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Summary: Finding the meaning of the empty tomb. In my darkness, would God’s presence break through? How can I celebrate Easter, when I’m living Good Friday. Out of the ashes of life, you can still find Jesus. These questions are answered as we look for the mes

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Title: What Will You Find When You Look For Jesus?04/20/03

West Side

Text: Matthew 28:1-10

A.M. Service ~ Easter Sunday

Purpose: To find the meaning of the empty tomb

*******************************************************Introduction

Did you see the story on CNN this past Sunday of the rescued POWs? When Kenneth Krueger pulled his big rig in front of former POW Shoshana Johnson’s home and began whooping and blowing on the horn, I understood the joy and relief that she was alive and would be home soon. As Mr. Krueger gave Shoshana’s mom a huge bear hug, he summed up the situation perfectly when he shouted "Thank You Jesus!"

I’m sure the disciples were just as overcome with emotion and hope when they began to realize that Jesus had risen just as he said he would.(1)

Today I want to talk to you about the question: “What will you find when YOU look for Jesus?”

READ Text: Matthew 28:1-10

What then is the message we discover about the empty tomb?

I. Jesus gives us comfort for fear

A.

1. v. 1 “Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning…”

B. Encouragement for our questions

1. v. 5 “Don’t be afraid…”

a. Why were they fearful? They were looking for Jesus who had been crucified.

b. Question: How might you be looking for Jesus?

c. As they walked to the tomb, their questions:

i) Who would roll away the stone

ii) What might they find

iii) What would they tell the soldiers

iv) Why did these things have to happen

The angel said, “Do not be afraid…” When the angel sat upon the stone, (a physical barrier) it was as if it symbolized God’s conquest over all barriers to his will. The stone didn’t need to be moved to let Jesus out- rather it was so others could look in and witness the empty tomb.

It also said the soldiers fainted away. While the stone might symbolize a physical barrier, the soldiers represented a political or societal barrier.

Whatever the case may have been, it was extremely hard to celebrate Easter when you’re living Good Friday.

Are you going through a Good Friday experience, where you find it hard to celebrate Easter. May I say to you, that with Jesus, a new day has begun. For the darkness of Friday, gave birth to the dawning of a new day on Sunday. (v. 1)

Question: In my darkness, would God’s presence break through?

By David Coffin, guest columnist

It was Good Friday. My house looked more like a set for "Rescue 911" than a place of solemn preparation for the pinnacle of the church year.

Barbara, my wife of 15 years, had just gotten home at 3 a.m. after a long shift as a registered nurse at a physical rehabilitation hospital. Her heart started to pound more than a hundred beats a minute. Her pulse raced so fast we couldn’t measure it. We tried massage and relaxation exercises, but nothing helped. She said her heart felt as if it were going to explode. Desperate, I called 911.

In the darkness, the emergency medical services unit arrived in our parsonage living room and worked on my normally healthy, 43- year-old wife.

I followed the ambulance to the hospital, my thoughts as heavy as my foot was on the gas pedal. In the early morning hours when many churches would sing "Go to Dark Gethsemane" and reflect on Christ’s agony on the cross, I was deep in my own darkness.


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