Summary: our message for Easter Sunday dealing with 2 proofs that Christ has done more than enough
On Monday, I got a call from a cousin of mine who lives in Tulsa… His mother-in-law passed away after a battle with cancer. I had been praying for her as it was a difficult time for them. My cousin told me that in trying to console his daughter he said, “Yes, your grandma is gone, but that’s why we have Easter…” And his wife, no doubt sad and upset about her mother’s passing said, “What does that have to do with anything?” You see; she’s not a believer. And she couldn’t understand what the Easter Bunny and eggs had to do with her mother’s passing.
Now please understand; this is not an argument against the Easter Bunny and eggs… I’m not against kids having fun and doing fun things. If anything, what I would argue against, or rail against is the stunning level of Biblical ignorance in our society.
When we look at this history behind Easter we see that the purpose of it has been almost forgotten in our society today. Just think about this for a minute… if an alien from another planet was able to come to our world today and observe our celebrations of Easter, it might think that the significance of this holiday was found in the bunnies, or the eggs, or the chocolate. Now I don’t believe in aliens… I’m just using that to make my point that there is a growing need for Biblical knowledge and understanding.
My cousin’s wife is hurting. She’s sad, and that’s compounded by the fact that she doesn’t understand the significance of Easter – or should I say, the resurrection!
And so this morning; what I want to do is talk to you about the events of the crucifixion and resurrection and why they are important… and what they mean to you me, right here, right now, today.
So if you’ll take your Bibles and open them up to Mark 15 we’ll read what God’s Word has to say about this (READ TEXT).
Now all of these events took place in the city of Jerusalem during a festival… a holiday if you will. They took place during the Passover. And that was a weeklong holiday that celebrated Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. And historians tell us that that the population of Jerusalem at this time would go from about 200,000 people to over 2.7 million people. We don’t know for sure how many people were in the city, but we can be sure it was a lot. And probably for many of the people there – it was just another Passover celebration… just like always. Nothing out of the ordinary or different. And this is the backdrop to the events of the Passion Week. Jesus comes into the city riding on a donkey and causes quite a stir. He weeps over the city. He chases the money changers out of the temple. He leaves the city, and then comes back and curses the fig tree. His disciples prepare for Passover, they celebrate Passover, Jesus washes the disciples feet, while Judas goes out to betray Him. Jesus gets arrested, He is tried, and then taken to the cross and crucified. And while all of these history changing events were taking place, the majority of the people in the city had no idea.
And even as Jesus was whipped by Roman soldiers and nailed to the cross, they had no idea. For the Roman soldiers – this was just another crucifixion. It was their job. For the people who walked by and mocked Him as He hung on the cross – Jesus wasn’t anything special to them.
But then… as Jesus hung on the cross, something happened.
People were doing what they normally did, going about their business, and all of a sudden, darkness comes across the entire land. And it’s not just for a few minutes… it’s from noon till 3.
Now just think about this with me for a minute or two… yesterday we had our Easter festival and we had kids out searching for eggs, and we had some good food cooking, and people visiting and everything… what would’ve happened if all of a sudden an intense darkness would’ve come over us. You’d have kids crying for their moms. It might make some people nervous. Probably every smart phone there would’ve been searching the internet trying to find out what was going on. So when this darkness came upon the land… I would imagine that everything just kind of stopped.
And this is significant for two reasons… first of all its prophecy being fulfilled. In Amos chapter 8 God gives Amos a vision and He tells the prophet that there will come a day when He is done with Israel. In Amos 8:2 He says, “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them.” And it goes on and Amos see’s the judgment of God come upon Israel for their rebellion and disbelief, and rejection of God… but verses 9 and 10 are where we see this prophecy (READ).