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Passion: The Resurrection

Passion  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:21
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The teachings, the miracles, or the death had convinced the disciples of the reality of Jesus' purpose. It wasn't until the resurrection that it all became clear.

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When I worked in our family business years ago, I was trained as a gemologist. To identify, grade, and categorize gemstones. The diamond business. We all know diamonds, but I’ll tell you that when you study them, it’s easy to become fascinated by what them. When you grade them, we would look at the stones through each facet. the flat surfaces on the stone. Each facet you see, is like a window. And each one provides you with a different view.... becasue you are looking at it from a different perspective.
I’ve known the Easter story for as long as I can remember. You probably have as well… and this year we are experiencing Easter in a way far different than we ever have. Today we are coming to Easter Sunday from a different perspective… whether we like it or not.
If you are watching this, you didn’t have to decide if you were going or not… you couldn’t go to church.
For others, this holiday has been filled with tradition… maybe how you would dress up, when you would go to church with your family, there was a special place where you would go eat together after church, There was the kids who got to search for the eggs… for us it was all about what we called egg plucking that we did a moment ago. We did that every year… until this year
And you know, as a well as I do, that we mourn that a little the loss of our traditions. not being able to gather at church… not able to go to grandparents to hunt eggs… not able to gather for Easter dinner.
You know, we miss it and for some of us… if we are real honest, we are sort of dreading it.
SHARE ONLINE WHAT YOU EXPECT TO MISS THE MOST THIS EASTER.

John 20:1-10

Well, that’s exactly how the first Easter started. Full of dread.
Their Rabbi, their friend, had been killed for no reason at all… Pilate, the one who sentenced him to die even said there was no reason that he should die, but he did anyway.
The resurrection was the furthest thing from their minds on that Sunday morning...
They didn’t know what was about to happen...
They did know -
Jesus lived, they had walked with him for miles, teaching, laughing like good friends would
Jesus loved them. He had washed their feet, he had laughed with them, hugged them, prayed with them. They had experienced his love.
Jesus taught them. He taught what it meant to really know and live for God… He had showed them.
That’s why JOhn started his Gospel:
John 1:1 NIV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
All along the way, Jesus claimed to be God… but no one really believed him.
That’s what got him into trouble with the religious leaders.
Jesus performed miracles. He even said these are proof of what I’ve been teaching… that he was God…
John 10:37–38 NIV
37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

At the last supper, Jesus talked about dying and coming to life again… but apparently none of his disciples believed him.
They knew Jesus was beaten, crucified and died… Left them asking how could Jesus be God and let all that happen to him?
They weren’t imagining things… they had seen it with their own eyes… Jesus was dead.
For two days they have been wrestling with that. All through their passover, what was supposed to have been a joyous event for Jews everywhere, for them was terrible.
What emotions do you think the disciples are dealing with right now?
The first person to show up on the scene in the GoJ was Mary Magdalene.
John 20:1 NIV
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.
Mary, had been possessed by 7 demons the Gospel of Luke tells us. She was a mess… a hot mess. But her life had been saved by Jesus when he delivered her from tormenting spirits. Since that moment she had become a follower of Jesus. She followed him because she had saved her life. And now the only one who believed in her, who showed her real compassion, was dead.
At her first opportunity, she went to pay her respects as it were. She goes to the grave expecting to see what? a tomb… a dead friend.
when she got there he wasn’t there. Overcome - not knowing what to do, she goes to tell the others. They race back… in fact John even brags here about his speed at outrunning Peter…
But not really believing Mary... this was Mary after all…and what do they find… she was right… he’s gone. And what do they do? They go home
But not Mary. Where else would she go?
I remember when my grandfather passed away, he was the first person in my family to die in my life. I remember just sitting there at the cemetery like… so what do we do now? My life will never be the same. I bet that’s what Mary was going through real and powerful grief.

John 20:11-18 Mary Grieved

Then as she stood there crying… Jesus spoke to her… who are you looking for?
She didn’t recognize the voice at first... until he spoke her name.
It was a voice so familiar to her that she could hear it in a crowd of voices… you know what that sort of voice is like. The voice of someone you know, someone you love…
Its the love that instantly calms a fussy baby… It’s the love that quiets the cries after knees get skinned while learning to ride a two wheeler… it’s the sort of love that makes us smile when we don’t know how we can make it this month.
That’s what happens to Mary, she hears a voice so familiar, that she was immediately brought out of her grief.
She is immediately encouraged when she sees Jesus and goes to tell the other disciples.

Seeing Jesus, she became became hopeful

Now: “I have seen the Lord!”
Her grief was turned to joy!
She had to tell the disciples this important news… nothing was more important.
The disciples apparently reacted in a familiar way when people share what’s important to them and we are caught up in our own thoughts…
… mmmhhmmm… ok… yea right… get right on that…

John 20:19-23 Fearful Disciples

The disciples had heard the teaching, Jesus had told them he would die.... and they saw it just a couple days ago.
They are overwhelmed… so much so that apparently they don’t really hear Mary this time…
But they just couldn’t get past what they had seen.. the brutality, the cruelty, the shame.
It didn’t make sense that his body would be gone, maybe it was the Jewish leaders taking his body and guarding it somewhere so no one could take it and say he was alive… but that is exactly what Mary was saying
What ever happened to Jesus, the disciples were now afraid that the Jewish leaders would come for them… That’s what Jesus told them would happen.
You remember at the last supper when Jesus told Peter… “You can’t follow me now, but you will follow me.”
They had seen how Jesus had died… he didn’t deserve it… what would happen to them???
Fear kept them locked inside… their own form of quarantine. Separating themselves from the world so that they wouldn’t be punished as one of his followers.

Fear of the unknown.

