Sermons

Summary: Many know the history of the Resurrection by this point in their lives… Jesus was denied, handed over to be crucified (John 19:16), beaten, shamed, clothes divided, bearing His own cross (Jn 19:17), and ultimately, they crucified Him (Jn 19:18).

Opening

Many know the history of the Resurrection by this point in their lives… Jesus was denied, handed over to be crucified (John 19:16), beaten, shamed, clothes divided, bearing His own cross (Jn 19:17), and ultimately, they crucified Him (Jn 19:18). Then, 3 days later, the most important event in history takes place…our Lord beats death in the Resurrection… And from there, many have grown up celebrating the biggest event in history.

When I think back on Easter growing up, I picture the girls in my family wearing their best dresses. In many cases they would get a special new Easter dress just for the occasion. Much to my chagrin as a young boy, I too was put into my Sunday best which usually involved a button up shirt, uncomfortable pants, a vest, and a clip-on tie. In fact, I can still remember my parents getting after me for getting grass stains on the knees of some of those suits. They no doubt got some sense of payback though by having me wear that full-body Peter Cottontail costume for the local parade…

Then of course were the Easter egg hunts…or as I like to refer to them now as an adult, the Hunger Games. You know how this goes… The eggs are hidden…some low for the younger kids, and some high for the older ones…and even if nobody gets a jump start, it’s every person for themselves when the green flag drops… I pity the youngster who is in the path of the older kid running full board towards an egg they spotted…

Then there are the Easter baskets…you know, the baskets full of the plastic grass that somehow keeps showing up until next Easter… The other familiar site is a hollow chocolate bunny with his head bit off… Hopefully the parents win the battle, and the kids save some tummy room for the sure-to-follow large Easter meal with family.

The biggest memory though is the Easter church service when we join with others in celebration of our Risen King… Yes, simpler times indeed… However, that was then… Many of us are not that age anymore when those memories were made, and just as our age isn’t the same anymore, nor is the world it seems…

Body

Many are fortunate in that they have known Easter holidays to be a time when Jesus isn’t hard to find. I say fortunate because I read a startling stat the other day that says 41.6% of the world’s population has never heard the Gospel… For many of the fortunate though, one thing was certain in our year, we knew that come Easter, we were celebrating the Risen Savior… Can we say the same today? … If you easily and instantly think yes, then I say thank God for that. However, I’m not so sure all can answer with such assurance…

As we look around the state of our world today, it seems less and less that Jesus is being viewed as the Savior He is. It seems less and less that the culture prefers to either not want to see Jesus at all (heaven forbid), or at least to not see Him as the Risen Savior… And as I see the attempts to take Jesus out of our world, I could not help but think of some of our passages today, and I want to focus on three of them.

13 And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” … Imagine Mary Magdalene and how distraught she must have been at this moment… Her Beloved having been brutally killed and now even his body could not be at peace, let alone could she even get any closure by visiting the tomb. She had run and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple to tell them “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” (John 20:2). … That would be a horrible thing… Imagine, going to the grave of one of your loved ones and finding it empty… Distraught is an understatement…I dare say you would be beside yourself.

Mary says here, they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they laid Him… Mary is understandably upset, as would we be if we found the tomb of whom we cherished suddenly empty. Likewise, we can get upset if we look around and notice the many examples of Christ being taken out of our world today… It is upsetting when we hear that phrases involving “In God we trust” are being taken, or trying to be taken, out of our culture. Taken off money, statues, plaques, or no longer discussed in public period for fear of offending someone. It can be upsetting when we see God viewed as offensive to others when God being viewed as offensive, is itself, offensive to us!

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