Peace – Prayer – Joy – Love

Resurrection Sunday


  1. Do not be afraid
 – That iconic phrase every time an angel shows up.
    1. They are immediately on the heels of Good Friday / Saturday Vigil.
      1. Could there have been a darker time for Jesus’ closest followers?
      2. Watching their Messiah die and hiding out over the Sabbath
      3. Then to discover a great fear – that Jesus body was not there
  1. We are living in a world full of fear and dread
    1. Tensions in the world are on the rise; Syria, N.Korea, at Home
    2. We ourselves have come through a trying time; some still are.
    3. It’s a hard time to be alive in our world today and not be afraid.
  1. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified
    1. Three times in our passage from John’s Gospel, Mary says essentially,
      They have taken away my Lord, & I do not know where they have laid him.

      1. Mary’s despair is almost palpable, isn’t it?
      2. In her grief, she has come simply to care for the body of her Lord.
      3. Instead of comfort, she encounters yet another trauma / crisis.
  1. We experience that confusion in our lives today; Where is Jesus in this?
    1. Like his Disciples, we too carry expectations and hopes of faith
    2. We often encounter disappointments or trials and feel so alone
    3. We wonder ourselves, Where is Jesus in this?
    4. And instead of comfort, we too experience further trauma/crisis.
  1. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said
    1. They heard the words of Jesus, but they didn’t understand him.
      1. With the hindsight of the whole Scripture & teaching we see it.
      2. They did not have that same 20/20 hindsight, but had to live it out
      3. Jesus spoke of his death and resurrection himself
      4. The prophets spoke of his death and resurrection
      5. But they just weren’t prepared, or in a place yet, to understand
  1. We read his words, maybe even all of Scripture, & still misunderstand
    1. I think we can certainly empathize with them, if we are honest
    2. We too have to come back to the Word, over and over again
    3. We too carry misunderstandings or wrong expectations
    4. We’re the products of good intentioned teaching & reading
    5. But we often experience suffering from those misunderstandings
  1. Come, see the place where he lay
    1. A new and unexpected reality is revealed – a paradigm shifting reality
      1. We see it in the reactions of Mary, John, and Peter
      2. Their minds have to wrestle with a new and unexpected reality
      3. He is not here … He is risen … as he said …
      4. Where they expected to find him, was not the where he was
      5. A lifetime in our world did not prepare him for unexpected life
  1. When we encounter the risen Christ, even today, it changes things!
    1. We are still encountering that paradigm shifting discovery today
    2. We are still looking for Jesus in the places we’re taught to expect
    3. But his grace, the amazing grace of victory over death, stuns us
    4. Sometimes the realization comes at conversion/or much later
    5. Then, our whole world gets blown open & turned upside down
  1. Then go quickly and tell his disciples
    1. The whole rest of the New Testament is about telling the world!
      1. The Acts of the Apostles & all the Epistles tell a radical story
      2. Their lives were so utterly changed, that they were compelled
      3. Compelled by grace & love & life – an amazing unexpected life
      4. They faced terrible trials, rejection, torture, & horrible deaths
      5. But they never gave up the testimony of their faith – not one!
  1. Our lives are changed when we encounter the love of Christ!
    1. We grow to find that we can face our own terrible trials
    2. We grow to find that our hearts are opened in profound ways
    3. We grow to find that difficulties do not matter so much
    4. Our perspective is shifted – given life – and a new birth of Joy
    5. We grow to find that we live in victory instead of fear
  1. So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy
    1. A life changed by and committed to following Jesus is not easy
      1. Their recorded testimonies assure us of those great trials
        1. We know from historical records of their painful ends
        2. We know from the biblical records of their painful journeys
        3. We know that their faith did not automatically lead to ease
      2. Our own lives of faith often are a record of trial & adversity
        1. We know from our own experiences there are painful ends
        2. We know from our own experiences these painful journeys
        3. We know that our faith does not automatically lead to ease
      3. A life transformed in the resurrection love of Jesus is the greatest joy!
        1. The record of their lives testifies to great joy & conviction of faith
          1. The joy & perseverance they embodied gives testimony
          2. The result of that perseverance is a world transformed
          3. That transformation brings life, love, compassion, & hope
        2. Our lives our testimonies of overcoming joy & conviction
          1. Our congregation has a testimony of overcoming life
          2. Many of our people have testimonies of overcoming life
          3. And so we have this hope of resurrection to share!


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