Summary: Looking for Jesus.
April 16, 2006 (Easter Sunday)
94 years ago this week, a boat described as unsinkable left its harbor in Southampton, England for its maiden voyage across the Atlantic. This boat, the biggest passenger boat of its time, was carrying 2,224 people - some on board for a vacation, some purchasing tickets to return home and some hoping to start a new life in America.
On the fifth night of the ships voyage at 11:40 p.m. when it was off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, the unthinkable, the unimaginable happened. The boat named the Titanic hit an iceberg and over the course of the next 2 hours and 40 minutes, it slowly sank to the bottom of the ocean.
There were 16 lifeboats on board the Titanic. Those fortunate enough to be allowed in them were primarily wealthy women and their children. And the rest of the passengers, crew and all of their belongings were tragically lost to the bottom of the ocean.
No one who purchased a ticket for that journey expected to perish.
No one on board the Titanic was expecting to die on that maiden voyage.
After all - the boat was brand new.
the boat was built with the best available resources and workers.
the boat was "unsinkable."
And yet - it sank. Bringing down with it the lives of precious people.
It was a tragedy that shattered the dreams.
killed the hopes.
and introduced grief, loss, mourning into the lives of
many who lived on both sides of the ocean.
This loss and trying to make sense of it is exactly what we heard about when we read our text earlier in the service. We read words like "crying", "They’ve taken the Lord and we don’t know where they’ve put him." We were told no one understood. This resurrection was one big confusing mess. Not all neat and tidy like it is 2000 years later.
You came in here today knowing what would happen, knowing exactly what the message would be about, knowing more or less what songs would be sung, what plants would be displayed, what people you would see.
2000 years later any fogginess, any disbelief, any uncertainty about this day has disappeared.
But originally at least how John tells the story there is:
nothing but questions.
nothing but misunderstanding.
Mary, this woman who had been a follower of Jesus. This woman who was going to take care of his dead body, believes "that someone took Jesus out of the tomb and she didn’t know where they put him." (v. 2, v. 13, 15). Three times she says this and to 3 different people.
Though Jesus had said in Mark 10:33, 34 that he would be:
condemned to death
and 3 days later rise again.
To Mary and to any of us had we been in her shoes, this wasn’t even conceivable. Jesus was dead. He was supposed to be dead. But where was He?
The thought, the faith, the teaching that Jesus wasn’t:
Nor stolen but alive wasn’t even on Mary Magdalene’s radar screen nor any of Jesus’ other follower’s minds.
But this was the plan.
This was the necessary action our God took in order for his human race to have hope, assurance and life even after death. That in Jesus and through his death, he took upon himself the misdeed, mishaps, the sin, the evil that each of us has, going through a substitute death instead of us. Jesus paid the price. Paid a ransom. Was the sacrifice offered - done out of love for you and me. Because our God desires nothing to separate us from Him.
He desires us to know Him in this life and for us to experience life with him after we die.
Jesus’ words - "Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:1-3)
You and I were born with an expiration date.
You and I like the gallon of milk we can buy at the Clear Lake Market.
like the ham or turkey that is in your oven.
like the pie you will bake for later on today.
But unlike any Twinkie - for those things never expire. You and I were born with an expiration date.
Though we don’t know exactly when our lives will end. Though none of us have May 17, 2023 stamped on our foreheads. And though some here are like Twinkies having outlasted and out lived the predictions of their doctor, each of us, every single one of us whether we are ready or not will suddenly or gradually expire.