Summary: Easter is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Christ but also that God has provided a way for salvation for each one of us.
Journey to the empty tomb
If you would turn to Matthew 28, we will shortly be looking at the text of Jesus resurrection and what that means for you and I.
This morning, I will be bringing an Easter message instead of a Palm Sunday message. Because next week, we will be presenting some Easter skits that you will not want to miss. It will be an opportunity for you and I to bring someone to hear the gospel message by drama.
Jim Cymbala the senior pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York tells a story of one of his Easter Services where he was so tired after a service that he just hung his feet over the stage and was just relaxing when his eyes made contact with a man sitting in front of him about six rows back. He could tell he was homeless and he knew that this man was going to ask for some money. When the man approached, he asked the man his name… David was his reply. How long have you been on the street? Six years. Where did you sleep last night David? In an abandoned car. How old are you David? Thirty two was his answer, but he looked every bit 50+ because of weathering so badly. His hair was matted and the smell was horrific. Jim reached in his back pocket to get some money, knowing that they usually don’t give money but usually take people to get something to eat. As he reached back, David pushed his hand away and said, I don’t want your money, I want the Jesus you talked about. I am not going to make it, I will die on the street.
That day, Jesus changed David’s life. A true conversion, a life change! David started memorizing scripture, allowed God to change his life, and David went on to serve at Brooklyn Tabernacle first as a maintenance man and then called into the ministry.
Pastor Cymbala began to weep- Poor David didn’t know what was happening! He says, I pleaded with God, “God, forgive me! Forgive me! Please forgive me. I am so sorry to represent you this way. I’m so sorry. Here I am with my message and my points, and you send somebody and I am not ready for it.
If you are sitting here and thinking Easter is all about you, all about eggs and food and family gathering-you will miss Easter. Easter is all about Jesus! Start to finish it is about Jesus. There is a difference between celebrating Easter and the living of Easter.
Bruce Larson said,
“The events of Easter cannot be reduced to a creed or philosophy. We are not asked to believe the doctrine of the resurrection. We are asked to meet this person raised from the dead.
In faith, we move from belief in a doctrine to a knowledge of a person. Ultimate truth is a person. We met him. He is alive.
In 1957, Lieutenant David Steeves walked out of the California Sierras 54 days after his Air Force trainer jet had disappeared. He related an unbelievable tale of how he had lived in a snowy wilderness after parachuting from his disabled plane. By the time he showed up alive, he had already been declared officially dead. When further search failed to turn up the wreckage, a hoax was suspected and Steeves was forced to resign under a cloud of doubt. His story was confirmed, however, more than 20 years later when a troop of Boy Scouts discovered the wreckage of his plane.
Another “survival story” from centuries ago is still controversial. A man by the name of Jesus Christ walked out of the wilderness making claims a lot of people found difficult to believe. He was later executed and pronounced dead. But 3 days later, He showed up alive. And there have been skeptics ever since.
Consider the facts of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. His integrity is well-founded.
Prophets foretold His coming.
Miracles supported His deity.
Eyewitnesses verified His resurrection.
And today the Holy Spirit confirms that Jesus is alive to anyone who is seeking to know the truth.
Stop for a minute-
Did what He said He would do
There was no doubt something special about a man who could heal the blind and cause crippled people to walk again.
Proven witnesses to His resurrection by all kinds of different people including historians who were not even believers.
To me most important- the promised Holy Spirit of God to us today that confirms in our Spirit that there is truth in this Jesus. Down deep we know we are sinners and we know that Jesus is the only way to not die in our sins.
You can believe it! But do you?