In this Easter message we will delve into the story of Mary Magdalene and her encounter with the resurrected Jesus. At first, Mary was distraught upon seeing the empty tomb and assumed that someone had stolen Jesus’ body. However, her despair quickly turned to amazement when she saw the resurrected Jesus standing before her.
Have you ever suffered a betrayal? Typically, we experience betrayal by someone close to us. Maybe it’s a business partner. Perhaps it’s a friend, or it might even be a family member. It is somebody who knows us well, so it hurts deeply. Judas betrayed Jesus. Later Judas agonized over his betrayal. The agony was so great he took his own life. What might’ve happened to Judas if he had waited two days? What might’ve happened if he saw Jesus raised from the dead? We will explore this thought and others in this message.
Sometimes during the season of Lent, people will give up something. They might give up chocolate, caffeine, foul language, bad feelings, or something else that seems to be holding them back from spiritual growth. Sometimes these items are minor, and sometimes they are enormous sacrifices. In John 10:17-22, Jesus asked a man to give up something sacrificial. The man walks away, knowing he cannot do what Jesus requests. In some ways, we might feel sorry for the man. A lot has been asked of him. But if we are focusing on the sacrifice, maybe we have missed the offered opportunity.
2,000 years ago Jesus was dead. The stone had been rolled in front of the tomb and the tomb was sealed. This was the end of the story for most Messiahs in the 1st century. But something different happened in the case of Jesus. It was so different that even the disciples had doubts at first. But then the astonishing truth became clear.
It had been a treacherous week. The Disciples ate the last meal with Jesus on Thursday and followed him to the garden to pray. Then there was the arrest, trial and torture of Jesus followed by his crucifixion. The Disciples were grieved and shocked by the progression of events. They knew that everything was over. All they had planned and hoped for would never happen. But then a new day started with an empty tomb.
Easter dramatically changed the lives of the disciples. What they thought was dead was now alive. Everything changed on Easter morning. How might the empty tomb give us a different perspective on our lives? Join us for this conclusion to the “Following Jesus” sermon series. Or maybe it is just the beginning…
Sermon preached at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on April 16, 2017 by Rev. Fred A. Steinberg
Puppet show done at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church in Gold Canyon, Arizona on April 16, 2017