Summary: Easter Message is the fulfillment of Jesus' message, "The Spirit Of The Lord Is Upon Me."

Hope Has Come

Easter 4/24/2011 Psalm 137:1-5 Matthew 28:1-10

What road has brought us here to church today? No matter where we started from, all of us eventually chose Euclid Avenue or East 79th to come to this building, but that’s not the kind of road I’m talking about. There is something in our lives that drove us to be in church this morning. There is a road we’re traveling on that has brought us to hear a word from God.

Let’s go back to the first century and meet a man called Jesus of Nazereth. Actually he was more than just a man, because He was sent by God to make a difference in the life that each person ever born would live and to determine where each person who dies will spend eternity. He told us what he planned to do with his life.

One day at the very beginning of his ministry Jesus walked into a place very similar to a church. He walked over to the pulpit and said, “Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, [19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Well this was not the first time this passage had been read, so everyone was eager to see how Jesus was going to preach from the text. Instead of preaching, he sat back down. He could feel the eyes on him in the room, as people were thinking, “okay man, you’ve announced the text, now go ahead and preach it. Don’t be shy. Go ahead and finish what you started.” To end the awkwardness of the moment, Jesus said, “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Now for hundreds of years, the people had been waiting for someone who would come into their lives and bring them hope. They were looking for someone who would be sent from God with power and authority to change their lives. When Jesus said, what he did, he was saying, “I’m the one you’ve been looking for all these years. I’m the one sent by God to make a difference in your lives.”

If someone were to ask you what is Easter all about, what would you tell them. Well it’s a time to dress nice, a time to have special services, a time to give Easter egg hunts and it’s a time to think about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Well you’re right, Easter does involve all of these `things in today’s world. But one of the things that stand out most about Easter is that if offers Hope.

When we look at what Jesus said about why He came, we find Hope. Jesus said the Spirit of the Lord is on me because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. What does that mean? Today some of us think we’re poor, but we are no where near as poor as we use to be. When I was born, we use to live near the butcher pen where they slaughtered animals. It was always stinking and smelling from the remains of the animals slaughtered. But I found out from my aunt, that my grandmother, who had 13 kids, would go and sometimes get out meat from the trash bins at the butcher shop in order to put some food on the table.

What good news did Jesus have the poor. Well first of all, Jesus lets us know that God had not forgotten the poor. God has equipped the poor to strive for something better and offers a hope for something greater than they have today. I know where my family was, and I know where we are today. Some of us were poor because of racism and institutional structures like segregation, red lining, and discrimination with last hired and first fired. God has removed many of those barriers for us today.

Today we are poor more often than not because of the road we choose to travel. Nothing keeps African American poorer, than our sexual appetites. We see the glitzy videos on BET with the bling, bling, and the dances, and the free wild kind of love, and the music and we think that’s where it’s at. We spend a lot of time chasing after girls and women, and they spend a lot of time teasing us with the way they dress, and eventually we hook up in somebody’s apartment, hotel, back seat or some other place. The result is usually not what we plan. It is a very expensive form of pleasure even though in the beginning it looks free. Babies are expensive, but you don’t see them in the videos. Child support payments are expensive but you don’t see them pop into the videos either.

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