29/04/2019 | 38:47
037 – Easter Sunday
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During our Easter service, we looked at the Resurrection account found in John. Three things are important: The Empty Tomb, The Appearance of Jesus, and The Announcement of the Good News.
Hey, thanks for tuning in to the life around the table podcast. The table is a church located in Belgrade, Montana that seeks to be rooted in Christ growing in community and serving the common good. On this podcast, you’re going to hear teachings from our Sunday gatherings, and other resources and conversations about faith, live culture and the church. We hope you enjoy the following episode.
On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she went running to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved and said to them, they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him. At that Peter and the other disciple went out having for the two.
The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and got to the tomb first, stooping down he saw the linen cloth lying there, but he did not
And then following him, Simon Peter also came, he entered the tomb and saw the linen cloth line where the wrapping that had been on his head was not lying with the linen cloth that was folded up in a separate place by itself. The other disciple who had reached the tomb first, then also went and saw and believed, for they did not yet understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying.
But Mary stood outside the tomb crying.
As she was crying, she stopped talking to the tomb. She saw two angels and white sitting where Jesus his body had been mine, one of the head and the other at the feet.
And they said to her woman, why are you crying?
Because they’ve taken away my Lord told them and I don’t know where they put it.
Having said this, she turned around and she saw
Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus. Woman, Jesus said to her, why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking? Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you put him, and I will take him away. And Jesus said to her, Mary,
and turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, Ramona, which means teacher,
don’t claim to me Jesus told her since I have not yet ascended to the Father, but go to my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to my God and your God. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, I’ve seen the Lord and she told them what he had said to her. When it was evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they fear the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them and said to them, peace be with you.
Megan, thank you so much for reading God’s word over us. Yeah, we can show her some love. Thank you so much.
This morning, I had a conversation with a friend that I’ve come to know over the last year, and he knows what I do. he’s a really good guy. He’s not a follower of Jesus, though. And he asked me is that what’s on the docket today? He’s going to do the standard usual normal Easter sermon
and said, I hope not. Because there is nothing normal or standard about the resurrection
is a well played.
If the resurrection happened, it changes everything.
If it didn’t happen, it means nothing but if it did happen, it means everything in our lives should be mirrored by the
direction of our Lord Jesus, right?
It changes everything. I mean, just yesterday, I was sitting in the car with coven Maggie, and they had gotten into some like intense Rock, paper scissors. It was it was pretty intense. And this is how they’ve come to know how to make decisions now who’s going to do what? You know, they get after it and it’s fair, right? So I’m sitting in the car with them and then coke starts going off because he’s losing a coke. You know, cookie, hates to lose. He hates to lose. And I don’t know who he gets that from.
But he’s sitting there and Maggie beat him like twice in a row. And then Cove all of a sudden out of nowhere goes Rock Paper, scissors, black hole. Maggie goes,
He goes, Yeah, black hole sucks and everything and we can’t beat that. Well Maggie pipes back okay, they go round two. And she goes, rock, paper, scissors. Jesus.
cokehead rock I kid you not this happened yesterday the parking lot. Cove had a rock and Matt he goes, Jesus beats rock and I’m like, amen sister
beat the rock.
Who was like What is that?
fair game? fair game
changes everything the resurrection does the even our rock paper scissors matches apparently.
But there is nothing normal or standard about the resurrection. And it’s interesting to me that when we have conversations with people who don’t follow Jesus don’t believe in Jesus. And I’m sure you felt this tension to those conversations can go a lot of different ways. Right? What do you believe that alcohol? What do you believe about abortion? What do you believe about sexual ethics? What do you believe about this? What you believe about that? Have we even talked about Old Testament violence? Did God really command the wiping out of an entire nation? What about the incest that we see in Scripture that God permitted, and he not
permitted? What about the stoning of the adulterous everyone? Can we really get away with that? Could we have some explaining to do apparently?
Show of hands? Has anybody felt those tensions those conversations as you’re trying to share your faith most people in this room? Yes.
None of that matters.
If the resurrection did not happen
to my friends who I’ve had conversations with in the past about those things, my typical responses, those questions do have responses. And we can continue to have those conversations. There is a time and a place for a lot of those conversations.
Some of them even have clear answers.
But we have to deal with the resurrection first, because if it happened, it means everything it changes everything. If not, it means nothing. So the question is, who is Jesus and did he?
