Sermons

Summary: It was dark days from Good Friday to Easter - but a new day dawns

“A New Day Dawning”

April 28, 2019

Acts 1:1-14

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

I sometimes put myself in the place of the people I read about in the Bible. I can hardly imagine what it was like that first Easter. Before this life altering event, you have the bravery and false bravado. Listen to these courageous men:

“So when he (Jesus) heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” John 11:6-8,16

“Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”

Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”

Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”

And so said all the disciples.” Matthew 26:1-35

I’m sure these men were sincere. They were committed. They believed! They had even been tested - a little bit. They had been around Jesus when they were going to throw Him off a cliff. Another time the phony religious rulers were going to stone Him. They saw Jesus emerge triumphant and get the best of the Scribes and Pharisee’s again and again in the public square. That gave them a false courage because they had never seen Jesus defeated and overcome. Even though He warned them time and again – they didn’t get it.

Then that horrible Friday came. It began with a betrayal in the Garden and ended with His crucifixion and in between those days there was scourging and beatings and mockery. And how did they react?

“Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” Matthew 26:56

“Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”

But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”

And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”

And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”

Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”

Matthew 26:69-74

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