Summary: A sermon for an Easter Sunrise Service.
“He Has Risen, Just As He Said”
By Rev. Ken Sauer, Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
Have you ever wanted to join a club or a sorority or fraternity and found that you were not the kind of person they were looking for?
Have you ever wanted to make friends with a certain somebody, but no matter how hard you tried…
…no matter what you did…
…they were not interested in the least!
We can praise God that this is not the way it works with Jesus Christ.
Jesus Himself said that He would be crucified and would to draw all persons unto Himself.
And the Bible informs us that it is God’s desire that none of us should perish, but that all of us would become members of the Kingdom!!!
And Jesus calls His followers—Friends!!!
The God Who created you, me and this entire eternal universe desires an intimate relationship with each and every person!
God wants to be our Friend!!!
Jesus died to make it possible!!!
Jesus rose from the dead—proving that it is possible—that through Christ we too can rise from the dead and enter into a transforming life-long friendship with our Creator which goes all the way into eternity!
We find in our Gospel Lesson this Easter morning that an angel of the Lord rolled away the stone…
…told the two Mary’s: “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”
Now let’s ask ourselves this question:
“Why did the angel roll away that stone?”
The stone was rolled away, not so that Jesus could get out, but so that the two Mary’s could get in!
God is the One Who rolls out the red carpet in order for us to enter into His Resurrection—His Life!!!
People may try and push us away, but God is always trying to woo us to faith…woo us to new life…woo us to salvation…woo us into His Kingdom!!!
Jesus said in John Chapter 11: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though they may die, they shall live; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
Death is the great riddle of life.
It is a mystery.
It is one secret of the universe that is kept secret.
And yet, it is one of the rare things that we all have in common.
And it is one of the things that people fear the most.
In Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book Mowgli, the man cub, asks the animals what the most feared thing in the jungle is.
He’s told that when two animals meet on a narrow path that one of the animals must step aside and let the other animal pass.
The animal that steps aside for no one would then be the most feared.
Mowgli wants to know what kind of animal that is?
One tells him it’s an elephant.
Another tells him it’s a lion.
Finally the wise old owl exclaims: “The most feared thing in the jungle is death. It steps aside for no one.”
Well, my friends, Welcome to the Jungle!!!
No one is exempt from death.
But wait a minute…
Those who believe in Christ will never die!!!
Christianity begins with the Resurrection.
We are told in Acts: “Why should any of us consider it incredible that God raises the dead?”
Paul tells us in Romans Chapter 8: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”
What a reason to proclaim Hallelujah!!!
I don’t think it was any accident that Mary Magdalene was one of the first to experience the Resurrection.
We don’t know a great deal about Mary but we do know this: she was a woman who had been possessed by “seven demons.”
It had been as if Mary was one of the living dead.
Have you ever met someone who seemed like they were the living dead?
Maybe you have been this way, or maybe you feel this way right now.
Life has no luster.
You are just going through the motions—doing whatever you can to eek by.
There is no joy.
When everyone else is laughing at a joke, you don’t laugh with them.
When everyone else is excited about something, you feel like a sad spectator on the sidelines…who can not relate!
But the same God who brought Jesus Christ back to life is the only One who can bring us back to life as well!!!
And when this happens the black and white movie of our lives are suddenly bright with techni-color!!!