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Summary: An evangelistic service for Easter Sunday evening- focussing on the Passion of Christ and the Power of the resurrection

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The Power and the Passion. Easter Sunday pm, 11/4/4

Luke 23:44-24;12, 24:36-40

A Sunday School teacher had just finished telling her third graders about how Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb with a great stone sealing the opening. Then, wanting to share the excitement of the resurrection, she asked: "And what do you think were Jesus¡¦ first words when He came bursting out of that tomb alive?" A hand shot up into the air from the rear of the classroom. Attached to it was the arm of a little girl. Leaping out of her chair she shouted out excitedly "I know, I know!" "Good" said the teacher, "Tell us, what were Jesus first words." And Extending her arms high into the air she said: "TA-DA!"

Contributed by: Ken Kersten on www.sermoncentral.com

PASSION?

But first- before we get to the Power bit- there are some questions that need answering: about the Passion

- ¡§why all that violence?¡¨ ¡§why all the Passion and the pain?¡¨

o ¡§is it just ¡¥life¡¦¡¨. ¡§one of life¡¦s injustices?¡¨

o ¡§maybe it was a mistake?¡¨ Jesus thought His Father would bail Him out- and He was surprised. ¡¥left hanging on the wheel of fate¡¦

o ¡§was it God¡¦s vindictiveness?¡¨ ¡§Is that what was behind all this¡¨

There ARE answers

and no- it wasn¡¦t God¡¦s vindictiveness. THIS (believe it or not) is a demonstration of God¡¦s love

o Illustr: asked one of my friends ¡¥how do you feel that god did that for you?¡¦ ¡¥Well- I don¡¦t think I understand. I don¡¦t think God did. But maybe Jesus did¡¦

„X Explained about Jesus being God in the flesh. When God wanted to visit earth to SHOW us how much He loved us- He came as Jesus

„X Explained- I know God loves me and understands because of Jesus

And it wasn¡¦t a mistake

- the Bible tells us that God the father planned this for a LONG time. From the beginning of the world, actually (Rev 13:8 ¡¥slain from the creation of the world)

o from the moment man went astray¡K

- and Jesus planned and accepted it, too

o film Jn 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

THIS passion was God¡¦s PLAN to save mankind

- = the only way we could be saved

o film: ¡§father¡K if it is possible¡K let this cup¡¨

- but it couldn¡¦t be done any other way

o ¡§there was no other good enough¡¨

- and Jesus willingly chose the cross (rather than it being thrown on Him)

o Illustr: Film: ¡§Father, I am ready¡¨ before whipping

„X Whole sense of purpose is portrayed well- in Mary, too

You see- our sins¡K wrongdoings¡K

- have separated us from God

- have wrecked our relationship with God (as He is holy)

- Necessitate punishment (we¡¦d agree with that, in principle, for OTHERS, for certain things ¡V but applies across the board)

o In fact- even more Rom 6:23 23 For the wages of sin is death,( but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.)

For 2000 years the Jews understood this (in part)

- that¡¦s what all the animal sacrifices were about

- but were really looking forward to the perfect sacrifice who would come and somehow pay the price, penalty and punishment for our sin

It¡¦s a mystery how it all works- but that¡¦s the message of the passion. - - To me the simplest & most profound picture of it is in The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe (can¡¦t wait for the films!)

- Edmund is realising to his horror the evil he has allied with (the witch). The other three children meet Aslan. There is a parley with the Witch, which results in the ashamed Edmund being released. It later transpires that the price for this is that Aslan has agreed to forfeit his own life. The requirement that a life be paid is described as "Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time". Aslan is slaughtered by the Witch and her minions on the Stone Table. But as dawn breaks, a "Deeper Magic from before the Dawn of Time" raises Aslan from the dead, and the Stone Table is broken in two.

It¡¦s a profound picture- with the stone table representing the OT way of doing things- but God¡¦s plan for redeeming the children from the witch¡¦s power being even older than the stone tablets of the OT law.

Illustr: powerfully portrayed in the Passion: Satan stalking, teasing and tempting Jesus. Wants Him killed- but His death is the thing that blow¡¦s Satan¡¦s kingdom apart

And that¡¦s what Jesus does- the price, penalty, punishment is paid- and the children go free

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