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His Passion our Promise

Still Alive  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Hope

When we think about what today represents, we should all shout for joy. Far from being subdued or respectful the praise we have should ring out and shake the very foundations of our homes. In fact anyone that claims to follow Christ should be more than a little bit excited. We have such a great hope because of the fact that Jesus is alive.
The Gospels tell us the story of Jesus resurrection. Each account focuses on different aspects.

Matthew

Matthew 28:1–9 HCSB
After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his robe was as white as snow. The guards were so shaken from fear of him that they became like dead men. But the angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead. In fact, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there.’ Listen, I have told you.” So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell His disciples the news. Just then Jesus met them and said, “Good morning!” They came up, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him.

An uncomfortable truth

Telling in this account of the resurrection is the guards that were posted’s report to the religious leaders. When confronted with what had to be their worst fear, their answer was to bribe the guards. Tell people that Jesus disciples came at night and stole the body, They also offer to stand up for the guards at this point in case the governor hears about it and decides that they are not fit to live. What’s really sad in this part of the narrative is this.
Matthew 28:15 HCSB
So they took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been spread among Jewish people to this day.
It may be hard for us to understand how this could be, how people could so willingly disregard the truth that is staring the in the face, because that truth is uncomfortable.

Mark

Mark fills in a bit more of the story, adding a third woman to the group that went to the tomb, Salome, we also find out the reason behind their visit to anoint Jesus body. The women band together and buy the spices needed, then head off for the tomb. We find the angel is there from Matthew, but is not sitting on the stone in this account but is down in the tomb. He has some words for them…
Mark 16:5–7 HCSB
When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; they were amazed and alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as He told you.’ ”
Jesus is alive while I am sure there is great excitement verse eight speaks to the truth of the matter, a truth that many of us would have to admit would be our truth as well.
Mark 16:8 HCSB
So they went out and started running from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid.

An understandable fear

The oldest manuscripts stop here. The women so frightened by seeing an angel, terrified that Jesus was not there, that the things he had said seemed to be true. While all of this was exciting, it also meant that things would never be the same, that the man that they had hung out with for 3.5 years was so much more than any of them actually realized.
They had been spending time in the presence of someone so extremely other and the power that that person held was beyond anything they ever truly understood.
They were afraid because of the accusations that they knew would come. The following statements were added to verse 8 in other manuscripts.
Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.
Some even add information about Mary Magdalene being the first to see Jesus, a couple of disciples walking down the road seeing Jesus and ultimately Jesus appearing to the 11 disciples who were left.

Luke

Luke starts out a bit ambiguous as to the women that were at the tomb that day, he does mention that the women were there to anoint Jesus body, in Luke’s account we have two angels instead of one, the angels appear after the women enter the tomb.
I love this passage in Luke.
Luke 24:5–6 HCSB
So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. “He is not here, but He has been resurrected! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,
The angels are jogging their memory and then these women do something that anyone who has such a great hope should do.
Luke 24:8–9 HCSB
And they remembered His words. Returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest.
They rushed back to tell Jesus best friends and anyone that would listen, everyone else… Luke adds a few more women to the mix as well.
Luke 24:10 HCSB
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things.
Luke 24:1
This account ends with the men not believing what’s going on, but Peter getting excited and taking off for the Tomb.
Luke 24:11–12 HCSB
But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. When he stooped to look in, he saw only the linen cloths. So he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Too good to be true…but

Amazing how it happens, when faced with such a glorious hope, with the fulfillment of what Jesus said was going to happen, the people closest to him refused to believe.
It was too good to be true, there was no way it could be possible, and yet throughout the end of each of the Gospels we find the same account, the same awe, and finally the same acceptance.
Each of the accounts adds a bit more detail, the interpretations are different depending on the perspective, depending on the audience the account is being written to reach, but they all are amazingly in agreement, they each have the same aspects throughout.
Each speaks of the resurrection of the Savior. Luke talks about a meeting on the road with two disciples, fleshing out the details we heard about briefly in Mark. They all have Angels involved, they all have women being the first to see Jesus. It’s amazing and it is the basis for our hope.

