Summary: Are you looking for life in all the wrong places? Everybody is living for something or somebody. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” As we get closer to death in this human flesh it seems we tend to talk about death in terms of loss
Over the past five weeks, we’ve been visiting the cross to listen again to the Final Words from the Cross. Today we’re going to consider words that continue to shake our world: The first words from the tomb. These words were spoken by angels to the women who had arrived at the cemetery expecting to prepare the corpse of Christ with additional burial spices.
Cemeteries can be spooky places. I heard a funny story about a guy in Scotland we call Ian McGregor. After a long evening in the pub, Ian took a shortcut to his house that took him through a dark cemetery. He accidentally fell into a freshly dug grave. Ian tried to climb out, but discovered the hole was too deep, so he just decided to wait until the morning when someone would come to help him out. So, he sat in the corner and covered himself with his coat, and went to sleep. Sometime later he was awakened by the sound of another guy who fell in the front of the grave. The second guy didn’t see Ian in the corner. Ian watched as the man tried and tried to climb out of the grave. Finally, Ian said, “Stoop your tryin’ Ya canna’ get out.” But you know, that guy jumped all the way out of that grave!
Because of the resurrection, we don’t have to be afraid of the grave. In fact, I’m glad we have our Easter Sunrise Service in a cemetery. It’s our way of looking into the face of the grim reaper and singing, “na, na, na, na, na, na, na, hey, hey goodbye!”
Let’s go to the tomb on that first Easter morning and hear these first words from the tomb:
Luke 24:1-6. “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!’”
As I prayed and meditated over this portion of God’s Word, I kept being drawn to the question that the angels asked the women: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” The women went to a cemetery expecting to find a corpse, but what they found was a living Lord. The angels said, “He is not here, He has risen.” People are still looking for the corpse of Jesus. Have you noticed over the past few years that just as we approach Easter, there have been sensational attempts by savvy marketing gurus to release controversial claims to refute the message of Easter? Twenty years ago the movie, “The Last Temptation of Christ” was released just before Easter. A few years ago, The DaVinci Code book was promoted, and then later the movie. I remember last Easter, it was the discovery of the spurious Gospel of Judas. This year, of course, the Titanic movie director, James Cameron created a titanic media stir with his claim that he had found the remains of the body of Jesus in a cemetery outside Jerusalem. The angels could have asked James Cameron, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Don’t worry church, the gospel is a solid anvil that has worn out thousands of hammers throughout the centuries.
The question of the angels is one that we should be answering in 2007: Why are so many people looking for life in dead places? As I thought about that question, an old country song that came to my mind. Johnny Lee sang it and it’s called, “Looking for LOVE in all the wrong places. The chorus says, “I was looking for love in all the wrong places./ Looking for love in too many faces/ Searching their eyes, looking for traces/ of what I’m dreaming of. Hoping to find a friend and a lover/ I’ll bless the day I discover/ another heart, looking for love!” I’d like to change word in that song because I think that people are looking for life in all the wrong places. The women on the first Easter morning were doing that, and millions of people today are looking for life - but they’re searching in dead places. So will you consider this personal question: Are you looking for life in all the wrong places?
We are part of a generation of people who are desperately trying to really live it up but they are looking for life in all the wrong places. Let me share three dead places where people look for life, and then I’ll talk about the only place to find real life.