In Isolation Thoughts 2

Sunday 4th April 2021 Easter Day

Welcome to this Service

Celebrating Easter- the Day of Resurrection

But why do we need Easter Day? Why do we need a Resurrection? Simply, because there had been a death. On Friday, Good Friday, Jesus had died. He had been crucified! We start our journey here.

The crucifixion of Jesus

Bible Reading: John 19.16-19, 28-30

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others – one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Hymn: There is a green hill far away

Prayer

The Resurrection

Bible Reading: Matt 28.1-10

28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’

Hymn: Christ the Lord is Risen today

Death First, then Resurrection

Jesus had to die before He could rise from the dead. This is where we started this morning, on the Friday when He was sentenced to death following a mockery of a trial, no evidence to support the accusations, His sentence was out of pure hatred from the Jewish Leaders, He was let down by the Roman Authorities, out of fear of public riot. He was deserted by almost all His followers and died alone on a Roman Cross in agony and shame. Crucifixion was for criminals, for those who were a danger to the state. At no time did Jesus fit any of these categories. Here was a situation that had been prophesied in the Old Testament, God would make a way for mankind to re-establish a relationship which had been shattered by man’s rebellion at creation. It is an event that is not doubted in history, Jesus died on a Roman Cross outside the city of Jerusalem.

Hymn: How Great Thou art

Doubt and Waiting

The body of Jesus had been placed in a tomb by His friends, the Authorities were concerned about fraud, so demanded that the tomb must be sealed and guarded because Jesus had said that He would rise from death on the third day. Even the authorities who engineered His death, had been listening to what He said and were worried it might come true. They were now concerned that His disciples would steal the body and claim He was alive. There had to be no doubt that He was dead and buried and there could be no way any claim that He was alive again could be supported, even if it was by deceit, if his followers challenged them to produce His body, to refute a claim of resurrection. So from the Friday to Sunday, they sat and waited. The disciples and the other followers had gone back to the upper room in Jerusalem to wait. They were waiting for the Sabbath to be over, then the burial could be completed, Friday had been a rushed burial as Sabbath was almost upon them, the initial burial had to be done before sundown.

 

Completion and Surprise

As soon as they could, the burial party, the women, as was the tradition, came to the tomb to finish the burial rites, they wanted His burial to be properly carried out, time had been too short on Friday. They faced some problems if they were to complete the task:

  • The stone across the tomb entrance
  • The seal on the stone
  • The Guards

Despite this they still came, what were their thoughts?

Suddenly there was an earthquake, the ground shook under their feet, they continued to the tomb. When they arrived, they found all their problems had been sorted:

  • The earthquake had broken the seal
  • The stone had rolled away
  • The guards were terrified and stood like statues

This was a complete surprise, even more was to come, an angel sat on the stone at the side of the entrance, leaving a gaping entrance. Their visit was challenged by the angel, who gave answers to questions they didn’t have time to ask.

  • You are looking for Jesus
  • Jesus who was crucified

Then came the amazing statement, ‘He is not here, He is risen, just as He promised, come look at the empty tomb.’ It is one thing telling them that Jesus had risen form the dead, but they were invited to see the evidence of His absence from the tomb. Can you imagine the excitement! They had come to bury Him and now were being told He was alive. Maybe not excitement but shock, this wasn’t what they had expected, this wasn’t their plan of action for that morning. Thrown into confusion, they stand there staring at the tomb. They are given instructions by the angel to go and tell the disciples the great news that Jesus was alive, that they would see Him soon. Still in confusion, they set off back to the city when they meet the risen Jesus, this confirms the fact. He tells them to go to the disciple, tell them about His resurrection, that He is alive, and they can go back to Galilee where He will meet them. They worship Him, they grasp His feet, then at His command, they go into the city and tell the rest of His followers.

There are many more incidents around the resurrection that day, but time does not allow us to explore them today, perhaps another time.

But what is the impact for us today?

Jesus died to take the consequence of our wrongdoing, as demanded by a Holy, Righteous God.

Death was the consequence of our wrongdoing, there could be no escape from that fact.

Jesus died, but death had no hold on Him, his life had been pure.

His resurrection, victory over sin and death, means that we can have the same victory.

His death gives us life.

This leaves each of us with a choice. Do we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the one who took our rightful place? If so, then we can become one of His followers and experience the new, eternal life He offers to us. The alternative is to reject this offer and say we can trust in our own ability to deal with God and His judgment.

Easter Day is a day for new life, new hope and a new experience. What is your Easter Day celebrating?

Hymn: Thine be the glory

Prayer


Page last updated: 3rd April 2021 6:53 PM
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