March 27 2016
Watch a video of this sermon here.
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. – Luke 24:1-12
You’ve heard this story before, right? It has either changed your life, or you have let it wash over you every year without having any measurable effect on you. It’s an all or nothing story. Either it makes no difference to you at all, or it makes all the difference in the world to you. Why is that? Why do some of us listen to this story year after year, but never see why it matters?
My guess is that some of us aren’t very different from those first disciples who heard the news from the women – this message doesn’t make any logical sense, and so we dismiss it as an “idle tale.” Or maybe we accept the story as fact, but it happened so long ago, we can’t imagine how it matters to us now, in our current situation. You might believe it, but it hasn’t changed the way you act or think. Your life has not yet been transformed by the story of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
I could give you a verse-by-verse explanation of the important details Luke puts into his version of the resurrection story, and we could compare and contrast Luke’s version to the other gospels. I might even be able to share some bit of knowledge from biblical scholars with you that you didn’t know before, and if you could remember it past coffee time, you could discuss it with others over Easter dinner. But it would not change your life. And Jesus died and rose again to change your life. Continue reading