Summary: Because of the resurrection there is now power in the midst of our failure.
I'm Jimmy Seibert and I'm the senior pastor here for the Antioch community and family. You guys already know me but for those that are guests here, I'm so glad that you would choose to celebrate this weekend with us. This weekend is what we call Easter but is simply celebrating the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And today there are literally hundreds of millions of people across the world celebrating that truth. Whether it is within the refugee camps of the Middle East, persecuted house churches in china, homeless shelters throughout the western world, cathedrals and churches people are gathered by the hundreds of millions to celebrate that Jesus is alive. And we are in good company to be a part of that journey.
There is one scripture that I think captures the essence of who Jesus is and what he wants to be to us today and that is John 11:25 and 26. Jesus said to Mary, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even if he dies and everyone who believes in me will never die. Jesus is the resurrection and the hope for eternal life. He is also the hope in the midst of our broken lives. There is another day...there may be weeping in the night but there will be rejoicing the morning because Jesus lives. He will carry us through.
My question this morning is "are you connected to this truth? Are you connected to Jesus? Or are you on the outside looking in? As I've shared in the past, I grew up going to church mainly on Christmas and Easter. My memories of Easter are more about getting new cool clothes, candy in the baskets, and the thick chocolate bunnies that hopefully were one of those solid ones and not one of those that break in the middle. The highlight of the day was to go to church and go to Luby's cafeteria. I just want to say that I unapologetically love Luby's cafeteria. Luby's was a big deal because we didn't go out to eat much. But somehow I had missed that the centerpiece of the day was supposed to be church, talking about Jesus...but, it just went right by me. I was on the outside looking in. As I've read the bible I realize that even Jesus disciples were on the outside looking in on Easter weekend. They should have understood it but they were a little disconnected, they weren't putting all the pieces together. So, I want to tell the story through the eyes of those disconnected disciples. For you see, it wasn't always that way, they weren't always disconnected. They were right in the middle of everything in the ministry of Jesus. Each one of them had been selected by Jesus, hand-picked. I mean Jesus had literally walked up to different ones and said, "Peter follow me", "Andrew follow me." "Matthew, follow me". Can you imagine how special they felt? How unique of all the people in the world, Jesus chose me to follow him. Maybe you've had that experience every once in a while were you were chosen, it was an exciting time. I remember the first time that became clear in my mind. It was little league baseball back in the 1970s. So in our little league baseball it had age graded leagues that you were in but then when you were 11 years old, you had the chance to make the Majors. And, if you didn't get selected then you were in the minor leagues. Then when you were 12, you were in the Majors. So, it was a big deal at 11 years old you were hoping to make the major league. How they used to do it you set in the stands and the coaches would do the draft and call your name over a loud speaker and you would run out on to the field and stand next to your new team. And, whoever was left in the stands didn't make the majors that year. So it's a big deal. I'm sitting there, we had already done the tryouts and I'm sweating it a little bit. I'm hoping I made one of the major league teams at 11 years old. And all of the sudden a guy comes on the microphone and says "the Weston Cardinals and coaches choose in the 6th round...Jimmy Seibert!" I jumped out of the stands, I ran on the field and I was feeling big. Then tripped over first base! I think that was a prophetic picture of my LL career to come. But, I was selected. That day I felt great about myself, who I was. I had been selected or chosen. I can't imagine what it was like to be a disciple. "He chose me. I'm with Jesus. I'm on the inside track." Well, for three years, they would live with Jesus. Travel with Jesus. And they saw some amazing things. They saw the power of God. Really some cool stuff. One time they were in a boat and were going from one side of the lake to the other and a storm popped up. Jesus was asleep in the boat. And they got a little nervous. They were fishermen...but, water was coming over the side. And they thought, we're going to capsize, we're not going to make it. They woke Jesus up. Jesus got up, shook his head thinking "We're going to make it. I'm in the boat, dude." We're going to make it to the other side. But he got up and he demonstrated his power. He spoke to the wind and it stopped. He spoke to the waves and it stopped. He spoke to the rain and it stopped in a moment. Whoa! They exclaimed, "You must be the son of God. No man can do this."