Did you Hear the News?

2021-04-04 – Year B – Easter Sunday – The Rev. Canon Christopher Klukas

Vigil: Genesis 1:1-2:3; Exodus 14:10-15:1; The Song of Moses; Ezekiel 36:24-28;
Zephaniah 3:12-30; Psalm 98; Romans 6:3-11; Matthew 28:1-10

Principle Service: Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 118:14-17, 22-24; Colossians 3:1-4; Mark 16:1-8

Don’t Believe Everything your Hear on the News

  • This just in: witnesses have reported that Jesus of Nazareth, a rebel Jewish leader who was put to death by crucifixion last Friday for claiming to be the “King of the Jews,” has been seen walking around, talking, and even eating broiled fish. We will continue to provide coverage as this breaking story unfolds. 
  • The Resurrection of Jesus was shocking, world changing news.
    • It was so unexpected that even his disciples struggled to believe it!
    • As with most big news, some were excited and others were definitely not!
  • Three approaches when a breaking story puts you in a bad light
    • 1) cover it up – Matthew 28:11-15
    • 2) Wait it out – Gamaliel – Acts 5:35–39
    • 3) Admit your wrongdoing, apologize and deal with the consequences
      • There are three major consequences of the Resurrection

Authentication of the Victory over Sin

  • This just in: A Galilean fisherman named Peter who closely associated with Jesus of Nazareth has revealed that he has spoken with the Risen Jesus. He also shared this exclusive account of the significance of this purported resurrection: “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:30–32, ESV)
  • How do we know that Jesus’ death is unique?
    • There are lots of people who have died in the history of the world. There are even lots of people who died through crucifixion. 
    • The Resurrection is the proof that Jesus’ blood that was shed on the cross has actually washed away the sins of those who put their trust in him.
  • Our guilt and shame are now behind us.
    • Zephaniah 3:17-18 – “Rejoice over you with loud singing”
    • Hear the tenderness in those words. You are not a reject, or a loser, or a deadbeat. Rather, you are a beloved child of God.

Death is Nothing to Fear

  • This just in: Peter and another follower of Jesus of Nazareth named John have been arrested by the priests and the captain of the temple as well as a group of people who call themselves “Sadducees.” They have been charged with “teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.” Eyewitnesses say that Peter and John healed a lame man before their arrest and said he had been given “perfect health” through faith in the Name of Jesus. Their followers now number more than 5,000.
    (Acts 3:6-8, 11-16, 4:1-4)
  • Greater awareness of mortality this year, especially among younger generations who are usually too busy living life to be concerned about death.
    • Most of us know someone who either died or came close to death this year because of COVID-19.
    • How do you feel about death?
    • Our culture paints death in one of two ways:
      • As something scary like we see at halloween and in horror films and therefore it is to be avoided at all costs. 
      • As a great nothingness when we cease to exist.
  • Jesus’ Resurrection demonstrates that Jesus has power even over death itself.
    • Jesus promised many times that death would not be the end of those who believe. John 11:25-26 – “I am the resurrection and the life…”
    • We also know from the scriptures that is not to be feared.
      • John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many rooms…”
      • Revelation 21:3-4 – no more death, sorry, pain, crying
    • Many are getting excited about a vaccine to save them from COVID-19, through the Resurrection Jesus promised to save us from death itself!

A Fresh Start

  • This just in: we are hearing reports that a Pharisee named Saul, well known for his attempts to arrest followers of Jesus and bring them to justice, now claims to be a follower of Jesus. He claims that the Risen Jesus met him while he was on the Road to Damascus and blinded him with light. He is reported to have said “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8, ESV)
  • Witness protection program
  • As Christians, we don’t have to run away from our past, but we do have the great opportunity to leave it behind.
  • It is the sin and wrongdoing in our lives that has been death to us. The Resurrected Jesus took our guilt and shame away from us, and he fills us with the Holy Spirit to transform us into new people, just like the Apostle Paul who was once named Saul.
  • Colossians 3:1-4 – “You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Which will you choose?

  • Cover it up – There are plenty of people over the years who have chosen to believe the lies spun by the High Priests or to innovate new ones.
  • Wait it out – It has been more than 2000 years and the kingdom of God is still expanding in response to the news of the Resurrection.
  • Admit your wrongdoing, apologize and deal with the consequences
    • Accepting the truth of the Resurrection and all of the blessings which go with it. Jesus was seen, alive, by more than 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:6), and he had transformed countless lives down throughout the ages, including my own.
  • I think the third option is the best. It is the one that I have chosen. You will have to choose for yourself.
  • Revelation 3:20 – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”

Almighty Father, I confess that I have sinned against you in my thoughts, words, and actions (especially __________). I am truly sorry and humbly repent. Thank you for forgiving my sins through the death of your Son, Jesus. I turn to you and give you my life. Fill and strengthen me with your Holy Spirit to love you, to follow Jesus as my Lord in the fellowshipof his Church, and to become more like him each day. Amen. (ACNA Catechism, 20-21)

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