Easter

March 27, 2016   Luke 24:1 – 12The Resurrection 

  

    I took my Toyota in for 2 recalls this week and I chatted with the service writer for a few minutes and we talked about God.   He said I got to tell you this joke.  This man dies and stands before St. Peter and St. Peter tells him that he had to spend a day in heaven and day in hell and then he could determine where he wanted to spend eternity.  The guy said OK let me first spend a day in heaven.   So he is up there sitting on a cloud and playing the harp and everything is nice and fine and then he had to spend a day in hell.  He goes to hell and all his buddies are there and they are having a party and the time of their life.   They are drinking beer and carrying on.   At the end of the day in hell he goes back to St. Peter and tells him heaven is nice but Hell was really a trip.  I chose to go to hell.

   He is cast into hell and it is hot and a torrid horrible place.   After some time he sees Satan and said to Satan.  When I was here the other day it was a lot of fun.  My buddies and I were having a great time what happened.   The devil told him the other day we were just recruiting.    There is a difference between the promise of sin and the results of sin.  Jesus said the devil is a liar.  Certainly the sting of death has been removed for those that walk with Jesus because Jesus died on the cross and his resurrection.  God poured out his wrath on Jesus and my sin has been paid for by Jesus blood and sacrifice.  Now I have with God. 

     As we consider this passage before us today we see that no one really understood what was going on with Jesus.  Pilate did not understand who he was dealing with.  They Jewish leaders certainly did not see Jesus as the Messiah which is amazing because of the miracles and fulfilled prophecy regarding him.  .  In 1 Cor. 2:8 we read “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory."     Jesus told his disciples on more than one occasion that he was going to die and then he would be raised to life.  Luke 18:31 on we read "Jesus took the twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.   He will be handed over to the Gentiles.   They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. On the third day He will rise again.”  Perhaps Satan did not understand it either.  The disciples at this point understood that Jesus died.  It was the resurrection though that was tough for them.  Life after death has puzzled man for thousands of years.   Death we understand and the world has many graves in it.  There is a cemetery on my road about ¼ of a mile east of my house and one west of my house about 1/3 of a mile.  Most of us do not get very old before death becomes a reality.   We will lose a pet or a grandparent or someone and death is painful.   Children generally out live parents. 

    Death is pretty final.  Once a person dies that is the end of life on earth as we know it.  Those that love them mourn.  They remember the good times and the good memories.  They are remembered for the contribution to others and the good deeds that they had done.  There is no hope of seeing them alive again in this life.  The cross in those days was a cymbal of a horrible death some men living up to 8 or 9 days.  That cross was a big piece of wood blood stained that men had died on.  The tomb and grave side was the final chapter.  Many people do not believe in any life after this world.  Even some the Jewish leaders the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection.  But today the cross is a cymbal of beauty and jewelry.  It is the cymbal of death to Christians but also a cymbal of life for in Jesus death we have life.  Today we know that there is life after the grave.  Jesus resurrection proves that. 

     On Feb. 27, 1991, at the height of Desert Storm, that Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon. It stated that her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private 1st Class, had stepped on a mine in Kuwait and was dead.   Ruth Dillow later wrote, "I can't begin to describe my grief and shock.   It was almost more than I could bear. For 3 days I wept.   For 3 days I expressed anger & loss.   For 3 days people tried to comfort me, to no avail because the loss was too great."    The disciples were in shock with Jesus death.   When Jesus told them earlier that he was going to be crucified Peter took him aside and said no that can’t happen and Jesus rebuked him.  Jesus was the center of their life and besides they thought Jesus was going to set them free from Rome.  Dead men do not set countries free.  They had seen Jesus do all kinds of miracles and Jesus got them out of many difficult situations and now Jesus was gone. 

    In this passage several of the women tell the disciples of their encounter with the angel who said to them why do you seek the living among the dead?   That is a great question.   Jesus is not here he has risen.  He is gone.  Death cannot hold Jesus.  The grave yard is the wrong place to find him.  Don’t look for Jesus in the cemetery.   So Peter goes over to the tomb and sees Jesus grave clothes laying there and Luke records that Peter went his way wondering what happened.  Did you ever experience something major that caught you off guard and wondered what happened?   Jesus is in the tomb for 3 days not 3 full days and then he leaves.  That is what happened.  And after 3 days that Ruth Dillow received the message that her son was dead, the telephone rang.   The voice on the other end said, "Mom, it's me.  I'm alive."  Ruth Dillow said, "I couldn't believe it at first.  But then I recognized his voice, and he really was alive."  The message she had received was all a mistake!   She said, "I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels, because my son whom I had thought was dead, was really alive.   I'm sure none of you can even begin to understand how I felt."   

     Well the disciples probably understood how she felt.  In just a few days they experienced all kinds of emotions.  This was a very trying time especially for Peter.  Why didn’t the disciples understand Jesus?   Did they not believe him when Jesus told them in 3 days I am going to come forth from the grave?  In 3 days Jesus burst forth from the grave swinging the keys of death and hell.  But Peter is pretty beat up at this point.  Jesus has died and Peter knows that.  Peter has heard a story about an angel and that Jesus is alive but he is not so sure.   Just 3 days ago Peter bragged that he would never deny Jesus and never leave Jesus.  But he did.  And perhaps at this point Peter may not even want to see Jesus. Peter is not feeling too good about himself.   John tells us that Peter goes fishing.  Several of the disciples go fishing with him.  Peter goes back to his old life.  Jesus had taught him how to fish for men but Peter goes back to fishing for fish.  Peter goes back to doing what he is comfortable with.   I am sure he felt like he had failed at this Christian thing.  This Jesus life is beyond him.  Unbelief is very discouraging and unbelief is depressing.  Jesus let Peter struggle and stumble at times but Jesus always came through for Peter. 