Did you rise from the dead? Is that question can be answered can be discussed. That is the focal point of the gospel. The resurrection
Tim Keller says this and he says, Well,
if Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all he said, If you didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teachings.
But whether or not he rose from the dead.
whether or not he rose from the dead.
The implications of Jesus’s resurrection are not just
social, cultural, moral ethics. It is an issue of eternal life and eternal life in the first century does not mean just the longevity of life. It was a quality not just a quantity of life, wholeness, peace, joy, vitality.
The Hebrew word best describes it as peace and the word is shalom. This all encompassing sense of
flourishing wholeness and it is eternal, but it is a quality of eternal life, not just a quantity of life.
That means something. This morning, I woke up to a bunch of news alerts about Sri Lanka.
Brothers and sisters there are 200 over 200 now have been found that after the bombing as they gathered for Easter service,
we should stop and pray for them.
Father, we lift up our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. We don’t understand. We know that evil likes to rear its head as we celebrate who you are.
By the Father we pray for justice. We pray for justification of those who don’t know you who are committing these acts bring them to you. Let them have a Paul like conversion.
We pray for our brothers and sisters in Jesus name.
Couple we’ve been talking about the last couple of weeks.
The cross we found out is that death is
died, but it doesn’t know it yet. And right now, death, evil and sin that we see in the world has, it’s kind of like a wounded animal backed into a corner.
This beast has been fatally wounded. But it’s often those moments when the beasts are most dangerous.
Kind of what death evil sin and Satan are like right now. They don’t know they’ve lost the battle, but they are fatally wounded in a corner lashing out, doing everything they can. But if the resurrection is true death, sin and pain have been
overcome, whether it knows it or not.
So this morning, I want to talk about three things from this text that we see for a resurrection service. And if you’re taking notes, the sermon title is called while it was still dark.
Three things the unexpected, empty tomb, the unexpected appearance and the unexpected announcements. You see the text opens up with while it was dark.
There was this unexpectedness when
Got when Mary gets the tomb that it was empty, but it was happening while it was still dark. You see, john has this imagery all throughout the gospel of john, where he uses the word dark to not just mean physical darkness but spiritual darkness, emotional darkness, personal darkness. What john wants us to do is to be roped into the story of Mary as she is approaching the tomb of someone whom she loved deeply.
JOHN wants us to join Marian her darkness and in her disillusionment with everything she’s going so early. And I can imagine just like those of us who have experienced loss, when the funeral things are happening, you just want it done.
You just want it over.
We’re meant to feel that we’re meant to relate to that.
While it was still dark.
something beautiful about this darkness though, is though she’s in personal darkness. The resurrection happened apparently in the
is can be some of the most formative moments of our faith.
Those moments in the darkness. And it proves to be for Mary, as we continue on. She shows up she saw that the tombs the stone had been rolled away. And she runs and tells them someone has taken the body. And Peter.
I’ve always wondered about Peter right here because he’s with the disciples. I wonder if he told them about his denial.
The other disciples,
I wonder, everybody abandoned Jesus, but I don’t know that john was with Peter when he denied him. Maybe he saw maybe he didn’t.
A couple different ways you could look at it.
But Peter, with zeal and passion runs toward the tomb, is he covering his shame and guilt with public zeal
as he runs towards the tomb,
I don’t know.
JOHN has to just put in there that
The assumption here is important. They’ve taken the Lord. That was the natural response. The body has been stolen. It must have been spots must have been stolen.
hadn’t been stolen. They’ve taken the body. Well, who was they? Well, these are the Friends of Jesus. So they’re accusing the enemies of Jesus.
If you notice in the narrative, no one expected a resurrection, not one.
JOHN goes on to believe for a minute, but his belief is in public.
He doesn’t seem to share it with anybody.
There’s a sense of uncertainty about what’s happening. And the unexpected empty tomb is important. Because no one expected the no one expected in this time the resurrection we because we tend to think of these ancient folks as all they were just super mystical, they would have expected something like this that is not the case at all, quite the opposite. In the first century that predominantly
world view of religion taught that the body was bad. reincarnation was the attempt to escape it. The Escape the body because the body was bad, most worldviews, and that time taught that escaped the body, the body is simply bad. So to reincarnate in that body, that is not even desirable.
