A Sunday School teacher asked her class to write one sentence each on “What Easter Means to Me.” One student wrote: “Egg salad sandwiches for the next two weeks!”
What a difference a few days make. I’m not talking about the Egg Salad but in the case of Jesus a few days made a drastic difference. On Palm Sunday the people of Israel welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with shouts of Hosanna, and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” But only a few days later many of these same people were shouting ‘crucify him.’
On Friday Things looked bad, really bad!
1. On Friday the Disciples faith was so weak most of them were afraid to show their faces in public. 2. On Friday Pilate delivered Jesus over to the Romans soldiers, who took turns beating, whipping and scourging him unmercifully. 3. On Friday they made him carry his own cross through the streets of Jerusalem and the people who lined the sides of the road cursed and spat on him. 4. On Friday they stripped Jesus of all of his clothing and dignity and nailed him to the cross like a common Criminal. 5. On Friday it appeared as if God had abandoned His Only Begotten Son. Jesus Himself said, “My God my God why have you forsaken me!” 6. On Friday Darkness covered the land and The Prince of Darkness couldn’t have been more pleased because he believed he had won a great victory by killing the Son of God. 7. On Friday they took Jesus off the cross and laid him in a borrowed tomb and all the Hopes and dreams of his disciples were buried with him.
But that was Friday! When Sunday morning arrived everything changed!
1.On Sunday God demonstrated the fact that He had not abandoned Jesus on the cross by raising Him from the Dead. 2. On Sunday Jesus walked out of the tomb with His head held high knowing that He had finished the job that His Heavenly Father had sent Him to do. Paul tells of Jesus, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth”. 3. On Sunday Jesus’ resurrection demonstrated that Satan had not defeated Him, but instead Jesus had won the Victory over Satan as well as Sin, Death and the Grave. “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 4. On Sunday, when Jesus appeared to His Disciples their faith was strengthened and they would never be the same again. On Friday they were afraid of their own shadows, but on Sunday their faith made them strong and courageous. 5. On Sunday, The Light of the World dispelled the Darkness that had covered the Land since Friday, giving His disciples a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
<Now what does all of this mean to us today? Friday is bad but Sunday is coming.
Well………., in some respects even though it’s been 2000 years since Jesus rose from the Dead, it’s still Friday for many. 1. It’s Friday for Some of you here today because like the Disciples you have recently lost someone you love and you are overcome with grief. But let me remind you that Jesus resurrection teaches us that the pain and separation you are going through today is not permanent. The Bible tells us that we will be reunited with our loved ones who have gone on before us, and all of us who have put our faith and trust in him will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
2.It’s Friday for Some of you here this morning because you feel abandoned by God. You feel like He’s forgotten your name and your needs. If that’s how you feel this today, then I’ve got good news for you “It may be Friday but Sunday’s coming!” God has not abandoned you any more than He abandoned Jesus Christ. Jesus promised that He would be with us Even until the end of the Age.
3.It’s Friday for Some of you here today because like the Disciples you are discouraged and are plagued with a sense of hopelessness. Everywhere you look you see evidence that Satan and the forces of Evil are wreaking havoc on the earth and even on the church. It’s Darker than it’s ever been and seems to be getting darker every day with the threat of terrorism. I know how you feel and it’s easy to get discouraged but I’ve got good news for you today. It may be Friday, and Satan may still be free to do as he pleases on the earth but I assure you that Sunday’s comin!
4. It’s Friday for some of you here today because you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Pressures from work or home may be weighing you down. Maybe it’s a financial problem or an issue with your health, or the health of someone you love. Perhaps you feel helpless and powerless to do anything about your situation. It may be bothering you so much that you have trouble sleeping at night.
If that’s how you feel this morning I’ve got good news for you, “It may be Friday, but Sunday’s comin.” Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
A class of fourth-graders decided that they wanted to put on an Easter pageant for their parents. They wanted to enact what happened to Jesus on Easter morning. So their teacher helped them by coming up with a list of all the characters that they would have to play. She then spoke to each student asking which role he or she would prefer. Of course, many of them wanted to play soldiers or angels or one of the women who came bearing spices.
But when she came to a young boy named Kevin and asked him,” Kevin who would you like to be?” Kevin responded quickly, “I would like to be the stone.” “The stone?” said the teacher, taken back by his response, “We have no lines for the stone, there’s nothing you would be able to say.” “That’s okay,” said Kevin, “I’ll be happy just to roll away at the appropriate time.”
The play was a great success. After thanking everyone the teacher asked Kevin, “Kevin, tell me why was it so important to you to be the stone. It wasn’t after all the biggest role.” “I know,” said Kevin, “but I really wanted to be the one who let Jesus out of the tomb.”
Kevin’s words are important to us this Easter morning. We have heard the proclamation that Jesus is risen. In faith, we believe that he now sits at the right hand of God in power. But the power of Jesus will not benefit us unless we are willing to let him out of the tomb.
The risen Christ can give us power. The risen Christ can give us clarification, commitment, and confidence. But first, we must invite him in. Christ is risen. But he does us no good if we keep him in the tomb. The stone that block Jesus within our hearts are hatred, jealousy, anger, selfishness etc. So, should today not be the day that we decide to roll the stone away experience the joy of Easter?
Wish you All a Happy Easter!