Summary: Easter sermon. 5 basic signs of life that helped His followers see that Jesus, their hope and source of life, was no longer dead. 1. The Rock that Rolled. 2. Empty Tomb. 3. Empty Burial Clothes. 4. Two Angels. 5. Physical Appearance of Jesus to Mary
Signs of Life
John 20:1-18 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Intro: What if there really was a fountain of youth? Why would it be so desirable? B/C people are looking for life! They want energy, beauty, a quest, a challenge, an adrenaline rush – anything that lets them know they are alive. Even those who intentionally hurt themselves may do so just to feel alive.
-Life is such a valuable commodity that we spend millions of dollars searching for signs of life in outer space. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory designs, builds and operates the world’s most sophisticated and advanced radio telescopes. Scientists from around the world use these powerful tools to study the Sun, planets and other objects in our own solar system, as well as distant stars, galaxies, and other mysterious objects many millions, or even billions of light-years away. So far they haven’t found any evidence of intelligent life out there. There are sounds and there are things to see, but they have not been able to discern anything that could be considered communication with other life forms out there. Yet the quest continues b/c life is valuable! Life is the hot commodity.
-Back on earth, life is usually valued here. When the call is given, sirens go off, and ambulances, fire trucks, and law enforcement are given the right of way. People stop what they’re doing and make way to help them get to the person in need. Why are people willing to stop their busy lives and think about someone else? B/C life is valuable!
-In emergency medical situations, first responders are taught to check for signs of life before they proceed with emergency treatment. If there is a pulse or if the person is breathing, they will do all they can to keep the patient alive b/c life is valuable. If a person stops breathing or their heart stops, medical personnel are taught to perform CPR and use all means available to get life flowing again. Life matters! It is expressed as one of the unalienable rights of each human being in the Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: among these are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
-So, on what we often call Easter Morning, when Mary came to the tomb to see Jesus, we have no indication that she was looking for signs of life. Jesus had died and that’s what she expected to find – a dead Jesus. His followers were grieving. Even though Jesus had spoken about His resurrection ahead of time, they did not understand. Nobody was expecting life when they first came to the tomb! They were expecting death! Luke tells us in his account that the women had come to prepare the body of Jesus for permanent burial, bringing fragrant spices. So when they saw the empty tomb, some of them began to see signs of life. It wasn’t a case of denial or wishful thinking. Maybe Jesus really was alive! Maybe the signs of life they saw that pointed to the resurrection of Jesus were really signs of life for them! Because Jesus had risen from the dead, they too could anticipate a future bodily resurrection along with living a resurrected life now!