Summary: God in his love acts beyond our deserving.
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“The Empty Tomb, Full of Grace”
“God in his love acts beyond our deserving.”
Sunday Morning Sermon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nlyu09xdHp0 (3 Days Later)
(Start with Title and Text)
THE LORD IS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN INDEED! Hallelujah! (Repeat)
The demonstration of God’s love is the once for all sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The demonstration of God’s power in our lives – is the empty tomb. Death and Hell have no victory – we hope and faith and joy because God raised Jesus from the dead.
One author said, “If the Church had contemplated the Empty Tomb as much as the cross of its lord, its life would have been more exhilarating and its contribution to the world more positive than has been the case.” Somehow we (the church) have forgotten that first and for most we are Easter people. As Easter people we have an Easter gospel.
I want to remind you of the fact that we have an empty tomb – it’s the center of all we believe. The resurrection of Jesus is more than a past event and a future prospect; it is a present reality.
Without the resurrection there would be no gospel. Eugene Peterson’s Paraphrase says it this way: (Advance)
“If there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors…And if Christ wasn’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever…If all we give out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.”
One of the last places you would go to find hope is a tomb. Yet, that’s what the women found. Sometimes the last place to build your faith would be a tomb or a graveside – yet that’s what the women found. I’ve been to many funerals – and although there can be some assurance – I wouldn’t use the word “joy” to describe the tone of the situation.
I want to suggest something this morning – just hear me. Everyone who found the tomb empty and saw the resurrected Jesus found a sense of hope, faith and joy. Jesus kept his promise – the past few years of ministry were not in vain, everything they were taught, and some of their confusion was cleared up. That sense of excitement was true for everyone – except Peter I want to suggest that Peter probably didn’t feel that same sense of hope – at least not at first.
Let me take you back before the Cross.
John 13 (Thursday) of what we consider the holy week. Jesus washes his disciples feet, he predicts that Judas will betray him and then tells the disciples that he is going away. (Advance)
John 13:36-37 (NIV) Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
We all know what happened – Peter and another disciple did follow Jesus – Jesus was arrested – the other disciple went with Jesus to the high priest’s court yard – peter waited outside
Peter denies Jesus once, and then again – and then again. The rooster crows….That was the last time Peter saw Jesus alive. Only one disciple made it to the cross – probably John, the same one who followed Jesus into the court yard.
Fast forward – after the resurrection:
The women – looked into the empty tomb, they wondered – they saw Jesus and they were filled with hope. They run back – the disciples run to the tomb – but they didn’t understand.
That’s the background of our text this morning –
For Peter the empty tomb was full of grace – If you have at some point in your life denied Jesus – looked the other way – made a choice that did not glorify God – walked away from your commitment – The Easter message this morning is one of grace. The tomb for us is full of grace.
Turn with me if you have your Bibles to 1st Peter 1:3-9 (Advance) (read)
Words directly from Peter – who understood what it meant to receive the grace of God because of the tomb. For Peter the tomb was full of three things:
I. Full of Hope (3-4)
a. God acted – He moved – He Engaged
God did what he had to do through the person of Jesus – so that we could be what we were created to be – like him. Church you weren’t created for a hopeless life. You weren’t created to wander away from the one who created you and knows all about you. God is responsible for your hope – not the government, not a check in the mail, not a person or freedom from responsibilities – God is responsible for your hope. This isn’t just any kind of hope – listen to the kind of hope – very important: