LIVING IN SUNDAY
THE STORY CHAPTER 27 / Matthew 27:62-28:10
INTRODUCTION… Some People Live for Certain Days (P)
Each of us has something in common… we all are slaves to time and we experience life on a day in and day out basis. We give the days specific names so we can help mark the passage of time. Some of us live for certain days…
Depending on your personality type… some people often live for Mondays. Mondays are the start of the work week and signal a new week of possibilities and the ability to get things done. Mondays often have holidays which make it kind of like a weekend step-brother. For example, “From 1971 on, Memorial Day has always been on a Monday which signals the unofficial start of the summer, BBQs, movies, and mattress sales” (Allan West). There’s even Monday Night Football to look forward for some. Some people… and Garfield the cat… don’t like Mondays, but overall it’s a pretty good day.
Tuesdays are the absolute worst day of the week. By the very nature of its place on the calendar, it is the black sheep of the week. Tuesday used to be great, but it has fallen away. Ed McMahon once said, “there was a time when people didn’t go out of their house on Tuesday night at eight o’ clock because Milton Berle was on.” That was back in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Tuesday now is relegated to specials at restaurants where you can get good deals on combos like at Your Pie and many times kids eat free at Cody’s Roadhouse, TGI Fridays, Beef O Brady’s, Dennys, Fazolis, IHOP, Moes, and 27 other restaurants (coupondiva.com). Poor Tuesday, it’s the Kids Eat Free Day.
Wednesdays are many times a day people live for. Camels certainly do! Wednesday signals the mid-part of the week and brings with the dawn a ray of hope that the ever loved weekend is right around the corner. As a shameless plug, NBCC has a wonderful fellowship meal and different groups that meet on Wednesday to give you a spiritual boost in the middle of the week and hopefully encourage you in your walk with Jesus Christ… for many that is an essential part of the their week.
Thursdays bring with it the hope of its big brother Friday and for those who like to party and drink… every Thursday night is “Ladies Night” at clubs and bars. I suppose that is why Fridays (the day after) in many places is not a great day for employee production and work completion. I seem to notice that Thursdays is also the night where good TV has lived. Some people live for good TV and Thursdays is a great night for that. Some very famous TV shows have made their homes on Thursday Nights: Fame (1981-1983), The Cosby Show (1984-1992), Hill Street Blues (1981-1987), Cheers (1983-1993), Family Ties (1984-1987), LA Law (1986-1994), ER (1994-2009), Friends (1995-2004), and The Office (2007-2013) (wikipedia.org/wiki/Must_See_TV).
Ah then there are the Fridays. Fridays are the days for paychecks, High School Football, dates with that special person, it signals the end of the school week, and even blockbuster movie premiers. Fridays the traffic on the roads is the worst because people are in a rush to get to what is often the freest part of their lives… the weekend. Friday reigns supreme in the week as the most favorite because what happens right after. And what happens right after Monday through Friday is the Weekend which holds the precious days of Saturday and Sunday.
Last time we were in The Story, we looked at chapter 26 which is all about Jesus’ last week on Earth. He concluded His physical life and His ministry with a week that is unimaginable for most of us. There were no days of eating free or TV shows or movie premiers or ladies nights at the local tavern. There certainly was no pay check on Friday. In fact, Friday was the day Jesus paid out for all of us.
1 Peter 2:21-24 reminds us of this fact, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. 22 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
The Friday that Jesus died on the cross for you and for me is the most significant Friday that has ever graced a calendar. Period. Yet, we must understand that Jesus Christ did not STAY DEAD and time marched on while Jesus was in the tomb. The people that were left behind… Mary the mother of Jesus, the other 65 Marys mentioned in the Gospels, the disciples, the other followers of Jesus… all had to endure a weekend that was unlike any other. They had to live through Saturday and Sunday.
READ MATTHEW 27:62-65
“The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first." 65 "Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”
I wonder what those people who loved Jesus and followed Him experienced on Saturday. That Saturday was a no hope, no courage, no point, no sense, no work, no solution, no joke, no words, no fun kind-of-day. I want you to notice from the passage we just read, that the opponents of Jesus celebrated His death because they had finally gotten rid of this Person they felt was encroaching on their power. Soldiers were posted at the tomb. I’m sure the chief priests and Pharisees breathed a sigh of relief.
Meanwhile, Jesus’ disciples were hiding in fear that they, too, would receive a cross and suffer horribly and be killed for following Jesus. The disciples hid behind closed doors in fear. The disciples who had walked and talked with Jesus did not understand that He would die and that He would rise again… even though He told them!
Mark 9:31-32, “He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.” Other passages like Mark 8:21 and 10:24 show us that the disciples did not always fully understand what Jesus was teaching, what He was doing, and what the point of their time together would lead to. And it wasn’t just the disciples that were disillusioned. Please notice that the women had spend Saturday planning out how they would prepare Jesus’ body for its final resting place. Mark 16:1-3 shares with us, “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" They had spend all day Saturday focused on grief and thinking about the dreadful job that awaited them the next day.
We know of course that Saturday for the Jews was the Sabbath and none of them would have been doing any work or anything like that. I imagine that Saturday was a discouraging day full of hopelessness because they saw the last three years of their lives come to a deathly end. They had nothing to do but sit and think and stew in their hopelessness. Questions filled the air… what would they do now? Where would they live? How would they avoid the authorities? How could they hide and then sneak out of the city? Had God abandoned them? Is this all there is? I see in a passage related to Jesus’ resurrection that many of the disciples were going to absolutely drop all that they learned and would try and go back to their old lives.
John 21:2-3 tells us, “Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 "I'm going out to fish” Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” This passage tells me that 64% or 7/11 (remember there’s no Judas!) of the disciples had absolutely given up and were going to go back to their old lives. They had no idea what to do.
They gave up in hopelessness that Jesus was the Messiah.
They gave up not knowing what they were supposed to do with their lives.
They embraced sadness and lost-ness and forgot all that Jesus had taught them by words and deeds.
In terms of worst days, I would say that this Saturday ranked as the worst in these people’s lives. Jesus had not come off the cross, but had died and was buried. Jesus had been beaten almost beyond recognition and the followers of Jesus were now scattered and afraid and hiding.
I thought a lot about what the disciples were experiencing on this Saturday… and I hope you are now as well. They were living in a Saturday full of no hope and no purpose and no answers. We, too, can easily get stuck in Saturday, living with a Saturday state of mind—no hope, no courage, no plans, believing that death is the final end or that God has abandoned us to our circumstances.
Yet in all of this, the week marches on for them.
In our lives, the week marches on.
All four Gospels record Jesus resurrection and we have four different perspectives to draw on about this significant Sunday. Let’s read this morning from Matthew 28 and we’ll sprinkle some John 20 in along the way.
READ MATTHEW 28:1-10
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
Sunday was a day unlike any other. This Sunday was a day unlike any other Sunday in the history of Sundays and is perhaps the absolute greatest day that has every existed on the calendar. This particular Sunday was Resurrection Day [!]… a day of eternal love [!] Renewed life [!] And unending hope [!]
TAG: Live in Sunday.
Mary Magdalene came to Jesus’ tomb stuck in a Saturday state of mind. In fact, when she found the tomb empty she said, "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him” (John 20:13). The empty tomb did not take away her despair and grief in fact it seemed to magnify because she felt someone had come and stolen His body in an effort to desecrate Him even further than had already been done that Friday. The angels she met did not take away her grief because I think her mind and heart were swirling with the dizziness of despair. This woman who loves Jesus dearly had the sadness and hopelessness of Saturday shadowing her heart.
TAG: Live in Sunday.
John 20 and Matthew 28 agree that Jesus, alive from the dead, meets with Mary Magdalene and calls her by name. Mary thought wrongly that Jesus was the gardener because she did not expect to see Him… at all. I also happen to think that she was beyond hysterical and just was out of her mind with worry. John 20:16 records for us that Jesus spoke Mary’s name and she realized that Jesus, her Lord, is alive from the dead. She fell down and worshipped Him.
Relief swept her.
Hope filled her heart.
Purpose energized her soul.
Confidence was renewed.
Faith was again realized.
Safety was assured.
Understanding perhaps dawned a little.
Jesus was calling for Mary to leave the Saturday behind and live in Sunday.
TAG: Live in Sunday.
ILLUSTRATION… Max Lucado and His Brother D
Author and Minister Max Lucado tells the story of his brother, D. D was an outgoing, friend-making, joy-bringing kind of guy and D was a personal ambassador for his shy, younger brother, Max. In his teen years D met a bootlegger and alcohol trapped D. For four decades D drank away his health, his friends, his jobs and his money. At age 54 D made a serious decision to join AA. His life and marriage stabilized, but the years of alcohol and smoking 3 packs a day left D in very fragile health. He began to have chest pains. He was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance. By the time his wife, Donna, arrived with one of their sons, D was gone. They went in to see his now dead body. One of his hands was resting on his thigh with his fingers curled in the international sign language form of “I love you.” Max knows why D did that. He had moved out of Saturday into Sunday; out of desperation into hope; out of fear into courage. By God’s grace D moved from Saturday to Sunday.
TAG: Live in Sunday.
ILLUSTRATION… Tim and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (p)
Or take Tim for example. Tim always thought of himself as a regular guy. He loved his family, worked hard, went to church, and even volunteered at the local homeless shelter. But life began to go sideways on him. His employer cut back his hours because of the economy and something to do with health insurance. His bills started to stack up. He wasn’t sure if he should tell his wife that they were three months behind on rent. One of his boys was getting into trouble at school and started to hang out with the wrong crowd. It all seemed to crush in on him the day his wife called him at work and told him she lost her job. Tim drove home that day from work and just sat in the driveway in his car. What would they do now? Where would they live if they lost their house? How would they avoid the bill collectors? Had God abandoned him and his family? What was he supposed to think?
Tim made a decision right in the car that he would choose to trust in God. He would choose to have faith even though it seemed hopeless and all he had were questions. Tim got out of his car and his kids met him on the sidewalk up to the house. “Come in dad!” the kids yelled. They sure seemed excited about something! He walked into his house to his wife humming and cooking and preparing something special. He was at a loss! She had just lost her job and she was celebrating! Tim reminded himself of his prayer in the car just moments before that he would trust in God and have faith and choose to believe in a God who works for the good of those who love Him.
He sat down to the dinner table where his wife proceeded to tell about her day. She had lost one job in the morning and by the afternoon had another job closer to home that paid exactly the same money. They were even going to give her a signing on bonus… she asked Tim what they should do with the extra money.
TAG: Live in Sunday.
Today is Sunday. I do mean the day of the week is Sunday… but I also mean something so much more for us today. It is Sunday. We serve a Risen Savior that conquered death and fear and hopelessness and He is inviting us to move from a Saturday state of mind into Sunday lifestyle. The choice is yours.
Choose to react in faith when life is more than you can bear.
Choose to believe that you are in the palm of God’s hand.
Choose to live your life with God’s purposes in mind.
Choose hope over hopelessness.
Choose prayer over worry.
I do not have to tell you that every single day of the week can be hard. Life can get difficult and we wonder how we will get through. The answer for those of us who are already believers is that we are to TAG: Live in Sunday.
Sunday is hope in a hopeless situation.
Sunday is faith when you don’t see the reason.
Sunday is patience when worry wants to overwhelm.
Sunday is forgiveness when you want to hate.
Sunday is grace when you don’t want to give it.
Sunday is giving when you feel like keeping it all.
Sunday is living out the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
TAG: Live in Sunday.