The Ultimate Easter Egg
March 31, 2002: Easter morning
Recently, an article was published that revealed the secrets of hidden “surprises” in computer software and video games. Programmers add these surprises to give the programs an added appeal. Some of the examples were funny like hidden message” I’m being held prisoner in a software factory.” Others were meant to entertain like a hidden computer pinball game in the Microsoft ward 97 program and hidden virtual picture of the mountain peaks and blue skies in Microsoft Excel 97.
Do you know what these little hidden software surprises are called? Easter eggs.
It somehow seems fitting that these surprises are called Easter Eggs. The process of finding these hidden programs is much like an Easter Egg hunt. First, you have to search for the hidden program. Second, you have to find the hidden surprise and finally, you make the discovery.
The same is true of the first Easter morning. Today, I want you to get a glimpse of God’s surprise for your life as we look at the ultimate Easter Egg.
Read Luke 24:1-12
I. There must be a search
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
A. The women went to find the body of Jesus
1. The stone was rolled away
a.) The tomb had been open in an unusual fashion
1.) We must remember that the stone that closed the tomb was very large and could have weighed nearly a ton or more
2.) The tombs were sealed by a circular wheel like stone that fit the opening nearly exact and were extremely difficult to remove
3.) The tomb of Jesus was also sealed by either use of wax or cement that further closed the tomb
b.) This was cause for alarm
1.) They did not understand what has happening
2.) They did not remember the teachings of Jesus
2. The body of Jesus was gone
a.) The women searched for the body
1.) The tomb was likely somewhat large because Joseph of Arimethea was wealthy and this tomb was meant for his family. It would likely have two chambers, one small chamber that was for an entrance and a much larger chamber for burials
2.) The body of Jesus was gone. It was nowhere to be found
b.) The meaning of this event
1.) The first conclusion: the body was stolen
a.) Remember, these women did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead. They watched him die, they went when Joseph buried Jesus and now came with expensive perfumes and oils to anoint the body
b.) The first and most logical conclusion was that the body was stolen
2.) The second conclusion: Jesus was raised from the dead
B. People all around us are searching
1. There is a deep spiritual hunger
a.) Sept. 11th triggered a massive shift back toward spiritual things. Phrases like: “In God we trust” and “God bless America” were everywhere
b.) The search leads people in the wrong direction sometimes and leads to spiritual confusion
2. Muslim convert Illustration
Dr. Seamands tells of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa. "Some of his friends asked him, ’Why have you become a Christian?’ He answered, ’Well, its like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions, and you didn’t know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive--which one would you ask which way to go?’"
3. Key questions
a.) What are you searching for in life?
b.) Where are searching?
II. There must be a surprise
4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 `The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ "
A. The women are greeted by the angels
1. The angels arrive
a.) The women were still trying to make sense of what was going on and two angels arrive
b.) The angels ask a powerful question: Why do you look for the living among the dead?
2. The angels bring good news
a.) An amazing announcement
1.) The angels tell the women: He is not here; He is risen!
2.) This is one of those wow moments in life
b.) A gentle reminder
1.) The angels remind the women of the teachings of Jesus
2.) Jesus had told them that he would die and be raised again.
B. People are often surprised in life
1. Life is full of surprises
a.) Historical examples
1.) Declaration of Independence
2.) The telephone
3.) The personal computer
b.) Personal examples
1.) Life is changing at a rapid rate. Nothing stays the same form one day to the next, just watch the news
2.) Surprises await us with each new day. No one knows what tomorrow holds.
2. A precious reminder
a.) There is one thing that will not change
1.) The message of the angels – He is not here; he is risen!
2.) We have been given a wonderful message and a wonderful gift. We have an empty tomb to prove it
b.) Take just a moment to remember
1.) Remember the blessings that God has given to you
2.) Remember the gift God has offered to you
III. There must be a discovery
8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
A. The women remember
1. They remember the message of Jesus
a.) The disciples never understood Jesus and the predictions of His death and resurrection
b.) This just did not fit into their concept of Messiah
2. They return to the disciples
a.) These women rushed back to the disciples to share the good news
b.) It is important to notice that their first instinct was to go and share the good news
3. They report their discovery
a.) The women shared the events of the day with the disciples
1.) The discovery of the empty tomb
2.) The appearance of the angels
3.) The message of the angels: he is not here; he is risen!
b.) The disciples refused to believe
1.) The disciples would not believe. Literally, they continued to not believe
2.) Social Services Letter Illustration
ILLUS - The Department of Social Services in Greenville County, South Carolina, once sent the following form letter: “Your food stamps will be stopped, effective immediately because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.”
B. Life is meant to be a discovery
1. Sarahsville, Ohio discovery
a.) The search for salt
b.) The discovery of oil
2. What about you?
a.) Have you made the greatest discovery of life?
b.) Have you discovered the surprise of Easter?