Summary: One of the joys of Easter are Christ’s words, "Do not be afraid."

Title SlideMatthew 28:1-10

Easter Worship

April 12, 2009

BlankHave you ever had to endure a period of life where everything seemed to be going your way? I know, it’s hard to take while it’s happening, isn’t it? On the one hand, you’re thrilled with the way things are going, but at the same there’s a gnawing feeling inside of you . . . you know what I mean don’t you? Ultimately you say, “things have been really good, but you know, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

In other words, life can’t remain going great, something has to happen that’s negative. At least that’s the way most of us think.

Very simply, you know what it’s like when you’ve dusted and vacuumed, yet within a few days, the dust bunnies have returned.

It’s like what I’ve experienced the past 2 weeks, I’ve changed at least 8 light bulbs, one in just about every room . . . a bedroom, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, 3 in front of the house, of which 2 of the bulbs were shattered by wind.

It seems the good times just can’t last. We move from health to sickness to death. From madly in love to just co-existing or divorce. From happily employed to disgruntled to searching the want ads. Why do things seem to change for the worse and why do we have that expectation that this is normal? That the other shoe is going to drop at any time.

We even have to fight with our teeth – clean them, floss them, brush them, rinse them, do it today, then do it again and again, otherwise our teeth decay.

Our own bodies begin to experience more aches and pains. The energy that once allowed us to work 14 hour days isn’t there any more. Visits to doctors guide our calendar. We look at funeral announcements and discover the average age is our age. Life is sliding downward, and there’s no way to stop it.

Order to disorder.

Structure to chaos.

Life to death.

Ever since humanity fell into sin, this is simply the way it’s been and the crazy thing is . . . we know it.

So we write our wills and take out life insurance.

We lower our expectations.

We bury loved ones when they die, with no hope that we’ll see them again in this lifetime.

Life turns to death. And death is the end of the road. Period.

Which is precisely what the women expected and counted on when they trudged to the tomb not knowing it was going to be the first Easter celebration ever.

It had been a violent and cruel weekend. Death came crashing down on their hopes.

Life had been swallowed up in death. It was Sunday morning and time to try and smooth over the rough edges, calm some jagged nerves, grieve together. Go to the tomb . . . to weep, pray and remember. Lay some flowers besides the tomb, then walk back home, talk and cry, then figure out what’s next.

But what greets them! An angel!! Who reminds them Jesus is a man of His word.

Can you imagine the shock?

How would it be if you returned from the cemetery after burying a loved one. Your mind is numb with grief and uncertainty - “How could this be happening? What will we do? How will we go on? If only ...”

Then you step in the front door and there they are, sitting at the dining room table. They’re smiling and laughing and there’s a twinkle in their eye!

We can’t imagine it. It’s impossible!! Against all odds!!

So it was for the women as well. Impossible. Against all odds.

Angels. The stone rolled back. An empty tomb.

The irreversible trend to which we all have grown accustomed, the trend from life to death was reversed.

Jesus rose from the dead . . . spiritually and physically.

He was dead and now He’s alive. It was not a staged event. He was dead. The soldiers, who knew what dead was, said so.

Now - He is alive. The grave is empty.

The resurrection is a fact of history. The pressing question for today is SO WHAT!

So, what does it mean for you and me that Jesus rose from the dead?

We’re less than four months into a new year, with a new president. There are major, major issues which are pressing in our country . . .

The stock market has decreased in value by 35% since last April

The stock market is down. (Dow Jones - 4/11/08 = 12,325 --- 4/11/09 = 8,035)

Unemployment is up . . . 66% in the US in the past year and 88% in Indiana.

(United States — 5.1% to 8.5% = 66% Indiana — 5% to 9.4% = 88%(

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