John

John tells us that Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb first, sees the stone is gone and can’t figure it out she even says “they have taken” she takes off to find Peter, Peter and another disciple run for the tomb. They go in and see that Jesus is not there, the author goes into detail about what they see…
John 20:5–10 HCSB
Stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying there, yet he did not go in. Then, following him, Simon Peter came also. He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. The wrapping that had been on His head was not lying with the linen cloths but was folded up in a separate place by itself. The other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, then entered the tomb, saw, and believed. For they still did not understand the Scripture that He must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went home again.
The two disciples went home as soon as they saw that Jesus was not there. It says that the second disciple, not Peter looked in and believed. Then they go home…but Mary…
Every account of the resurrection has threads that bind them together, as we can see they all are bound together with the miracle of the resurrection, three of them detail angels, we read about spices, we read about women coming, the lists of who vary….but there is one over arching thread that I see….
Mary Magdalene. A study of this follower of Christ reveals why she would follow so closely.
Some traditions ascribe to her the label of prostitute, though there is nothing explicit in scripture stating so, she has at different times been linked to different aspects of Jesus life when it comes to him offering forgiveness including the woman caught in the act of adultery and equated with Mary of Bethany who also was known as a person that shouldn’t be allowed to touch Jesus and while these traditions make for an amazing story arc they are by no means conclusive, still what is told of her in the gospels before her encounter and decision to follow Jesus, is found in where Jesus casts 7 demons from her. To say Jesus made a personal impact on her life is an understatement, he completely changed her life and now he was gone...
John 20:11–18 HCSB
But Mary stood outside facing the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. She saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where Jesus’ body had been lying. They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put Him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not know it was Jesus. “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Supposing He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve removed Him, tell me where you’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning around, she said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” —which means “Teacher.” “Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what He had said to her.
Luke 20:11–18 HCSB
He sent yet another slave, but they beat that one too, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third, but they wounded this one too and threw him out. “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my beloved son. Perhaps they will respect him.’ “But when the tenant farmers saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him, so the inheritance will be ours!’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “Therefore, what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those farmers and give the vineyard to others.” But when they heard this they said, “No—never!” But He looked at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected— this has become the cornerstone? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and if it falls on anyone, it will grind him to powder!”
LUke 20:11-18

Called by name

Mary sees it all but the conversations are more personal, the angels talk to her directly, she is sad, she is broken, she turns to leave and sees someone she thinks its just a gardener and wants to know where Jesus is, only to find that the one she followed, the one who made a difference in her life, the one who represented a new way of living in such an intimate way was standing right in front of her.
After his initial question, after asking what she is so upset about Jesus does what he does best, he listens. He listens to her pour out her anguish, he listens to her tell him what she needs, he hears her and then he does something amazing, he breaks through the sorrow, the anguish, and the pain with one word… He says Mary, he calls her by name, and in doing so changes her world yet again.
Jesus said his sheep knew his voice and would follow him. Mary was one of Jesus own, and in calling her by name, and by her recognizing his voice she gives us a picture of what our relationship with God should be.
Jesus calls our names countless times through our lives. He calls to us in good times, he calls to us in sickness, he calls to us in tragedy and triumph.
We need to listen, to hear Jesus calling to us and when we hear his voice realize that our lives can never be the same, realize that without him we are lost and nothing, realize that he is more than just a figure in the bible, more than a good man who lived and died over 2000 years ago, more than any of those things, He is our risen savior and he wants us to be in relationship with him a real active relationship that has us chasing after him, searching for him, when we lose the connection he wants us to feel that loss, he wants us to hear his voice calling our name, and when we hear that voice what better response than Mary’s to cry out to him, to reach out to grab him and then to go and tell others that we know and love about the encounter we have had with our savior.

This Week’s Challenge

Gather what you have around the house and make a sign that you can put in your yard or in your window or both. On that sign write.
He Calls My Name. Want to know more? Find out on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/NCAservicestream
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