Summary: There are two sides of the Easter story. The side of darkness and death and the side of resurrection and life.
THE WRONG SIDE OF EASTER
INTRO. Here are the followers of Jesus "weeping and mourning" but just fifty days later they would be in great joy, singing psalms and telling of their great experiences with Christ. The difference is as dramatic as the reason. That is, in our text, the disciples were on the Wrong Side of Easter.
I. ON THE WRONG SIDE OF EASTER THERE IS NO STRENGTH.
A. See Mark 15:29-32
1. These men who had followed Jesus so faithfully had seen with their own eyes His power and might. He had cast out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, quieted the storms, walked on water and other miracles too numerous to mention.
2. But on the cross His strength had poured out like water.
a. Psa. 22:14-15
b. On the day He died their thoughts had not been much different from those of His enemies.
c. (Mk. 15:30) -- "Save thyself, and come down from the cross."
3. They had believed in Him, had all their hopes in Him, placed all the strength of their faith in Him. Now He was dead; and "they mourned and wept".
4. Another scripture says, "the doors were shut and barred for fear of the Jews." Their world had crashed down around them and now their lives were in very real danger from the very people who murdered Jesus.
B. Their strength had been in Him and He was now dead and defeated. Paul spoke the truth: (I Cor. 15:19) -- If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
II. ON THE WRONG SIDE OF EASTER THERE IS NO LIGHT.
A. They had heard John the Baptist preach and declare Jesus to be the "light of the world." But now it appears that Christ was overcome by the darkness of death and they were overcome by the darkness of grief.
B. Jesus had said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." But in a moment of unbelievable darkness, the light had been snuffed out.
III. ON THE WRONG SIDE OF EASTER THERE IS NO HOPE.
A. If Jesus, who claimed to be the Son of God and who had the evidence of the angels at His birth.....the witness of John the Baptist and the voice of God from Heaven that He was indeed the Son of God.....if this One had been abandoned by the Father, what hope could they possibly have?
B. Had God committed Jesus as His last force against Satan and evil.....and lost? Was God defeated at Calvary?
C. Was the world doomed to be ruled by the Devil with no hope of deliverance? Small wonder they "mourned and wept."
IV. THERE IS NO ACCESS TO GOD ON THE WRONG SIDE OF EASTER.
A. From the time of Moses the great veil of the temple had hung as mute evidence of the presence of Jehovah.
B. (Illus.) -- The Temple worship. The appearance of the glory of God. The annual entrance of the High Priest, the offering of the blood for the sins of the people. The law against unauthorized intrusion into the Holy of Holies.
C. Now the veil is rent and the appearance of God is departed. No longer can the high priest make atonement for their sins.....no longer will the glory of God fill the temple.....the veil is rent from top to bottom.
D. Surely their hearts quaked in terror at the thought of the implications of this. And just as surely the evidence built up that sin had been victorious, God had been defeated, Satan could now roam the great Temple at his pleasure.
V. THEY SAW NO LIFE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF EASTER.
A. See John 5:24-26
B. (Jn. 6:40) -- "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."
C. (Jn. 11:25-26) -- "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
D. If death could claim Jesus, who had called the three day dead Lazarus back to life, then what claim could death make on them?
VI. THERE IS NO VICTORY ON THE WRONG SIDE OF EASTER.
A. No better and no worse than countless millions who had died before him.
1. And that must have been what really terrified the disciples, He was after all, no different.
2. When they beat Him, He had bled. When they had nailed Him to the cross, He had thirsted, suffered pain and humiliation, then He died.