Summary: Easter Message on John 20:10-22
Intro – We’re here today because Someone loved you enough to leave heaven, enter the space time continuum, live a sinless, perfect life, suffer persecution and die the cruelest and most vile death imaginable, all in fulfillment of prophecies written hundreds of years before He was ever born – and all because His love is the most immense attribute of His character.
You see, if it was justice we’d all be toast. To see that, you need only take a close look at one of God’s most significant self-revelations in the Old Testament, when He passes before Moses and describes Himself (Exodus 34:6-7). He begins with a description of His mercy, compassion and love (he is slow to anger, faithful, etc.), and follows that with a reminder that He is also just. But that second part almost feels like an add-on, or a clarification; as though the first part is really a closer description of His essence. In fact, when He is giving out the Ten Commandments He tells Moses (Exodus 20:5) that he will visit the iniquity of fathers on 3 or 4 generations, but He shows steadfast love to thousands of generations. His mercy “outweighs” his justice (in a very theologically crude manner of speaking) multiple thousands to 3 or 4.
And while all that’s true, I wonder if we haven’t been told so much about His mercy, grace, forgiveness and His love for us that, in many cases we’ve forgotten just how desperately wicked we are and how badly we need it. Have we taken the cross and the blood of Christ, the most important event in all of history, and taken it so for granted that we’ve lost the impact and the gratitude that should attend our hearts every time we think of it?
It’s true that the Bible teaches, God IS love.
1 John 4:8 (NIV)
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
As a matter of fact, the defining characteristic of Christianity is not that we claim to worship the Creator God – Islam says they do as well. It’s not that we see God as perfect, holy, righteous, and the source of all life – many religions have that kind of God in common.
But here’s what makes us different: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That Son demonstrated His love for us by dying in our place – not after we got it all together, shaped up and showed some sort of improvement or promise – but while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8)
But here’s what’s sad, despite all of that, what’s really disturbing as a minister of the gospel is that’s not enough for some people. What Christ did, and Who He is, is not enough to captivate, enthrall, thrill and demand attention, but it certainly should be.
The good news has become old news. The matchless, unchanging story of everlasting love doesn’t find as much interest in the hearts of a faithless, unbelieving and wicked generation as the latest game on their smart phones. Finding real-life, freedom and forgiveness in Christ isn’t as compelling as following the week by week make-believe adventures of “The Walking Dead.”
Listen, friend you need to stop spending so much time watching people live make believe lives, killing make believe zombies and you need to let Jesus work on and crucify your old sinful flesh to where you become the walking dead. Let the Lord Jesus deliver you from this body of sin and death and show you the life worth living that only He can give.
If we learn nothing else this Easter we need to be sharply reminded that He paid much too high a price to take second place to anything else in our lives. The marks that He bore in His body of flesh should leave deep enough marks on our souls that we respond by loving and serving Him with all that we have, wherever He leads, however it looks, feels, or plays out be His – lock, stock and barrel.
We’re reminded, at Easter, that what He did for us is too serious for us to respond with distance, uncertainty, aloofness, a degree of apathy and lukewarm, haphazard, less than fully engaged commitment.
So, in my effort to bring something interesting and unexpected to your Easter morning, get your Bibles and please turn with me to John 20:19-22 (NIV)
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.