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Summary: Today we focus on the resurrection; when sadness turned to joy. And since Jesus was raised to life, our sadness can turn to joy because through him, we too are raised to life.

RAISED WITH CHRIST

Over the last few weeks we've been looking at the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus. When Jesus announced to his disciples that he would be tortured and killed Peter was pretty upset. Even though Jesus said he would be raised to life Peter didn't want to see him go through that. But Jesus knew that doing God's will involved sacrificing our will for his so he used the opportunity to teach his disciples this valuable lesson.

Then we got into the dialog that took place between Jesus and the two criminals who were crucified with him. One of the criminals wanted Jesus to rescue him from his physical situation while the other wanted Jesus to rescue him from his spiritual situation. Jesus honored his request.

Then, last week I talked about the seven phrases Jesus spoke from the cross. We saw that although Jesus was suffering and dying he was focused on the needs of others. And we took in Jesus' deep emotion when he cried out from the pain of dealing with the Father forsaking him.

But today we focus on the resurrection; when sadness turned to joy. And since Jesus was raised to life, our sadness can turn to joy because through him, we too are raised to life.

1) "He's not here."

Matt. 28:1-10, "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

It's understood that the sequence of events were the angel comes down, rolls the stone away, and the combination of earthquake and angel causes the guards to pass out in fear. Then Jesus resurrects and makes his way out of the tomb and then some time after this is when the women arrive on the scene.

So here we have the angel, just sitting on the stone, chillin', waiting for the girls to arrive. "Whassup?" He makes it clear that though they came looking for a dead man, he is instead a living Savior. "You're not going to find him here. Go ahead, see for yourself", as he motions for the women to go inside and verify.

In Luke's version, it states that the angel said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!" I like that. It's like he's saying, "What are you doing here? This place is for the dead. Jesus isn't dead; he's alive; just like he told you he would be." So the women, trying to process all this, in their mixed emotions of fear and joy leave to go tell the others.

Then they run into Jesus. On the heels of having the unexpected scare from seeing the angel, followed by the unexpected joy from seeing that Jesus wasn't in the tomb, now they are dealing with the unexpected event of running into the risen Lord. They immediately fall to his feet in a mixture of worship and fear. Then he comforts them by telling them not to be afraid.

This reminds me of the song turned movie, "I can only imagine". The songwriter, Bart Millard, contemplates the scenario of what he will do when he meets Jesus. He writes, "Surrounded by Your glory, What will my heart feel, Will I dance for You, Jesus, Or in awe of you be still, Will I stand in your presence, Or to my knees will I fall, Will I sing hallelujah, Will I be able to speak at all?"

I guess at this point we can only imagine but I think it will be similar to what these women experienced; a mixture of joy and reverence. Then, Jesus will say to us what he said to them, "Don't be afraid." Regardless of how it will go the main thing is that someday we will have the awesome privilege of meeting Jesus because he is alive!

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