Summary: This Sermon Is An Easter Sermon Dealing With the Pressures We Face In Life As The Disciples Did Just Before Easter.
Power For Pressures
There were pressures of all kinds hanging around after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Mary was dealing with the pressures of grief and anger over the death of her first born son , murdered as he was without cause. There were the pressures of confusion and unemployment for Matthew the former tax collector who had left his jobs years ago to follow one called Jesus, and now he’s gone and Matt doesn’t have a job. There was the pressure of feeling like a failure, for Peter who had believed in his heart that he could stand by the side of Jesus Christ at the expense of his own life. But when push came to shove, three times in order to save his own hide, he cried out "I don’t know the man. There was the pressure of a dream shattered into a million pieces, by Mary Magdaline, Martha, Mary, Lazarus and others who were hoping for something better in life through following Jesus.
Pressures of life. We all have them don’t we. Ever grieved the loss of loved one. Ever got righteously angry over an injustice. Ever been in confusion because of a job. Ever felt like a failure at school, at home or on the job. Ever had a dream that shattered into pieces before your very eyes. Pressures can land us in the hospital.
The bad thing about pressures is that instead of leading us to God, they often lead us to worrying. Yet when it comes to worrying 40% of all worries will never happen. 30% concern old decisions which cannot be altered, 12% center in on criticism, mostly untrue, made by people who feel inferior, 10% relate to health, which worsens while you worry, and only 8% are legitimate which you can do something about.
The last week of Jesus’ life on earth was the most pressure filled of all. He had to listen to the praises of the people talking about how wonderful he was on Sunday, knowing these same people would be shouting crucify him on Thursday. He determined to love and embrace his disciple Judas, knowing that Judas was going to betray him for money. He had to endure unbelievable agony on the cross, knowing that at any moment some 72,000 angels were waiting for the word to take him down and end it all.
He suffered the penalty of God turning away from him because of all the sin we have and shall commit was piled upon him, as he cried out "My God, My God why have you forsaken me." He yielded His spirit into the hands of God as his mortal flesh suffered death saying," Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
But the message of Easter is that those words, were not the last words of Jesus Christ. For the Bible goes on to say that on the third day. That mortal body that death had taken over was transformed into an immortal body. That spirit that had been trusted to the Father, came back into the body. That body got up, and didn’t have to move the pressures of that huge stone that had been sealed into the tomb. Instead he walked right through the stone and came on out, so when the women and the disciples got there they did not find his body. Instead they saw the remnants of the resurrection power.
All that was left in that tomb of Jesus was some of the linen cloths they had wrapped around him when he died. There were angels on the scene that told them to go back and let the world know Jesus is alive, and He has risen just like he said. The Spirit of God had spoken and Jesus was filled once again with awesome power.
The good news about the pressures we face in life today is, the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead wants to raise us up and above our pressures. If you feel like you don’t know if you can make it, if you feel like your body just wants to give out, the meaning of Easter is that God has provided power for you to be resurrected. Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
How did Jesus get to the point of experiencing the power of God to handle the pressures he faced before the resurrection. By looking at the Scriptures, we kind find some principles for handling pressures.
Principle number one is to turn everything over to God. In the Amplified Version of the Bible, 1 Peter 5:6-7 reads, "Cast all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns once and for all on Him. For he cares for you.