Summary: Consider the differnce the resurrected Christ will make in the lives of those who trust and follow Him.

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Today is Easter. We celebrate the greatest event in the history of the world! I want to ask a question. What difference does the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ make in a person’s life? It can make a difference! Consider the story of Zachary. Zachary was doing poorly in math at school. His parents had tried everything…tutors, mentors, flash cards, special learning centers. In short, everything they tried was not working. As a last ditch effort his parents took him to the local Catholic school.

After the first day, Zachary came home with a very serious look on his face. He went straight to his room and started studying. Books and papers were spread all over the room and Zachary worked hard. His mother was amazed. She called him down to dinner. To her shock, the minute he was done, he marched back to his room without a word, and in no time he was back hitting the books as hard as before. This went on for some time, day after day, while the mother tried to understand what had made the difference.

Finally, Zachary brought home his report card. He quietly laid it on the table, went up to his room and hit the books. With great anxiety, his mom looked at it and to her great surprise Zachary got an “A” in math. She could no longer hold her curiosity. She went to his room and said, “Son, what was it? Was it the nuns?" Zachary looked at her and shook his head, no. “Well, then,” she replied, "was it the books, the discipline, the structure, the uniforms?" Zachary looked at her and said, “Well, on the first day of school when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew they were not fooling around.”

(Contributed to Sermon Central by Reese Blanchett)

Obviously the death of Jesus had an impact on Zachary. Even more so, the resurrection of Jesus should make a difference in our lives. If His resurrection makes a difference, what kind of difference should it make?

In John 20 we find one of the accounts of Jesus resurrection and His appearance to His first followers. From this text we discover the difference the resurrected Christ can make. Look at the text. “Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” (John 20:11-21 NLT)

From this text I want to identify three ways Jesus made a difference in the lives of His first disciples. He will do the same for you.

First, He gave them confidence. Sometimes life comes at you hard. Life can be tough. Life can be painful. At times like that your confidence can grow weak.

People of faith are not immune. Jesus allowed His closest followers to pass through a dark discouraging time. After Jesus was crucified and before the disciples discovered the good news of His resurrection they had gigantic struggles. They struggled with doubt, fear, discouragement and many of the emotional struggles you and I face every day.

Illustration: Several years ago my sister in law’s father died. He was a pastor. He was sitting in his study on a Sunday morning and was preparing to preach when he fell dead of a heart attack. Judy and I drove over to Texas for the funeral. As I spoke to his widow I offered words of sympathy. As she spoke to me she said “I know God is good and His promises are real but right now I just do not feel that way.”

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