He is not here...HE IS RISEN!

Easter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  9:01
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L: He is Risen! P: He is Risen Indeed!
Early in the morning, that refrain echoes from the mountains and throughout the valleys as the women run back from the empty tomb…Jesus is risen, He wasn’t there! What more do we really need to say about this story? I mean, for all intents and purposes, this is the basis of our faith. Believing that Jesus rose from the dead to conquer death and sin. There is nothing more we need to know and believe. But here’s the thing, the world tries to convince us that this could not have happened and so every Easter we shout these refrains for a few weeks and then we go back to our everyday lives. It is hard, I get it. The world absorbs our time and our energy and we forget to celebrate the fact that Jesus suffered and died so that we could be free from all the things we do to one another. So how do we keep this refrain in our hearts for more than just a few hours let alone until next Easter morning? The answer to that questions lies within each of your hearts…my hope is that as we reflect on this story this morning, you will see that the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and was not where everyone expected him to be, that we have hope for tomorrow and more importantly, hope to live in a world that seems to hate us more each day…here’s something to consider...

Children Get It...

There’s an old story about children who were asked to bring plastic Easter eggs to Church on Easter Sunday. They were instructed to fill the eggs with something that would symbolize the meaning of the resurrection for them. One child’s egg contained a tiny flower to speak of the new life that springs forth at Easter. Another egg contained a crayoned drawing of Jesus. Another contained a small nail to remind people about the nails of the cross; and another contained a pebble to represent the stone that had guarded the tomb. Each child had brought something to help the church think about the resurrection, but everyone was speechless when the egg brought by a little seven year old boy was opened. This young man had learning difficulties, and as his egg was opened there was nothing inside. When the pastor looked at him, the boy spoke up loudly and clearly, “It’s full of emptiness – just like the tomb of Jesus”…the egg was empty just as the tomb was empty…he got it, why do we struggle to get it...

The disciples were reluctant to believe it

You know, we are not alone in our disbelief and questions…we often talk about how Thomas needed to see the holes in Jesus’ hands and feet. But you know what, all of the disciples needed proof too. We are told in the passage that when the women came back from the tomb and told the 11 who were gathered together, the disciples thought the women were speaking nonsense. They did not get it or believe. For Peter, he had to go see for himself. The others, as far as we can tell, stayed put and did not leave at all. Can you imagine the conversations around that room that morning?
I can hear disbelief and doubt about what the women said…can you believe these women? They have the audacity to show up here and tell us that Jesus rose from the dead? Here we are grieving for the man who taught us so much and they have the guts to run in here and tell us that his body was not there? What were they thinking when they went to the tomb anyway? They must have been smelling their herbs and oils too much…there is no way that actually happened. Even Peter doubted after seeing the empty tomb for himself. Luke records that he walked away wondering to himself what had happened. It took the physical presence of Jesus later in the day for them to believe. So for us, it is easy to see why we doubt. But here’s the thing...

There is still hope for us...

We may never see the physical presence of Christ here with us but we have all the proof written down for us in all the stories we have from firsthand witnesses and we continue to find more each day. We have the story right here for us. Unlike the people of Jesus’ time, we know how this whole story ends and we know that Jesus appeared in the flesh to those gathered. He appears here for us this morning too. It might be the physical or bodily presence for us but it is the symbolic representation right here on this table prepared before us.
He is risen! If we’ve put our trust in Jesus then his Spirit lives in us; and if his Spirit lives in us, it was that very same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. What was dead has come to life and that includes you and me. We were dead in our sins but now we’re alive in Christ. Christ is in me, Christ is in you. The fact that you are here means that you trust and believe that his resurrection occurred and that his power is in us, to be poured out for the lost, the lonely, the broken, the hurting and the sick. Remember this if nothing else, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He [or she] who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11: 25-26). If we trust and believe in that resurrection, our sins are forgiven and we can carry that with us each day as we continue to shout, HE IS RISEN! The challenge will forever be how we carry it but we must and need to bring it to the world, especially today...


Let us pray…Jesus, we want nothing more in this world to have the courage and strength to shout from the mountains that you have Risen, for that is what this day is all about. When we struggle with this Lord, help us to feel your strength and love. Guide us to the next person who needs to know that your love knows no bounds and grant us wisdom to share all that we have learned so that we can gather your people together. Amen.
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