Easter Sunday John 20:1-28
Mary had seen Jesus die on the Friday. The body had hurriedly been put in the tomb that day because the next day was the Passover. Mary had already been to the tomb had found it empty and gone back to fetch Peter and John. After seeing the empty tomb they had gone, leaving Mary.
Mary's emotions had been everywhere. The expectation of the Passover, the excitement of Palm Sunday, the shock of Jesus' crucifixion, disbelief that the body had gone, then joy and wonder of meeting the risen Lord Jesus.
We have seen from the two pictures what Mary expected, and what happened. We have identified the differences. But what difference does the fact that Jesus rose again make to our lives today ?
May I suggest four.
It brings us joy.
Knowing that Jesus was no longer dead gave Mary great joy. She stopped crying. She was able to talk with Jesus. Her joy overflowed by telling the other disciples the good news.
It brings us friendship with God.
Through his death on the cross Jesus demolished the barrier of sin that separates us from God.
Through Jesus' resurrection God shows us that this is true. That he has accepted Jesus self-sacrifice. Because if it were not true Jesus would not be alive.
By being united with Jesus we can enjoy a right relationship with God. Knowing him as our best friend.
It gives us a new reason for living.
Because of what Jesus has done for us nothing can separate us from God. Therefore we can have a different outlook on life, and concentrate upon God.
Paul writing to the church at Colossae wrote (3:1) "Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God."
Whatever happens to us we can have a confidence that there is more to life than life. At least as we know it !
We will live with Jesus forever.
Jesus said in verse 17 that he had to return to God the Father. He has gone there to prepare a place for us. He has led the way through death to eternal life.
There was a fire on the third floor of a house and a child appeared at the window. A huge muscular man stood underneath and called to the child. "Jump, drop into my arms."
It is without doubt that the man exists and is there.
It is very likely that he is as strong as he looks, and is able to catch the child.
But it is not until the child trusts these facts and jumps then those beliefs are shown to be a genuine trust.
It is not until you and I jump, and decide to make Jesus number one in our lives that we can enjoy the benefits only Jesus can bring. The joy, the friendship with God, the new reason for living, and looking forward to living with Jesus forever.
If you know in your head that Jesus did rise from the dead. If you want to enjoy the life that only he can bring. Then jump. There is no other sensible alternative !
There are millions of people who have been saved by the Lord Jesus and they are waiting for you to join them. Jesus is waiting saying, "Jump, jump into my loving, dependable arms."
If there is anyone here who would like to trust the Lord Jesus with their life today I will say a prayer. Offer chance to those who want to respond to God for the first time to say this prayer, silently to God, line by line after me. Opportunity for Christians to pray for themselves, or those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and saviour.
Lord Jesus Christ, I know I have failed to love you and other people. In my thoughts, my words, and my actions.
I am sorry for my sins and turn from everything I know to be wrong.
You gave your life for me on the cross.
Gratefully I give my life back to you.
Now I ask you to come into my life.
Come in as my Saviour to cleanse me.
Come in as my Lord to control me.
And I will serve you all the remaining years of my life in complete obedience. Amen.