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Easter Sunrise Service 2018

Easter Sunrise Service  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus is our Resurrection and Hope and the Empty Tomb is the Proof of that hope.

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Introduction

Good morning and welcome!
Isn’t it a glorious Easter Sunday morning!
As we have gathered here this cool morning, and look around the silence that is here, we are reminded of the finality of death.
This is the place where we all come to pay our respects and to lay our bodies to rest one last time.
However, on Easter Sunday, this place that is usually a place of sorrow, a place of grief, becomes a place of celebration.
And it becomes this place of celebration because it was in the cemetery where the truth of Jesus’ promise as the Messiah was realized.
It is here where it was first discovered that all Jesus had said and taught about His Resurrection was true.
It was in a place just like this where Mary and the Disciples realized that Hope had not died, but rather hope was alive and well.
And it is will be in this place this morning where we will be reminded of one of the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection.
This morning I will be reading from , and I will be sharing the first 18 verses.
John writes this about Jesus’ resurrection . . .

Scripture Focus

John 20:1–18 NIV - Anglicised
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.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
John 20:1–19 NIV - Anglicised
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.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. 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!”
John

Confusion at the Tomb (vs 1-9)

Now reading this in it’s entirety 2000 years removed is just as amazing as it would have had to have been on that day.
We know from the account here in John as well as the other gospel records that Mary and the other women had went to the tomb to in order to prepare Jesus’ body for the final burial.
It was the first day of the week because they had to wait until the Sabbath was over and then they could go and make the preparations.
Preparations that would include cleaning the body and filling it with spices, oils, and flowers, so that it could be returned to the tomb, where they body would lay for about a year.
Then the family would return to the tomb, gather up the bones and put them on a shelf with the rest of the family.
So, these women were on their way to do this first step in the process of saying goodbye to Jesus.
And it would have been a somber trip.
A trip that none of them thought they would ever have to make.
A trip that none of them would have wanted to make.
After all, this was the Messiah.
This was the one that was offering them eternal hope.
This was the one who was going to save them all.
But now, this is the one who was dead, laying in a tomb.
And dead men can’t save anybody.
So, their hopes were dashed.
And our Scripture tells us that . . .
John 20:1 NIV - Anglicised
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.
Which is of importance because this was a heavy stone that they had been debating on how to get it out of way all morning.
But low and behold, when they arrived, it had already been moved away.
The obstacle that kept them from getting to Jesus had been removed.
And this morning, If there is any obstacle in our way, that keeps us from getting to Jesus, He will remove it, if we let him.
It doesn’t matter if we are at a Sunrise Service in a Cemetery, at our Easter celebration in our churches, or in our own homes, if we cry out to Jesus, he will remove the barriers.
However, for Mary and the others, they find something very strange.
They find that Jesus is gone.
Someone had come and taken his body, so they thought.
So, in response . . .
John 20:2 NIV - Anglicised
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!”
John 20:
And immediately, their minds went to foul play, to body snatchers, to Jewish hate and spite.
They had not thought that Jesus had risen and walked away under his own power.
They thought there was foul play, and why wouldn’t they?
Have we ever seen anyone raised from the dead?
They hand’t either and at this point they didn’t comprehend what had actually happened here.
So. . .
John 20:3–7 NIV - Anglicised
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.
John 20:3-
Utter confusion and utter chaos.
They didn’t know what was going on.
All they knew was that Jesus was gone and all the burial clothes and rags were still laying there.
The strange thing though was that it wasn’t all just laying around in a mess like someone had come and took a body.
Everything was laying in place, except the burial cloth which was folded up neatly separated.
Letting them know in a subtle way that this cloth was not needed anymore.
This cloth was not going to be used.
Letting them know that It was Finished.
The Job was done.
But they still didn’t grasp it.
None of them but . . .
John 20:8–9 NIV - Anglicised
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 other disciple, we learn from the other Gospels was John.
John 20:8
John knew.
John understood.
But the rest did not and the rest really did not have much hope.

Mary Refuses to Give Up (vs 10-16)

They were still confused by everything.
They still thought that their hopes had died with Jesus.
And even after this. . .
John 20:10 NIV - Anglicised
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes,
They went back to their homes because there was no reason to be there.
No only was Jesus dead, but now in their mind, somebody had come and stolen his body.
There was not even anywhere now to go and pay respects to Jesus.
No place like this cemetery to come to and remember the good times.
However, Mary was different.
It was more than she could take . . .
John 20:11 NIV - Anglicised
11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
John
And I believe that she looked over into the tomb because she knew in her heart that it wasn’t over.
She knew that there was more.
She knew that there was something they were all missing.
She didn’t know what it was but she just knew something.
And as she looked over into the tomb she . . .
John 20:12–13 NIV - Anglicised
12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
John 20:12-13
And I don’t think she realized that she was talking to angels at this point.
Really, I believe she was so distraught that she really didn’t know who she was talking to.
But she was unwilling to just give up.
She persisted . . .
John 20:14–15 NIV - Anglicised
14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
John 20:14-
Then comes Mary’s realization of what was actually going on . . .
John 20:16 NIV - Anglicised
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
John 20

Mary Believes, Do We? (vs 17-18)

At that moment when Jesus spoke to her, Mary realized who He was.
Mary also realized that all Jesus had promised.
All Jesus had foretold, had come true.
Their hope had not died.
Their deliverance had not passed away.
Because Jesus was not dead.
Jesus was alive.
Jesus had risen from the grave.
And Jesus was standing right in front of her.
Hope had been restored!
And she was excited and grabbed hold of Jesus . . .
John 20:17 NIV - Anglicised
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
John 20:17
Give them the news Mary!
Tell them what you have seen!
Tell them I am alive!
Tell them that they are to put their faith, their hope, their trust, in Me!
Give them the message Mary!
And . . .
John 20:18 NIV - Anglicised
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
You see, on that day Mary saw the Lord.
Mary realized the hope that is found in Jesus Christ.
And today as we stand in this cemetery, filled with dead bodies, there is one body that you will never find in this cemetery or any in the world.
That is the body of Jesus Christ.
Because on this day over 2000 years ago Christ Arose!
Jesus defeated death, hell, and the grave for all humanity.
For all who will repent and put their faith in Jesus.
And just like Jesus gave Mary the mission to go and tell others, Jesus gives us the same mission.
If you have given your heart to Jesus, you too are to go and share the news with others.
And as we go our separate ways this morning, back to our own congregations, are we willing today to go and share the news?
Not just with our own congregations, but with our friends, our family, our neighbors?
The news that Jesus is Risen.
That Christ is alive.
That Hope is restored.
That Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and the only way to heaven is through Jesus.
And that what I want to leave you with this morning.
The challenge to go and be the voice crying out that Jesus Christ is alive!
Will you do that this morning?
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