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The Festival Of The Resurrection

Option #1: "Mary Stopped Crying"
John 20:1-20
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

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 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 (vv2-13) but continues to cry.

Bridge: The occasion for tears--John 16:5ff, 20-22; Ps 42:3; 43:5; Eccl3:4; 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


v17--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."

v20--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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Children's Message For The Festival Of The Resurrection Of Our Lord

Object: bag containing objects that a child might lose or misplace--socks, shoes, toys, a school book, etc.

When I was growing up, I heard a question from my mother that I’m guessing you hear also. The last time you couldn’t find something--use objects in bag for examples--you asked your mother: "Mom, have you seen my socks?" And mothers since Eve have given the same answer: "Where did you leave them?" Well, I thought when I was your age, if I knew that, they wouldn’t be lost!

The first Easter day was a day of questions for the disciples and other followers of Jesus. The most important question was WHERE IS JESUS? He wasn’t in the grave anymore. The stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. When Peter and John ran to the tomb after Mary gave them the news, all they found were the grave clothes. Where was Jesus?

Thank God, Easter is no longer a day of questions but, rather, a day of ANSWERS.

The angel asked the women at the grave: "Why do you look for the living One among the dead? He is not here! He has risen!"(Lk 24:5) When Mary saw Jesus for herself, she stopped crying and Jesus told her he was going back to heaven (John 20:17). And He told her to go to the disciples and answer their questions about Jesus.

When Jesus told her he was going back to heaven, he answered a lot of our questions too. He told us in another place: "Where I am, my servant also will be" (John 12:26)

When you wonder about what happens after we die, you don’t have questions, you have ANSWERS--answers because Jesus died and rose again from the dead. That’s why we have such a big celebration today! That’s why we can have hope. That’s why we can look forward to eternal life with Jesus in our Father’s house forever and ever. Amen

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Option #2: "Thanksgiving on Easter!"
Psalm 118:1-2, 15-24
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

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)
4.Even such a hero of faith as Luther could at times forget to trust implicitly in his faithful God and His saving help. The consequence of doubt is unhappiness. The story goes of Luther's being in low spirits for a time. In vain his good wife tried to cheer him. At last she put on a widow's mourning clothes and went about the house in deepest mourning. "Who's dead?" asked Luther. "God," replied Kate. "Don't talk foolish!" retorted the great Reformer. "My dear Doctor," answered Kate, "you act so downhearted and despondent and will listen to no comfort that I naturally concluded God must be dead, and so I dressed in mourning!" Luther understood the point, laughingly embraced his good wife, and forgot his "blues." (F.W. Herzberger)




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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:35 PM