These religions had no framework for the resurrection as Jesus intended. Well, what about the Jews? Yes, the Jews, they had a vision of the resurrection. But the end of all time, when God has restored and renewed all things, there would be a bodily resurrection. They didn’t think at all about God’s splitting history in half. With the resurrection of a crucified Messiah. It’s unfathomable. It is heresy.
They had no one had a framework for the type of resurrection that happened. So if you’re starting a religion, they’re doing it wrong.
In their culture,
they would be just as surprised as somebody rising from the dead as you were a heart would be.
We can’t be
arrogant to think that Oh, they’re just a little less intellectual than we are. Nowhere in the history of the world who bodies just normally pop back up.
They assume that he was stolen.
The idea of a real of a resurrection like Jesus was bad news for that culture, not good news, even though it was good news, really, they felt it would be bad news.
The issue here is
Christianity exists because no one could ever produce the body.
If Rome had the body, if the Jews had the body, the only thing they would have to do to squash Christianity is to produce it.
That’s all they had to do if they took it, but again, Matthew shows how the egg they’re equally lost. They’re blaming Jesus as friends.
Because that’s one of the most common objections when somebody stole the body. Somebody stole the body did the
Roman Jews had any motive know they wanted the body in the tomb. That’s what they want and they paid to make sure that it was secure. They had the seal put on it they had well equipped guards guarding this thing. We think these guys is lazy, falling asleep or whatever no to fall asleep to abandon your post was it was was punishable by death. They could not be any more qualified.
Romans use the Rome the Romans and the Jews had no motive for taking the body. Jesus friends had no power to take the body. They were disillusioned. They ran away they abandoned Jesus. What were they going to do when they got the body?
This is a this is an argument that has been proven unlikely by
secular and religious historians alike. It’s just an unlikely situation, given what we know historically about it.
The tomb was empty historically.
trace back. No one denies the empty tomb.
I challenge you to examine that for yourself. No one does. If the tomb was filled Christianity would not be here.
So they’re wondering who stole the body but as they keep in they see folded grave clothes
that were wrapped around Jesus’s body. You see Lazarus he came out waddling like this.
And he had to be unwrapped, not Jesus, the grave clothes were folded. Why is that significant? There’s a lot of not really biblical theories about why that’s it.
But we do know is that john wants us to pay attention to it that this is not a grave robbery, Unless Unless we have a grave robber who’s OCD.
I gotta get his body out here, but I can’t leave the clothes like that.
Jonathan is telling us there’s something more going on here.
is for us.
One of my professors said that
the empty tomb, the tomb, the stone was rolled away so that Jesus could get out there stone was rolled away so that the people could come in and see for themselves because obviously Jesus can pass through lock the doors, as we see in the narrative. The rolled away stone was for us, to provoke our hearts to make us think about what was going on. And if you notice, they do think they think deeply, they’re concerned. They’re amazed. They’re all struck. They have all these mixed emotions. They really don’t know what to feel because again, no one’s thinking resurrection because they didn’t understand what Jesus meant when he said I would rise. They had no clue what that really meant. The Scriptures are clear.
So it says they returned to where they were staying. There was no resolved there was more confusion. JOHN believes but doesn’t seem to share. The empty tomb created more conflict for them, not less
The empty tomb doesn’t prove anything.
They were disillusioned.
They were more concerned.
How do we know? Mary weeps
if he doesn’t suspect that
the empty tomb only leads Mary to a deeper place of emptiness.
So what about this unexpected appearance because that is the key element.
And notice it says Mary, weep at the tomb. The men wandered off they went back to whatever it is they were doing beforehand. But Mary stayed overwhelmed with grief. If you know anything about grief, you know how paralyzing it can be.
It mobilizes you you can’t sometimes you can’t even make it through a day.
And she’s sitting here weeping grieving.
couldn’t seem to move away from the place until she had some sort of answer some sort of resolve. And grief is not logical. She’s like
Give me his body and I will deal with it all. She’s not going to carry his body but good grief is not logical. It doesn’t make sense. She’s teared up, she can’t see who she’s talking to, because she’s so teared up, so emotionally messed up.
about someone who delivered her from all sorts of guilt and shame and problems is gone. It all meant nothing.
But Christianity is not based on an empty tomb, but the post resurrection appearance. And Jesus appears to her.
is the crux of all the gospel presentations in the New Testament.
Not the empty tomb.
