Sermons

Summary: Based on History Channel's epic mini-series, The Bible, this five-part expository sermon series highlights five key events in the story of Scripture from Abraham to Jesus, using video clips from the show.

The Bible: Resurrection Sunday

Scott Bayles, pastor

Blooming Grove Christian Church: 3/31/2013

I just want to take a moment to thank everyone for choosing to spend Easter morning with us here at the Grove. Whether you’ve been coming to the Grove all your life, or this is your first time visiting, or you just haven’t been back since last Easter—we’re glad you’re here.

I’m reminded of a young mom named Peggy who was trying to explain the special significance of Easter to her kids in the back seat on the way to church one Easter morning. She said, “This is the day we celebrate Jesus coming back to life.” Immediately her three-year-old piped up, “Does that mean He’ll be in church today?”

Well, the answer is—yes! You may not see him, but I hope that you feel his presence this morning. I’d like to start by sharing the story of Charles Fulton Oursler.

Charles grew up in Baltimore, the poor son of a city transit worker. Although he was raised in a devout Baptist family, at just fifteen-years-old he rejected the faith of his family and declared himself an agnostic. In time he discovered a talent for storytelling. Throughout the 1920s and 30s Charles wrote a number of novels, detective stories, magazine serials, and even a few stage plays. He married a young woman who also grew up in the church, had children, but still practiced no religion and did not raise their children with any faith. Then, in 1935, the Oursler family toured the Middle East and spent a week in the Holy Land. On the journey home, Charles started writing a book titled A Skeptic in the Holy Land. He assumed that once the book was published, he would forget about religion; but instead, he found himself increasingly drawn to the person of Christ. Astounded at how little people knew about the life and teaching of Jesus, he decided that he would write the story of Jesus and, as he put it, “try to make it as interesting as a serial story in a popular magazine.” By the time he was finished writing it, Charles’ childhood faith had been restored. He received Christ as his Savior and over the next five years led his wife and two children to faith in Jesus. His novelization of the Gospels was finally published in 1949 under the title The Greatest Story Ever Told, which—as you may know—was adapted into a film by the same name.

Like Charles Oursler, everyone here has a story. I have a story. You have a story. Some read like tragedies, some like comedies. Some are mysteries and others are romances. Some are much longer than others, and some are just getting started. But everyone has a story. All of our stories, different as they are, are part of a bigger story: A story that is older than any of us, a story that defines all of us, and can—if we let it—guide each of us. It’s, in the words of Charles Oursler, the greatest story ever told—the story of Jesus. And it’s a story that, once again, has been dramatically adapted for the screen in a made-for-television miniseries simply titled, The Bible. It began airing four Sunday nights ago on The History Channel and I want to encourage everyone to watch the epic conclusion tonight.

It begins with the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus—a series of events that took Jesus’ friends and followers by surprise. They had seen him heal people, walk on water, even raise the dead. Yet just days after he had entered the holy city and cleansed the temple, he was arrested, tried, convicted, and executed as a criminal. The ground beneath the Old Rugged Cross was tinged red with the blood of God.

As Jesus hung on the cross, the Bible says, “darkness came over all the land” (Matthew 27:45 NIV). And it wasn’t just the land; rather, that darkness came over Jesus’ family, friends and followers—over their hearts, minds, and spirits.

Maybe you know what that feels like. You might even feel that way today. Or you might know someone who does. If that is the case, I want you to know: there is hope. If Easter tells us anything, it tells us that, as this clip from The Bible miniseries depicts:

NEXT SLIDE: Clip will play automatically

As you can tell from the beginning of this clip, after his death on the cross darkness hovered over the hearts of those who knew and loved Jesus. But Easter morning, the resurrection of Christ shinned a light into the darkness. I want you to see this Easter, how the light of Jesus’ resurrection dispelled the darkness in his disciples’ lives—and, hopefully, how their stories can be your story too.

• THE DARKNESS OF DISCOURAGEMENT

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