Easter Sunday – April 17th 2022 Acts10:34-43, Jn.20:1-18
Mary Magdalene; one of the women with Jesus at the very end is now the first to witness his resurrection and announces to the Disciples: ‘I have seen the Lord’
Her world, the world, is instantly transformed – Despair to Delight, Loss to Life, Horror to Hope – Death is defeated – the grave need not be the end – there is Hope – The message of Easter is one of HOPE.
But how do we find Hope when things around us are not looking good? We’re surrounded by news of terrible violence, suffering and injustice. The crucifixion of Jesus was one of terrible violence, suffering and injustice. So when things are not looking good for us in our lives it’s good to remember that ‘It didn’t look good at the crucifixion either’ – BUT – The message of Easter is that nothing can hold Jesus back – not even death itself.
There is overwhelming documentary evidence to support the fact that Jesus Christ lived and died. The crucial question we all need to answer in our lifetime however, is whether Jesus Christ died and lived. Here are some thoughts to consider and to answer questions from others. 1)The tomb was empty – Roman Soldiers were ordinarily executed for dereliction of duty – Matthew’s gospel tells us that they were bribed to keep quiet and to circulate false news about the incident – if the story was false the Disciples wouldn’t record that a woman was the first to meet the risen Jesus as a woman’s testimony in court did not hold the same power as a man’s. 2) Jesus was seen – 11 occasions are documented with over 500 on one occasion 3) meeting the risen Jesus changes people. It was true then and it remains true today. This timid & terrified group change fundamentally and then go on to change the world
I then went on to perform a visual trick with a sheet of paper.
Jesus brings HOPE but how do I find Hope when things around me are not good? When I feel like I’m being torn apart? The paper is torn and the strips retained in my hand It might be the loss of a loved one, worries over finance, worries over work, worries over relationships, worries over the future … Experiencing these things can make us feel stressed and crushed Paper is crushed into a ball and into palm of my hand Remember that ‘Things didn’t look good at the Crucifixion’ – BUT: the message of Jesus is one of HOPE – we can place our trust in the risen Jesus – meeting him changes things – we can be restored. The crushed and torn paper is carefully drawn out of my palm as a complete sheet … I know … Amazing!
It’s a reminder that the most important thing we can ever do in our lives is discover the reality of who Jesus is – it’s a reminder that the most important thing we can ever do for someone else’s life is to share the reality of who Jesus is.