Good News!

 I passed on to you what I received, of which this was most important: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; 4 that he was buried and was raised to life on the third day as the Scriptures say; 5 and that he was seen by Peter and then by the twelve apostles. 6 After that, Jesus was seen by more than five hundred of the believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all he was seen by me—as by a person not born at the normal time.
I Corinthians 15:3-8


*Preached Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021…
 
I’m figuring that the easiest day for most to believe that Jesus rose from the dead is Easter. But what of the other days: What do you believe? Some don’t know what they believe: The great Jonathan Whitfield was preaching to coal miners in England. He asked one man, "What do you believe?" "Well, I believe the same as the church." "And what does the church believe?" "Well, they believe the same as me." Seeing he was getting nowhere, Whitfield said, "And what is it that you both believe?" "Well, I suppose the same thing."
 
What do you believe? That He died for our sins? The empty tomb? That God raised Him from the dead? That He is still alive? Around 33 AD, a group of illiterate peasants were so gullible. They did not understand that corpse do not rise from the dead! But that didn’t come easily to them.

That first Sunday, Jesus’ disciples were wrecked with fear, confusion, ignorance and disbelief – they locked themselves in a room! The women who took spices and perfumes to the tomb that first Sunday morning went to anoint a corpse, not to witness a resurrection. When Mary Magdalene saw the empty tomb she thought the gardener had stolen the body. She wept: They have taken my Lord away...Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him. When Mary and the other women told the disciples that they had seen the risen Lord; Luke put it bluntly; they responded that what the women was nonsense. The word translates, “out of their minds or delirious.” Jesus alive?  Later two witnesses reported their encounter with Jesus to the Eleven, but they did not believe them either.
 
But it did happen!  Jesus showed up! OOPS!  The disciples must have been exhausted processing it all. Scared for their life; hearing from Mary; knowing Jesus died on that Cross! Imagine thinking He’s dead and that His body is stolen only to find out…During the Desert Storm War in 1991, Ruth Dillow received the worst call of her life. Her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private First Class, had stepped on a land mine and was dead. For the next 3 days she grieved. She was inconsolable. On the third day after receiving the terrible news, the phone rang. The voice: “Mom, it’s me. I’m alive.” What was this a cruel joke? But no it was Clayton! Later she said she laughed and cried and rejoiced because what seemed to be a hopeless situation turned out to be the greatest day of her life. That’s what news from a graveyard can do for you when your faith is in Jesus Christ.

Jesus just kept showing up! Paul told the people of Corinth like I’m telling you all: Jesus showed up! He showed up alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than 500 followers all at the same time. He then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent Him; and finally to Paul. Do you believe it? For some, it’s easy! For others (lots of people) not so much! Faith is hard!

Because life bombards us and faith has daily competitors that threaten to strip us of our faith; The faithful, the believers are called to share the most important news anyone can give! That is why we have Easter.  I wonder if we need more Easters in our lives.  I know the disciples did! Faith goes like this: God loves us so much that He became human, bore our sins, our guilt, our brokenness to death and then was resurrected in Jesus Christ. Those who are faithful hang on Paul’s words: Where,  O Death, is our victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?

 It’s not easy to believe! The people of Corinth had a hard time with the resurrection. Paul is telling us that if the resurrection of Jesus never happened, we are wasting our time. If He has not risen, you’re dead. There is no life beyond this one; your faith is fruitless.
  What I’m telling you is that’s fake news. Jesus DID conquer the cross and death and the tomb! It’s real! Jesus really did show up! Resurrection is for all of us!

  So I’ll ask it, again: What do you believe? Is the verdict is still out for you? So here’s what this preacher has to say to all of you…wait! Just wait. Wait for Jesus to show up! And look for Him where you least expect God to be! Who knows, you could you get used to God surprising you; overturning some of your lowest expectations. I know it’s crazy to think about.  But think of this, if your right and I’m wrong, I’m missing nothing.  BUT, if I’m right and your wrong…just think of what you are missing! Just wait; and when He comes, you just gotta let Him in!

If there’s one thing we can be certain of in this world, it’s that the dead stay dead. Until Jesus shows up! And I guarantee if you are watching, He will show up to you! Christ the Lord is Risen (and you respond) …He is Risen, indeed…
 
 With more love for you than you know…
 Joy, Joy – Pastor Alexis  
 
 

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