Summary: Easter Sunrise sermon that reverses 1 Cor. 15:19
The Most Miserable Ones
A long time ago an important battle was fought between the French and the English... at Waterloo. Gen. Wellington led the English and Gen. Napoleon led the French. It was in the days before the telegraph. The news of the battle was carried to England by a ship and signaled to the shore by semaphone. The message was sent... W-E-L-L-1-N-G-T-0-N---D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D---- Then fog rolled in and blocked out the message.
The English thought the message was complete and England had been defeated. The bad news spread throughout England. So did the darkness of hopelessness. Later the fog lifted and the message was continued... W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-0-N- ---D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D- ---T-H-E--- E-N-E-M-Y! The sadness of the people turned to joy when they had the complete message.
When Jesus died on the cross we only got part of the message...
It looked as if the enemy had won and god had lost. But three days later.... ON EASTER... the rock was rolled away and the message was completed....
Close your eyes... step back into the past... @2000 years... to @30 A.D.
to Jerusalem.... to upper room
10 men there.... together... but ALONE with their thoughts. Each is filled with fear.... of LIFE
Death would be easy and quick
But they were condemned to live.... maybe 50 years.... of hell
with shame, ridicule, abuse, finger-pointing, nick-names
with self-condemnation.... they were so gullible... they were fooled, conned, duped
Hook-line-and-sinker... they had swallowed the lie
forsaken ... wives, children, retirement, IRA, insurance, dental plan, social security
They had preached... AND BELIEVED... that those things did not matter
were like chaff, like dust
All that mattered was Christ, His will, His ministry
They had given up all for what Paul would later call.. "The surpassing greatness"
NOW.... the Lord was GONE... CRIMINAL... DEFEATED... A JOKE
And NOW... they had to pay the price for their gullibility... and the PRICE WAS TOO HIGH...
go back to families and ask for forgiveness and to be taken back admit "I was wrong, you were right."
go back to fields, nets, tables and listen to the jeers and the jokes go back to their fathers and ask to be taken back
Three years... three long, hard, years of suffering, or sacrifice, of nothing but the clothes on their backs, of eating bread and water, of being chased from town to town.. living like criminals, accepted only by "Gypsies, tramps and thieves."
THREE LONG YEARS... NOW IT WAS ALL GONE... starting all over professionally
no spring chickens
egg on their face
WITH JESUS IN THE GRAVE... future was bleak
they were "of all men THE MOST MISERABLE."
CLOSE YOUR EYES AND LET YOUR MIND'S EYE SCAN THE ROOM Can you feel what they felt?
Can you see their faces?
Can you catch the MOOD?
Put yourself in their place...
What if you get to end of life and find out that there is NO Christ... NO heaven... How would you feel? Stupid... used... robbed!!!!
You would think of all the things you denied yourself... in name of Christ
all the places you wanted to go... but didn't
all the money you threw away by tithing
all the things you denied your family
the big house, big car you could have had
When you looked back on life you would see that of all men YOU were the most miserable...... miserable idiot.
At least the others had the momentary pleasure, at least they had the goods in this world. You denied yourself in this world and there was no other world.
You would wish you had never heard of Jesus, of Christ, of Salvation, of Grace
You would wish you could go back and do it all over.
It would be natural for you to feel that way... IN VIEW OF THE FACTS
It was natural for THEM to feel that way... IN VIEW OF THE FACTS
BUT IT IS WRONG TO THINK THAT WAY!!!!!!
They did not see that He was more alive than ever
not hampered by flesh
They did not see that He was working harder than ever for them
interceding on their behalf
They did not see that He was not killed.... He laid his life down
They did not see that He had not left them... Sent the Spirit
Their ministry was not over.... just beginning
Miracles did not cease.... best yet to come
It wasn't the end.... Just the beginning
THEY WERE JUST LIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF EASTER!!!!
The dark side, the dead side, the lonely side, the defeated side
BUT ONLY TIL SUNDAY
Oh, How things would change on Sunday!!!!
WHEN JESUS LEFT THAT TOMB ENTERED THAT ROOM
RE-ENTERED THEIR LIVES
The clouds of self-pity were blown away
the thoughts of sacrifice vanished darkness turned to light