded in a place by itself. This sight caused John to believe in the resurrection (John 20:2-7).

There was no sign of human intervention. If someone had taken the body, they could not have removed it through the grave clothes, and why would they have removed them anyway? They would have taken the body with them still wrapped in the cloths that bound it. Also they would not have taken the time to fold the napkin - That too would have been taken with the body, or at least it would have been discarded in a haphazard manner.

The way the tomb had been left was a scene of perfect order, suggesting a resurrection had taken place.

e. The plan

They were to go and share the good news that Jesus was risen from the dead, that He had conquered death and was alive forevermore (V.7).

It is a message of hope, a message of life, a message of victory. It is a message that all the disciples needed to hear and it is a message that everyone still needs to hear.

May we never forget that the message of that tomb is as fresh today as it was then.

Jesus is still alive and men and woman trapped in the bondage of sin and the fear of death still need to hear about it.

May we do as these women did and carry the message with joyful hearts to a world that needs desperately to hear about a risen Lord.

Have a spiritually uplifting Easter.

With love in Jesus’ name,

Barry Robinson

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“Easter 2012”

Christ centred, Bible based, Holy Spirit enabled teaching, to the glory of God the Father.

When the sermon is online the title will become a link to the audio.

  1. Who is Jesus? (John 10)
    Saturday 24th March 2012
  2. The Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 53)
    Saturday 31st March 2012
  3. Maundy Thursday 5th April – 7.30pm
  4. Good Friday 6th April – 2.00pm
    ‘Stand up, Stand up for Jesus’ (John 19:38 & other scriptures)
    including an offering for WCG UK
  5. Saturday 7th April 2010 No Service in Camberwell
  6. Easter Sunday 8th April - 2.00pm
    Combined Easter Sunday service with the Salvation Army
    The Angel’s Message of Good News (Matthew 28:5-8)
    Followed by a fellowship meal

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