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Easter Sunrise Service

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Contributed by Larry East on Apr 15, 2006

Tags: Easter Resurrection
Denomination: Christian/Church Of Christ

Summary: This is an Easter sunrise service to celebrate and remember the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb.

Sunrise Service
Northside Christian Church
April 16, 2006
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
This morning we come here to celebrate the most glorious event in history. We come to celebrate:
• our risen Lord and Christ.
• our salvation.
• forgiveness of sin.
• victory over death.
• the gift of eternal life.
That’s just a few of the things we have to celebrate because Jesus rose from the grave.
We come this morning as did those who came to the tomb early that first Easter morning.
We can only imagine the joy they felt as they learned of the resurrection of Christ from the grave.
Not many hours before, they mourned the grisly death of Jesus.
But their mourning turned to joy on that first Easter.
As the visitors approached the tomb they noticed that the huge stone covering the entrance had been rolled away.
• Matthew tells about the two Marys who came early in the morning to the tomb and saw the resurrected Jesus.
• Mark adds that Salome was with the two Marys who came very early on that morning.
• Luke also tells of the visit of the women to the tomb that morning.
• John tells of Mary’s visit and of the visit of Peter and John to the tomb.
In all of these accounts, the writers record that the first thing the visitors to the tomb saw was that the huge stone covering the entrance had been rolled away.
But what if the stone still covered the entrance to the tomb that morning.
What if it had not been rolled away?
How would these people have felt?
pretty miserable
7 “At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.
8 Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil,
9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.
10 But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more.
11 As water disappears from the sea or a riverbed becomes parched and dry,
pretty down
12 so man lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, men will not awake or be roused from their sleep.
Is that all there is? Is that all we have to look forward to? To lie down and rise no more? If it is, we could utter the words of Paul:
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
If that stone had not been rolled away, then those visitors to the tomb that morning would have been pretty miserable.
But praise God, the stone was not still in place. It was rolled away.
But a question I ask today is “Why was the stone rolled away?”
Well, now, that’s a pretty silly question you might say. The stone was rolled away because Jesus came out of the tomb.
The stone was rolled away because He had risen.
But I don’t think that’s the reason the stone was rolled away. After all, look what happened later that same Sunday evening.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Jesus came into a room where the doors were shut and locked. Jesus just walked right on in. If He could do that, couldn’t he have come out of the tomb with the stone still in place?
You see, the stone was not rolled away for Him to come out. I can guarantee you that.
He needed no door
no stone could hold him in
No, the stone was not rolled away for Him to come out.
The stone was rolled away that morning so that the visitors to the tomb could go in.
The open tomb was not the means of His exit, it was the means of their entrance.
The women went in and saw that Jesus was not there. Peter and John went in and saw the same.
God rolled away the stone, not so Jesus could rise, but so we could know that He is risen.
The open tomb makes it possible for us to go in, to see the discarded grave clothes, to see that He is not there.
That’s why the stone was rolled away.
God came down and rolled the stone away so that we could look in.
It was rolled away so that the empty tomb could be visible to all.
The empty tomb is the greatest evidence of the resurrection of Jesus.
Cynics and critics have tried to explain it away, but that empty tomb still stands as evidence to all that Jesus is not dead.
The empty tomb is impressive and unforgettable evidence that Jesus is alive!
And hallelujah, He’s not. Christ is risen! (response: He is risen, indeed!) He’s alive. The empty tomb is impressive and unforgettable evidence that Jesus is alive!
Because of the resurrection, you and I have life—a new life now as a believer in Christ and a future in heaven in the presence of Almighty God that will never end.
Listen to what a change that realization made in Job’s life. Here’s what he said just a little while after he faced all the calamities in his life.
25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
The resurrection caused those who visited the tomb that morning to run and tell the rest of Jesus’ followers about it.
How should the resurrection affect us?
In a Peanuts comic strip, Snoopy, and the little bird, Woodstock are sitting on top of Snoopy’s doghouse.
Snoopy says, "What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be out somewhere sitting on a branch, chirping. That’s your job. People expect to hear birds chirping when they wake up in the morning."
With that, Woodstock flies off to the top branch of a shrub and belts out a single chirp. Then he flies back to the doghouse, and Snoopy says, "You only chirped once. You can’t brighten someone’s day with one chirp."
So Woodstock flies back to the shrub and lets out six more chirps. And when he again returns to the doghouse, Snoopy smiles and says, "There now, didn’t that give you a real feeling of satisfaction? But, there’s something else you need to know. You’re supposed to do that every morning, for the rest of your life!"
That was more than Woodstock could take, and he faints.
Please don’t faint when you hear me say, "for we Christians, for those of us with resurrection faith, the good news is that we can share the joy of our faith with others, every day of our lives."
He is risen! (He is risen, indeed). Every day of our lives we should say it, shout it, sing it, maybe even chirp it.
Every day we should be able to stand up and sing the words to a familiar old hymn. We should be like Woodstock, chirping every day:
Living He Loved Me, Dying He Saved Me, Buried He Carried My Sins Far Away. Rising He Justified, Freely Forever. One Day He’s Coming. O Glorious Day.
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