It’s good news that the tomb is empty.
But the parents solidifies it.
Paul puts it at the crux of the gospel. First Corinthians 15 one through eight. He says this.
Now I want to make it clear for you brothers and sisters the gospel I preached to you what you received on which you have taken your stand and
And by which you were being saved if you hold on to the message I preached to you unless you believed in vain, for I passed on to you the most important what I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures and that he appeared to see this and then to the 12. Then he appeared to over 500 brothers and sisters at one time, most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep.
Even skeptical scholars they Paul’s letter 15 to 20 years after the resurrection.
secular scholars I’m not talking about people who believe in Jesus, there’s good evidence to suggest that Paul’s account comes way before the gospels were written. This is the first gospel account
15 to 25 years the people who Jesus interacted with was still alive at that time, the Pax Romana, the peace of Rome allowed people to travel all throughout without any problem there was no hindering
The Corinthians from exploring this on their own. You don’t write this letter unless you can validate it. Paul is inviting them. Go see them. The people who God revealed Jesus to, they’re still alive, some have died. But there’s plenty still alive that you can go ask.
Go ask them.
Find out for yourself.
If 500 people today see a single event
and then we were asked to go to court and we produce the same event to the court. The case is a done deal, right?
To have 500 people see Jesus is no small thing.
And secular scholars have tried to explain this away as a mass hallucination that’s been debunked.
See when something remarkable happens you tell people and those people validate it. When I was a kid, we moved to Colorado and I had a catfish name, Sammy.
I just revealed to you my redneck nature.
How many people you know the catfish names? Anyway, so I caught a little catfish in my pond.
And we moved by the time we get to Colorado, he’s belly up. And I was heartbroken. I kid you not you can go check with my family. We went to go throw the fish away. He’s back alive.
scared my dad because he was holding him in his hand like getting ready to talk.
And put Sandy back in the in the in the tank. He was fine. Like several years later.
You don’t believe me? Guess what you can do?
my redneck family.
Boy the catfish name Sammy
You can go ask. But one of the objections to Jesus here is that well, maybe he didn’t die.
Again, I will leave it to a skeptical person who has no friend that the resurrection to disprove this for you. His name is David Strauss and he says this
it is impossible, that are being who had stolen half dead out of the tomb, who crept about weaken ill wanting medical treatment, who required bandages, strengthening
and indulgence, and who still, at last yielded to his sufferings could have given to the disciples the impression that he was a conqueror over death,
and the grace the prince of life as an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry. Such a resurrection could have only weakened the impression which to have which had had made a bond them and life and death at the most could only have given it
could only have given it
but couldn’t know by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm have elevated their reverence into worship.
This guy doesn’t even believe in the resurrection. He’s saying that’s bogus.
This guy’s used to be one of the top scholars.
If Jesus didn’t die, his ministry is weakened, because he said he would rise.
It might encourage the disciples, but it would by no means empower them, or enable them to preach that he did. And obviously he ended up succumbing to his whims anyway, winds any way if he didn’t die, because he’s not around anymore.
Strauss can only make sense of it by calling it a myth. The whole thing’s a myth. And we talked about that a couple weeks ago how that’s just not
That doesn’t scale up either.
Romans made sure their subjects were dead. And not only that outside of Scripture, we know that Jesus was in fact dead. We have non Christian sources telling us that he was in fact dead.
When the enemy of Jesus agrees about his death, he’s dead.
He did appear.
And that’s the crux of the Gospels that people saw him.
So what about this unexpected announcement? He makes this unexpected announcement. You see, he goes up to Mary, why are you crying? Who were you looking for? And she’s against you so messed up that she really can’t focus but then she says to her, Mary, she speaks name, her name, speaks her name in a way that only she would know that it is Jesus is so you can’t hear Jesus when he speaks to your heart. You can’t unseat Jesus when He reveals Himself to you.
It changes everything and if you receive
If you feel him speaking to your heart, it’s going to bother you
until you respond to him.
He is chasing you down.
And there are some things in this life you can’t see some things in this life You can’t hear. And when Jesus prods your heart, you can’t unfilled unseen on here that and you know it.
He says don’t claim to me a lot of people get really confused over this.
I think she’s so scared of losing what she had just lost.
And Jesus is saying, trust me
right now. You need to go tell people what’s going on.
