Summary: Boil it all down to the most important message of Easter and it will affect your past, present and future.
"The Message of Easter "
Recently the local newspaper in Artesia, New Mexico ran this article: “Mary Bratcher accidentally ran over her son’s young pet dog, Browny. The family tearfully buried the mixed-breed dog in a field near their ranch home. The family’s young son, Toby, age 3, refused to accept that his pet was dead. Browny’s mother refused to accept it also. The mother dog, dug Browny out of the ground and the following day the family returned from a trip to discover Browny- caked with mud and dried blood -on their porch. Browny, barely breathing, was rushed to a veterinarian. Browny will recover. Browny has lost an eye, has a broken shoulder and has a new name: Lazarus.”
There is primarily “One Thing” on the minds of most people who are in Church today - and it is the miraculous Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are here not to celebrate a resuscitation as in the case of Brownie, but a Resurrection, for you see, Jesus really died before his burial.
Paul the Apostle wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4,
I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
That is what we celebrate today!
Paul said this is "of first importance" to us…and indeed it is! Is the Resurrection of Jesus really important? Is Easter Relevant? Does it have a message for today that makes any difference?
Read Matthew 28:1-10
Twice in what we just read we see the words "Do not be afraid". In verse 5 it is the Angel telling the women not to be afraid. In verse 10 Jesus tells these women the same thing: "Do not be afraid."
The message of Easter is one that says to all of us, "You no longer need to be afraid."
Though many don’t like to admit it, Fear affects all of us. According to several surveys I’ve read, most people are afraid:
1-that they might fail;
2- of people who do not like them;
3-of what people will do to us if they get angry;
4- we’re afraid of cancer, pollution, war and AIDS;
6-of speaking in public;
7-of water, earthquakes, tight places, flying, loud noises;
8-of being alone or rejected;
9-losing our job and income;
10-losing our health.
To a little 1st grader it might be something else…in one class the teacher was talking about President Abraham Lincoln and what a brave man he was. She said to the boys and girls:
“If you could ask President Lincoln any question, what would it be?” A little boy said, “I would ask him,
‘Mr. Lincoln, were you afraid when you started 1st grade?”’
Fear touches all of us and in different ways. Some people get ulcers. Fear causes some people to keep their finger on the trigger of a handgun while others put 911 on speed-dial.
We also must admit that fear has its place. Fear is an emotion that is designed to alert us to possible danger. Fear causes the adrenaline to increase-which at times makes us more alert and able to deal with dangerous situations.
Fear, properly dealt with can energize us. But most of the time fear paralyzes us. That’s where the resurrection of Jesus Christ comes into affect. Let’s consider some specifics about how the Resurrection of Christ can help us.
1. The resurrection means we no longer have to worry
about the future.
The greatest threat we face in life is the threat of death. The fear of death controls our life much more than we realize. This fear can dictate what we eat, what activities we engage in, where we live.
Here’s the Good News: The resurrection of Jesus takes the sting out of death. Easter shows us that there is life beyond the grave. Death is no longer a giant . . . it is a mere blip on the screen of eternity. Jesus’ return from the grave allows us to face death with a different perspective. For the person who trusts in God, death is just a transition into a new life.
Some people are not very fond of flying in airplanes. There is something about the idea of that metal cylinder hanging precariously in the air that unnerves some people a little. This fear is made worse when there’s a lot of turbulence.
There’s one guy I heard of who learned a little trick to help him deal with his fear. He asks himself when flying, "What is the worst thing that can happen?" The answer? ‘We could plunge from the sky and go crashing into the ground and be destroyed beyond recognition.’ (He always tries to be honest with myself.) And then he asks, ‘Are you prepared to die?’ And he responds, ‘Yes, I know where I am going. Death has no power over me because Jesus has overcome it.’ Then I can sit back and look strong for everyone else.”