Summary: The resurrection of Jesus transforms individuals, families, and whole societies and it can change your life as well.
Even though today is Easter Sunday, I realize that you may have lots of things on your mind, including the deadline for filing your taxes with the IRS. I hope that none of you has the problem one guy has, though.
A tax accountant told our son about a guy who wanted to declare the loss of his Lincoln Navigator SUV on his tax return. The accountant told the man that insurance usually takes care of things like that and wondered what happened.
Here is the story. In the winter some guys decided to go fishing on the lake. It was frozen, so they parked the SUV at the edge of the lake and instead of going out on the ice to make a hole, they lit a stick of dynamite with a long-burning fuse and threw it out to break the ice open.
• Unfortunately, the dog thought it was a stick and went out after it.
• Fortunately, the dog retrieved it in record time and started back.
• Unfortunately, when they yelled at the dog to drop it, the dog ran under the SUV with the stick of dynamite in its mouth.
• Fortunately, the dog got burned on the muffler, came out from under the vehicle, leaving the dynamite behind.
• Unfortunately, the dynamite went off, transforming the SUV from a useful vehicle into a pile of junk.
That is supposed to be a true story. If you can believe all of that, you won’t have any trouble believing the resurrection of Jesus!
The Bible makes clear that the resurrection of Jesus is not only fact, but that it has also changed the landscape of human history. The resurrection has transformed individuals, families, and whole societies and it can change your life as well.
Mary Magdalene’s Origins
If you worship with us regularly, you know that we have been preaching through the book of John. Today we come to the second last chapter which is about the resurrection of Jesus following his death on the cross for the sins of the world. Chapter 20 is full of fascinating details, but I want to focus on Mary’s response to the resurrection of Jesus.
We don’t know exactly who Mary Magdalene was.
• Luke 8 tells us that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her. If so, she had Jesus to thank for being in her right mind.
• Tradition says that she was the woman in Luke 7 who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with expensive perfume, the kind that prostitutes would have used in their trade. If so, she had Jesus to thank because he forgave her past, changing her from being a woman of the night to a woman of the light.
• Her name, Magdala, says she was from a rural town in Galilee, a place without much reputation. That would mean she was just a country hick who had begun to follow Jesus around in his ministry. If so, she was not well known and had no special qualifications.
Regardless of which description you choose, the fact that Jesus appeared to her first after his resurrection makes her testimony all the more remarkable. Add to that the fact that women in first-century Jewish culture were not given credibility in a court of law and we can only conclude that the power unleashed in the resurrection is not just for the rich and famous, but for all people, regardless of where they live, what they have done, or what calamities have visited them. That means that God’s amazing grace is for us, too.