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.” (Matthew 28:5-6)
Pastor, this is Easter Sunday!! It is Resurrection Sunday!! In fact, because of Easter, every Sunday is a Resurrection Sunday. Every Sunday is an occasion to gather in the presence of the Risen Lord, as part of the church he birthed at Pentecost.
And yet, today, March 27, 2016, is the day we commemorate the actual bodily Resurrection of our Lord from the dead! Barely three days have passed since the saddest day of the year, Good Friday. Now, we celebrate the most joyous day on the Christian calendar, for HE IS ALIVE! (Yes, I am shouting, for this is great news for all to hear!)
Every Easter morning our minds imagine the journey to the tomb by the two Marys. Hearts broken, yet lovingly going to the tomb to do whatever might be necessary to make His resting place the best it could be. Perhaps they carried flowers, or perfume, or perhaps they were just going to pay respects. Regardless of what was going through their minds, they did not expect to find what they found: an empty tomb!!! Confusion, questions, perhaps even fear gripped them, until the angel gave them an explanation: “He has risen, just as he said.”
Isn’t that just like our Lord? He does what He says He will do. We know that and affirm that in our heads, and yet our hearts are constantly being surprised by the wonders He works. Why are we astonished? Why are we taken off guard? This is what He does!
And because He is Risen, today we have hope. Because He was raised, we too shall be raised. Because He conquered death and the grave, we understand physical death is never the final chapter. Because He lives, we can be recipients of new life in Him. Whatever of life’s circumstances seem like death to us right now are displaced by the resurrection power of Christ! We are not chained to despair and hopelessness. Victory is ours in Him!
Oh, happy day!!
Pastor, as you gather with your people in the presence of the Risen One, I pray joy will overflow and overwhelm you and your congregation today. And may the reality of His resurrection power open our eyes today to the possibilities of grace that are ours because He lives!
He gave Himself for us, and for all people. As you remind your people of the Easter Offering for World Evangelism, please don’t just make it another offering. Please remind them that Christ-like disciples look and act like Him. We give of ourselves to others, for those who aren’t deserving, and yet who are the objects of Christ’s deep love and are the people for whom He died. As we give our offerings to tell the greatest story ever told all around the world, to peoples of all nations, we do so as a reflection of His self-sacrificing love and grace. How small our offerings may seem in comparison to His all! And yet, it is not the amount we give, but the love and grace and generosity with which we give it, that testifies to the One who gave all for us.
You have been prayed for today, You are deeply loved and appreciated by this DS and his wife, certainly; but even more importantly, you are loved by the Risen Christ, who gave His all for you! Be overwhelmed by that thought today, be humbled, be grateful, and be joyful! Do not be dismayed and do not be fearful, because….
He Is Risen!! He Is Risen, Indeed!!
El Ha Resucitado!!
Brian E. Wilson
Southern Florida District Church of the Nazarene