    What does ole Peter need at this moment?  Well John tells us that Jesus had a fire going and some warm bread and fish on the shore for Peter.  Peter fished all night with no luck as we would say and Jesus has him throw out his nets on the right side of the boat and they catch a large number of fish.  When Peter gets the fish on shore Jesus tells him come over and have breakfast.  Jesus invites him for a meal and a little chat.  Jesus reinstates Peter.  Jesus pulls Peter back into the fold.  Jesus puts Peter to work.  He is re commissioned.  Peter if youlove me feed my sheep. 

    Jesus knows exactly what you and I need to today.  He knows your heart.  Jesus knows your sin.   Jesus knows about your failures and yet he loves us.  He tells us not to sin but invites us for breakfast.  Come and dine with me.    We work and labor all day and at the end of the day there are still 25 things to do.  Jesus knows all about it.  Many of those things Jesus does not intend for us to do.  Jesus told the people come to me and I will give you rest.  Be thankful for the day’s work.  We need to learn to be thankful not everything is done.  It is OK that everything is not done.  None of us can do all of it.  Some of us have health issues.  Some of us have financial issues.  Some of us have family and work issue and Jesus knows all about it.  I think he is saying come and have breakfast.  Come and dine spiritually.  Let’s talk about all those things.  Come and see the empty tomb. Death cannot stop God.   Know that I am alive today and that I am with you.  Eternal life is more important than life on earth.   Jesus can meet every need and do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.  No matter how difficult life gets life is better with Jesus.  There is always something to be thankful for. 

    In Henry Garrity's book, "Portraits of Perseverance," Carl was a very rich man who owned a great estate.   One of his favorite pastimes was riding horseback through his valley, looking at everything he owned and congratulating himself on his great wealth.   One day, as Carl was riding along, he came up over a hill and in the distance saw one of his tenant farmers, an old man named Hans.   It was lunch time, and Hans had set a little table under a shade tree & was getting ready to eat.   But before he ate, he bowed his head and folded his hands in prayer to thank God for his food. Carl watched the old man as he prayed.  Then he looked at his meal.   It was only a slice of coarse bread & a piece of cheese.   With a sneer Carl said, "If that's all I had to eat, I wouldn't even bother to pray." Hans replied humbly, "It's enough, and I'm thankful that God has provided it."  Taken aback by the old man's answer, Carl turned his horse and prepared to ride away.  But before he could leave, old Hans said, "Wait a minute. I need to tell you something.   I had a dream last night.   In my dream I saw a beautiful scene, and then I heard a voice saying, 'Tonight the richest man in the valley will die.  Tonight the richest man in the valley will die."  "Poppycock!" said Carl as he rode off toward home.  But as he was riding, the words of old Hans haunted him, "Tonight the richest man in the valley will die." 

    Up to then he had felt quite well, but now he was beginning to experience pains in his chest. He wondered, "Could it possibly be true?   Am I going to die tonight?"   When he reached home he called his doctor and told him of old Han's dream and of the pains that he had been feeling. The doctor said, "Well, it doesn't sound like anything you ought to be concerned about, but just to put your mind at ease, I'll come over & examine you."    So the doctor did.   After the examination was over he said, "Carl, you're as strong as a horse.   There's no way you're going to die tonight." Carl said, "Well, I feel mighty foolish that I paid any attention to the old man's dream that the richest man in the valley will die tonight.   But I just wanted to be certain."    So, reassured, Carl went to bed.   The next morning there was a knock on his door, and the messenger said, "Carl, old Hans died last night." Truly, the richest man in the valley died last night. 

   According to this world Jesus had nothing when he died and yet was he not rich.   Was he not the richest person ever?  And we are rich in Him.   We are blessed in him.  We have life in Jesus.  We have hope in Jesus.  Jesus is alive and He has the keys of death and the keys to heaven. 

   Peter denied Jesus when Jesus needed him the most.  Peter turned his back on Jesus.  He chickened out.   Peter followed along and even went to the court yard but Peter really ran when it counted. Peter took the cowards path.  He said he would be true but he did not.  Peter said I will never deny you Lord but he did.   Jesus offered Peter grace and used him in great ways.  All of us have turned away from Jesus at one point or another and yet today Jesus invites us.  We have not done what Jesus wants.   We have not been a witness.   We have not tithed our money.  We have not been faithful to worship him and he invites us to come.   Jesus offers forgiveness today.  Jesus loves you and desires a close relationship with you.  He wants your fellowship.  Jesus longs for your friendship.  He wants to talk to you.  He has some very important work for you to do.   Jesus calls us away from this world into his presence.  The person that sins is the slave to sin and Jesus calls us away from sin to himself.  Jesus satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness.  His arms are open to you today just like they were some 2000 years ago on the cross.   He offered forgiveness to the Roman soldiers at the cross and He offers forgiveness to you today.