04/01/2018 - An Easter People

May 10th, 2018

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“An Easter People"

John 20:1-18

 

  • "Christ our Lord is Risen!" "He is Risen, indeed"
  • “Early on the first day... Mary Magdalene went to the tomb…”
    • “It was still dark.”

      • “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light..." In the Gospel of John darkness represents chaos, despair, unbelief.  Light is truth, faith, & salvation.
    • Mary was living in a state of chaos & despair...
      • She had watched as the person she had loved more than anyone in the world was tortured, and murdered...
      • And she was one of a small handful of people who did not desert Him when He was arrested and crucified. She heard Jesus say: “It is finished”  She knew where He was buried.
    • All her hopes and dreams had died along with Jesus
      • And so, she would weep. And she would remember all the good times.  But her meaning in life had gone away. 
    • The Empty Tomb
      • But when she got to the tomb, “the stone had been removed”

        • She ran, in pitch black darkness, to tell Peter and John that Jesus’ body had been stolen!!!
        • And when they got to the tomb, we are told that they saw Jesus’ grave clothes, but no body.
        • Peter and John went back to their homes, but not Mary.
      • Mary stayed and wept, and wept and wept. She “saw two angels," but she seems oblivious that they are angels. 
        • Is it possible that in our darkness, misunderstanding and unbelief that we have been stumbling over angels as well?
        • She tells these angels that someone has stolen Jesus’ body, and she turns away from them.
      • And when she turns away, there is another figure standing in her line of sight. But she does not recognize that it is Jesus Himself.
        • How many times do we fail to recognize Jesus as we are walking in the darkness of this world?
        • And yet Jesus is all around us. Do we see Him?
      • Mary “saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was him.
        • ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”  You can almost hear His tender smile.  But Mary was looking for a dead body, not a living Jesus.
        • “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.”
      • At this, “Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
        • And suddenly, everything changed!!!

          • Jesus simply calls her name! And in John’s Gospel this is the moment when the Resurrection is declared.  And it’s not done by Jesus telling Mary Who He is, it’s done by Jesus telling Mary who she is!!!
        • This is the turning point. Nothing will ever be the same again!
          • The world seems without meaning until God speaks our name and calls us to Himself, and everything is changed.
          • The Resurrection took place for Mary when Jesus spoke her name!
          • The chaos, despair and hopelessness and darkness was gone as she ran to the Light of Life!!!
        • Mary went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’
          • And that is what we are called to do…not just with our mouths, but with our entire lives.
          • You see, belief in the resurrection is more than some intellectual agreement to the story of the gospels.   The power of Easter is not found in mere assent that Jesus walked out of the tomb.
            • The power of Easter is the power of the resurrection itself, present in the life of those who truly follow Christ. Jesus is raised by the power of God into a new way of life, a new existence.
          • The power of Easter comes as the resurrected Lord is raised to a new way of life, and then shares that life with us.
            • Those of us who follow Christ share not only in his name but in this Life to which he is raised.
            • Because he is risen, we share in his new existence.

 

  • We are an Easter people.

    • We are not just a people of a spring-time celebration...

      • For us to be an Easter people means the daily realization that the very power of God which raised Jesus from the dead is also the very same power which flows in and through us as His followers
    • To be an Easter people means that even as the long dark nights come, even as the daily grind wears at us, even as the tugs and bumps of the problems of each day come our way, we know that it is not our own strength which sustains us.
    • Rather, "Because he lives, I can face tomorrow."
      • Because he lives, and lives in me; because my true life is hidden with Christ in God, and will be fully revealed in that great day a-coming, I can live today with grace and power no matter what comes.

For "Christ our Lord is Risen!" "He is Risen, indeed!

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