Summary: This a sermon for Easter/Resurrection Sunday 2021
“They Remembered His Words”
A sermon for 4/4/21 – Easter Sunday
Pastor John Bright - Harmony & Swansonville UMC
Luke 24 “1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”
“8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.”
Everybody who has been married or even in a long-term relationship has heard those words - “I don’t remember you saying that.”
Every parent has heard those words - “I don’t remember you saying that.”
Every teacher or boss or coach has heard those words – “I don’t remember you saying that.”
Unfortunately, the older I get, the more I find myself saying those words - “I don’t remember you saying that.” Did I mention that preachers hear those words from the congregation on a regular basis? 😊
All the gospels have women going to the tomb early in the morning. Luke names three of them - Mary from the town of Magdala, someone named Joanna, Mary the mother of James (the Lesser – Mk. 15:40). That morning, there is unfinished work at the tomb. There was a flurry of activity on Friday afternoon to get Jesus off the cross and into the tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea before sunset – the start of the Jewish Sabbath. All the next day these Jewish women were prohibited from doing this work because of the Sabbath customs of that time. So, early on Sunday morning comes the time to finish the preparation of Jesus’ body for burial.
This is a foreign concept for those of us who live in civilized cultures – we have little or no contact with body of a loved one following death. We call 911. The funeral home is called. There is no washing, no dressing, no preparation for a prayer-watch over the body. That was the experience of our grandparents and great-grandparents. They would understand the work these women are prepared to be about that Sunday morning long ago.
Just understand this – to finish their work, they need a body. Every time any of these folks have gone to a tomb to prepare for a burial… there was ALWAYS A BODY. So, if that was your “normal” – how would you react to an empty tomb? Really – seems like a normal reaction in a situation that those women were not prepared to face that morning. The large, heavy stone that covers the opening is moved aside – not normal. They enter the first chamber of the tomb and find it empty – not normal. Luke describes what I think is a normal reaction to their present situation – “… they were greatly perplexed about this….”
As if there had not already been too much not-normal – now, two angels appear. They know these are messengers from God and bow down in reverence. Now, these women are told that what they expected to be normal that morning – to find a dead body in a place for dead bodies – that is NOT NORMAL on this day where everything changes. Here’s that “new normal” that we take for granted – “He is not here, but is risen!” You have been to so many Easter Sunday services that the greatest news of all time does not even move you to speak, or clap, or yell – shame on you! Let’s try this again – “He is not here, but is risen!” Much better – I heard you that time!