Easter Sunday brings back memories of new frilly dresses, shiny new shoes, purse and hat. It was a long time ago! But Easter means so much more now than I remember as a young girl!
I always look at things a little differently after the sermon on Sunday morning and this Easter was no exception. Several things stood out to me this Easter in particular.
3 And they were saying to one another, ”Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back — it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.
6 And he said to them, ”Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen he is not here. See the place where laid him.”Mark 16:3-6
These women did not come to the tomb for a celebration. Their coming there was to complete the task of preparing the body for burial. They hadn’t expected for the stone to be rolled away, they were discussing who would roll it away for them. Their demeanor, I’m sure was very solemn and respective as they neared the tomb. Imagine their surprise when they realized Jesus was gone! It wasn’t relief that he had risen because that possibility probably hadn’t entered their minds. They weren’t expecting a resurrection.
Where were the disciples? They were hidden behind a locked door fearing for retaliation from the authorities. A guard had been posted to protect the stone from being rolled away.
The ladies are met by an angel who says that Jesus of Nazareth, a mere man that they had come for wasn’t there. Many had put their hopes in Jesus that he was the great king to lead them to defeat their enemies.
But all their hopes and dreams in a savior were gone when he was crucified on the cross. He died a sinner’s death, but he had done nothing wrong. All that they expected was gone. They must have felt so deflated!
But, what if they were looking for the wrong guy? It wasn’t Jesus of Nazareth they sought. It was Jesus the Savior. But this is what had to happen for him to become the Savior. Crucified, buried, to rise up on the 3rd day as the Savior!
Why did the stone need to be rolled away? It certainly wasn’t to let Jesus out of the tomb. He would have been able to escape the tomb, but if the stone was still in place, nobody would have seen that it was empty! It was rolled away so that we would know he had risen!
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.Mark 16:7-8
Matthew, Luke, and John tell of the Resurrection and Jesus being confirmed to the disciples. Why doesn’t Mark include that in his gospel? He kind of leaves us hanging.
Mark is telling us that now comes the hard part. Nothing ahead would be easy, at least not for awhile. What lay ahead was dealing with doubt. Understanding what had happened was hard. The part where Jesus was performing miracles was easy. People could believe when they saw these things. Jesus dying on a cross and suffering the pain and humiliation was all easier than the road before them now.
It’s not about what we can do for Christ. It’s all about what he has done for us. Having Jesus with them and in conversation with them was much easier than going on without him. Who would lead them forward? Was there anything for them to do now? It may have seemed to them like it was the end. But it was only the beginning…
The Resurrection changes everything! God is doing something for me, not the other way around.
Why do we go to church? We do it because we’re looking for Jesus. Sometimes we don’t even realize why we’re there. Maybe it’s just what we’ve always done on Easter. Maybe someone coerced you with threats or promises.
If Jesus hasn’t risen from the grave to overcome death, then your faith is worthless. Your sins haven been forgiven. All hope is lost.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.1 Corinthians 15:17-19
Here’s what Jon, our pastor, wanted us to take away from this sermon.
- If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said
- If he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said
- The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead
- And here we all are…looking for Jesus
- There can’t be a resurrection without a death.
- What area of you life is God trying to put to death that you are trying to keep alive? What happens if you relinquished control of it? Let it die?
- What new life might come of it? What new faith, hope, love, joy?
- The angel leaves the women with an invitation…to see Jesus
- This invitation is filled with grace. The disciples had utterly failed Jesus
- The invitation was to see that Jesus makes good on His promises
- He told the disciples He’d meet them in Galilee…and He did
- When Jesus invites us He wants to reveal Himself to us
- When Jesus invites us He always remembers His promises
- We are not worthy of this invitation.
- We are the thief on the cross beside Jesus who enters into heaven and the only rationale we can give for being there is that ”the guy in the middle said I could come in…”
- It’s the women who preach resurrection
- It’s the empire that is put to shame.
- It’s the marginalized people who carry the message.
- It’s the thief who’s saved first.
- It’s God showing us, that death is not the end…and to Him we are precious
- Easter is here.
- Rise with hope.
When was the last time that you felt that burning desire to know Jesus? To revel in the glory of the Lord?
What is it that needs to die in me, Lord, so that you can live in me? Let your Spirit show me…
This sermon left me feeling like I want more of Jesus. I want the passion for following Him and giving all that I can to let my life become his. More of Jesus, less of me.