Summary: Have you ever had your world rocked like Caiaphas? You know where you think you've got everything under control and then wham life sucker punches you? This is the emotion of Good Friday. But Easter has a counter punch.
INTRODUCTION - “What do you mean GONE!” These are the words of Caiaphas in the new TV Series titled AD, but they are also the words of the women when they came to the tomb. They are also the words of the disciples when the women report their findings. Truthfully, they are still our words in the 21st Century. Just recently CNN has been running a series titled “Faith, Fact or Forgery"
What do you mean GONE? A dead body doesn’t just disappear. Besides Caiaphas had set-up certain security measures to insure nothing like this would happen. Caiaphas did not believe Jesus’ words about the Resurrection, but he did believe his followers and sympathizers like Joseph of Armithea were capable of stealing the body in attempts to perpetuate this man’s legacy. Caiaphas believed he had the correct precautions in place in order to prevent a resurrection forgery. So you can appreciate his surprise when he hears the body is gone.
BODY - Have you ever had your world rocked like Caiaphas? You know where you think you've got everything under control and then wham life sucker punches you?
- Our brothers and sisters at the Independent Haitain Church experienced that sucker punch a week ago when 8 of their members were killed in a tragic van accident.
- CPL Honiker’s family received that news when a knock came at their door informing them that their husband/father had been killed in a motorcycle accident.
- A young couple sits before a doctor to learn that they will lose their baby upon delivery
- A man a year out from retirement learns that he has terminal cancer
- A woman after 20+ years of marriage hears, “I don’t love you anymore”.
This is the emotion of Good Friday. This is the pain and agony of what the disciples and followers of Jesus were feeling that day when they watched him being mocked and ridiculed while being hammered to a cross.
Christianity starts on Good Friday. Good Friday is the foundation of our faith but what draws people to Christianity is the hope that is revealed in the empty tomb. If the tomb is not empty then there is no hope and if there is no hope there is no future and if there is no future there is no reason to be engaged in the present.
Christian there is no middle ground you either believe that the full extent of God’s love was revealed on Good Friday or you don’t.
Christian there is no middle ground you either believe the tomb is empty or you don’t.
Middle ground only exists for people who have not been touched by the full extent of God’s love.
Middle ground only exists for people who stand on the outside of the tomb saying, “What Do You Mean GONE!"
Middle ground people are stuck with the question - Who will roll away the stone so that we can see with certainty?
Christian are you ready and willing to roll away the stone for those who are stuck in the middle ground?
CONCLUSION: If you are ready and willing to roll away the stone then choose today to live as people with confidence. Walk with a spring in your step. Encounter the world as someone who knows you are cannot be defeated. No matter the odds against you - love will always win! Seize the moment to invite people to this table. Don’t be frightened of telling people Jesus has prepared a banquet for them. Don’t be embarassed to tell strangers they matter 2 God and they matter 2 you.