Summary: The day of Jesus resurrection dawned with a hope that conquers disbelief, a faith than conquers doubt, a life that conquers death and a purpose that conquers despair.
THE DAWNING OF A NEW DAY
April 11, 2004
A Sunday School teacher was attempting to teach her young students the true meaning of Easter. "Why do we celebrate Easter?" she asked. When the children replied ’because of the Easter bunny,’ Easter eggs, candy, spring, etc., she said, "No, those are Easter traditions and symbols, but what is the REASON why we celebrate Easter? What happened at the very first Easter?" A little girl raised her hand and said, "Easter celebrates Jesus coming out of the tomb." "Yes!" said the teacher, excited and relieved that finally the correct answer had surfaced. Encouraged, she prompted, "Jesus arose from the tomb, and what does He do for us?" The youngster replied, "He looks to see if he can see his shadow, and if He can, he goes back in for another six weeks." (Abraham Shanklin, Jr. / SermonCentral)
Right now we are all laughing at this humorous mixing of the Easter story and Ground Hog Day. However, it is truly sad how few people today understand the real meaning and importance of Easter. It is about more than Easter baskets and bunnies. It is about more than colored eggs and chocolate candies. It is a celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Of course we can’t celebrate a resurrection without remembering that Jesus died. And he died willingly for our sins. The Bible describes him as the Lamb of God. Have you ever wondered why? Let me share with you a story that will help to explain:
Dallas McGill writes: I have a friend who worked in a slaughter house, putting to death cattle, hogs, chickens, turkeys; you name it he did it. One day there was an exceptional animal that was penned in the slaughter barn. A Lamb. "Usually," my friend voiced, "I would just slit the throat of the beast and it would fall to the ground. I’ve never killed a lamb." Sammy went on in detail. "I would usually have to chase down the animal to be killed. They were all very skiddish; probably because of the smell of death and blood. But you know, this little lamb just walked right up to me and nudged my hand with his head. I stuck to my routine and grabbed under the chin of the lamb, put the knife to his throat, and pulled hard and swift. The cut was deep, severing it’s throat, blood spraying everywhere. I let go of the animal and it staggered as if it were drunk. With it’s blood all over my hands, I dropped the knife in disbelief, as the next scene that I saw changed my life completely, as a Christian. The lamb did not fall to it’s knees whisping for breath. This little lamb staggered back to me and nudged my bloody hand for the second time with his nose and started to lick the blood from my hands! I could not believe what I was experiencing! I started to think of how Christ took his suffering and painful death for me, on Calvary. Something wet started splashing on to the ground and it was coming from my face. I was weeping. I quit that job, that day." (Dallas McGill/SermonCentral) Jesus willingly went to his death. He didn’t go out fighting or get caught while fleeing. He willing went to Calvary where our sins cost him his life’s blood.
If that were the end of the story, we wouldn’t be here this morning. But the story didn’t end with his death for the Bible teaches that three days later he rose from the dead never to die again. However, if this is true, and I believe with all of my heart that it is, then we have to ask: Why do so few people today encounter our risen Lord? The answer is quite simple and is revealed in our text for today. Few people encounter Jesus because only those who seek him will see him. You may be asking yourself: Why should I be seeking for Jesus this Easter? In answer to that question let me share with you some of the amazing benefits of seeking Jesus as some women did on the very first Easter Sunday. If you seek Jesus as they did, you will find that for you today will be The Dawning of a New Day.
1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Christ’s resurrection took place at dawn on the first day of the week. And it was more than just the first day of a new week. It was the first day of a new era. It was the Dawning of a New Day. It was on the first day of creation that God called light to shine forth out of the darkness in Genesis 1:3-5, “And God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness ... And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day.” How appropriate that on the first day of this new era God called his Son, “The true light that gives light to every man...” (John 1:9), out of the darkness. His passion had taken place after dark in the Garden of Gethsemane. During his crucifixion the sun had darkened. His burial took place at dusk. But his resurrection took place at dawn - at the rising of the Son - for a new day had dawned. Unfortunately, many people in the world today are living in the darkness of the old day. If you have not yet accepted Christ as your Savior, that is where you are living. Let me tell you more about this new day and how it can dawn for you.