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Summary: Jesus became the perfect sacrifice to allow us to gain the possibility of heaven

The Sacrifice of Heaven

John 3:16

Easter Morning Service

Little Philip, born with Down's syndrome, attended a third-grade Sunday School class with several eight-year-old boys and girls. Typical of that age, the children did not readily accept Philip with his differences, according to an article in Leadership magazine. But because of a creative teacher, they began to care about Philip and accept him as part of the group, though not fully. The Sunday after Easter the teacher brought Leggs pantyhose containers, the kind that look like large eggs. Each receiving one, the children were told to go outside on that lovely spring day, find some symbol for new life, and put it in the egg-like container. Back in the classroom, they would share their new-life symbols, opening the containers one by one in surprise fashion. After running about the church property in wild confusion, the students returned to the classroom and placed the containers on the table. Surrounded by the children, the teacher began to open them one by one. After each one, whether flower, butterfly, or leaf, the class would ooh and ahh. Then one was opened, revealing nothing inside. The children exclaimed, "That's stupid. That's not fair. Somebody didn't do their assignment." Philip spoke up, "That's mine." "Philip, you don't ever do things right!" the student retorted. "There's nothing there!" I did so do it," Philip insisted. "I did do it. It's empty. the tomb was empty!" Silence followed. From then on Philip became a full member of the class.

He died not long afterward from an infection most normal children would have shrugged off. At the funeral this class of eight-year-olds marched up to the altar not with flowers, but with their Sunday school teacher, each to lay on it an empty pantyhose egg.

Quick Facts about the resurrection

Did it happen?

The resurrection is not some fairy tale or wishful thinking. It is an historical fact. The resurrection is not only recorded in the New Testament, the most reliable ancient document in history, but also in history.

There are a number of proofs recorded in the New Testament.

1. The empty tomb

2. The shell of grave clothes

3. Eyewitness testimony of the women

4. The personal change in the disciples

Does it matter?

The resurrection has the power to change lives. It is the power to bring life out of death. It is the power to transform the worst person into the greatest person. The resurrection matters more than words can possibly express.

John creates a vivid illustration of the work of the cross and the empty grave. He lays out the personal mission of Jesus for all to know and see. John communicates the point, the purpose and the power of the resurrection. If you have your Bibles with you please open them with me to John 3:16.

John 3:16 is the most widely known verse of scripture. We see the reference on posters at sporting events. The words have been memorized more than any other verse. We see the reference on everything from mugs and t-shirts to bumper stickers and graffiti. We see it, we hear it and we have it memorized but do we really understand it? The words of John 3:16 are the essence of the Easter, they are the words of hope and they communicate the core of the gospel. It seems highly fitting to focus on these words for Resurrection morning.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

The Resurrection tells us that God's love knows no limits

John uses the word love more than any other gospel writer. There are two different Greek words that He uses 49 different times. This means that John uses the word love three times more than any gospel writer. As these familiar words roll forth from the page, there can be no mistake that love is one of the central themes.

God's love is not static or inactive. God's love reaches out to others and seeks to connect with them. God's love draws people to Him. The nature of God's actions reveals the true qualities of love. God shows the depth of His love by the willingness to sacrifice. Love is displayed in the level of personal sacrifice given to those who are loved.

Notice the words of Jesus: God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. The level of love matches the level of sacrifice. The love that God displayed for the world was extreme in its nature and supreme in its sacrifice. There was no way for God to give more. There was no way for God to do more. There was no way for God to show His love more.

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