Year B Easter John 20
The Good News of Easter
John 20:1-18 or
Democracy is being brought to regions of the world that never really understood the dignity of individual citizens or the joy of liberty.
HIV/AIDS continues to take its toll around the globe. Countries face off in tense negotiations over trade, border disputes, and ancient grievances.
An unprecedented ability to communicate ideas and beliefs to any part of the planet and to any person is quickly becoming commonplace. And the ability to move produce and goods around the world makes it possible as never before to bring significant relief to regions that suffer. These world-shaping events are so important. They are literally changing the course of history. And as I watch, I wonder. I wonder what I am doing here in this pulpit. If the real action isn't out there doing the world shaping. And then I am reminded of two things.
First, I am reminded that no event in history has shaped the world like the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And Second I am reminded of this simple fact about life. Life does not go on forever. There is death. Every one of us must face our mortality. There is no military victory, no medical cure, no global village that can prepare any individual to answer the ultimate questions in life. And this morning I stand to proclaim Hope, the hope of His Resurrection. There is death. Yes. But life is in Jesus Christ, the hope of our resurrection.
Friends, you have come here this morning with a sense of anticipation and longing. There are sobering questions on your mind and much hangs in the balance. Is there hope? Is there new life? Is there reason for joy? The answer to your questions has arrived this day. It is here waiting for you.
It is a three-word message: Christ Is Risen! Good news for the depressed.
Good news for those who have lost loved ones. Good news. Good news to those who have lost their joy, Christ is risen.
Consider with me this morning the implications of Easter.
- First, because of the Resurrection the disciples were changed.
- Secondly, because of the Resurrection our view of death has changed.
- Because of the resurrection, our view of Jesus has changed.
An Easter Heart
Easter is all about a four letter word - and Christians are full of it. Or at least we're supposed to be full of it.
New life. Whole life. Abundant Life. Redeemed life. Resurrected life.
The purpose of life is not death, Easter says. The purpose of life is life . . . a life that triumphs over death forever.
Celebrating Easter is the best thing that the church can do because it is a celebration of all that is good, all that is true, and all that is beautiful.
In fact, I would make the case this morning that celebrating Easter is the greatest public service the church can perform for the world. Why? Because it is the reality of Easter that makes everything else we would do possible.
Remember Jesus' final words on the cross? "It is finished."
When the soldiers taking Jesus' body down from the cross stabbed him with a spear point, "blood and water came out" (John 19:34). That rush of fluids revealed what was the actual final cause of death for Jesus - a burst aorta. Jesus died of a broken heart. The breaking of Jesus' heart was what "finished" Jesus' sacrifice. On Easter morning the great surprise is that sacrifice was not the end of Jesus' mission. Out of Jesus' broken heart there emerged a new heart, a resurrected heart, an unbreakable, unstoppable heart. Out of the Last Adam's split side a new Eve was conceived, the bride of Christ, the church, whose life revolves around the water of baptism and the blood of communion.
On Easter "It is finished" becomes "Now it begins."