Summary: Can you think of two things more different than a root that is in the ground & a star up in the heavens?
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. This is the Sunday after Easter, & for several weeks we have focused our attention on the last few days of Jesus’ life in Jerusalem.
In our Bible classes, during the morning worship services, & in the beautiful choral cantata we recalled His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the last supper with His disciples in the upper room, His betrayal by Judas in the garden of Gethsemane, the illegal trials of the night, & finally, His crucifixion & burial. Jesus was dead. It was all over.
But of course, it wasn’t. And last Sunday we witnessed to His resurrection, & celebrated in the shifting of emotions from sadness & despair to rejoicing & anticipation of His return. And the whole Christian world joined in the celebration of this event.
But today is the Sunday after Easter. The holidays are over, & we’ve gone back to work, & we’ve realized that the world is still out there. People are still struggling with financial problems. Marriages are still failing, & there is still violence in the streets. All the things that were there before Easter are still there. And we begin to realize that life isn’t as wonderful as we would like for it to be.
ILL. Have you heard the story about a fellow who wore a very painful pair of shoes? He complained to everybody about them, saying, "These shoes really hurt my feet. They’re awful," he would say.
His coworkers got tired of listening to that, so one of them suggested that he just buy a new pair of shoes. The guy answered, "Well, believe me, I’ve thought about it, but I’ve decided not to."
"You see, I hate my job. Every day I come to work, punch in & then spend 8 hours of drudgery. I hate every minute of it. Then I go home, & at home I have a wife who is never satisfied. She nags me day & night. All the time it is just nag, nag, nag."
"Then not long ago, my daughter & her husband moved in with us, & they have two of the most obnoxious kids you’ve ever seen. They run wild all over the place, destroying the furniture, tearing up the house."
"On top of that, my mother-in-law is living with us, too. And every night she grabs the remote control, sits down in my favorite chair, & I have to watch the TV programs she wants to watch."
He said, "I tell you, with all these problems in my life, the only real pleasure I have is in taking off these shoes."
APPL. Have you ever felt that way? Maybe life isn’t nearly as wonderful for you as you had once thought that it would be.
ILL. I heard about a birthday card recently that shows a guy in his underwear sliding down a banister. The card reads, "As you slide down the banister of life, may all the splinters go your way."
Now the truth is that splinters don’t always go our way, & life can be very painful. So what can I preach about on the Sunday after Easter, as we face the realities of our world today?
B. Well, I wrestled with this & decided to turn to the last page in the Bible, to the 22nd chapter of the book of Revelation, vs’s 16-17. These are the words of our Lord to the apostle John, spoken nearly 70 years after His resurrection & ascension back into heaven.
John had been exiled to the island of Patmos, put there by the Romans during a time of great persecution. So Jesus appeared to John with a message for the church, a message of victory, a revelation of the future. And what was revealed to John is what we now call the "Book of Revelation."
Then, as the revelation drew to an end, Jesus spoke these words that we find in closing verses of the Book of Revelation. Listen to vs. 16, "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root & the Offspring of David & the bright Morning Star."
And then He goes on to say in vs. 17, "The Spirit & the bride say, `Come!’ And let him who hears say, `Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; & whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."
C. Now if you look at yourself or at someone else you know rather well, you begin to realize that most of us are seen as rather onesided personalities, & we are often described by just one word in other people’s thinking.
This person is a happy person. Or that one is a melancholy person, or studious, or angry, or nosy, or busy, or lazy. On & on can go our impressions or descriptions. Napoleon was a warrior. Columbus was a discoverer. Martin Luther was a theologian. And Edison was an inventor.