Summary: Many Christians are living on the Calvary side of Easter. They live as if Jesus died for their sins (ie… they are saved) but without the power, the joy, the redemption and the transformation of Easter.
The Right Side of Easter
Point of sermon: Many Christians are living on the Calvary side of Easter. They live as if Jesus died for their sins (ie… they are saved) but without the power, the joy, the redemption and the transformation of Easter.
Earlier we sang the familiar words, "Low in the grave Christ lay — Jesus my Savior..." Then we sang the glorious chorus, "Up from the grave he arose — he arose!"
We are on the other side of Easter... the resurrection experience.
Perhaps you have had a resurrection experience in your life. By resurrection experience I mean coming alive in Christ.
Maybe hearing the word of God, you were touched and said, "Yes! I want to live for him!"
Or perhaps you had a resurrection experience as a result of hard times. You saw the leading of God’s hand.
You experienced his miraculous restoration;
God raised you out of the pit, and you said "Yes! I will live for him!"
Or perhaps, you had that moment when you were born again, when you accepted Jesus into your heart.
In one way or another, you have been touched by the Holy Spirit, made alive in Jesus.
You can identify with the disciples on that Easter morning… the joy and the excitement of the experience.
Now however, here you are, a little later. The initial excitement has subsided. You ask yourself, "Did something really happen?"
You are on the other side of resurrection experience, your Easter. BUT…
It is tempting to go back to where you were.
It is tempting to go back to who you were.
It is tempting to go back to what you were doing.
This was also true for the disciples.
Remember, Easter was not the glorious event for them that it was for us. Their whole community did not get together. The trumpets did not sound. Easter lilies did not fill their homes. They didn’t hunt eggs or get a visit from the Easter bunny.
Unexpectedly, momentarily, they saw Jesus alive!
Now, here they are wandering by the Sea of Galilee, waiting, as they had been told. They are on the other side of Easter.
Jesus had miraculously appeared to them, transformed their life… AND THEN LEFT… just saying, I’ll be back.”
Think about it for a moment. Before Easter, more concerned with their own status, the disciples were not very good at discipling. They were unruly students. They rarely understood what Jesus was saying. His parables confused them. When he walked on the water, they never recognized him. On occasion they performed miracles, but they never healed anyone of significance.
Put honestly, they never really understood what was going on.
On Friday, Jesus died. The disciples scattered. They were told that this was going to happen, but they did not understand.
Then, Jesus appears, alive! They are apprehensively joyful. They are hesitantly hopeful.
Now, HE is gone… and they are wandering by the Sea of Galilee. There are no more appearances. Jesus is gone.
They are on the other side of Easter.
The disciples are tempted to go back to where they were. They are tempted to go back to who they were.
They are tempted to go back to what they were.
They were tempted to let things get back to normal.
Listen to Peter say, "I am going fishing."
These are four of the saddest words uttered in scripture.
When he said “I am going fishing” he was really saying…
It is over. It was a great run, but it is over. There is nothing left but to go back home, back to the old life, back to the way life was before.
What he did not express out loud was… “Back to how things were… huh! Things will never be like they were. There will forever be a hole in my heart. Fishing will never be like being with Jesus. Nothing can ever be like that again. I will be sick, remembering how things were. Fishing will never bring fulfillment. Life will be empty and meaningless. Fishing… just catching dumb fish. What kind of life is that? I would have been better off if Jesus had never come. At least back then… before He came… life was good. But now, after being with Him, everything else is chopped liver.
Just making a living is not really living!
So, Peter went fishing and the other disciples joined him.
Things were back to normal.
For years they had fished, making their living, providing for their families. Now they were doing what they were good at. They fished for the whole night.
They caught nothing, not one little fish.
Imagine the scene on that boat. Look at Peter… look at his face… what do you see?
Do you think he is happy? Does the smell of the sea and salt and fish invigorate him? Is he light on his feet, laughing? Does it feel like homecoming?