Roger's Postings

Saturday, April 23, 2011

John 20:1-8. He is risen , indeed!! 24/4/11

(1) Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. {2} So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" {3} So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. {4} Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. {5} He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. {6} Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, {7} as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. {8} Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

He is risen – He is risen indeed! The Lord Jesus has risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally.

Now just think about that for a few moments: a man who has been dead for some considerable time has come alive again, and continues to live. Surely this is the most exciting news that this world has ever heard. Surely the media will be all over this story, and it would be headlines the world over. For is this not what we as human beings yearn for; longed after; and spend countless hours researching and experimenting for, in order to give and extend life out as endlessly as we possibly can? Here now in Jesus it has happened. All this and more has been opened up to humanity!

This surely now would be news that we all want to hear and be a part of. Surely, this news now changes the whole outlook and meaning of life. Now the whole outlook and orientation of life changes markedly. Here we have that which has the power to revitalize and give hope to a world that has lost its way and is fast dying. Yes, surely the world over would want to know this wonderfully good news.

Is it any wonder that those early disciples were ‘over the moon’ about this news, once they had comprehended it. No wonder, many of them would stop at nothing in their quest to tell others about this earth-shattering news. No wonder, Christianity spread very quickly in those early years of the Church and has continued to do so ever since; in fact going all over the world. This news has now gone into every country and changed the lives of countless millions of people. What news this is! What fantastic, life-changing news is this that we are hearing again this morning! He is risen! The Lord Jesus has risen from the dead!

Yes, here again, we have the message that can bring our country back to life again. The same power that brought Jesus back to life can also, along with the message of Good Friday, bring life to this dying nation of ours. The Easter message has that which can give to our community that which it so desperately needs. But first we must get beyond the messages that are going out to people in our country at the present time. In many ways little has changed from that of that first Easter Day.

"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" These words were spoken by the women who went to the tomb that morning. But how often don’t we hear similar sentiments spoken today.

"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" Is this not a problem as to why so many are not in our midst today? Why so many are out and about ‘enjoying’ themselves, instead of taking time to receive and reflect on the Good News of Jesus Christ? Very few today are prepared to sit down and seek to understand what God has to say to us in his Word. Instead we prefer to run around like ‘chooks with their heads cut off’ trying to please ourselves. We are looking for life and finding death. We have taken Jesus out of our spirituality and wondering why it all is so dead and that we have to find more and greater feelings and experiences.

Others are like those first women who went to the tomb; ‘Where is the Lord? Where is the Lord? We can’t find him anywhere; someone must have taken him away. Where is he? They are looking for a dead Jesus who is confined to history or to some fictitious story, so they don’t know where they are really looking. The Bible is no longer God’s Word, but simply contains bits and pieces that we can use, as we think they are important. And isn’t that the way so many are living and acting in our world today; whether they be ‘christian’ or otherwise.

The message goes out that Jesus is dead, and that life is all up to us and what we make of it. Our security and hope lies in health, wealth and happiness: We must take care of and renew our environment; and at funerals we hear of how ‘so and so’ lived a good life and therefore he will be OK. They have relegated Jesus to just a good example for us to follow.

Others again are no different from the Pharisees; in that they are trying to remove Christ and Christianity from the world scene. He makes life too uncomfortable for them, by challenging them to admit that they are far from perfect and in need of that help which only Jesus’ death on the cross can give. They want their ideas of religion, humanity and the priority of individualism to rule. Even after Jesus’ resurrection they are still trying to cover up the story, and remove those who try to tell this Good News.

Others again are like Pilate and try to do the right thing, yet do not know what the truth is and where to find it. In the end they succumb to the mob rule, rather than to stand by what they believe to be the truth.

Sadly for so many the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection is not getting through to them, or they are relegating it into the area of just a nice fictitious story, that is not all that relevant to their own lives.

So here again we need to hear the message of Easter. Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! This is for real! The Lord Jesus is risen from the dead. God is alive and his power is at work in our world. Jesus said the grave would not hold him; so now everything else he said and promised is also valid and true. We have now got so much to go forward with into the future. Now there is power to turn the lives and hopes of our world upside down and give us a new and exciting life before us.

Yes, now we know that Jesus does have everything under control, and that in connection with him everything will work out OK. Sure, that does not mean that he will remove all difficulties and hardships from our lives. After all we can see what happens when everything goes well for us; we very quickly forget him and what he has done for us.

But in the midst of our troubles and suffering we now know that Jesus has our lives under his watchful care; and we know that he will not allow anything to take our salvation and eternal life away from us.

It is now there in Jesus and the certainty of forgiveness of sins, life and salvation that he has made possible, that we now have all the security we could ever want or need. No matter whether it be, little or plenty – sick or well – the risen Lord Jesus now ensures that we have all that we need in order to cope with our daily life; to keep our relationship with him alive and well; and enable us to love the people around about us. Now we can live and work each day joyfully and confidently, doing what needs to be done.

Now we can even face death, and have the sure hope that because Jesus has risen from the dead, so also will we rise to be with him in eternity. Not because of our goodness or anything else other than the fact that he died on the cross for our forgiveness and was raised again so that we can be sure that it is all for real.

Yes, He is risen! – he is risen indeed. And now because he lives, so also will we live. This is the most exciting news that we have ever heard and will ever hear. Here is the most important news that our world could ever hope to hear. We have got every reason to be over the moon. We have got every reason to help others to get to know that this Good News is important for them also.

What a great day again that this is; what a day to celebrate. He is risen! He is risen indeed! The Lord Jesus has risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally. Hallelujah! AMEN.

Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


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