Again, if you’re trying to start a religion, in this culture, you would not do it with a woman or women. Women’s testimonies were inadmissible in court. They wouldn’t hold up. They were lesser than citizens. So the fact that the resurrection was announced, it says she announced
fact that she announced the resurrection to the group of men. If you’re starting a religion in the first century, they’re doing it wrong.
Because the gospel tends to subvert things.
And this is one of those elements. Jesus uses women to announce the gospel
in a culture that wouldn’t have bought it. And this is a reason why we see
men kind of taking the lead in the New Testament. Because in order to bolster that, in order to get it out there in order to get people to see that there was something real, they had to hear it from the men because that was just the culture they lived in. But it began with a woman announcing the resurrection the gospel over everybody. I have seen the Lord He has risen.
Beautiful announcement here. What does this announcement will go tell my brothers This is the first time in the Gospel of john that the word brothers is used of the disciples, and it’s after they have abandoned him.
Scripture says that we have been adopted by God.
And those who are adopted.
he adopts is not based on anything that we can do is just like an adoption. You don’t. You don’t say, Okay kid, I’m checking you out, can you do a little dance and for me, let me make sure you’re exactly what I want. No.
you adopt because you simply love and have the capacity to love.
Romans 815 says this.
For you to not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead you received a spirit of adoption by whom you cry out Abba, Father, God. Jesus goes on in this text to say My God, your God, my father, your father. You’re in the family of God and a family as an irrevocable sense of commitment and covenant with one another and irrevocable
You were in the family. Again, this is before
he’s even talked to anybody about it.
But the actual announcement comes from her and then flows from Jesus. You see, they’re hiding fear from the Jews that they know that that Jesus has risen. I got a little feeling a little nervous about that too. Because they all just abandoned and they all just betrayed him.
And when they finally saw him, they probably expected to hear what they heard from the cross. Why have you abandoned me? That might be what they expected to hear. Why did you betray me? Why did you run off? Why did you deny me? Instead they here, shalom be with you. Peace be with you. This is not a greeting. This is a theologically rich, personally, life changing word.
In fact, Jesus might as well have said with you is wholeness, harmony and reconciliation with God and each other
Because that is the weight of the word, peace.
Sociologists are calling our culture will be remembered as the culture of anger.
Peace be with you in Christ. He’s the only one that can give it. He’s the only one that can give what it is that you’re looking for. You see, the beautiful part about these announcements that I’ve seen the risen Lord and peace be with you
was that it reverses things. You see the resurrection happened in the dark.
Into the darkness, God said, Let there be light. Out of the tomb came the light of the world.
He defeated darkness and in the darkness.
You see the grave clothes there nice and ordered in the tomb. The place where you go to grieve and to be confused and to be conflicted about death. You see a little hint that Jesus is organized something different.
The chaos that is visiting a grave
can be turned to order and hope because of the resurrection.
He brought peace to the conflicted hearts of those who would abandon and those who would run far from him.
The most important thing I want you to grasp today is this. When Jesus rose from the dead, he didn’t rebel against Rome. He didn’t say, let’s go get them. He didn’t say I’m going to be judging your disciples for who, for walking away from me. He didn’t buck the political system. He chased down his last disillusion and heartbroken friends and said, shalom.
Peace be with you.
Do you feel him speaking to your heart this morning?
I’m going to end with Philip Yancey. He says this.
In many respects, I find and I’m resurrected Jesus
Easier to accept Easter makes him dangerous. Because of Easter, I’ll have to listen to his extravagant claims and can no longer pick and choose from his sayings. Moreover, Eastern means he must be loose out there somewhere.
And what is a loose Jesus do? He’s chasing you down?
Let’s pray. God we give thanks for your word.
come after us.
resurrect our hearts give us peace that we crave. Lord, if there is somebody here that has been stirred by you this morning, let them not unseen it. help them make the commitment even if it’s around the table to follow you.
Father, we give thanks for your word we give thanks for resurrection. Help us live a resurrected story in Jesus name. Amen. Amen.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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Tami Simon, Founder and Publisher of Sounds True interviews spiritual teachers, visionary writers, and living luminaries about their newest work and current challenges—the growing edge of their inner inquiry and outer contribution to the world.
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Fr. Richard Rohr recorded these homilies at Holy Family Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. To learn more about the Center for Action and Contemplation and Fr. Richard Rohr, please visit https://cac.org.