Summary: Often we do not recognize when God is at work in our lives. Even those that walked with Jesus had difficulty recognizing the Risen Lord (Ideas for this sermon taken from an article entitled A Manifold Resurrection by John Witte and a Christianity Today
As I was reading the accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ … most started with …
Mk 15:22 Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.
(Picture- skull/cross bones, Tina Manthorpe)
There is a principle that unfolds out of scripture-
life comes out of death
In a spiritual sense-
death comes first, then life
crucifixion precedes resurrection
despair is followed by hope
darkness is invaded by light (Gen 1:2-3)
Consider this word spoken by Jesus looking towards His crucifixion and resurrection …
Jn 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. NLT
It was easy for the disciples to understand- Jesus died.
They witnessed it on a hill side outside of Jerusalem.
They were stunned because they expected Him to …
save them from- oppressive Roman rule
establish His Kingdom in Jerusalem,
but they watched Him die the horrible death of Roman crucifixion- they knew He was dead.
They may have been there when He breathed is last-
Mtt 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. NASU
Jesus was dead!
They may also have watched as Joseph of Arimathea took His body down from the cross.
Mk 15:46 Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. NASU
There hopes were one by one smashed to the ground.
Defeat, despair, death had prevailed, there was nothing left to do now but go home.
Jesus had died/buried for all to see in clear view.
Birth of Jesus
Back up 33 year before when Jesus was born in Bethlehem- it also did not happen in secret.
God orchestrated the incarnation of Christ-
God taking on the form of a man
God taking off the robes of heaven and putting on the robes of mortality and human life.
His birth …
was foretold by the prophets many years before,
God commissioned an angel to announce His birth to a virgin,
He set a star in the heavens to summons the wise men,
He sent a company of singing angels to pronounce His birth to the shepherds,
He revealed to Simon/Anna- Jesus is the Christ.
Jesus was …
born amidst great activity and hope,
then He died publicly for all to see, and
now it appeared to be over- hopes dashed to the ground.
But that was not to be the end of this man Jesus.
He would live again!
However, His resurrection was not as well announced as His birth or as public as His death.
It all happened in the early morning hours.
An angel like a flash of light rolled the stone away from the entrance to the tomb.
There was an earthquake, but it all happened while everyone slept.
No angels, no stars, no wise men, few truly understood what had taken place.
In fact, those that encountered Jesus after His resurrection had a difficult time recognizing Him.
Not unlike us today, who struggle many times to see the risen Lord at work in our lives/circumstances.
Mary- a woman- Jesus cast out seven demons.
Jn 20:1-12 (tell story)
Mary- afraid, upset- she loved Jesus, she had a revelation of His love for her- He set her free.
The least she could- tend to His dead body, all that remained for her of the Jesus she loved.
Jn 20:10-17 (read)
Angels- revealed themselves to Mary- not Peter/John.
Like many of us at times, Mary was mistaken, she misunderstood/misinterpreted the circumstances.
She had preconceived ideas concerning the Lord and what had just transpired over the past several days.
Her misconceptions kept her from recognizing Jesus.
Not only was Jesus dead- body was missing, stolen for some evil purpose by those who hated Him.
Our misconceptions likewise keep us from recognizing the Risen Christ at work in our lives.
So often- misinterpret- circumstances of every day life
We fail to understand what is happening and despair.
As a result we do not recognize the presence of God.
What can we see in this story …
• Misconceptions and false ideas
God wants to break down our misconceptions/false ideas so we can understand the truth/reality of life,
we can properly interpret our circumstances.
• Despair blinds us to His presence
When we over focus on- problems- miss His presence.
At times like this He will call us by name to assure us of His love and presence in our lives.
He will touch us in some way personally.