Summary: We do it all the time, looking for living things in dead places. This sermon is an Easter sunrise message designed to remind us our faith is all about life, not death.
THE PASTOR’S POINTS
sermon ministry of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
A fellowship of faith, family and friendships.
The following sermon was prepared for Easter Sunrise service at our church. I never got to deliver that sermon because the Lord impressed me that the poem written for the occasion had all the sermon we needed. The poem follows the never-preached sermon
Easter Sunday at Sunrise
April 20, 2003
1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6"He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." 8And they remembered His words, 9and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Luke 24.1-9 (NASB)
Part of our Easter season observance is Jesus’ passion. We go to Gethsemane, and sense the greatest crisis of the ages as Jesus bows in prayer to His heavenly Father. Intense agony fills his prayer, and the physical drain and stress is such that great drops of blood trickle out of the pores of Jesus’ body.
We watch the traitor kiss our Lord, betraying the one hope Judas has for his own redemption. We follow with Peter as Jesus is led to Pilate, then Caiaphas and back again. We shake our heads in disbelief at the sham of a trial, the injustice of scourging; who would not wince as soldiers strike Jesus’ face, spit on him, impel on that sacred head a crown of 8" thorns, wrap his naked body in a regal robe, spin him around and then bow before him in mock worship?
The ignorance of all the world is nakedly displayed as the crowd screams, "Crucify, crucify!" The crowd follows as the soldiers place the log of a crossbeam upon the back of Jesus, and they proceed through the streets of Jerusalem. Jesus stumbles under the weight, and Simon is compelled to carry the cross, and the women weep as He passes by.
A third of a mile, just 650 yards to Golgotha, a skull-shaped hill, and the walk towards Jesus’ final moments is almost complete. The beam is laid down on the ground, forming a cross with another, longer beam. Jesus is stretched-out, and the large spikes are driven through flesh, muscle and tendon, piercing blood vessels, and the heart of Jesus’ Father in heaven.
The torture is nearly complete as it takes several Roman soldiers to pick up the heavy cross bearing the bruised and bleeding, barely breathing, nearly unrecognizable Jesus, Son of God, Lamb who was slain from before the foundation of the world, and slide it into a prepared hole. The soldiers take little care for a dying Jew. They hoist up the cross as if it is a garbage can being picked up on a Thursday afternoon in the inner city, cursing its weight, eager to let it fly into the hole. As the bottom of the cross hits the bottom of the hole, the weight of Jesus’ body is thrust downward against the immovable station of nails, and his flesh tears again, sending waves of excruciating pain through a body well beyond its physical limits.
The pain momentarily subsides as adrenaline courses through Jesus’ nerves, muscle and body tissue. He becomes aware of the fact that there is no air in His lungs.
Agonizingly He lifts himself up, pushing with nail-pierced feet, and pulling with hands that have gaping holes from the nails pinning him to this cursed tree. He struggles for a few breaths, and sags back down into position. He uses what little air is left to tell John to take care of Mary.
The events of the cross leave little doubt as to the outcome. Jesus will be with His Father soon. Mocking, cursing rise from the crowd; Jesus utters the unbelievable, "Father, forgive them, they don’t understand at all." He is thirsty; they want to salt his tongue with vinegar. He cries out, they taunt, "If you’re the son of God come down from there." One thief mocks and ridicules, the other pleads; Jesus extends mercy and eternity in joy as the blood fills his lungs.