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Summary: Today we gather around the event that has influenced human history more than any other…and changed more lives than any other. We gather around the resurrection of Jesus…known as the Christ…which means the anointed one.

When Hope Arises

Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 – Brad Bailey

Intro

Today we gather around the event that has influenced human history more than any other…and changed more lives than any other.

We gather around the resurrection of Jesus…known as the Christ…which means the anointed one.

The events are described in the four Gospel accounts that are a part of the Scriptures.

Earlier in our gathering, we heard the account of Mary Magdalene first encountering the empty tomb. We’re reminded that Easter begins with one whose hopes appear sealed in the harsh reality of a tomb.

We know that this woman Mary…had experienced the power of Jesus to bring freedom from evil that had been at work in her life. With deep gratitude she had followed him… and when he entered Jerusalem everything changed. He was arrested… beaten…tried by various rulers…and finally crucified. She was there. She watched. He was buried in a cold stone tomb.

On that Sunday morning she comes once again to visit the tomb. She comes in love… but ALSO IN DARKNESS; not just the darkness of the sky, but the darkness of her soul. Her love may have been strong… but her hope couldn’t see anything left to hold onto. He was gone and the world without him was dark… dark around her … dark within her.

> Easter begins where life on this planet often finds us…

• a world not always safe and sane and satisfying;

• a world where the love of family and friends can fall short… prove frail and fragile;

• a world where people we love leave us too soon.

> Easter enters just such a world.

But its right there that the love of God comes. It comes seeking us in the darkness. It is not the love of fairy tales or forced devotion… but a love that reaches into the real world.

Easter begins with one whose hopes appear sealed in the harsh reality of a tomb… and whose expectations are once again left in a natural world.

But there she finds the tomb is not just open…it’s empty.

There she finds that he is alive.

And everything changes.

She is transformed.

All his followers who had scattered now see him and are transformed.

He shows himself to over 500 others and the masses begin to be transformed.

What transforms them? The transforming power of HOPE.

Easter… bears the power of hope entering the world…our world.

> The resurrection declares that God is ultimately in charge after all…and that brings the power of hope that defies all other powers.

In the film The Hunger Games, President Snow rules over a futuristic society called Panem. Every year the people of Panem are forced to participate in a contest called "the Hunger Games," an event in which one boy and one girl aged 12-18 from each of the twelve districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death until one winner is declared. In one scene, Snow asks his chief Gamesmaker, a man named Seneca Crane, "Seneca, why do you think we have a winner [for the Hunger Games]?"


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