Summary: Easter sermon. The great news that Jesus rose from the dead has the potential to change our plans, our outlook on life, and our hope for the future.
They’re looking for “life” on Mars. Why? I guess it would be interesting just to find out if it’s there or not. The Brits launched Beagle 2 a few years back. They’re not sure what happened with it. That would have been a sure bet. I figure, about 2 days after landing a Beagle on Mars, the neighbors would be showing up to complain about the noise. As it turns out that there has been some evidence of life on Mars, but hard facts remain sketchy. After looking at a few photos of the Martian landscape, I’ve concluded this: if there is life on Mars, it’s very bored.
If there is no life on Mars, it doesn’t matter how long or how hard we keep looking for it, we’re not going to find it.
It’s kind of like looking for the body of Jesus in a tomb after He’s alive. Someone might well ask, “Hey, why are you looking for the Living One here where you would expect to find dead people?”
That’s what the angels said in…
Luke 24:1-12 (NIV)
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
We’re here this morning to wonder at the empty tomb. The Bible, right here, tells us in clear terms what Easter means.
I. Much hasn’t changed…but it CAN
Any time you look at someone in the Bible and shake your head about the way they botch things, take a mirror, look right into it, and shake your head again. Let’s see just how true to our situations God’s word is. Those women at the empty tomb, those disciples they spoke to – that could have just as easily been us! Here’s what I mean…
1. We forget His words
The angels said to these ladies, “remember how He told you…” He had. He had told them and the disciples in plain terms before His death exactly what was going to happen:
"We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"
Did they remember? Sure – once they were inside an empty tomb with 2 angels reminding them! “Then they remembered…”
Isn’t it amazing how we can listen to the Lord’s words, maybe over and over, and manage not to remember them? Not anymore amazing than a husband who listens to his wife say over and over some item at the top of the “honeydo” list and then, later when she asks him if he got it done the answer is NO…he didn’t remember it. Kids also develop selective memory. And ladies, you’re guilty of it too! We all understand it, don’t we? We manage to filter out the things we don’t want to accept; even things that God tells us very plainly. These ladies had done it, and so do we. Much hasn’t changed.
2. We search in the wrong places, and for the wrong things
Why do you seek the living among the dead? It is a rhetorical question…isn’t it?
The idea, in the original, could be translated, “Why are you seeking the Living One among the dead ones?” A tomb isn’t the place you look for someone who’s alive! First of all, they weren’t looking for someone who was alive, so they were searching for the wrong thing. But they were searching for Jesus, so the place they were looking was the wrong place.