Sunday, March 27, 2005

Resurrection Lessons

Intro: One of the most ancient rituals in the church was the familiar cuplet – “He is risen ... He has risen, indeed.”

  1. Each stands at the head of a long line of believers – one believer who told another who told another who told ...

  2. And finally someone told you.

  3. The gospel did not begin with me. It did not begin with men and women that first preached the gospel to you.

  4. It began with Jesus Christ.

  5. We have spent much of the last six month looking at the life Jesus Christ.

  6. Today we bring that study to an end.

Read Mark 16:1-8

     But what is the end of Mark's gospel is really the beginning of a much bigger story.
     In the resurrection we have the proof that Jesus was who he claimed to be.
     Let me suggest that there are five lessons that we can get from Marks gospel as read the resurrection story.

  1. Lesson #1: Love finds a way of expressing itself.

    1. Loving Jesus was not hard for these women. It should not suprise us that Mary, the mother of Jesus was there.

    2. Even Mary Magdalene would not surprise us – Luke tells us that Jesus case seven demons out of her.

    3. Salome had two sons who had been profoundly influenced by Jesus – She was the wife of Zebedee who was the father of James and John.

    4. Jesus had played an important role in their lives and now they wanted to demonstrate their love for their Lord.

    5. They did not go to the grave to see the risen Christ, but to bury their Lord.

(Ill.) Jewish culture did not practice embalming. Rather, bodies were placed into a grave or tomb with Spices to hide the stench that the decaying body would produce. However, in Jesus case there was a problem – he had been killed on Friday and was taken down from the cross shortly before the start of the sabbath. He was placed into Joseph of Arimathea's tomb. The sabbath officially ended at Sundown on Saturday, but the women waited until Sunday morning to purchase the spices they needed to prepare the body.

    1. And, because they loved Jesus, they were willing to put up with whatever scent that may have started to form.

(Appl.) When we love someone we will find a way to demonstrate that love. These women came to the grave to do exactly that.

  1. Lesson #2: We too often worry over problems that God has already solved.

    1. They came to the tomb to finish the task of finishing the task of preparing Bur before they could that, they needed to roll away the stone that guarded the entrance to Arimathea's tomb.

(Ill.) In 1998, the oldest person alive was a refrigeration engineer. Milton Garland was 102 in that year. Reflecting on his life he noted that, “Don’t worry about anything. Worrying never solved anything. All it does is distort your mind.”

    1. And that is what these women were doing – they were worrying about this stone that had been rolled in front of Jesus'grave.

(Ill.) It was a relative simple task to roll the stone into place in front of the tomb. One in place, however, it would slip down into a groove that was cut in the bedrock (“Plunk”). Moving it out of that groove was significantly more difficult than putting it in.

    1. Of course, like most of the things we worry about, God had already solved the women's problem.

(Appl.) Our lives would be so much easier if in the midst of our next worry, we took time to back away, even if just for a minute, and remember that God has it under control. But in the rush of life, too often, we forget that God has a role in all that we do.

  1. Lesson #3: We can look for Christ at the grave, but he is not there.

    1. The first few minutes at the grave must have been full of surprises.

    2. They did not find what they expected to see.

    3. The stone was gone. Jesus was gone. And, when they entered the tomb, there was somebody else there.

    4. I think I would be startled too.

    5. But there is a principle here – Jesus is no longer in the grave. He is alive – and we must look for him among the living.

    6. We do not want of focus on Jesus death – but on His resurrection.

(Ill.) Not the cover of today's bulletin - “Because of Good Friday you can look back and not be afraid. Because of Easter you can look ahead and not be afraid.”

    1. Jesus Christ is no longer dead.

  1. Lesson #4: Fear is a typical response when meeting God for the first time.

    1. The response of the women is not surprising – the angel they meet recognizes their confusion, “Do not be alarmed.” Later, Mark says that they were trembling and bewildered ... they were afraid.

    2. But there were others when they finally had to come to terms with God and all of his glory.

    3. There was Isaiah, who after meeting God, could only exclaim, “I am a man of unclean lips.” Moses also was faced with seeing the glory of God – but God only allowed him to see his back. Seeing God in all his glory is going to have a remarkable effect on us.

    4. These women are afraid as they realize that Jesus is not there.

    5. They do not understand; yet they have to process this horrible, this wonderful truth – Jesus is not in the grave, he is alive.

  1. Lesson #5: When we meet the resurrected savior, we cannot keep quiet.

    1. And that truth cannot be hid.

    2. It is a command from the angel “Go tell my disciples ..”

    3. But the news cannot be held back. It may be unbelievable, it may be so unexpected that we can hardly talk about it

    4. Yet we must, and we will.

    5. The women were first – but there would be more. They would tell the disciples. The disciples would see Jesus. They would see his wounds. They would hear his voice.

    6. And they also could not keep quiet. And they would tell others. And others would tell Paul and Paul would tell the known world.

    7. And the message would continue to be told from place to place, from time to time. Down through the centuries.

    8. And you heard the message – and you believed it.

Conclusion: Now it is our job to tell others, “Jesus is alive.”

  1. It is no longer a shock, it is no longer a surprise.

  2. We need to join the church throughout the centuries ...

  3. “He has risen.” ... “He has risen indeed”

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