Pastor's Sermon 4/1/18 Easter

Easter, April 1, 2018

Pastor Ed Harshbarger

 

THE RESURRECTION DOES POSE SOME PROBLEMS FOR US.

WE DON’T LIKE THE FACT OUR RESURRECTION MUST BE PRECEDED BY OUR DEATH.

THEN WE HAVE TROUBLE WITH THE FACT THAT THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF THE RESURRECTION IS SOMETHING WE HAVE TO EXPERIENCE EMOTIONALLY RATHER THAN IT BEING AN EVENT WE CAN ANALYZE SCIENTIFICALLY.

TO GET US GET STARTED BY CONTRASTING THE EVENTS AROUND THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS.

WHILE THE GOSPEL WRITERS DO NOT AGREE ON ALL THE MINUTE DETAILS OF THE CRUCIFIXION THERE IS UNANIMITY ON THE IMPORTANT DETAILS.

The crucifixion is an historical fact.

It can be pinpointed in time and place.

There were two other men crucified on either side of Jesus.

The event occurred on a hill outside of Jerusalem.

There were many eye witnesses.

HOWEVER, WHEN WE GET TO THE RESURRECTION THERE WERE NO EYE WITNESSES.

ON THE DETAILS OF THE CRUCIFIXION WE ARE CLEAR BUT WE HAVE NO CLUE AS TO HOW THE RESURRECTION TOOK PLACE.

Any details we would try to give to the resurrection would be sheer conjecture.

How did the stone get rolled away?

How did Jesus get unraveled from the linens?

OF COURSE HOW THE RESURRECTION TOOK PLACE SHOULD NOT MATTER TO ANY OF US.

WHAT SHOULD MATTER IS THAT WE ALLOW THE RESURRECTION TO BECOME AS MUCH OF AN EMOTIONAL EVENT TO EACH OF US AS IT WAS TO MARY MAGDALENE AND THOMAS AND ST. PAUL

WE CANNOT BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION BECAUSE OF SOME EYE WITNESS ACCOUNTS BECAUSE THERE WERE NONE.

ONLY WHEN WE HAVE AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE RESURRECTED JESUS AS DID THE PEOPLE NOTED ABOVE (A) WILL WE BELIEVE THAT IT REALLY DID HAPPEN.

Mary’s encounter took place in the garden where he had been buried.

She deserved to be the first to encounter the resurrected Jesus because of her loyalty while he was alive (and) her fearless willingness to go to his burial site while his Disciples hid in the city.

When she went back to those cowardly disciples with the news that Jesus was alive she became the first Evangelist of the resurrection, a fact for she has been given virtually no credit.

We Lutherans finally allowed women to officially become evangelists in 1970.

The encounter of Thomas and the resurrected Jesus had plenty of eye witnesses and emotion.

Thomas had been very vocal and emotional in denying even the possibility of the resurrection.

He was even more emotional when his risen Lord stood before him and was able to display his wounds from the crucifixion.

“MY LORD AND MY GOD” he shouted so loudly that all of Jerusalem might have heard him.

Like Mary Magdalene, the encounter between the resurrected Jesus and St. Paul (formerly known as Saul) came about when there were no eye witnesses.

However, there were some spoken words, a blinding flash and a very repentant former adversary of Jesus on his knees.

As was the case of the two “followers” noted above, Paul’s life was profoundly changed and that change affected the lives of thousands of others as Paul carried the message of the resurrection all the way to Rome.

I EXPECT THAT IN THE YEARS SINCE THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS MANY LIVES HAVE ENCOUNTERED HIM IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.

LIKE THE THREE PEOPLE WE HAVE JUST NOTED, NO ONE OF US HAS THE SAME KIND OF ENCOUNTER WITH OUR RESURRECTED LORD.

THEREFORE, THE RESURRECTION IS NOT AN EVENT WE CAN HAVE SOMEONE ELSE DESCRIBE FOR US.

HOWEVER, IT IS AN EVENT WE CAN EXPERIENCE AND WE CAN DESCRIBE THAT EXPERIENCE TO SOMEONE ELSE.

AS I HAVE SAID TO YOU ON PREVIOUS EASTERS, THE RESURRECTION BECOMES REAL FOR US ONLY WHEN IT MAKES A REAL CHANGE IN OUR LIVES.

WE TALKED TODAY ABOUT THREE PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES WERE CHANGED WHEN THEY ENCOUNTERED THE RESURRECTED JESUS.

TODAY CAN WE ADD YOUR NAME TO THAT LIST.

JESUS WOULD LIKE THAT.