Summary: At this year's Easter prayer breakfast, President Obama started by saying "There's something about the resurrection that keeps everything else in perspective." That may well be the understatement of the millennium.
“There’s Something About the Resurrection”
Sunday, April 24, 2011 am
Reading: Matthew 28:1-8 ESV:
"Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. (2)And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. (3)His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow. (4)And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. (5)But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (6)He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. (7)Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you." (8)So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples."
Today, people around the world are celebrating Easter. But today, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. I hope you see the difference: Easter is myth, the combining of fairy-tale and fact; resurrection is real. Those who celebrate Easter do so once a year; we celebrate the resurrection every week in the Lord’s Supper and every moment of every day as we “walk in newness of life”.
This past Tuesday, President Obama hosted his second annual Easter Prayer Breakfast in Washington. He began by saying, “I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason. Because, as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up during this season, we are reminded that there's something about the Resurrection, something about the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective.”
Quite frankly, I’m not sure how to take these words. After many years of being a member of radical preacher Jeremiah Wright’s church and for the past two years of not being able to find a church in the DC area to attend, I’m suspicious of the president’s sincerity. Were these thoughts his, or was this a well-crafted speech written for him by one of his many speech writers and read quite eloquently from a teleprompter? Was he being serious and genuine, or merely campaigning?
What did he mean, “There’s something about the resurrection?” Perhaps we will never know. When I first heard of his remarks, I said to myself, “There’s something about the resurrection? Of course there is, it’s a resurrection!” But then I thought about how many unbelievers might concede, “Of course there is no literal resurrection, but there is something about hoping for a resurrection that puts things in perspective.” Please, I don’t mean to imply that this is what the president meant. I am grateful for his words, whether offered sincerely or hypocritically. Perhaps they will cause others to ponder, “What is it about the resurrection that puts things in perspective?”
THE RESURRECTION REMINDS ME THAT I AM A SINNER.
When God created the first humans, Adam and Eve, he said, “It is very good.” He placed them in a perfect garden and gave them everything they could ever need. But they wanted more. They rebelled against God, who had been so good to them. And they knew in a moment that they were sinners. They were separated from God by their sin, but God promised a savior.
It all started because of sin. But Adam and Eve are not unique as far as sin. I too am a sinner. In fact, we all are sinners. We have all, like Adam and Eve, rebelled against God.
But sometimes we lose our perspective. We look at how others live and think, “I’m not that bad.” We might even go further, “I’m actually pretty good; at least I try to be.” But the truth is, no matter how hard I try, I still fail.
God is holy and I am not. The more I say, “I’m not that bad, the more I make it seem that God isn’t that good. But he is. He is so good that I have no right to be in his presence. He is so good, so pure and so holy that even one sin is one too many; and I have many more than one. So holy was Jesus, Acts 2:24 ESV God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
In the resurrection, Jesus came to heal the breach between sinful people and a holy God. But the fact of the breach between us reminds me that I am a sinner. And so, the resurrection reminds me also that I am a sinner. It was for my sins that Jesus went to the cross.