Summary: Easter Sermon, based on Mary Magdelene’s pronouncement she had seen Jesus at the Tomb and the evangelistic message of bringing Christ to others.
How many of us have ever tried to imagine ourselves, being amongst those in that upper room so many centuries ago. Have you ever tried to imagine, what was going through the minds of the disciples? The emotion in that room must have been incredible. Mary Magdalene has already shared that Jesus’ body is missing from the tomb. Now on top of that Mary has returned with this pronouncement, "I have seen the Lord!”
Would you believe it? Would you shout praises of joy? Would you dismiss her, or question her sanity? We know the disciples questioned her. For one the story she had for them was too incredible to believe, and secondly her status as a woman made her less than reliable as a witness.
It is hard to say how you would react, for today we have the hindsight of that moment in time. We can see past the fears and doubts to the true story. We know the full reason for Jesus’ execution and the power He had over death. However would we have been no different then those frightened men so many centuries ago?
Last week, I asked you the congregation to think upon your own “Jesus experience” and to recall a time when you would have been able to say, “I have seen the Lord!” When you first thought upon this experience, and whether, or not share it. Would you say that you might have felt that those who would hear your testimony would receive it as the disciples in that room received Mary Magdalene’s testimony? Did you feel it would meet with resistance, doubt, and ridicule rather than shouts of joy and acclamation?
If so, then you were probably feeling what Mary Magdalene felt when she returned to the disciples. I am sure that her heart was racing and rejoicing at the realization that her Lord and Savior was alive. She had seen Jesus beaten and bruised in the streets of Jerusalem. She had seen him carry his cross down that road. She had seen him hanging on that cross, and she had watched him die. So for her to see Jesus with her own eyes after witnessing the horrific events of the past week was nothing short of the awesome power of our God. However, when she reached that room and shared with them the event that she had just witnessed, they were not as receptive. Listen to the words from the Gospel according to Luke chapter 24:9-11
Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. (Luke 24:9-11 NKJV)
I am sure that Mary Magdalene feared that the disciples would not believe her. That the tale she had to tell was even too wild yet for her to comprehend. However, she understood that it was far more important to announce her encounter with Jesus than to let her fears get in the way. Speaking of fears, we read in the John 20 verse 19 that it was fear that caused the disciples to lock themselves in the house where they were. They were afraid of what the Jews might do to them if they were found. You see, they could not comprehend the fact that Jesus Christ was not dead. He had not forsaken them. In fact, Jesus Christ, in one triumphant moment, had just fulfilled the prophecies of old. He had just released the hold that sin and death had over mankind. He had just laid down the very foundation on which our faith is built and most importantly, he had just secured the salvation of every man, woman and child who has ever or will ever believe in Him since that day.
Many times, it is our fear of ridicule that gets in the way of bringing the message that God has brought to us. We live in a world that looks on experiences with God as events belonging to the mentally unstable, or tricks of the mind. We live in a world that often considers the supernatural to be superstition rather than true heartfelt experiences with God.
Today we celebrate the event that defines the very heart of the Christian faith. The resurrection of Jesus Christ IS the very heart of Christianity. Today we express the fact that Jesus Christ defeated death and gave us salvation from our sins.
You see without the central belief that Jesus Christ physically resurrected himself, then Christianity is a lie. Every thing we come to church for, everything we live our lives as is a lie. This is the very point Paul made in 1 Corinthians chapter 15: