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


The Festival Of Easter
Series C

Option #1: "Three Easter Questions"
Luke 24:1-11
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

1) Why?--vv1-4: the "two men" are like the "three men," angelic beings that Abraham hosted in Gen 18; the angel says that Jesus is "the living one"--Rev. 1:18, 2:8

2) Don’t you remember?--vv6-8; Matt. 8:31-32, 10; Mark 9:31-32, 10:33-34

3) What does this mean?--vv9-11; it is nonsense without Christ’s resurrection

Vincents Word Studies, Vol 1: Idle tales (leeros)--silly talk; nonsense. Only here in New Testament. Used in medical language of the wild talk of delirium. Wycliffe Translation:  madness.

Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol 2: Disbelieved (eepistoun). Imperfect active of apisteo, old verb from apistos, without confidence or faith in. They kept on distrusting the story of the women.

 

Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah:  The importance of all this cannot be adequately expressed in words. A dead Christ might have been a Teacher and Wonder-worker, and remembered and loved as such. But only a Risen and Living Christ could be the Saviour, the Life, and the Life-Giver--and as such preached to all men. And of this most blessed truth we have the fullest and most unquestionable evidence. We can, therefore, implicitly yield ourselves to the impression of these narratives, and, still more, to the realisation of that most sacred and blessed fact. This is the foundation of the Church, the inscription on the banner of her armies, the strength and comfort of every Christian heart and the grand hope of humanity: the Lord is risen indeed!

Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Now who is more likely to know what Christianity is, ... the Apostle or the skeptic? One of the religion’s first-century founders or one of its twentieth-century subverters? A Jew who knew Christ or a German scholar who knew books? ...

The existential consequences of the resurrection are incomparable. It is the concrete, factual, empirical proof that: life has hope and meaning; "love is stronger than death"; goodness and power are ultimately allies, not enemies; life wins in the end; God has touched us right here where we are and has defeated our last enemy; we are not cosmic orphans, as our modern secular worldview would make us. And these existential consequences of the resurrection can be seen by comparing the disciples before and after. Before, they ran away, denied their Master and huddled behind locked doors in fear and confusion. After, they were transformed from scared rabbits into confident saints, world-changing missionaries, courageous martyrs and joy-filled ambassadors for Christ.

The greatest importance of the resurrection is not in the past--"Christ rose"--but in the present--"Christ is risen." The angel at the tomb asked the women, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?" (Lk 24:5). The same question could be asked today to mere historians and scholars. If only we did not keep Christ mummified in a casket labeled "history," he would set our lives and world afire as powerfully as he did two millennia ago; and our new pagan empire would sit up, take notice, rub its eyes, wonder and be converted a second time. That is the existential import of the resurrection.

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Children's Message

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, Jesus dried her tears and told her that he was going back to heaven (John 20:17). And she was to go to the disciples and answer their questions about Jesus, as he also did later that evening.  

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: "The Easter Spirit!"
Psalm 118:1-2, 15-24
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

 
The Point: the Easter Spirit doesn't come naturally but, rather, supernaturally
 
The Problem: considering Easter a one-day, one-time, one-thing event
 
The Promise:  God's present and eternal power and presence--justification and sanctification
 
Notes:
 
1. This was Martin Luther's favorite psalm, which "had helped him out of troubles out of which neither emperor nor kind, nor any other man on earth could have helped him." (KD Psalms)
 
2. Blessed are those to whom Easter is...
        ...not a hunt, but a find;
        ...not a greeting, but a proclamation;
        ...not outward fashions, but inward grace;
        ...not a day, but an eternity.
    (Anderson)
 
3. yadah {yaw-daw'}, v1: to give thanks, laud, praise; to confess (the name of God) (Blue Letter Bible)
 
4. checed {kheh'-sed} v1: goodness, kindness, faithfulness. (BLB)
 
5. chayah {khaw-yaw'}, v17: to live, have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live for ever, be quickened, be alive, be restored to life or health. (BLB)
 
6. pala' {paw-law'}, v23: to be beyond one's power, be difficult to do; to be difficult to understand; to be wonderful, be extraordinary; marvelous (participle). (BLB)
 
7. Thibodeaux goes to the Holy Land with his wife and mother-in-law. Halfway through their trip, the mother-in-law dies. So Thibodeaux goes to the undertaker, who explains that they could ship the body back to New Iberia but the cost would be $5,000, or they could bury her in the Holy Land for $150. Thibodeaux said, "We'll ship her home." "Are you sure?" asked the undertaker. "That's an awful big expense, and I can assure you that we do a very nice burial here." "Look!" says Thibodeaux. "Two thousand years ago they buried a guy here and three days later he rose from the dead. I just can't take that chance!"
 
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM