TEXT: Mark 15-16; Gen. 1-3; Rom. 3,5; Acts 3
INTRO: We come together today to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf, allowing us to receive forgiveness of our sins, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life in the presence of God. We will worship as we allow Scripture to reveal to us again the story, how it affected the first believers and how it is to affect us today. We will approach our worship with two questions and one proclamation: Why did this happen? Where does this leave us? JESUS IS ALIVE! We will be drawing from a variety of TEXTS, but we will draw primarily from the story as told be Mark. Please PRAY WITH ME and we will go forward.
I.WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?
A. Two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth, a relatively unknown carpenter turned itinerant teacher for 3 ½ years, was arrested, beaten almost to death, taken to a hill called Golgotha and crucified. He hung there on that cross for 6 hours, from 9 o’clock in the morning, until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Some people followed and watched the whole ordeal, some stood and cried while others smirked and hurled savage insults toward the dying man. That event has been discussed, written about, made into documentaries and full length movies, and been the source of discussion since it occurred. It is hard to imagine that any other single event impacted the world more significantly than this one. Before we can agree or disagree, we must ask the question: Why did it happen at all?
B. SIN WAS DESTROYING THE WORLD. GEN. 1: 1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. . . . . and God created man in His image, male and female, He created them. . . . . and God said, ‘It is good.’” GEN. 2: , “Then the Lord God created man out of the dust of the earth . . . . .and placed him in [the] garden, east of Eden. . . . and God formed a woman [from the man] and brought her to the man.” GEN. 3: “[God told the people to obey Him or they would hurt themselves and those who followed them, so that death would become the fate of all who live.] But the people disobeyed – and sin entered the world.
ROM. 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, . . . . and death spread through to all [people], because all sinned. . . . for the wages of sin is death.”
C.Have you ever treated someone as though their life doesn’t matter? Have you killed anyone? Have you ever committed sexual immorality, or opposed God’s plan for families and unity? Have you ever stolen another’s possessions or dignity or destiny, making a mockery of God’s truth? Have you ever lied about anything, to build yourself up or to destroy other people? Can you think of one thing you might have done that disrespected the life of others and disregarded the authority of God? In so doing, have you dropped even the smallest amount of “poison” into the world, making it a worse place, hard to live in? The Bible says you have. It also says, because you have done this, you and those around you are being poisoned to death. How can that be changed?
D. ROM. 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ROM. 5:8 – 10, “But God demonstrates His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
In the heat of that Jerusalem day, Jesus, in indescribable pain, hung on that cross, as His life drained away, because people had brought sin into the world. He was there for Adam the disobedient, for Abraham, who lied and gave away his wife, for Moses who murdered, another person, for David who committed adultery and murder, for every person who ever committed even the smallest of sins. Jesus was there for you and me. It was no movie and we were absolutely guilty and deserved to die and be forever separated from God. That’s why we are looking back today.
So Jesus died.
II. WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?
A. READ MK. 15: “And when evening had already come . . . . Joseph of Arimathea came . . . . and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And Pilate, [learning from the centurion that Jesus was dead] granted the body to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen cloth, took [the body of Jesus down], wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”
B.Mark tells us that the followers of Jesus, after the crucifixion, were “mourning and weeping” (16:10b) We have no other Scriptural evidence as to what occurred between that moment and the first Day after the Sabbath. SO through the years, people have tried to imagine what went on in the hearts and minds of those disappointed and scared people whose lives Jesus had so strongly touched. For that little after the crucifixion, they grieved and wondered. Could Mary Magdalene go back to a shameful life as a wicked, sick woman? Of course not. Could Peter, Andrew, James, and John go back to fishing just like before? Could Matthew, the reformed tax-collector go back to helping Rome keep its heel on Israel’s neck? Could Simon the Zealot go back into fighting over politics and social ideas? They were hard questions. If they could just go back, what had all these last few years been about?
And you, after you met Jesus, did you just go back? Did you push that feeling of excitement and hope into a closest and shut the door? Were you able to fall back into the same old activities, trying not to bother your friends and family and acquaintances with questions about whether they had ever met Jesus? It became hard to ask because you weren’t completely sure it had helped you that much. Like the Lord’s closest followers, you remember when you were a “hallelujah person,” believing you could see water turned to wine if you just waited long enough! Of course, that was before Jesus took a path that surprised you. He wanted to change the world, through you, but He expected you to do it with “faith,” believing that what you taught others would come to pass because it was true.
That’s not real life, is it? IS IT YOUR LIFE?
Then the word came:
III. JESUS IS ALIVE!
A.READ MK. 16: “AND WHEN THE SABBATH WAS OVER, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. . . . And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And He said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold here is the place where they laid Him . . . . And [Mary Magdalene] went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. [Jesus appeared to the disciples and told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
B. The followers of Jesus spent a little while in uncertainty, but they found out that, they could not go back., at least not to the way it had been. They were different – and they had to live differently. So they set their eyes forward. They established the church, they did miraculous things, they saw lives changed, and they went to every corner of the world, telling about Jesus, and, at the appointed time, they died for what they could not deny. But they didn’t die defeated, they died victorious!
C. READ ACTS 3: “And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
JESUS DIED BECAUSE SIN HAD INFECTED THE WHOLE WORLD AND NO ONE COULD ESCAPE ITS CONSEQUENCES. So God sent His Son to pay the ransom for our sin and allow us to be born again.
JESUS CHANGED THE LIVES OF HIS FOLLOWERS FOREVER. WHEN THEY COULD NOT SEE HIM AMONG THEM, THEY BECAME BROKEN-HEARTED AND UNCERTAIN. When we meet Jesus in reality, our lives are changed, too. But, after we encounter resistance and we begin to withdraw into our own little corners. We still look to Jesus, but we often stop letting Him change us and move us forward. So many Christians sit on the sidelines, content to remember Jesus, but not to live the ”new life” they have in Him. They only wait in the shadows for His return, staying quiet and afraid that someone see that they are different.
JESUS ROSE FROM THE GRAVE AND BROUGHT THE GUARANTEE THAT WHAT HE TAUGHT WAS TRUE AND HIS FOLLOWERS WERE OBLIGATED TO CARRY THAT TRUTH TO THE EBTIRE WORLD.
It does not matter where you work or who you know or your age or gender. It does not matter your size or your health condition. It does not matter if you are uncertain or afraid. You have been called to follow Him and to proclaim His truth with every breath you take. There are no time-outs, no backdoor approaches, no personal days off. You are either a humble, trusting, fully transparent, outspoken, loving, disciple of Jesus Christ sent to a lost world – or you’re just floating in that world, watching people die even as you die. It is the same for us all.
IF JESUS IS ALIVE, AREN’T WE HIS FOLLOWERS, TO LIVE LIKE HE IS ALIVE?? WE ARE TO WAIT FOR HIS RETURN, BUT WHILE WE ARE WAITING, WE ARE TO BE ACTIVELY GATHERING OTHERS TO MEET HIM.
“CHRIST IS RISEN!” and all those who know it confirm it, saying, “CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!”