I mean who ever took him… why would they fold up his grave clothes? Why would they remove all that from his body and then fold it up? What’s that all about? It’s like they wanted us to know that he was there but isn’t any more… they had to leave something behind to prove it… almost to tease us

Then just when their fears were runninig away wiht them...Jesus showed up. 3 days after he died, he just shows up. Peace be with you.
Peace? are you kidding? They were thrilled!!!
What would have been your response to Jesus?
But Jesus didn’t have time for a party.
Again he says, I give you peace… not just because you were afraid, but because you are going to still be afraid… you see… I’m sending you out.. I’m sending you out to where you don’t want to go, Out to teach…
OUT THERE?… that’s exactly where I am sending you.... so peace be with you.
All the disciples weren’t there though, one of them was missing, Thomas.

I’m not sure if you remember Thomas or not, but back in Chapter 11, Thomas was there when Jesus got the news that Lazarus, his friend was dead, and they were going back into Jerusalem… where the church leaders had just run them out of town… Thomas said then in 11:16

“Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Thomas was ready back then… but now death is real.

John 20:24-29

When Thomas gets back to the Disciples and they tell him that Mary was right… Jesus is alive and we saw him too.... and he is sending us back out to teach
Thomas’s response: fear… maybe, certainly skeptical
I’ve got to see this for myself if I’m going out there to preach where people are looking to kill us?
I’m not going until I know for sure...
Ever said that?

We avoid the things we fear.

Of course you have… we all have wanted proof before we take risks. Jesus knew that about Thomas… he knew the fear of the disciples and he knows that about you and about me.
And yet Jesus says, go… go in spite of your doubt and your fear … because your doubts about Jesus are lies that your fear is telling you.
This wasn’t a "mind over matter” thing… like if you fear heights, the way to conquer them is to climb a ladder and you will see there is nothing really to fear.
They had good reason to fear; the disciples WERE marked men.
In fact in time each and every one of them would be tried for professing faith in Jesus. But Jesus says, go and teach people the truth about sin and forgiveness.

Seeing Jesus, they became courageous

Go and do not fear being punished for doing what I command you… because I have conquered death.... and as my follower, death won’t have the last word for you either.
Seeing Jesus changed everything for them. Up to this point every time a person died, the expectation was --- that they stayed dead --- now, it was different.
Their fear of death became a boldness for life; and seeing him was all they needed.
Sin and Death were no longer the end of the story.
So they lived with boldness preaching good news until their live on earth ended… and they went on to live a new life with their Lord.
Coached in FL… spring Girls flag football
One significant player.. on O like a deer catching butterflies… but on defense she was like a … all over the field.
In one of our playoff games she was an emotional wreck… we were way behind and her team mates were making a lot of mistakes. It got to be too much for her, she took herself out of the game. All the other girls wanted me to go and encourage her… but I had a daughter.. .I knew there was nothing I could say until she calmed down. During halftime, I took her aside and told her what a great athlete she was, how special their team was being in the playoffs for the first time… I reminded her of the fact that if she kept herself out of this game, she would never forget it… and she would never get this opportunity again. It was up to her, but if I were her, I’d want to be in the game with your team… win or lose.
She did come back into the game, and we won that day; eventually we would lose, and our season would end; but she played great. She saw her life from a different perspective.
For Diamond, it took seeing herself and her role on the team as part of something bigger for her to come back and contribute.

Seeing Jesus changed them.

For Mary, for the disciples, Jesus changed the way they saw their part in the world. They were able to accept their role in it because Jesus was alive. They trusted that no matter what happened in this world, Jesus had conquered death.
Seeing Jesus changed them. It proved all that he had done and said. Not only that, but it completed everything the prophets had taught for centuries.
Many people see Christianity as just another religion.. a set of beliefs that you might ascribe to, a set of values that you can apply to your life. Love your neighbor, forgive one another… etc.
But Christianity isn’t a set of beliefs, it is a relationship with a person, Jesus. A person who claimed to be God, who lived a sinless life… who died in my place… who rose on the third day… and who promises to give me a new life when I surrender my life to him.
A woman with a history… a group of cowards… a skeptic… seeing the resurrection changed them all.
Their stories are recorded in history. These were real people whose real lives really changed.
John 20:31 NIV
31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
They had experienced all this and it changed them… but not until they saw Jesus alive.
The resurrection proved everything he had taught them. and John, a first hand witness, wrote it all down because he was one of those who’s life was changed.
A small group of disciples, at one time afraid for their lives, became bold and began a movement that has changed the world.
They believed it so, that they recorded the whole thing and preserved, it’s been taught for 2000 years. Why? Because followers of Jesus have experienced the truth of it.
This Easter Morning, we most likely won’t get to see the risen Jesus. He promises to come again; and until then, he does promise to give us proof… even more real than seeing a man rise from the dead.
Today, when we surrender to Jesus, we get the proof of his Spirit to come and live in us ---- proving what he said, what he did, what he is doing is real… it’s not a story in a children’s book. He’s doing it right now.
We’ve seen it happen in lives like my friend Ed who shared a moment ago how his life had changed. He told you that God’s not finished with him… But It’s undeniable to him and those around him that someone has changed his life.
Doctors tell us that the world we knew before this virus --- the things we did… the way we interacted --- may never come back.
As Disciples, we need not fear, because the world we knew changed the moment we experienced the risen Jesus.

Jesus is alive, and that changes everything!

For people who have given their lives to Christ -- who have asked his forgiveness -- have turned from their sin -- who, with the help of the Holy Spirit are committed to developing the character of Jesus in their lives… Easter is a call to live boldly for Christ. A reminder that He is alive and because he lives, there is nothing to fear.
If that doesn't describe you… but you want to know that sort of hope in the face of fear.
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