April 12, 2020

Experiencing Easter

Passage: Luke 24:1-12
Service Type:

Sermon on Luke 24:1-12

Experiencing Easter

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020

Luke 24:1-12     The Resurrection of Jesus

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.

2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body.

4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.

5The women were terrified and bowed 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, but has risen.

6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’

8Then they remembered his words, 9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.

10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.

11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.

12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Sermon:

Friends why are you here? This day?

Gathered by a screen that I still marvel at.

How we can worship remotely like this is amazing.

Are you here to celebrate Easter?

See that’s great.

But I want to see your celebrate and raise you a chip or two.

Because of all the holydays and holidays, I think that Easter isn’t something to be celebrated.

It is something to be experienced.

We celebrate the 4th of July – an event that happened that changed the course of history.

But Easter keeps happening or it is not Easter.

If something keeps happening, you can’t just celebrate it.

If it keeps happening, you experience it.

And that makes all the difference.

Easter is God’s affirmation that death is dead.

Death has been killed, slaughtered, defeated, vanquished, terminated.

Death is dead.

But Easter still happens because resurrection of the dead still happens.

Do you believe that?

See this is the toughest thing to see with our human eyes,

and accept in our human plight.

That is why the angel has to ask,

why do you look for the living among the dead. 

See, this place is where the dead are laid to rest.

But Jesus isn’t dead.

He conquered death, vanquished death,

destroyed death.

Death is dead. He is Risen!

Ever wonder why we say He is risen and not he has risen.

Because the resurrection is more than just a one time even – Jesus is risen, permanently,

never to die again!

It is Jesus’ natural state of being. He is risen.

In 1158 AD the Catholic Church in Scotland gathered together the finest architects,

craftsmen and carpenters and began to give birth to St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

In 1318 it was consecrated and at the time it was the grandest of all cathedrals.

But 60 years later St Andrews cathedral burned down.

They attempted to repair it

but something else happened

and many years later they attempted again

but in the end all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put St. Andrew’s cathedral back together again.

Dejected, they abandoned efforts and today you can go to St. Andrews and get a little tour and the guide will say,

  • that is where we used to celebrate Easter,
  • and that is where we used to baptize
  • and that is where we used to hold weddings… 850 years ago.

But used to be’s just get swept away, don’t they?

Remember last year about this time how our eyes were pealed to the TV as we watched images of another great cathedral burning before us…

that cathedral began being built 2 years after St. Andrew’s.

Notre Dame – Our Lady – with fire shooting out the windows, the great spire falling down in horror.

And yet the most amazing thing about that whole scenario was that the people said,

this is devastating but we’re going to rebuild.

And so, in less than 24 hours they raised millions and millions of dollars pledging, this cathedral will be built again; we will not give up.

  • Religious, non-religious,
  • countless men and women and children
  • from all over the world

pouring out their money to rebuild something new from the ashes of despair.

The message was, we will not settle for ashes and rubble. 

New life will rise up from the ashes.

Nothing got in the way of resurrection.

Compare the ruins of St. Andrew’s with that of Notre Dame.

And they represent the 2 type of belief systems that   exist.

One says, O well, que sera sera, what ever will be will be

and the other says, o yeah, well not on my   watch.

We can let the ruins remain ruins or we can reach deeper still unto a power that lies beyond us

and we can claim a power deeper than ourselves and not let limitations stop us.

There are those who say what lies in ruins need not be messed with

and there are others that say, I am going to reach deeper still unto a greater power and           rebuild.

And we call those people, People Of The Resurrection.

What Lies In Ruins Today Doesn’t Have To Lie   In Ruins Tomorrow. 

And here’s the difference between celebrating Easter and Experiencing Easter.

Celebrating Easter says it happened and that was a great ride.

But those who experience it know that we have a God that refuses to let death and destruction and dis – ease have the final word.

Do you want to celebrate or Experience Easter?

In Luke the women lead the charge, and they descend upon the tomb.

Looking, hoping, wondering if Jesus’ words were true… but in 3 days I will rise!?

And look at Peter.

Oh, if ever there was a man who hope it was true it was Peter.

Because the last time he left Jesus he had denied that he even knew him.

If ever there was someone whose life lied in ruins,

  • his heart,
  • his mind,
  • his relationships,
  • his hope,
  • his purpose;

for three years he walked with this Jesus and put his hope in him and turned his back on him.

If Jesus died with that in Peter’s head and stayed dead, there would be no hope of reconciliation.

But if it was true… in three days I will rise

Then if it were true all things are then possible.

What Peter found was that Easter exists and that Easter means that we have been granted a power

so that where in life where we see destruction and ruin and despair

and what is seemingly irreparable and tattered that we can find new life.

We sometimes get stuck with Good Friday.

I think churches stop at Good Friday.

Instead of the full good news we push Jesus died for you so be thankful.

And oh, by the way Jesus wouldn’t have died if you weren’t such a sinner.

And we miss the point.

Into the world Jesus came to identify with us in all things, was tempted in all things as we are.

He took on the fulness of our humanity, and became human, so that we could be like … him.

Our verse in this Lenten season from Philippians goes like this… that I may know Christ.

We have been talking about growing in intimacy with the risen Christ.

Not just to know more stuff about him,

but to know him,

  • in prayer,
  • worship,
  • scripture,
  • fellowship,
  • service
  • and now in his resurrection and new life.

 

Paul goes on to say this

I want to know Christ

and the power of His resurrection

and the fellowship of His sufferings,

being conformed to Him in His death,

and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection

from the dead.…

He would go on to say that

the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in you.

Why – because we experience Easter – it keeps happening.

I see Easter happening in the church,

where we are accepting people regardless

  • of money or status
  • or gender
  • or sexual orientation
  • or anything else that seemingly separates us –

we are stronger and more complete in our diversity.

Are you willing to experience Easter?

Where now is your life in ruins?

Yes, yes Pastor Lou, I know I can be and am forgiven.

But what about your reputation, finances, relationships, can there be resurrection?

Like St. Andrew’s are you content with letting the remnants lie in ruins

or are you like Notre Dame, nothing is going to stop me from rebuilding.

Today is the day of salvation.

When Jesus comes on the scene in his earthly ministry he goes into the temple and he is handed the scroll of Isaiah

and begins reading where the prophet Isaiah says

this.

18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’

20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

Interesting that when Jesus reads from Isaiah, he leaves out one verse and this is the verse,

he has sent me to proclaim a day of vengeance of our Lord.

Interesting the one who represents God in the fullest sense leaves out the prophecy that the messiah will proclaim a day of vengeance.

See, God has a bigger agenda –

  • it is not punishment it is redemption,
  • renewal, rebirth…
  • and not vengeance.

Isaiah will go on to say – and he will rebuild the ancient ruins. 

He came to take the brokenness of your life and redeem it and renew it.

In the power of the resurrection.

Easter is not an event but a process where God wants to address the ruins of our lives and give them new life.

It’s what God does best.

Look at the cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb f Easter.

Easter is God’s proclamation that God

  • sees life in place of death.
  • Newness where we have closed up shop.
  • Open door where doors have been shut
  • Rolled away stones have where tombs have been sealed.

Can you put aside merely celebrating Easter, and place in God’s hands the ruins of your life,

And start living again and experience Easter?

Amen!