Summary: Personal encounter with God through the power of the resurrection.
We are celebrating an event that over a billion people around the world are gathering this day to celebrate: An event more people will bet on than the Super Bowl
An event more people will cheer than the Oscars
An event more people will partake of then the O.J. trial. (Now that’s a miracle.)
It is an event ROOTED IN TIME AND HISTORY, AND YET TIMELESS IN ITS IMPACT.
This week you may have seen cover stories in magazines noting the most recent archeological findings related to some of the very details of this event, and reminding us just how rooted in time and history is this event.
YET LIKE A STONE TOSSED INTO THE WATERS, THE RIPPLES CONTINUE OUTWARDS.
Like any event in time it relates to all that came before it and all that will follow…so it is with this most DEFINITIVE INVASION OF GOD.
For years of prophecy were revealing that God had HIGHER PLANS FOR HUMAN HISTORY. And at one definitive point in time one entered into the fulfillment of that prophecy, one whose authority bowed to no one, but to the Creator and Father of all who he came to make known, one whose power defied that of both political and religious leaders and instead showed his power in touching and transforming the most simple and sinful of all, and any who in humility and hunger had ears to hear. To them he preached of a new Kingdom…the Kingdom of God, not a new political order, but the very reign of God over the powers of evil behind the order of all things. And in many acts of power he revealed signs of this Kingdom.
Lives around him were being filled with hope. But the climax of this great invasion surprised them all. Suddenly a triumphant entry into Jerusalem was leading the appearance of tragedy…talk of suffering and betrayal…an arrest…a trial filled with mockery …and finally a most hideous crucifixion. THERE IN THE GRAVE THEIR HOPES WERE SEALED BY A STONE.
…But then, early that third day, THE DAWN REVEALED THE POWER OF GOD BEYOND ANYTHING THEY HAD KNOWN.
Only now could they begin to understand the cross…God hadn’t lost to the opposition, but used the opposition to reveal his opportunity…and they partook of it. The defeat was actually a door and they entered, the tragedy was part of the triumph and they shared in it, the ultimate sacrifice had released the ultimate power, and they embraced it. Amen! Amen!
The Easter celebration is simply this: WE LIVE IN A WORLD IN WHICH GOD GETS THE LAST WORD. Whatever stones have sealed your hopes, I pray you may know God’s power to move them. Even stones of uncertainty for those of you searching. We welcome you as openly as Christ Himself.
(Intro to drama)
In celebrating the resurrection of Christ, we are reminded in Scripture that this event was never merely an impersonal concept of power, but a personal encounter.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,  and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” 1 Cor. 15:3-8
The apostle Paul, once a religious leader known as Saul, who was compelled to silence the testimony concerning Christ, himself was encountered and changed. He discovered that although those first encounters were themselves unique by the nature of being rooted in the actual time and history the testimony carries on, and so does the power of God to encounter each of us with His resurrection presence and power by the Spirit.
The apostle Paul prays for us all, “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can see something of the future he has called you to share…I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. It is that same might power that raise Christ from the dead”. Ephesian 1:18-20 (LB)
His emphasis on you. This power comes not to a planet but people, not to the universe, but YOU.
How might we understand this power? …Catch something of this future?
Perhaps the best introduction to his power, was itself introduced to those most unlikely…those who took part in his death.
A guard who was a part of those who came to arrest Jesus, and there had been one of Jesus’ followers who foolishly cut of the guards ear in defense of Jesus.