Sermon Easter Day 2016 (March 28)

I can never write an Easter Sunday Sermon until after Good Friday, so on Holy Saturday I sit down at some stage and hope for inspiration.

Throughout Lent and Holy week one thing kept popping into my mind as we journeyed once again through the story, and that was the fact that those first disciples who followed Jesus didn’t have the gift of hindsight as we do, on that first Good Friday, they didn’t know that Easter Sunday was coming. American Pastor Tony Campolo wrote this:

It’s Friday
Jesus is praying
Peter’s a sleeping
Judas is betraying
But Sunday’s comin’
It’s Friday
Pilate’s struggling
The council is conspiring
The crowd is vilifying
They don’t even know
That Sunday’s comin’
It’s Friday
The disciples are running
Like sheep without a shepherd
Mary’s crying
Peter is denying
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s a comin’
It’s Friday
The Romans beat my Jesus
They robe him in scarlet
They crown him with thorns
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s comin’
It’s Friday
See Jesus walking to Calvary
His blood dripping
His body stumbling
And his spirit’s burdened
But you see, it’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’
It’s Friday
The world’s winning
People are sinning
And evil’s grinning
It’s Friday
The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands
To the cross
They nail my Savior’s feet
To the cross
And then they raise him up
Next to criminals
It’s Friday
But let me tell you something
Sunday’s comin’
It’s Friday
The disciples are questioning
What has happened to their King
And the Pharisees are celebrating
That their scheming
Has been achieved
But they don’t know
It’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’
It’s Friday
He’s hanging on the cross
Feeling forsaken by his Father
Left alone and dying
Can nobody save him?
It’s Friday
But Sunday’s comin’
It’s Friday
The earth trembles
The sky grows dark
My King yields his spirit
It’s Friday
Hope is lost
Death has won
Sin has conquered
and Satan’s just a laughin’
It’s Friday
Jesus is buried
A soldier stands guard
And a stone is rolled into place
Sunday is a comin’!

And indeed Sunday is here, the stone has been rolled away and the women begin to look back in hindsight. The two men in dazzling clothes, again with hindsight they surly must have been angels, told the women he is not here he is risen.

“Remember how he told you when you were still in Galilee, that the son of man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

Then they remembered Jesus’ words. They then went and told the apostles.

But these words to them seemed an idle tale, and they did not believe them, and who could blame them, Peter ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in he saw the linen cloths by themselves, then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Those three years that they all travelled with Jesus and listened to his teaching and his stories and watched him heal people, all those years he tried to prepare them for what was to come, but they didn’t get it, and would we in their position…

Oh yes hindsight is a good thing. We knew on Friday that Sunday was coming. We know the story. The disciples didn’t and so this year I just kept thinking how it would’ve been for them, watching the story unfold not knowing the ending thinking it was all over on Good Friday and actually all of them, hiding away in fear of their lives. Thinking that they had given three years of their lives to follow Jesus and it had ended in complete and utter failure.

Thankfully we have hindsight we know Good Friday isn’t the end that we have the resurrection to look forward to. And so we must become resurrected people. For as we sang on Good Friday.

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

The angels asked “who do you seek” the answer is the name that allows the power of the resurrection to work in human lives, as our collect says displacing the old order of sin and death to make all things new. We have been given the chance of a new relationship with God, who loves us so much he gave us his son so we might live abundantly.

We know the disciple’s failings, especially we are reminded of Peter’s. Yet even Peter eventually looked back in hindsight to be able to say, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ – he is Lord of all. Peter finally gets it! We have no excuse, we know this, so let’s grasp this new life and new beginning, looking to Jesus as our guide, trusting in him. Because we know the story we know the ending, and because we do we can truly say he is risen indeed alleluia.

Pewsheet Mar 28 Easter Day

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