Summary: When life changes in unexpected ways, don’t keep looking in the grave - look for the miracle! An Easter sermon.

Rev. James Tino

New Life Lutheran Church

Miramar, FL

April 2007

John 20:1-18

Easter Sunrise

Look for the Miracle!

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father, and from our resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Amen.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ;

(explain “Type A” and “Type B” personalities)

I think we can see a little of God’s sense of humor in the fact that He often puts Type A and Type B personalities together in marriage. This is often the cause of humorous and frustrating “encounters” – humorous for others to hear about, that is! (give an example from your experience)

The basic difference between the two personality types is that Type A’s do not do well when things are not as they should be – when life gets messed up. That difference holds true for little things – schedule changes, change of plans, etc. But, when life gets messed up in a big way, both A and B personality types have a hard time. Regardless of your personality type, all of us can get disoriented, depressed, and confused when the things that we counted on suddenly change. When change happens, we tend to keep on looking for what is no longer there. In our text for today, God is telling us that in the midst of change, look for the miracle!

Our text begins early in the morning on a Sunday, just like we are experiencing today. We read in vs. 1, "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb…”

Mary knew what she would find when she went to the tomb. The Scriptures inform us that she was among those followers of Jesus who saw Him crucified, and then followed when He was taken to the tomb. Mary saw His body placed inside the cave, and she saw the stone rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb. She knew what she would find when she go to the place where Jesus was buried. there was no doubt in her mind.

But when she got there, she “saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance”! Wait a minute! This isn’t what she had expected! The stone was not supposed to be rolled away! Jesus was supposed to be in the tomb, with the stone in front of the entrance. In an instant, her world was turned upside down.

How many people have experienced a situation that turns their world upside down? I would say that sooner or later, most people have at least one experience that challenges people’s deeply held beliefs about who they are and about what is important in life. People begin their adult lives with an idea of what the “good life” looks like. They work hard, get married, purchase a home, have a family, and generally try to match their reality with the mental concept of what the good life looks like.

But many times, something happens along the way. Maybe one or the other loses a job. Maybe tragedy strikes, and a child dies or is handicapped. Maybe the couple finds that they cannot get along, and gets a divorce. Suddenly, things are no longer as they should be. The stone is rolled away – things are out of place. And we can easily find ourselves disoriented and confused, wondering if we can be certain of anything any more. Beliefs about ourselves, about what is important, and about how life is are suddenly called into question. We find ourselves, like Mary, wandering around in the garden.

When that happens, one thing that we can be sure of is that God is close at hand. God loves to roll away the stone and shake things up, especially when He sees that we are on the wrong track. Mary arrived at the gravesite, mentally convinced that Jesus Christ was dead and in the grave. And when she was faced with the undeniable evidence of a moved stone and an empty tomb, she came to the only logical conclusion – someone has stolen the body away!

As we look at Mary and the disciples on that first Easter morning, it seems a little unusual to us that they would have such a hard time arriving to the divine conclusion of God’s plan of salvation – the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Instead of looking for the body, Mary should have been looking for the miracle!

I think that we often react in the same way. When things really get messed up in life, we should start looking for the miracle! When life makes an unexpected turn, look for the miracle! When our beliefs are being challenged, look for the miracle! When the stone is rolled away, look for the miracle! When life is turned upside down, look for the miracle!

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