Summary: An Easter Sunday Sermon
Luke 24: 1-11 "Fiction or Non-Fiction"
True or False! Fact or Fiction! Fiction or Non-fiction!
These are the questions which plague us this morning and which plagued the women and the disciples 2000 years ago on the first Easter morning. Had Jesus really risen from the grave? Did the women tell the truth? Was this an idle tale as it says in the last first of the gospel lesson?
To answer these questions, I would like to share with you some of the thoughts that must have gone around the minds, hearts and souls of Mary Magdalene and Peter as they viewed the empty tomb.
First Mary. The women were going to the tomb soon after sunrise to finish preparing the body for burial. This was the job of women. I imagine they did it this time out of loving devotion, loving hearts, as their final act of service to this man, this man who claimed to be God, who made them feel whole, respected and worthwhile as no other man did in that time.
So they approach the tomb. They begin to wonder how they will slide the rook away. But when they come, the rock is moved they rush in, but no body. Then all of a sudden, two men’ two angels in dazzling apparel appear and tell them He is risen, saying: "Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified and on the third day rise "
And Mary thought to herself, "Oh yes, yes I remember those words how. I remember wondering at the time how this could he possible. But then why not? He raised Larurus from the dead, and the Jarius daughter, and the boy at Nain and yes this is indeed possible. I must hurry back to tell the others. I cannot wait for the rest, I must run, I must fly to tell the others this wonderful news."
As she ran she stops fast in her tracks and a sudden sickening thought races across her mind, "What if they don’t believe me, what if they regard my excitement as foolish!!""How can I tell that them we’ve all been set free? I’m only a woman! They won’t listen to me!! They’ll think I’m imagining..... Out of my head......Will the others believe?"Will they beat me or scoff at me? Put me away?. . It’s my duty to tell . ...But what will they say?"
Mary begins again her journey to the upper room, a bit slower with a bit less excitement in her voice and in her heart. She arrives and says:" He is risen. The tomb is empty. The angels told me and the others that he is risen as he told us he would. Remember his words? The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise."
The people in the upper room starred at her in disbelief. How can this be true, they thought? How can it be tune?
’’but these words seemed to them an idle tale and they did not believe them."
Is what happened 2000 years ago an idle tale, a story of fiction, or is it true, real, non-fiction, a fact to be reckoned , with?
Let us now turn to Peter and see his thoughts after Mary tells them what she an d the women had seen.
Peter thinking to himself says:
"Mary just told us Jesus had risen. I want to believe that, I want to believe with my whole heart. But it can’t be true. How can someone who was dead come alive again??
"I didn’t see Jesus die, but John told me he was dead. The words that Mary brought from the tomb spoken by the two angels sound familiar. I think Jesus did say something like that not once but several times. I remember him even becoming angry with me for saying it would never happen!!"
"Oh, how I wish I would have paid more attention to him instead of my own thoughts and emotions. I wonder I really wonder if this can be true!!"
"God could have raised Him, maybe He did?? Boy I don’ t want to deny anything about Christ again, three times is enough!!!"
"I know, I’ll get up an go to the tomb and check it out for myself. Then I will know, yes that is what I will do."
Peter gets us, leaves the room and John follows. They arrive, go in and find Jesus’ body is gone. John believes and hurries back to tell the others.
Peter wanders the hillside thinking, wondering, fighting with himself, wanting to believe, but not being really sure.