Summary: We all need to see the stones in our lives moved. When they are moved out of the way, we see the power of God and will believe.
HE STILL MOVES STONES
TEXT: JOHN 20:1-9
THEME: GOD REVEALS HIS GLORY TO THE WORLD
Sometimes I become discouraged about the church and church people. Sometimes I become discouraged over the level of Christianity in this world. I can become overly focused on the negative aspects of the church. I can become disappointed in the church of Christ. It seems that the church often fails, often falls, and often disappoints. Probably, I am disappointed in the church because I am often disappointed in myself. I have this need to develop and grow. I have to pursuit of being a better minister than I am. Much of the congregational failings are placed on my shoulders. If the numbers are down I hear the comments of preaching better. If the contribution is down the comments of a poor sermon are directed my way. Being disappointed in myself is larger than just having the comments given to me. Most of this comes from myself. I wish I would have more home bible studies, maybe I should knock some more doors, try to meet some more people. Often I remember that I am to visit someone or check on someone two days after I was told to do so. I have this need to preach good lessons, lessons that do not fly over everyone’s heads. But it seems no matter how hard I try I seem to disappoint the congregation. I become so disappointed in myself. But I realize at some of my more optimistic moments that I am placing on the burden of the Lord’s church and the Lord’s work on my weak and small shoulders. No wonder I am disappointed with myself, I am a man. I cannot help but no life up the congregation’s expectations or my own expectations. If the whole burden of work, of blessing the congregation is on me I am going to fail.
And if you are like me you get disappointed with the congregation. You look around and see so much works that we could be doing. We see the failings of this congregation. But if we are honest in looking at the church as a whole, we see that the beginning of the problem is with ourselves. We do not give enough time, enough money, and enough prayer. We just do not have enough to give to the Lord. But once again we are making the assumption that everything about the church relies on us. It is on all our shoulders. It is up to us completely to make the church what it is. We have heard lesson after lesson about our responsibility to the Lord. We have heard preaching about the need to work, the need to pray, the need to give, and the need to do everything ourselves. And in the end, we fail. We disappoint. We are just human. And if you are like me, we wonder about what the Lord is doing for us, for his church, for his people. You wonder if the Lord died, and went on a permanent vacation for working in the church. How is the Lord working in his church? His shoulders are larger than ours. Does everything in the church fall on us? Sometimes we get into this attitude. We have to do everything right to have any success in the church. Everything seems to fall to us.
And I feel that you are like me, you need to be reminded that the Lord is not on taking it easy. The Lord is alive and active in his church. He bought his church with his blood and he continues to serve the church after his death. The Lord is still busy in this world. He is still active in our lives and in this congregation. We all need to be reminded of the beautiful blessings of the Lord. We all need a glimpse into the work of God. We need to have the earthly glasses after to see the glory of God again. We need a look into the cave, we need the stone removed so we can see the power of God again.
I am sure this is how Mary Magdalene, Peter and John felt on that Easter Morning. I am sure they felt disappointed with this whole Jesus thing. Jesus promised so much, but now he is dead. And all the hopes, dreams, and expectations of a better life have died with him. I am sure there is some blame. What could we have done differently? I am sure Peter is kicking himself for not standing of for Jesus. John just stood there and watched. The disciples are disappointed. But there is hope, there is hope that God can solve his own problems. We do not have to do everything. God is at work. And God is going to give a glimpse into his power. He is going to remove the stone so the people can see the glory of the Lord. You might recall that Mary was worried about who was going to remove the stone at the grave site. Mark 16:1-3 “And when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week, they came^ to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" The text indicates that the stone was very large. Who was going to move the stone? But God had a surprise for these disciples. John 20:1-9 tells the story. “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they were going to the tomb. And the two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. Simon Peter therefore also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he beheld^ the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb entered then also, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.