Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Notes for the Sunday Message; Easter Sunday 2013

This Sunday we will celebrate Easter

Scriptures for this Sunday: 1 Corinthians 15:20-26; Luke 24: 1-12; John 20:1-18

You can read these Scriptures here: NIV2010

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For the world that we live in to make sense, there must be rules and conventions that everyone agrees to obey and to follow.

While most of us readily admit that there are rules that are not perfect (at least some of them), at least we know them. They are predictable and manageable and in this sense, rules are comforting.

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The Resurrection challenges all the rules and laws of nature because if we cannot count on something as basic as the fact that the dead will stay dead, what can we count on?

There was something that was obvious to the disciples and followers of Jesus: their leader was dead and the people who followed him assumed that he will remain dead. That is why “the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb” (Luke 24:1 NIV). The women came to the tomb where Lord’s body was placed on Friday, because they saw [observed, witnessed, experienced] Jesus’ body being left there. They brought the spices in order to anoint Jesus’ earthly remains and to express what he meant to them while he was alive and what the memories of him means to their future.

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In our mind’s eye, we think that when the empty tomb was discovered, the mourning turned to joy instantly. The truth is that the Gospels simply do not support that view. The discovery of the empty tomb brought with it confusion, frustration and fear. The conventional wisdom teaches us that the only thing we can do with the body of the deceased is to treat it with dignity and respect and to bury it according to the cultural conventions of the time and place where we live.

That is when angels wearing bright clothes appeared. As enticing as it may be to concentrate on angels, the story is not about them. Frightened women were asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5). That question challenged the reality of everything that these ladies knew and they knew that the dead stay dead.

Words of these angels bring OUR Easter experience uncomfortably close, because this is precisely what we have — the word of resurrection that challenges our conventional wisdom, it flies in the face of what we know to be right, true and, if not beautiful, then at least comfortable.

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When we don’t know how to process information that is presented to us, when we don’t know what or how we should change, if we cannot image what we can do differently, we continue doing what we have always done (application of the First Newton’s Law of Motion to our daily lives). When the women brought the message of resurrection to the other followers of Jesus, their response was disbelief.

NIV Luke 24:11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. (NIV, emphasis added)

Greek manuscripts use word “leros”; that word is translated as “nonsense.” Word “leros” came to English as the root of word “delirious.” The women seemed “delirious” to the disciples.

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Easter challenges what we think is certain; Easter challenges our conventions. Easter teaches us that although some things may seem like nonsense to us at the time, when we follow God’s lead they will result in something wonderful. Easter teaches us that although the death is real, it is not final. Jesus brings us the new life amidst death.

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In our mind’s eye, we think that when the empty tomb was discovered, the mourning turned to joy instantly. That is simply not true. We know that the Disciples spent a long time behind the closed doors for the fear of their own people; we know that some of the disciples even traveled to Galilee and tried to restart their fishing careers again. Their morning turned to joy fifty days later on the day of Pentecost. The period of time between Easter morning and Pentecost is the Season of Easter. That was the time when their morning gradually turned to joy.

As we gather for worship on Easter Morning we follow in the footsteps of Peter (Luke 24:11) who dropped everything and took off to see the empty tomb for himself. We come because we have heard that Jesus is alive and that the tomb is empty and we long to hear the Good News again.

The story of Easter continued in the last 2000 years, it continues in our lives today and it will continue in the future to the end of times.

The story of Easter continues because God continues to challenge the certainty of death with the promise of life; certainty of our earthly death with the promise of our eternal life. In Jesus, God gave us the gift of abundant life in the present and eternal life in the future.

NIV Luke 24:5-6 … “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! …”

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Just like Jesus called Lazarus to come out of his tomb, the Risen Christ calls each of us to to live abundant lives in Him and to bear fruit to the Glory of God. When we shed our restraints, when we leave behind things that limit and enslave us, when we discover the freedom that Jesus’ Resurrection brings, our frustrations and limitations turn to joy and service to God and our neighbors.

As we grow in our love of God and in our service to God, our identity becomes that of a child of God, known by Jesus who died on the Cross and rose from the dead, and shaped by the Holy Spirit to the glory of God.

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