Summary: Easter Message on the Resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of sinful man who is covered by the rolling stone of sin.
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Pastor James May
ROLLING STONES AND THE RISEN ROCK
Today we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the grave. Because of His resurrection, being the first fruits of all who shall rise again, we can have eternal life. Jesus, the stone that the builders rejected, has become the chief cornerstone of the church. Upon this rock, this Risen Rock, Jesus Christ, our lives, our hopes, our dreams and our eternity are founded. Jesus said that the powers of hell itself would never be able to overcome those who are founded upon the Rock.
Those of us, who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior this morning, have a hope that those without God cannot understand. By faith we see the end of all things as though the end has already come. We know that in the end we will rise again and be forever with the Lord. The hope in the resurrection is the greatest gift that God could ever give to us.
Yet there are many this very moment who don’t have this hope and who have not given their hearts and lives to Jesus.
They are living lives of quiet desperation and they have learned to act as though they are in control of their own destiny when, in reality, they don’t have a clue of what lies ahead. There is panic in their heart at the slightest change that may threaten their security. There is despair in the midst of great trials. There is discouragement and frustration for life seems to have to real purpose at all.
I believe these conditions of the heart are represented in the rolling stone that covered the entrance to the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid for burial.
That “rolling stone” represents our hopeless situations and our darkest despair.
The disciples and all of those who loved Jesus during His earthly ministry had believed that this was to the hour of deliverance for Israel from the “iron fist” of Rome’s domination. Their hope was great that each of them would hold some special appointment in the new government of Israel because they had been faithful to Jesus and He would surely reward them for their efforts.
For over 400 years Israel had lived in the depths of despair as God had lifted His hand of protection off of their nation and allowed them to go into absolute bondage for their willful and determined attitude to serve idols and forget God.
On that terrible day when Jesus died upon the cross, it was as though the heart and soul of his followers died with him.
Satan wants to bring each of us to that same place in our own lives. His work is to steal, kill and destroy all that we are and to prevent us from every becoming what God has intended for each of us to be.
Matthew 27:58-61, "He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher."
Can you sense the hopelessness in the heart of those who loved Jesus at this very moment? Jesus was dead. The long awaited deliverer of Israel was no more and they were still in bondage to Rome. In desperation they attempted to be close to Jesus. Joseph of Arimethea placed his own life on the line by requesting that he be allowed to bury Jesus. He had some political influence being a member of the Council making him the most logical choice for seeking the body of Christ.
Can you sense the terrible feeling of loss, the pain and sorrow of their hearts as they began to prepare Jesus for burial?