Summary: It`s life-changing - A Sermon for Easter Day
I hope you`ll excuse me for a moment, while I finish my breakfast. I didn`t have time to finish it before I came out - I`ll be with you in a moment....(EAT THE YELLOW DAFFODIL HEADS.) ((Warning note: See the end of the Sermon)).
No! I haven`t gone mad in eating daffodils! And I don`t mind if, when you leave Church this morning, you tell everyone what I`ve done.
However, if you do, then the whole Congregation had better do it - and agree on what you`ve seen - because if you don`t then I don`t think that anyone will believe you.
I mean if ONE of you goes out from Church and says, "This Morning`s Preacher ate a daffodil in the pulpit for breakfast", I think they`ll probably laugh at you.
And if 2 or 3 of you say, "It`s true. Eric Sellgren ate a daffodil for breakfast, in the pulpit", well then there`s a better chance of someone believing you.... BUT YOU COULD HAVE GOT TOGETHER AND MADE THE STORY UP........... So they still might not do so!
But if every ONE of you goes out and says, "It`s true!. We saw it with our own eyes!"...... and if you were joined by everyone in all the Congregations of the Shaston Team today..... about 500 people in all..... then they certainly won`t be able to deny it.
And if in the next few days you go on to say, "When I saw him eat that daffodil, it did something to me inside - IT STOPPED ME from being afraid" ...... and they know that you were tied up with all kinds of fears, so that you hardly ever went out of the house, except to Church once a year on Easter Day, and that you totally avoided people - but here you are, out and about every day, and happily talking to all and sundry! Well, that will make them think, won`t it! They really WILL have to believe you when they see you walking cheerfully down the street saying, "Eric Sellgren ate a daffodil in Church, and it`s really changed my life"!
No! I haven`t gone mad. I just want you to see a point - a point about the Resurrection.
The Bible talks a lot about the Resurrection appearances of Jesus - NOTE not just ONE appearance, but MANY. And not just on ONE Day, but MANY DAYS - a period of 40 days in fact. It also says that Jesus appeared not just to one or two people, but to lots of people - to more than 500 people on many different occasions in fact......... and all of those people, every last man and woman of them were CHANGED.......fundamentally CHANGED, FOR THE BETTER......... NO LONGER SCARED STIFF OF DYING FOR THEIR FAITH IN JESUS.
It says that, not many days after seeing Jesus die on the Cross, they were out on the streets of the very city where He had been killed, and NOW they were saying:
"HE`S ALIVE! WE`VE SEEN HIM. HE`S RISEN FROM THE DEAD. WE`VE SEEN HIM WITH OUR VERY OWN EYES"....... and later they said, "WE`VE BEEN FILLED WITH THE VERY SAME POWER THAT FILLED HIM!"
Some of those who heard this startling message tried to wiggle out of it, of course. They tried to tell the 500 they were liars, or deluded, or that they had stolen the body, but lots of other people who heard the message of the 500 found that they HAD TO BELIEVE IT!
But that`s not the end of the story - not by a long chalk. What happened next was ecen stranger - as soon as anyone said they believed, and that wanted to experience the same change that had happened to the 500........................ two things happened:
a) First they DID begin to change - their FEAR died away, and they became full of life and joy.
b) Secondly, they began to say that they too had met the Risen Jesus.... no, not in the same way as the others, for, by now, Jesus had ascended into heaven to be with His Father..... but they HAD MET HIM! His Holy Spirit came to live within them, and they discovered that it was the Holy Spirit of Jesus ALIVE IN THEM.
He was ALIVE AS SURE AS EGGS IS EGGS, and the sheer joy of it began to change the world.
"Someone once said, "IT TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN" - but I think it turned the world the RIGHT WAY UP.
And this went ON AND ON. It didn`t stop when the Disciples died, or the 500 died. It went on for Centuries and Centuries, to more and more people, people who were saying "Jesus is ALIVE - today", and that very fact took their fear away.