I had the honor of giving the message at Powderly Methodist Church and Chicota Methodist Church on Easter Sunday and so while this is a bit late, the following is some of what I shared.
1 Corinthians 15:14
â€œ And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.â€
My husband is a kidney transplant recipient. He was also the third of five children. When he was born, my mother-in-law nicknamed him â€œcabooseâ€ because she thought she was finished having babies. She was wrong. She went on to have two more daughters. She loved all her children but I think that raising five children and caring for an unpleasant, ailing mother-in-law on a Game Wardenâ€™s salary was perhaps not part of her life plan so she questioned. She prayed. She got through it.
Fast forward years later, all the children are grown and my husbandâ€™s mother passed away. My husband goes into kidney failure. His youngest sister donated a kidney.
Did you catch that? God had provided a solution before there was a problem! If that last baby had not been born, my husband might not have seen his children grow up, get married, and give us two beautiful grand daughters!
My mother-in-law passed away before any of this occurred and as far as I know, she never got answers to her questions about having five children and some of the struggles and yet she had such a strong and loving faith. Sometime when we pray and it seems like we donâ€™t get answers, it just might be that part of our problem is part of the answer to someone elseâ€™s prayer!
Our perspective is so narrow and our imagination so limited. God sees the entire picture and is busy working everywhere all the time, though we may go through times when we feel as though He has turned his back on us.
God made a solution that gave my husband back to me and God provided a solution to bring us all back to Him.
Jesusâ€‹ â€‹took on our sin and while we tend to think that Good Friday is the lowâ€‹ â€‹point of Holy Week, Jesus still had power on Good Friday. He couldâ€‹ â€‹have come down from the cross if he had chosen to. But on Saturday heâ€‹ â€‹was completely identified with us at our most powerless. He was gone, and as the bible says, descended to the dead. No power. Nothing. He cameâ€‹ â€‹to join us here, but not to leave us here. By experiencing death, Jesus completed the picture of identifying
But then, God raised him up – not just a spirit or an angel. Luke 24:37 saysâ€‹ â€‹They were startled and frightenedâ€‹, thinking they saw a ghost. No. Heâ€‹ â€‹ate with the disciples. He was solid, living flesh. He was not theâ€‹ â€‹same, as though the cross never happened. He bore the scars so the crucifixion was now a part of him. He was changed. He was different,â€‹ â€‹new.
And so it is with us. We will experience death. It is a defeatedâ€‹ â€‹enemy, but an enemy still.1sâ€‹ t Thessalonians 14:13 says â€‹ â€‹But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hopeâ€‹. We are told not to grieve as those who haveâ€‹ â€‹no hope, but we are NOT told not to grieve.
What does the resurrection give us? So very much but we will look at three things this morning.
Jesus is divineâ€‹.
Mark 2:5-7â€‹ 5â€‹ â€‹And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, â€œSon, your sins are
forgiven.â€ 6â€‹ â€‹Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,7â€‹ â€‹â€œWhy does
this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?
Everybody knew you had to go to the temple to receive forgiveness. He performed miracles. He
claimed to do these things in Godâ€™s authority. The resurrection putâ€™s Godâ€™s stamp of approval on
all these things. By raising Jesus from the dead, God was saying that everything Jesus
promised is true.
It vindicates the cross
The early church claimed the cross was the victory over sin and death. The resurrection
provided the authority on which they made that claim. Romans 6:23 says 2â€‹ 3 â€‹For the wages of
sin â€‹isâ€‹ death, but the gift of God â€‹isâ€‹ eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The resurrection is victory
over death and death is caused by sin.
It Vindicates Us
Galations 2:20 â€‹ â€‹I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; Jesus was crucified, and in a way â€“ we were too. If he died, so did we. If he is raised, then so
too will we be raised. He is coming back.
What does that mean for us? There are people who study and have opinions about what will take place and when and how. There are pre-tribulationists, post-tribulationists, mid-tribulationists. We could spend days talking about all that. I donâ€™t know whoâ€™s right and and frankly Iâ€™m not concerned with the details and you donâ€™t have to be either!
All I really need to know is that God created me and loves me. He formed me in my motherâ€™s womb to be holy and and knew I would miss the mark. Rather than giving me what I deserve He made a way. When I couldnâ€™t make the ascent up to Him, He came down to me. Through His walk on earth He taught me what I should do to be closer to Him and knowing that He knew I stillâ€‹ would miss the mark – He died FOR me! He sees past my sin – He sees the resurrection me!
But wait! Thereâ€™s more! Even if that was the end of the story it would be incredible. That I could be loved to that extent is in itself miraculous. But no, that is not the end of the story! Through the amazing grace of God and through His son, though my human body will go to sleep, I will be raised and I will live but more than just live, I will have life abundantly. Creation will no longer be broken.
Everything will work to the good of everything else and there will be no sin, no sorrow, no death, no pain. We can study the bible looking for clues of what this will be like but we just get hints. All I know for sure is that it is going to be good because His thoughts and ways are so much higher than mine. It is beyond what I can imagine. So we continue to get to know Him and let Him transform us into Easter people fit for that new life, Amen?
My daughter gave me an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas. I can ask questions by phrasing them Alexa, What is the weather today, or for my grand daughter – Alexa, tell me a bedtime story. I recently learned another Alexa skill – I can say Alexa, have the bible app read me (whatever scripture). I listened to the lectionary readings on it and as I was listening to 1 Corinthians, I was transfixed. The voice was a deep, rich male voice and suddenly I could picture Paul speaking to this young church that was dealing with so much confusion and temptation and I felt as though I was sitting there hearing the words for the first time and I realized that we too need that reminder of what we are here for and what we have to look forward to – otherwise our preaching and our faith is in vain.
Father we are so grateful for your love and providence, for your grace and for your Son. We are grateful for the sacrifice of the cross and that you raised Jesus from the dead so that we too, can someday be with you in glory and and finally be able to say face to face we worship you, we praise you and we love you.