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.
Sometimes, characters from nativity displays go missing. Unfortunately, nativity theft is a common crime. Can you guess which character is stolen the most? The baby Jesus is the character that’s most frequently stolen. In that case, we ask the question, where is Jesus? That’s a great question to ask during Christmas Eve worship. Has Jesus gone missing from our lives?
Mary, the young mother of Jesus, was as a woman powerless in the face of those who ruled the land. Still, in the Magnificat, Mary exults in a power that comes, not from a throne or any earthly authority, but from God. God’s powerful grace and love through Jesus is then claimed for the poor and oppressed.
When Jesus was healing people he made a lengthy journey to help a man who people felt was possessed by demons. The man’s story is still common today. Many among us hide struggles with brain issues because they are worried about being stigmatized. In this Gospel story Jesus’ reaction to the man gives us guidance on how we can help.
We may experience frustration when we ask God to do something but God doesn’t do it. We may wonder why didn’t God do something to help my family member? Why didn’t God help me land that job? Why didn’t God help me get that date? Why didn’t God keep me from getting sick? What do we do if our request isn’t answered?
The Emperor Augustus of the Roman empire was the most powerful man on the planet. He was also the wealthiest man in the Empire. He was called son of God, Savior of the world, King of Kings and Lord. Yet while Augustus was ruling, a little baby born in a stable in Bethlehem would have far greater impact that Augustus. Eventually all the titles used for a Augustus would be used to describe Jesus. Today we honor Jesus and not Augustus.
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 May 29, 2016 by Rev. Fred Steinberg