Summary: This sermon talks about how God can turn the tragedies in our lives to symbols of victory

When Tragedy Becomes Victory

Rom 8:28, John 19:38 - 40, John 20:9, John 20:2-8, Rom 8:28

March 24, 2003

I. I want to ask you a question. But, I need to tell you that at first, its not going to make any sense. I know that it will greatly surprise you that I would ask a question that doesn’t make sense, but we will have to pretend for a minute that I would ask a question that doesn’t make sense.

A. How many good conversations have you had about grave clothes lately.

B. I mean when was the last time that you tried to initiate a stimulating conversation by bringing up grave clothes.

C. Lets play that one out for a second. Hi how are you doing? I’m doing great, and how is the family. The family is fine. Good.

D. Many conversations lull at this lets say, you say," by they way what are you planning to wear in your casket?"

E. Now wouldn’t you think that would be a real conversation getter going topic.

F. NOT! Most people don’t want to talk about grave clothes, that is with the exception of John the Apostle.

G. If you were to bring up grave clothes to John, you might be surprised at how excited he could get about them.

H. As a matter of fact he might even run away with the conversation and begin to tell you how about the time that he began to see grave clothes as a symbol of victory!

I. He might tell you how at one time he saw grave clothes as the symbol of tragedy, but then something happened that totally changed his mind about a lot of things.

J. John would tell you how God took the clothing of death and made it into a symbol of life for him.

K. But, the real question is, could he do the same for you?

II. We all face tragedy in our lives. That is a given. At some point in your life you have probably even received a symbol of tragedy.

A. It might have been a telegram from the war department. Your symbol could be an I.D. bracelet from a hospital.

B. It might be a scar, a subpoena, or divorce papers.

C. We don’t like these symbols and we don’t want them, but the odds of us getting through life without them are slim.

D. They’re kinda like dirty clothes they clutter up our lives and more than that, these symbols clutter up our hearts with memories of bad days.

E. Is it at all possible for God to use things like that for something good?

F. Lets make that question a little plainer. How far can we go with Romans 8:28?

(Rom 8:28 NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

G. Does that statement that God works everything for good go as far as tumors, and statements like we have to do a test to determine what the effects are?

H. Does the statement that God works all things for good go so far as to cover things like tempers and lay offs?

I. John would say yes! John would tell you that God can turn any tragedy into a victory if you will just wait and watch long enough.

J. And to prove his point he would probably start by telling you about a particular Friday in his life.

(John 19:38 - 40 NIV) Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

K. In this story we see two guys that were closet disciples while Jesus was alive, but who became very courageous after his death.

L. Joseph and Nicodemus, it took Jesus’ death to bring it out in them, but after standing in the background while he was alive they came to serve him after he died.

M. They came to bury him. They walked off of the hill of calvary with Jesus’ body and his burial clothes.

1. Pilate had given them permission to bury him.

2. Joseph had given the tomb for him to be buried in and the bible says that Nicodemus had brought the spices and linens to bury him with.

N. John says that Nicodemus brought seventy-five pounds of Myrrh and Aloes. The amount that he brought is worth noticing, because that much was usually only used for kings.

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