Summary: Jesus had promised that He would overcome the grave, but those who loved Him so could not understand how pain and sorrow could ever translate into joy and salvation.

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Devastation To Resurrection

John 20:1-16

It had been a week of emotion. There was the fever pitched frenzy of adoring crowds lining the streets, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” as they welcomed Jesus on Palm Sunday. While the excitement lingered, the crowd gathered with clenched fists shouting, “Crucify Him!” Before they knew it the sounds of cheers had been replaced with the sounds of flesh being torn and the sound of steel against steel as nails were being driven into Jesus’ hands and feet. With every blow of the hammer, devastation pounded the hearts of those who watched their Lord die in agony. Who would have ever thought that one could experience such heights and depths all in a week’s time?

Life can be like that you know? One day you are riding the waves of satisfaction when suddenly the waves begin to beat so fiercely upon the hull of your heart that it breaks into shreds. One day you are enjoying life to its full and the next day finds you looking into a mirror and seeing nothing but emptiness and sorrow. Have you ever ridden that roller coaster of emotion that I am speaking of this morning? I have a few friends who have taken the ride.

Just this past week Bobby Ross from the Daily Oklahoman sat in my office. He was writing a story about Jason and Jill Mirikitani and wanted to ask me some questions. As we talked I focused on January 13th and January 15th. January 13th was a “Kodak Moment” for Jason and Jill and all of our church. I was away that morning, preaching at Village Christian Church as they had lost their pastor and we were helping them with their loss.

Jill sang the most beautiful song before Jason ever stood to preach. She sang the Easter story of the two followers of Jesus who were walking away from Jerusalem with their heads down, dejected, and feeling all alone after Jesus’ death. Before the end of Jill’s song Jesus joined the two men. As he took the bread their eyes were opened and their sorrow turned to exuberant joy…Jesus opened their eyes and they could see. Jill’s countenance changed as she began to sing the chorus,

Yes, I can see who walks with me

I can see who speaks my name

And I can feel something stirring in my heart

How His words ring strong and true

Like a once familiar strain

And I know that I’ll never be the same

I can see

I can see

I can see!

Following Jill’s song, Jason preached for the very first time at our church and it was a sermon that struck a chord in so many hearts. God used Jason to drive home one of the most important biblical truths that you and I can cling to in life – When you can’t see God’s hand you can trust His heart. He repeated that phrase over and over again. He told stories from his own life to illustrate his sermon, as well as stories from the lives of men and women who are written about in God’s Word. By the end of the sermon there was not a soul present who walked away wondering what God was trying to teach us.

I talked to Jason after he preached that day and he was so honored to have the opportunity to teach God’s Word. Sunday, January 13th was a glorious moment for Jason and Jill. Just two days later their joy, and ours, turned to sorrow. Deep, agonizing sorrow, that is still with us today. We learned on January 15th that Jason and Jill had been in a car wreck, Jill had died, and Jason was not expected to live through the night. Oh, there were so many plans, such a promising future, the sky was the limit for the ministry that God had given to these two, young, talented friends of ours.

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