Summary: Sunrise Service
Why do you come to the tomb?
Mark 16 : 1 - 8
Mary Magdalene, Mary and Salome had a specific reason for going to the tomb that Easter morning. They wanted to pay homage to this man they loved by giving His body it’s last respects by applying the proper spices and anointments to preserve the body. They came in grief but with a sense of duty.
Why do we come to the tomb this Easter morning? I mean, it’s early! Most of us aren’t out of bed this time of day on Sunday morning. A preacher friends son asked him one Easter morning, “Dad, why can’t we have Sunrise on Wednesday evening?”
Most of us here come from a sense of honor and respect, just as the ladies did that first Easter morning. But we also come from some very different places than they came from.
Some of us come to see the stone, still in place. We don’t know that Jesus is risen and we really don’t want to know Jesus is risen. We come to worship His burial site. By leaving Jesus in the tomb we can keep Him in a little place that we can come to visit whenever we want, but not have Him intruding on our lives outside this place. We are the Religionists, and we make up about 25% of every congregation. We don’t know the living Christ, but we respect who He was and what He stood for. So we come to the tomb to worship and remember Him. But we certainly don’t want to find the stone rolled away.
Some of us come and find the stone rolled away and we’re terrified! What has happened? Have the Sanhedrin plotted to come and take His body and defile it even more than they already have? Why can’t they just leave Him alone? Or ... Did Jesus really rise from the dead as some say He said He would? We’re not about to go in and find out. We’ll simply stand outside the tomb and say, “It’s a mystery”, and we’ll leave it at that. Once again we make up a big part of most congregations. We know the tomb is empty and we know what some people say about that. But we haven’t entered the tomb to find out for ourselves. Second Hand Christianity is good enough for us. We’re really good church members ... but we don’t really care about encountering the Risen Christ.
Some of us enter the tomb. We want to know what happened. We want to find Jesus ... dead or alive. We want to find out if Jesus was who He said He was. We want to find the truth so we go into the tomb and see the angels and hear their proclamation that He is alive so we leave the tomb to go look for Him. We want to find Jesus. This is the hardest group to be a part of. It’s an all or nothing proposition. If Jesus is who He said He is, the unique Son of God, then we must worship Him, follow Him and dedicate all we have and all we are to Him. It’s a strong demand with eternal consequences. And it’s a scary place to be on Easter morning. But even though it’s hard and even though it’s scary ... we know He’s the truth, and He is the Way and He is the Life. Apart from Him we are nothing.
This Easter I hope you’ll enter the tomb and take the angels message to heart. And then that you’ll exit the tomb, to find the Living Jesus. It will change your eternity!