Summary: A teacher asked " What do you think were Jesus first words when He came out of that tomb?" A little girl shouted excitedly "I know,!" "Bethany what did he say." Extending her arms high into the air she said: "TA DA! Beloved TA DA Christ has risen!
For those not familiar with an Anglican Service; there are four Scripture Readings before the Sermon. The Scripture Readings for this day are: Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118:1-2.14-24 ; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 and John 20:1-18.
A Sunday School teacher had just finished telling her third graders about how Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb ......... with a great stone sealing the opening.
Then, wanting to share the excitement of the resurrection, she asked: "And what do you think were Jesus first words when He came out of that tomb?"
A little girl in the back of the room shot her arm into the air and leaped to her feet and shouted excitedly "I know, I know!"
"Good" said the teacher, "Tell us, Bethany what did he say." Extending her arms high into the air she said: "TA-DA!" (Pause)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ was indeed for the world a "TA-DA".
It has touched the lives of believers throughout the ages.
Yes, ...... "TA DA" Christ is Risen (Pause)
On Easter day Christ came out of the tomb and into our lives with power and victory.
Easter is a great celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (Pause)
The Anglican Church has a wonderful acclimation that is proclaimed beginning with Easter Sunday.
The Priest says: "Alleluia Christ is risen"
And the people reply: "The Lord is risen, indeed Alleluia"
But how do we know it is true?
Professor Charlie Moule, the famous New Testament theologian once said:
"The birth and rapid rise of the Christian Church... remains an unsolved enigma for any historian who refuses to take seriously the one and only possible explanation to be offered ..... the resurrection." (Pause)
The truth of the Resurrection ignited the early Church.
Every week we profess our faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead when we say the words of the Nicene or Apostles Creed:
Hear these words from the Apostles Creed:
" I believe ......in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord who was Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead and buried He descended into Hell; The third day he .......rose again from the dead"
The Resurrection is paramount to our faith
St. Paul put it like this in his epistle to the Corinthians:
"..if Christ has not been raised from the dead, your faith is futile" (I Cor. 15: 17)
St. Paul, a first Century witness, records the importance of the Easter story. Hear Gods Word:
BIBLE "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: i) that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, ii) that he was buried, iii) that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and iv) that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. END (1 Cor. 15:3-8).
Paul records 513 men as having seen the Risen Lord. (Pause)
Now, Have you ever wondered why John mentions only four post Resurrection appearances of the Risen Jesus.
In this Chapter, John 20 we read of three of these. He appeared
i) to Mary Magdalene
ii) to all the disciples except Thomas and finally
iii) to Thomas
And in the following Chapter, John 21 we read of Jesus appearing to seven disciples including Peter, James and John, Thomas, Nathaniel and two unnamed disciples and having breakfast with them.
If the resurrection is paramount, so important, why didn't John share more of these encounters in his Gospel?
I am convinced the reason John did not record more post Resurrection encounters is because it did not fall into context with the aim of his Gospel.
What do I mean ?
John summed up the aim of his Book as follows: BIBLE "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
But these are written .......that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name." END (Pause)
In other words, John is not writing a history book as we know history books .....rather he is writing a Book (P) to awaken faith.
And so these three post resurrection events in John 20 have been recorded ....... to awaking faith.
John, I am convinced, is saying: "You are either going to believe or you are not going to believe...... and I have given you enough in these writings ...... to believe." (Pause)