Summary: A sermon for Easter Sunday.
“The Resurrection Faith”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church
Newport News, VA
When the angel spoke to the two Marys, and said “He is not here; he has risen.”…
…It was an announcement that the world had changed and would never be the same!
The Resurrection is the event that separates the Christian faith from all other religions and gives Christianity it’s power!
Christianity begins where religion ends—with the resurrection!
As the bible says in Acts Chapter 26, “Why should any of us consider it incredible that God raises the dead?”
I don’t think that it was any accident that Mary Magdalene was one of the first to experience the Resurrection.
We don’t know a great deal about Mary but we do know this: she was a women who had been possessed by “seven demons”.
One day she met a man who changed all that.
Jesus Christ saved Mary from her torment.
Mary Magdalene had a life-changing experience!
Jesus cleansed and saved her and she also gained new friends.
Luke chapter 8 tells us that Mary “traveled about from one town and village to another—along with the twelve disciples and several other women as Jesus proclaimed “the good news of the kingdom of God.”
Mary must have been so excited to see others accept Jesus as their Savior.
She must have been so excited to see Jesus ride that donkey into Jerusalem amidst shouts of “Hosanna!”
But, then she must have been shocked to learn that He had been arrested and faced those false charges.
Then in John chapter 19 verse 25 it says “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene.”
In Matthew chapter 27, we see Mary Magdalene and the other Mary watching as Joseph of Arimathea reverently lays Jesus’ body in a tomb.
Mary’s life must have been shattered.
Hope was gone.
The One she loved was dead.
But Matthew chapter 28 tells us that Mary was again “filled with joy” as she ran to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Now ask yourself this question…
“Why did the angel roll away that stone?”
The stone was rolled away, not so that Jesus could get out,
But so that Mary could get in!
The angle then addressed the women, “He is not here but is risen…Come see where he lay.”
The stone was rolled away to give Mary a newfound hope.
The stone was rolled away to give us a newfound hope.
Jesus said in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though they may die, they shall live.”
The Resurrection has radically changed the past, the present and the future.
It is the defining moment of history.
Christianity began in obscurity.
Christianity’s first missionaries were commoners, whose message appeared as nonsense to the sophisticated.
With some exceptions, Christianity’s chief appeal was to the outcaste and the marginal elements of society, people like Mary Magdalene…
…people with no political clout, little money—outcastes who from the first were violently persecuted.
Yet, within the course of four centuries Christianity became the dominant religious force.
It became the established religion of the empire that had sought to destroy it, and wisdom to the sophisticated who had denounced it.
The only explanation for this phenomenon lies in the Reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Resurrection faith is the birth of Christianity.
As a matter of fact, the first sermons that we find recorded in the Book of Acts all center around the Resurrection.
They were not concerned with Jesus’ remarkable ethical teaching;
They only casually mentioned his miracles;
The main thrust of those early sermons was that He Who had been crucified, dead and buried, was now risen and alive forevermore!
That is what makes Christianity different from the rest of the world’s religions!
Do the other religions lack ethics?
Do other religions lack a concern for justice?
Is it a “Our God can beat your god” kind of thing?
The difference between Christianity and all the others is that Our Lord is Alive!
But Jesus is alive!
Jesus came to save the lost.
And like Mary Magdalene, the people who appreciate salvation the most are those who are the most aware of their sinfulness; those who have actually experienced the power of the risen Lord at work in their own lives.
Have you experienced the power of the Risen Lord at work in your life?
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ must be personally experienced!
The angel invited the two Marys’ to see for themselves that Jesus was alive.
We must move beyond seeking the Christ of history and come to know Him as a living Reality!