Summary: This sermon is a straight forward Gospel story designed to connect the Easter Story to the larger story of the Bible. It ends with a call to conversion.
1. INTRODUCTION – (The general ignorance people have about the Easter Story)
2. EASTER’S CONNECTION TO THE LARGER STORY OF THE BIBLE
3. JESUS WAS SENT TO DEAL WITH MAN’S SIN PROBLEM
4. HE DEMONSTRATED HIS AUTHORITY WITH SIGNS AND MIRACLES
5. HIS WORDS WERE RESISTED BY MAN
6. RESULTED IN HIS CRUCIFIXION – WHICH OPENED THE DOOR BACK TO GOD
7. THE RESURRECTION’S IMPLICATIONS FOR JESUS AND FOR US TODAY
8. CONCLUSION: HOW TO BE PART OF THE STORY
Happy Easter! Jesus is Risen! He has risen indeed. Get excited. If you have your Bibles today, please open up to the gospel of John 20:1-10. If you have been with us a while, you know we have been going through the book of John actually for over a year. Last week, we got to Jesus’ last week of public ministry and how he spent time with the disciples to do the high priestly prayer to pray for himself and to pray for the disciples and to pray for the believers. Today, we come across that special event, the resurrection. What we are going to do today staring with John 20:1, we are going to read through the resurrection narrative. If you would like to read along and you would like to use the red pew Bibles, it would start on about 1,074. John 20:1-10.
I was watching a late-night television show the other night and it was a comedy show. There was a comedian that was doing a sketch about Easter. He was making fun of Easter and references to the Easter Bunny and Easter Eggs and that sort of thing. I don’t know why but I just decided I was going to continue to watch it. I knew that, given enough time, there would be some sort of a reference to Jesus or the resurrection. Sure enough, eventually, the comedian made some sort of a joke. It was silly. He referenced the resurrection. He said he is risen. It got a couple laughs. I thought about it. It wasn’t really that irreverent. It wasn’t really that funny, but it really wasn’t even that irreverent. What it demonstrated to me is that in the general society out there, there is an ignorance when it comes to the Easter story. There is a lack of knowledge. As we know in today’s reading, in today’s gospel message, Easter is about the resurrection. I think that most people make that connection. Easter is obviously not about Easter bunnies and Easter eggs. It is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Beyond that, I think people have a hard time really understanding the meaning of Easter. Easter was never meant to really just stand alone as a holiday by itself. Easter is connected to another story; the crucifixion story which we refer to as Good Friday, which we celebrated this past Friday. Not only is Easter connected to Good Friday but both Easter and Good Friday are connected to another story, the Christmas story that we celebrate obviously in December. Not only that, those three stories together make up what we would call the Good News of Jesus Christ, the gospel story. Beyond that, the gospel story fits into a larger context that we would call the story of the Bible, or God’s story. Since I have a captive audience on Easter Sunday, I thought it is always a good idea to not assume anything. I would quickly go through, kind of give a Reader’s Digest version, of God’s story starting at the very beginning.
In the first verse of the first book of the Bible is the book of Genesis. In 1:1 it says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” From that very first verse, the authors are making a real specific statement that God’s hand was the one who created the earth. We weren’t the result of some Big Bang theory or just some random act of DNA or whatever it was. God is the one that placed everything on this earth. Created the earth. Created the heavens, the stars, put everything in it. Not only did he create the earth, we believe that he created man and woman. In many ways, man and woman they would be the glory of creation. In fact, they would be said to be created in the very image of God. Basically the story goes God told the first man and first woman to go forth and multiply. Take care of the land and go produce families. Go produce jobs and that sort of thing. One thing you need to do is just do it under my ruler ship. In other words just do it submitting to me because I ultimately know what is best for you. I created you so I know what is best for you so follow my will. Actually we found out that they felt like we don’t want to follow God’s will. We want to follow our own will and that is what they did. Not two steps out of the garden we see the devastating effects when Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy. We see these devastating effects ripple all the way down history. We see the devastating effects of man choosing to walk away from God.