Summary: For Christians to really celebrate Easter, they must decide if Jesus is My Savior and that's all, or My Lord and My GOD! Who is Jesus to me really?
Last Sunday Night after our contata, I told you that Easter is not about bunnies, new clothes, sunrise services, or special candy. It is all about a risen Savior, Jesus Christ.
This week Ladonna and I were going somewhere and stopped to get a drink at a gas station. Since we're about to move things are a bit tight financially. But at Easter she always gets me some Kit Kat and I asked her, "Since we're not getting each other stuff for Easter, can I get one Kit Kat here and that will count as my Easter candy for this year?" Without missing a beat, she looked me in the eyes and said, "Honey. Easter's not about candy!" She got me. My own words used against me. But I got the Kit Kat.
I know most of you are Christians, and I want to ask you this today: What does Easter mean to a bunch of Christians? To a lost person who finally gets what Easter really means, today means they find Jesus as Savior and it totally changes their life. To some Christians, it means we hear the same old story and move on with life as usual. But for some of you, it is a day that moves you. It's not just knowledge, but a message that you can't stop talking about.
To fully understand what Easter means to you, you must answer this question, "Who is Jesus to you?" Some say he's just a great teacher or legend. To some of you, he is simply your Savior. But do you call him "my Lord and My God?" Who is Jesus, really, to you?
The disciples were wondering about this question. They had left everything to come follow Jesus but then he was crucified. This morning they heard that Jesus was alive. What an awesome message to tell everyone, but instead of speaking loudly and boldly, they were hiding in a room. The message was that Jesus was alive. That man people had seen die on a cross, was living. His tomb was empty. Come see the place where Jesus had been laid. What an awesome message. Why hide?
John 20:19a "That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders." You know they sound like most churches around. We huddle with the greatest message known to mankind with no intention of reaching out. We're afraid of what the world going to do to us. Didn't Jesus say that the gates of Hell wouldn't prevail against his church?
Then all of a sudden, Jesus shows up at church. John 2019b "Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!" This is exactly what most churches want to hear from Jesus: "Peace!" The disciples thought His return meant calmness, a return to simpler times. Isn't that what most Christians want? Don't rick the boat. Weren't things easier in the past? But Jesus didn't come there to calm things down. He came to rock the boat more than anything they had ever seen!
Let me share with you three things Easter means to a Christian.
He says in verse 21 &22a, "Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit."
First, We have a Mission. Jesus said, "Guys, I have a job for you to do." Jesus shows up to shake up the boat. Jesus says that just like he was sent (and why was he sent? to seek and save that which is lost) so I send you. No we can't die for the sins of the world but we have a mission to go and do. I used to love watching reruns of Mission Impossible because you have these people who attempt to accomplish something that no one should be able to do, and they do it every week. Jesus tells these guys to reach the world and we are living testimony that they did a pretty good job. The message is all the way around the world from Jerusalem. 11 men and a few women spread a simple message that transformed the world quickly. Emperor Nero burned down Rome with the idea that he might squash the movement called "the Way." Instead, it's just spread like wildfire.
We're on the same mission as they are. And we have the same power they had. Jesus breathed on them and gave them the power. The Holy Spirit is as strong today as he was then. Isn't he?
Our mission is contrary to our instincts. Our instincts tell us to be safe and don't reach into the world. We want to hoarde and protect. Jesus says, "I'll reach the world through you, give you the power to do it, but you must go!"