Summary: This sermon compares the events of Covid 19 isolation to the events of the first Easter as it relates to isolation and fear.
COMING OUT OF THE UPPER ROOM (Easter Son Rise Service 2020)
Text: John 20:19 -20
John 20:19-21 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” (20) When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (21) Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
In the midst of all that we have encountered, during this time of pandemic and social distancing we have some anxiety because we cannot do what we would normally do.
We have to avoid crowds. Everything has to be sanitized for our safety. We have to avoid germs and wear masks and gloves when we go out in public because we do not want to get sick or get others sick.
Though most of us will avoid it for our safety, there are some who will gather to worship. The majority of us will avoid congregating as all congregations that make up the Body of Christ that we call the Church to help prevent the spread of this virus. But, that will NOT STOP the church from gathering in small clusters all over the world as they will get up to see the rising of the sun as well as the Resurrection of the Son of God who defeated sin, death and the fear of death.
By the way this is not the first time the church has been isolated. The very first Easter the very “first church” was isolated. Some have called the gathering of the disciples in the Upper Room the church. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Upper_Room. This gatheriing obviously was called the “first church”.
Jesus’s first disciples had participated in following Jesus for thee years anticipating greater and greater things to come. Jesus had been telling them many times before that the day would come when He would not be with them any more.
Toward the very end of what we have historically called The Last Supper which was held in that Upper Room, Jesus told them once again that time was getting rapidly shorter when He would not be with them any more. In John 13:33, during the Last Supper Jesus said, ”My dear children, I am only to be with you a little longer. Then you will be looking for me: and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you, Where I am going you may not come” (ESV). He even tells Peter that he would deny knowing Him three times before the rooster crows (John 13:38).
Jesus also told them that they would do greater works in John 14:12: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. In fact, in John’s Gospel Jesus told His disciples four times that “He was going to the Father twice in John 14: (verses 12 and 28) and twice in John 16:17, 28).
Then later Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested, interrogated, stripped, beaten thirty-nine times with the cat of nine tails---a special whip used by the Romans to torture prisoners. Then at the last Jesus was crucified between two thieves.
Once in Luke’s Gospel Jesus said, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead” (Luke 24:46 ESV).
After Jesus died, they got permission to get Him off the Cross and get him ready for burial. As we know Jesus was buried in a tomb that was sealed with a stone.
How could a Savior save the world if He died?
Wait a minute, “Had the disciples forgotten all of these things that Jesus said?
Had a beautiful dream come to an end? Was life turning out like they planned? How would the world ever be the same?
Mary Magdalene went to the empty tomb and then ran and told Peter and the disciple who Jesus loved.
They went to explore the mystery of the empty tomb then they went back home (John 20:10). Mary stayed at the tomb weeping.
Did the empty tomb mean doom?
Had someone stolen Jesus’s body? Mystery clue number one, why would a thief take time time to play “Mr. Clean” and fold that napkin? (John 20:7). Mystery clue number two, someone (Finis Dake and others) said “These things were lying in place as they were when they were wrapped about Him. He had merely passed out of them without disturbing them, not needing as Lazarus to be loosed (John_11:44). (Finis Dake’s Study Notes). Again, the disciples went to explore the mystery of the empty tomb then they went back home (John 20:10). Back to the Upper Room.