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Easter 1999 The Via Dolorosa: Why Are You Crying

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Reading: John 20:1-18
“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” John 20:15a (NIV)

I.   They have Taken the Lord

     A.  Taking the path to the end of Pain

           1.  The Via Dolorosa always ends up in the same old place: the grave.

                 a.  All life’s struggles seem to end in death.

                 b.  Is it a relief, or a greater tragedy?

                 c.  Sometimes we’re not so sure.

           2.  Life’s a bear and then you die.

                 a.  Or something like that.

                 b.  The author of Ecclesiastes said basically the same thing almost 3000 years ago.

                 c.  What’s the point, really, if we just die?

           3.  On that early morning these women did what we do every morning: face death.

                 a.  For whatever reason we drag ourselves along, not really knowing why.

                 b.  What is the point of life, really if it just stops some day?

     B.  We Cannot find Him

           1.  At the end of our Pain, God too often seems missing.

                 a.  When all seems lost, he seems lost too.

                 b.  In our deepest need, we sometimes can’t find him.

           2.  We look but don’t find him.

                 a.  We look, we really do, but we don’t see

                 b.  We wait, we pray, we weep and still we wonder where He is.

           3.  We see the empty wrappers of our buried hopes, but don’t really understand.

                 a.  The shards of our dashed hopes lay on the ground and don’t know what to do.

                 b.  It seems like only a greater tragedy.

     C.  They still did not Understand

           1.  They heard him say this would happen, but he often spoke in parables.

                 a.  He had talked about dying and rising, but he didn’t mean that literally, did he?

                 b.  Our minds are too narrow and too dense to understand without God’s help

           2.  Even now, they saw and were confused.

                 a.  It made them wonder, but it didn’t explain anything to them.

                 b.  They saw the evidence of his resurrection, but still didn’t get it.

II.  Why are you Crying?

     A.  Staring into her Loss

           1.  Mary can’t take her eyes off of what she has lost.

                 a.  Jesus had changed her life. Broken the power of Satan in her.

                 b.  All her hopes were on him.

                 c.  And now He—all she lived for was gone

           2.  Not even these angels stop her tears.

                 a.  Usually an encounter with angels has people terrified.

                 b.  Mary’s grief is so great, she doesn’t know what she’s seeing.

           3.  Her inner pain so overwhelms her that she can see nothing else.

                 a.  She just hurts too much.

                 b.  Pain has a way of demanding our attention like that.

     B.  Blinded to Jesus Beside her

           1.  Her tears create a blindness to what is right before her that will take away her tears.

                 a.  Though she doesn’t know it, Jesus is next to her in her hurt.

                 b.  She thinks maybe he’s part of the problem, but he’s the solution.

           2.  Isn’t that so typical! We focus on our hurt to the point of missing God’s healing.

                 a.  Do we see God’s outstretched hand when it’s offered?

                 b.  Or are we so caught in our hurt we don’t even notice?

III. Jesus calls her by Name

     A.  Who is it you are Looking for?

           1.  Jesus asks her and us, who are you looking for? What/whom do you really seek.

                 a.  He asks you and I Who/What are you looking for?

                 b.  Mary’s response is that she wants to know where the corpse is.

           2.  Maybe she simply couldn’t see until he called by name.

                 a.  Jesus just says her name.

                 b.  Mary cries out in sudden recognition.

                 c.  Do you hear him calling your name?

     B.  There’s even more than This

           1.  Don’t hang on to this; there’s more!

                 a.  These words seem confusing at first glance.

                 b.  Jesus is just saying, this isn’t the end of the story—there’s more!

           2.  Jesus didn’t raise from the dead just to hang out with his friends.

                 a.  Jesus only has a short time before ascending to heaven.

                 b.  He doesn’t want Mary or us to hold on to Him merely as a miracle worker.

                 c.  He wants us to hold on to him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

           3.  Jesus defeated death to rule as the Lord of all of life.

                 a.  He ascends to fulfill his mission: that His Father will be our Father.

                 b.  He defeats death to give us life!

     C.  So begins the Via Gaudeam

           1.  The way of joy begins with the defeat of death itself.

                 a.  If this isn’t all there is, then real life is possible!

                 b.  We can stare at that hole in the ground where the casket goes and say “Nanna-nanna-nanna!”

           2.  Where O death is your victory, Where O death where is your sting?

                 a.  Let’s say that together!

The Bottom Line:

The way of suffering has Ended. Abandon your Despair and enter the path of Joy!

Red #299 He Lives 1,3?

The Via Gaudeam Begins!

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