Summary: Celebrating the risen Christ who came to give us life, today and forever.
April 4, 2021
I’m going to make a confession that I think many of you know about me. I am a sore loser! Are you that way!? When my team is playing, I have a habit of turning the game off before it’s over. I don’t want to watch the other team celebrate their win. Now, I will admit, I have missed a few amazing comebacks, but that’s why God gave us ESPN and other programs.
If I’m coaching, I will always congratulate the other team. I will be gracious in defeat, always show good sportsmanship, even if it’s burning me up on the inside.
With that in mind, I wonder what it was like for the disciples and the women on Friday night and Saturday after Jesus was crucified. If they were like me, and I kind of think some were, they left without watching the agony of defeat.
The week before they celebrated the thrill of victory as Jesus rode into town as the grand marshal of the parade. On this Friday evening, Jesus, the One they believed was Lord and Savior, the One who they stated was the Son of the Most High God was now dead and placed in a tomb.
Can you imagine living in the Saturday’s of life? If that’s what we had to look forward to, life would be unbearable . . . we would want to escape somewhere, anywhere to get away from the pain and despair.
That’s what makes Easter so great! Think about the week the disciples and followers just endured. It was a crazy week!! They celebrated Jesus’ grand entrance into Jerusalem. The people were shouting and celebrating. It seemed like Jesus’ earthly kingdom was about to begin. It was time to take over and return Israel to the preeminent spiritual, political and military center of the world.
Obviously, they didn’t understand the full scope of who Jesus was and is. You see, part of the power and majesty of Jesus is the fact that Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever!
On this Easter morning, that’s what I want to focus on. It’s an amazing gift that Jesus gives to us. The gift and hope of eternal life through His death and resurrection. It’s an amazing joy to know that we can have LIFE with Jesus. This is not a hope-so or wishful thinking. You can know that you have eternal life - - - and what’s really, really cool is this - - - God wants you to know!
So, this morning, our focus is the empty tomb, but in a little different way. In 1 John 5, we read --
11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
Part of the hope of that passage is the fact that life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. I think we forget about it pretty easily, because we experience pain and suffering.
This morning I am remembering what last year felt like on Easter Sunday. You all weren’t here. Last year, we were like the disciples, secluded in our homes, hiding away. We were trying and still are, trying to stay hidden and not catch the virus.
We may feel like we’re locked up in a dark tomb, as though the darkness of "Good Friday" and Saturday might go on forever with little hope in sight. And yet all around us, we see signs of spring, signs of awakening, signs of hope, signs of resurrection. Spring blooms all around us: Birds sing, some hot days, stormy days, there’s signs of hope, signs of new life.
So we end up more focused on heaven than on what Jesus is offering us today. It’s a good thing to focus on heaven, but we miss out on today’s offer.
We need to trust that eternal life begins as soon as you say YES to Jesus. That means you begin to live this life which has a future and present hope. The hope today is that you have the power of Jesus dwelling within you through the Holy Spirit. That’s a promise from God. It’s the assurance of His hope!
Listen to what Jesus said about this ---
47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. – John 6:47
He also said ----
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life.
He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. – John 5:24