April 1, 2018 – Easter: A Life Changed By the Resurrection
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4
Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20 (ESV)
1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Resurrection is essential for the life Jesus envisions, describes, and directs – we will consider three things that will change if you embrace the resurrection of Jesus.
- vv19-20 “make disciples of all nations”
- Jesus tells his followers to love their enemies, pray for those who persecute them, warns not to store up treasure on earth – what enables a person to act so differently?
- v1 “after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week”
- anticipating death – futility, escape, or legacy?
- v9 “they… took hold of his feet and worshipped him” (v17)
- those who had been loved by Jesus respond with worship
Questions for Reflection
- What emotions arise when you think about death? What do you believe happens when you die, and how do you see those beliefs influence how you live?
- From what you know of how Jesus tells his followers to live, what strikes you as the hardest to do? What of his teachings are the easiest to ignore or excuse? How can the hope of resurrection translate into differing choices and actions that are consistent with what Jesus taught?
- How much of your ambition is tied to a drive for significance? How much of that includes a longing to be remembered, to make a mark on the world, to have an impact beyond your years on earth? How much of it is driven by a fear of death? How can the hope of resurrection foster healthy ambition?
- Jesus suffered death for his followers, and his followers in this story (the 2 women and the 11 disciples) understood Jesus loved them. Why does it make a difference to understand first that Jesus has loved before he calls us to love? How does that change things? What would help you understand the love of Jesus for you more?
- The devotion expressed in this passage includes falling at the feet of Jesus to worship him. How should Christian faith be expressed in worship? What patterns or practices should be normative for a Christian (in regards to worship)? What happens if one tries to live as a Christian but without this form of devotion?
- The resurrection provides a vision of a renewed world. What hopes do you have for this new life? What of this future fullness can you start to take hold of now?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father in heaven, on this day the church across the globe gathers to celebrate and rejoice at the life we have in Jesus Christ. Most of the time, however, we live as if life in this world is all there is. Forgive us for ignoring the hard teachings of Jesus, and for not trusting him when he warns us and calls us to a better way. Forgive our selfish ambition and our devotion to things that don’t warrant our affection. Help us to be struck in a new way by the profound reality that Jesus has victory over the grave, and help us to joyfully follow the pattern he has set for us, knowing that as he has shared in our death we will share in his life. Amen.