Summary: On this Easter morning, we have come here to remember, to rejoice and to re-tell all over again the greatest story ever told. It is the old, old story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago, which continues to be told.
INTRODUCTION: We come to worship on Easter morning, to remember, to rejoice and to re-tell the greatest story ever told: The ancient story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a story which continues to transform the world today…
…the name…which is above every other name, so that every knee should bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
I based the title for this morning’s sermon on the story about Sir Thomas More, who was first called “A Man for All Seasons” by the 16th century philosopher Erasmus.
In the play and the movie, Thomas More is portrayed, who was knighted in England in 1521, became the Lord Chancellor and confidante of King Henry VIII in 1529 and was held in high esteem by his sovereign and all the people of Great Britain.
But when the king decided to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Ann Boleyn, Sir Thomas More opposed and rebuked him publicly, declaring that the marriage was against the will of God and could not be sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church.
The king, who had already decided to create his own church, the Anglican Church of England, was enraged and had More imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1534. After a trial and his condemnation, Sir Thomas More was beheaded on the 7th of July 1535.
Just before he died, these were the last words he spoke: “I am the king’s good servant, but God’s servant first.” Four hundred years later, in 1935, More was canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
That is both a tragic and inspiring story about a Christian man who defied a king because of his conscience, his conviction and his faith in God.
But the greatest story ever told is about the one and only person who has lived on this earth who can rightfully be called “The Man for All Seasons.” He is Jesus Christ, who refused to bow before Caesar and would not allow Pontius Pilate or any of the others to have authority over Him.
I CAN KNOW THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE MAN FOR ALL SEASONS BECAUSE OF MY FAITH EXPERIENCE IN ALL THE SEASONS OF MY LIFE--
1. Jesus enthusiastically embraces me in the EARLY SPRING of my childhood.
2. Jesus eagerly embraces me in the LATE SPRING of my youth.
“While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him. He was filled with tender love for his son. He ran to him. He threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)
3. Jesus patiently embraces me in the SUMMER of my young adulthood.
Jesus … said, “With man, that is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
4. Jesus earnestly embraces me in the AUTUMN of my middle age.
…there was a wedding. It took place at Cana in Galilee… When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”… That was the first of Jesus’ miraculous signs. (John 2:1-11)
Jesus: “You must be born again.” (John 3:7)
5. Jesus empathically embraces me in the WINTER of my senior age.
(Jesus) “I leave my peace with you. I give my peace to you. I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be troubled. And do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
6. Jesus lovingly embraces me in my own DEATH and DYING.
“Father, forgive them. ….
“What I’m about to tell you is true. Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
The GREATEST PROMISE OF ALL IS THAT THE WINTER IS NOT THE END OF LIFE AND DOES NOT HAVE THE FINAL WORD. Because on that first Easter Day long, long ago, when the followers of Jesus came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away, and when Mary Magdalene met Jesus in the garden and heard Him say
Go tell the others that I will ascend to the Father in heaven, it was then that they began to realize their Lord and Master had risen from the grave and was alive! (John 20:1-18)
You know, the early Christians didn’t celebrate Christmas until the third or fourth century because they did not see the birth of Jesus as important until then.
BUT do you know the early Christians ALWAYS celebrated Easter? They KNEW that something miraculous happened! They also knew that it was possible for them.
I believe the problem sometimes with the message of Christianity is this: most people stopped at the crucifixion, but we now go on to the resurrection. So many have said that Jesus Christ died for us – but it is a more important message that Jesus Christ lives for us!