People are still talking nearly 2K years after the resurrection

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 19, 2014

Have you seen the cartoon of two Roman soldiers standing by the empty tomb? The stone was rolled away and one soldier was looking very worried because they had failed in their responsibility. But the other one shrugged and said, “Don’t worry about it. A hundred years from now, no one will remember.”

But a hundred years went by and people still remembered. And now, nearly 2,000 years later, God’s people still gather and remember, because Jesus is alive and you don’t easily forget something like that.

And neither do we forget that sin and death have been conquered and victory has been won. Our world is different because Jesus is alive, today.

The resurrection changes the way that we look at life and death. When God talks about death in the Scripture He uses different words than we do.

Jesus talked about death as being like a wedding. I have been to weddings and so have most people. We know what it’s like to watch a beautiful bride come down the aisle.

Jesus told us that the church is like a bride waiting for the coming of the bridegroom and that celebrated moment when she will be with Him for ever and ever.

He also tells us that death is like sitting down to a banquet with God. God has invited us to His banquet. It will be a time of joy and gladness and fellowship, and Jesus says, “Death is like that.”

Jesus also says, “Death is like going home.” At the end of a tiring day it’s great to be able to say, “I’m going home.” It’s great to be able to go home and relax, to feel the love of home, and to know that you have a part in all that happens there.

Death is also like a graduation. An illustration was told by a preacher friend of mine recalling his own graduation from seminary school: It was a hot May evening and he remembers walking on the stage and receiving his diploma from the president. He recalls, “He shook my hand and looked into my eyes and said, ’Now go into all the world and preach the gospel.’”

He says, “I will never forget that, and I remember walking off the stage, clutching my diploma and thinking to myself, ’this signifies a lot of accomplishments, years and years of study all represented in this one little piece of paper.’”

“I looked at my diploma and just kept looking at it. ’There’s my name. I graduated!’ Then I turned to the person next to me and said, ’Look at this! I really did it! Let me see yours.’”

“He opened up his folder and it was empty. I asked, ’Where is your diploma?’ He said, ’Well, I’m not really graduating today. I am just going through the exercises. I haven’t handed in all of my papers, or taken all the tests. The school is giving me two extra weeks. Then, if I have all my papers in, and if I have passed all my tests, then I will receive my diploma. But today I’m not really graduating.’”

As I thought about this Easter, I wanted to paint a beautiful picture of an empty tomb and a beautiful spring day. I wanted to lift up Jesus and say, “That is what it’s all about.”

But I am afraid, that this Easter I might paint a picture of false hope. And because the message of His resurrection is so wonderful, I might cause you to think that everything is all right – but it’s not for everyone.

In the same way, while the cross is a blessing for those who come and believe its sacrifice, it is a curse for those who turn away and never accept what is really there.

The empty tomb is the greatest source of joy for those who know Jesus as their Savior. But it is also the utmost source of judgment and condemnation for those who do not.

You see, you can’t stop God. Not with stones in front of tombs or seals or soldiers.

That is the message of Easter. God is preparing us for something much better; just as He prepares a fetus inside the womb of a mother, as He weaves together joints, bones, and flesh.

He makes little eyes to see and ears to hear and a mouth to speak preparing that baby to be born into the world, He’s preparing us for a new and better world.

If you are without Jesus, you don’t have to be. You can choose to be faithful to Him in, the newness of life. God’s invitation is offered to you.

Join us for sunrise service, this Easter, April 20, at Andalusia Memorial Cemetery. The service will begin at 6:20 a.m..  The Rev. Joel Calhoun will be the speaker. In case of rain, the service will be held instead at West Highland Assembly of God Church.