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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Festival Of Easter

Option #1: "Mary Stopped Crying"
John 20:1-20
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

Introduction: It is late Saturday evening of Passover week. Ever since Thursday, things had happened so quickly. Could it be possible? The Son of God who had done nothing but good was now crucified, dead and buried.

There hadn’t been much time before the beginning of Sabbath at 6:00 to bury the body. The women returned on at sunrise on Sunday to complete the task. In their grief and haste, they forget about the large stone in front of the tomb. But it is rolled away! Mary Magdalene runs to tell the disciples. She does not hear the angel’s message to the other women. She returns to the tomb alone and cries there. She has been robbed twice! She speaks with angels (vv.12-13) but continues to cry.

Bridge: The occasion for tears--John 16:5ff, 20-22; Ps 42:3; 43:5; Eccl.3:4; Lk 24:17; Mark 16:9-11; Matt 28:5-7; also see Gen 3:15-24.


I. When she heard the word of the risen Lord--John 10:3; Isa 43:1; Mt 14:27

II. When she knew what He meant for her faith--John 20:28-31; Ps 116:8; Isa 25:8-9; Rev 21:4-5


v. 17--Martin Luther: "If Christ is now our Brother, I would like to know what we still lack. Blood brothers have common possessions, have together one father, one inheritance; otherwise, they would not be brothers."

V. 20--the new life of the disciples: Philipps Brooks: "The great truth of Easter is not only that we are to live new lives after death. No, the great truth of Easter is that we are to be new HERE AND NOW by the power of Jesus’ victory over death. Easter is not so much that we are to live forever as that we are to live nobly NOW because we are to live forever." (See Rom 6)

Whole text: The epitaph of Benjamin Franklin: "The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer--like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding, lies here. ...Yet the work itself shall not be lost; for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author."

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Option #2: "Thanksgiving on Easter!"
Psalm 118:1-2; 15-24
Rev. Kelly Bedard

A. Rejected

       1. To foreclose on someone's future without their consent

       2. Temptation: to believe that others' and/or our own--even God's--rejection is the final word

B. But Not Dejected

       1. For Christ Himself, a Good Friday reject, is rehabbed by The Master Builder--God

       2. False/faulty builders and rejects have a new-found faith: calling on Christ!


1. Psalm 118 is the most-frequently quoted Psalm in the NT, specifically two passages. One is the Easter-focused words about the stone, rejected and then rehabilitated (vv22-23)... (Ed Schroeder)

2. Without claiming that only one known Biblical situation would fit the contents of the psalm, we would claim that no occasion seems to fit better than does the event when the walls of Jerusalem had just been completed after almost a century of delay in the day of Nehemiah (444 B.C.) as recorded in Nehemiah 12:27ff, where special mention is made of the celebration with thanksgiving. (H. C. Leupold)

3. Luther considered this psalm his favorite. Almost all commentators quote part of his introduction: "This is my own psalm which I specially love. Though the entire Psalter and the Holy Scriptures are indeed very dear to me as my sole comfort and my very life, yet I have come to grips with this psalm in a special sense, so that I feel free to call it my very own. For it has done me great service on many an occasion and has stood by me in many a difficulty when the emperor, kings, wise men and clever, and even the saints were of no avail..."
(H. C. Leupold)

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