Summary: Sermon for Easter Sunday, Year c, 2013
John 20: 1 – 18 / Why Are You Crying?
Intro: It was right before Easter in a science class when a young female student asked the professor what he was going to do over Easter. He responded by saying the Easter story was a myth, there is no God and there’s no way a person rises from the dead. The young lady answered, “Sir, I not only believe in God, I believe in the resurrection.” The professor went to the refrigerator where he kept lab experiments, pulled out a raw egg, stood on his desk and said, “I’m going to drop this egg on the floor. Science says gravity will pull it to the floor and the egg will break. I want you to say a prayer and ask the God in whom you believe to keep the egg from breaking when it hits the floor.” The young girl rose from her seat and prayed, “Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that when the egg drops you will prove you gave us science and make the egg break into hundreds of pieces. AND Dear Lord, I also pray that when the egg does bread, my professor will have a massive heart attack and die.” Without a word, the professor put the egg back in the refrigerator and said, “Class dismissed!”
I. Christ Jesus is risen! He is risen, indeed! We want to believe, right? How do we know this? What if I told you He is standing in the back of this room right now?
A. One of two things happens. Those who did not turn around to look are no better or no worse than the followers of Jesus who assumed that it was not possible.
B. Others may have turned around for a quick peek. You wanted to believe what I said was true, or at least you were curious.
C. VSS. 1 & 2 Mary assumed. She jumped to a conclusion and assumed the worst. --- Somebody had stolen Jesus’ body. What do we do when we don’t have all the facts? We make them up!
II. VSS 3 – 10 are the confirmation of Mary’s story to the disciples.
A. Why did the disciples go if they weren’t going to do anything? CURIOSITY which not only kills the cat but can cause faith to grow.
B. The “beloved disciple Sees (eiden) / believes (episteusen) There is no object of the disciple’s faith. The word believe means more than “acknowledge” or “give assent to” --- it means he is convinced. What does he believe? Of what is he convinced?
C. Reaction of the disciples in VS. 10 – “Then the disciples returned to their homes.” If John is so convinced, why did he go back home?
III. The dramatic and theological heart of this story is VSS. 14 – 18.
A. Only in John does Mary weep. Was she shedding tears of hopelessness, tears of despair and frustration.
B. Perhaps you have had a “MARY MOMENT” when the world seems a cruel place of broken promises, unfulfilled dreams and big disappointments. The devil wants you to say to yourself, “God is dead. There is no hope.” When there is an earthquake that kills hundreds, when there is a tornado or when the job you thought was secure suddenly disappears, when your health turns for the worse or the one you love asks for a divorce, we are tempted to feel hopelessness and despair.
C. We all need time before we can see and understand spiritual truths. When Jesus finally approaches May in a personal way calling her by name, then, and only then does she really SEE!
Conclu: What have you seen? The message of Easter is that God comes to us, to earth, to turn our tears of sadness to tears of joy. We see and fail to believe because we want to see with our head and not our heart. Sadness, hopelessness and despair are swallowed up in victory when we SEE Christ Jesus. We can only experience the reality of the risen Christ in our lives when we establish a personal relationship with Jesus walking in HIS way, seeking HIS will, and showing HIS love. Then, and only then, does Christ Jesus emerge victorious like the butterfly rising from the cocoon and our weeping in sadness turns to weeping for joy!