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Summary: Why did John focus on Mary Magdalene’s viist to the tomb in his gospel? What was there about what she saw and what she believed that made her story so important to his story?

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OPEN: I’m going to name 4 characters in a famous TV show and then I’m going to ask you to name that show. Ready?

Bert and Ernie

The Cookie Monster

Big Bird

Name that show! (Sesame Street).

Now, how many of you remember a character from that show named “Mr. Hooper”? (a few hands were raised) Years ago the producers of Sesame Street were faced with a dilemma. The actor who played the popular “Mr. Hooper” had passed away, and the producers were faced with how to communicate the concept of death to the 10 million children (most of whom are under 6) who watch the show. So they consulted with some child psychologists on how they should handle it.

The Child psychologists suggested they NOT say, “Mr. Hooper got sick and died,” because children get sick and they are not going to die.

And the psychologists suggested they NOT say, “Mr. Hooper got old and died,” because little children think of their parents as being old.

And the staff of Sesame Street decided to AVOID religious issues and not say, “Mr. Hooper died and went to Heaven.”

The show’s producers decided to say just a few basics: He’s gone, he won’t be back, and he’ll be missed.

The day of the show, Big Bird came out on the stage and said he had a picture for Mr. Hooper and he couldn’t wait to see him. But someone said, “Big Bird, remember, we told you that Mr. Hooper died.”

And Big Bird said, “Oh yeah, I forgot.” Then he said, “Well, I’ll give it to him when he comes back.”

And one of the staff members put an arm around Big Bird and said, “Big Bird, Mr. Hooper isn’t coming back.”

“Why not,” Big Bird asked innocently.

“Big Bird, when people die, they don’t come back.”

(Brian Jones – Standard Publishing Illustrations)

“When people die, they don’t come back.” What a sad and tragic thing to teach children.

APPLY: Now Sesame Street was a secular show.

It’s Public Television and they’re generally not into God or Jesus or people going to heaven.

And they’re definitely not into people rising from the dead.

And they haven’t been the only ones to believe that way.

ILLUS: A survey a few years ago by the Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University found that most Americans do not believe they will experience a resurrection of their bodies when they die. When asked,

"Do you believe that, after you die, your physical body will be resurrected someday?"

· Only 36 % of adults surveyed said "yes"

· 54 % said they did not believe,

· and 10 percent were undecided.

(http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=RESURRECTION)

Down thru the ages many people have expressed the opinion that death is final.

Back in the days of ancient Greece the poet Aeschylus wrote:

“Once a man dies, there is no resurrection.”

The Greek Philosopher Theocritus wrote:

“There is hope for those who are alive, but those who have died are without hope.”

There’s something about death that seems (pause) permanent… and tragic.

Sigmund Freud wrote: “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably will ever be!”


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