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JESUS’ RESURRECTION CONTINUES
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
26 MARCH 1989
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation Verses: (Job 19:25-27)
25 "And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
26 "Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
27 Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes shall see and not another.
My heart faints within me.
Two thousand years before Jesus' resurrection, Job looked forward to that day and beyond.
Now we who are another two thousand year following His resurrect need to continue to hold fast to our Redeemer in our hearts, souls, and lives.
And most importantly, we need to help make this a world that truly reflects His heavenly will on earth as it is in heaven.
With this in mind, let's turn in our Bibles to Daniel 12:1-3:
1 "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
2 "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
3 "And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Daniel wrote this prophetic message of the resurrection of the dead while Israel was in captivity in Babylon, over 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
In another passage, Daniel accurately predicted the time of Christ's ministry upon the earth.
But here, in this passage, he is telling us about the time of His second coming, and the period following His 1,000 year reign upon the earth, which follows His second coming at the end of a terrible seven year tribulation period.
What Daniel is telling us is that everyone who dies – yes, everyone – will be resurrected from the dead to appear before the Lord.
Those who have followed the Lord will go forth into everlasting life and those who have not, will go into hell and will suffer.
He goes on and tells us that those who overcome the power of this world, Satan, and the teaching of the anti-christs, will have a great reward.
All true Christians, all who are truly born again, all who have received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and have turn from their former ways into the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, will shine brightly like the brightness of heaven.
Daniel wrote this message in the Spirit of God so that we here today might choose for ourselves which we will do.
Will we choose to follow Jesus and live with Him forever in heaven?
Or, will we choose to turn away from Him and go into everlasting destruction?
The choice seems so simple.
Why would anyone want to turn away from God?
Nevertheless, most of the world has turned away from Him.
But, in the words of Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)
We must each choose for ourselves.
I pray that your choice is Jesus Christ, for only in Him is the glory.
Let's pause this sermon for a few minutes and sing the hymn: Thine Is the Glory
Have we really heard the words of the hymn, Thine Is the Glory, as we sang it?
Have you prayed them as part of your song?
Have you received the promise of these words?
Jesus Christ has won the victory.
He has conquered death.
Can you hear the words of the prophets Isaiah and Hosea?
"Death is swallowed up in victory."
"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
Jesus Christ has conquered the second death for all times.
There is no need to ever have to do it again.
He has conquered it for you and for me.
But we must choose to be on His side in order to share in the victory.
And the power that overcame the world and death is love – God's love – and all His love is for us, too.
This isn't the kind of love that we keep hidden away.
This is the Godly love that we are to share with each other.
It is the love that puts the lives of others before our own.
It is the love that resurrected Jesus Christ from death upon the cross.
It is the love that scatters our fears and gloom, and fills us with gladness,
It is the love that will take us through all of the hard times in our lives.
It is love that will end all of the horrible suffering and death of millions of our fellow human beings and billion of animals every year.
It is the love that will bring us into everlasting life with the Lord.
Has His love filled you with that same kind of love and given you a true inner joy?
If He has, share it with others by setting a Christ-like example, so that they might also be brought into the resurrection of everlasting life with the Lord.
Please turn in your Bibles to John 20:1-18:
1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.
2 And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."
So often, we have all kinds of dreams and hopes about the future, and then something happens that seems to be destroying everything.
And so it was with Mary Magdalene.
She had her sins forgiven by Jesus, and she had placed all her future in Him.
And then, in her worldly way of thinking, He was cut off from her.
She hadn't fully heard all that He had said.
All she knew was that she needed Jesus' physical presence in her life.
She had to find some way to relate to Him, even if it was to His dead body.
She couldn't imagine that He could actually rise from the dead.
People just don't rise from the dead.
But Jesus is not just people. He is God.
He raised others from the dead; why couldn't He also rise from the dead?
But in her confusion, Mary couldn't understand that; so she just ran to Peter and John, and told them that His body was missing and that someone must have taken it away.
She didn't wait for the Lord to answer her.
She didn't wait for the Lord to lift her out of her despair.
And what did Peter and John do when they heard the news, as Mary saw it?
3 Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they were going to the tomb.
4 And the two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first;
5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in.
6 Simon Peter therefore also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he beheld the linen wrappings lying there,
7 and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.
8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb entered then also, and he saw and believed.
9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
Peter and John had much of the same problem that Mary had; for they, too, did not understand.
John, who ran on ahead and got to the tomb first, was afraid to enter to confirm or deny what Mary had said.
It is almost as if they wanted to find his body there in the tomb.
Even though Peter and John had spent the last three years together with the Lord, they didn't understand that He was to rise from the dead.
So the disciples went away to their own homes.
Whatever they were truly feeling, we are not told; but the way they left seems to indicate that they were in despair.
They seemed to see only the outward signs.
They gave up too soon.
They even left Mary behind.
11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb;
12 and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.
13 And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
Even when we wait upon the Lord, and the Lord sends us a message, we all too often fail to receive it because our minds are all cluttered up with our problems.
The answer can be sitting right there in front of us, just as the angels were, but we fail to recognize it.
Instead of asking the angels to explain these things to her, Mary just turns around in despair to look elsewhere.
14 When she had said this, she turned around, and beheld Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
5 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away."
Mary, in her grief, could not even recognize the Lord,
He had risen from the dead!
But she didn't understand.
She could not see beyond her present circumstances.
"Woman," Jesus said to her, in an effort to attract her attention away from her grief and problems and to truly look upon Him.
But Mary didn't understand.
Again Jesus tries to show her the evidence of His resurrection by asking her, "Why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?"
But in her grief she could not look upon Him long enough to recognize Him.
She couldn't even imagine that it was Jesus.
All she could think of was that this person must be the gardener.
Even when the Lord appears to us personally, many times we fail to recognize Him.
Mary was still looking for His body.
What, or who, are we looking for?
That which is dead cannot help us.
Jesus Christ is not dead.
Jesus Christ has risen from the dead!
Can you see Him?
16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"
So Jesus tried again to attract Mary's attention, just as He has done with every one of us.
Jesus called her by her name, as if to say, "Look up at me, I'm alive."
How many times has the Lord called to us and we haven't responded?
How many times, even after we are saved, do we deliberately keep on sinning, and following the corrupted ways of the world, only to have the Lord say to us, "My child, My child, don't you know that I died for you, to set you free from this way of life?"
"I rose from the dead for you, too; so that you would have the power to overcome this way of life."
Did we respond?
Mary Magdalene responded.
Can you feel what she felt?
Every bit of emotion within her broke loose.
All she could think of was to expound His title as a teacher.
All she could do was to cling to Him.
My Jesus is alive!
She was seeking Him and she found Him; for when we truly are seeking the Lord, he will reveal Himself to us, even when we are looking in all the wrong places.
But the others stopped looking, even though they still wanted Him.
They wanted Him just as desperately as Mary did.
Thus Jesus, in all of his compassion, sends Mary to them, and to us, with the message that He has risen from the dead.
18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her.
Mary went and told them what the Lord told her.
He also has sent the same message to us.
Have you heard the message?
Have you believed the message?
Jesus Christ is alive!
He is raised from the dead!
Is Jesus Christ alive in your heart?
Has He risen within you?
Have you told others?
That which is dead cannot help us.
But because Jesus Christ lives, we have hope.
Because Jesus Christ lives, all of our fears can vanish.
Because He lives, we can face tomorrow.