Summary: What to remember about the celebration of Easter
EASTER SUNDAY 2009
Do you ever have trouble with your memory? I heard about a preacher and his family who went on vacation one summer. They had determined that they would be in church on Sunday but when they got to their destination, they found that there was only one small church in the area.
When Sunday morning rolled around, they all got ready and drove to the little church. Even though they were 10 minutes early, they found that the parking lot was almost full. When they got inside the building, it was difficult to find seats.
The service began and was going along quite well but it was summer and the little church had no air conditioning system. Even though the windows were open, it was a very hot day and the worship auditorium was quite stuffy. The sermon was a little dry and people began to nod off.
Out of the clear blue, the preacher blurted out, “The best years of my life have been spent in the arms of
another man’s wife!” The congregation let out a collective gasp. Several sleeping members sat upright. One of the elders jumped to his feet and the hymn book in his lap hit the wood floor with a loud thud. That preacher now had everyone’s full attention. He said, “It was my mother.” The congregation laughed and the preacher finished his message with everyone’s complete interest.
The visiting preacher filed this little in his memory and sure enough, the next time he was preaching and felt he was losing his congregation’s interest, he said those words: “The best years of my life have been spent in the arms of another man’s wife!”
Just like the other preacher, he had his congregation’s rapt attention. One of his deacons was sitting on the back row and was leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. The deacon sat up so fast he bumped his head on the pew in front of him.
Terror then struck the preacher. He hemmed and he hawed and then blurted out: “And for the life of me … I can’t remember her name!!!”
Today is Easter Sunday. We go back about 2000 years ago to remember Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The disciples had just been through the most tragic and disappointing periods of their lives. On Friday, their lives and hopes were crushed. Their leader and teacher, their friend their hero had been brutally beatedn and then cruelly nailed to a cross.
They are confused. Why, just one week earlier, the crowds of Jerusalem had gladly welcomed Jesus into town with shouts of “Hosanna” and the waving of palm branches. Now, Jesus was dead. They had watched as the Roman soldiers drove the nails in his hands and his feet, then set the cross upright. They had watched him die. They were aware that Joseph of Arimathea had volunteered his new tomb for Jesus’ burial place. Every thing they had hoped for was over. It seems they went into hiding.
Lk. 23:1-8 – On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they
did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes
that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the
ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has
risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.
Who do we find venturing out the morning after the Jewish Sabbath? The women. The men are locked away in the upper room. The women are going back to the tomb with spices for Jesus’ body. As they walked along, they wondered how they were going to move the massive stone in front of the tomb.
Imagine their shock when they arrived at the tomb and found the stone already rolled back from the face of the tomb. They slowly walked in and looked around. The tomb was empty!
Suddenly, angels appeared to them and said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was till with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”