Rearranged by the Resurrection
“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” — John 20:18
Welcome to Bray Park Community Church on this Easter Sunday! Whether you are part of the church family, whether you’ve been invited by someone, whether you’re just visiting, or however else you ended up with us today, we’re so glad to have you and to be together as we celebrate, give thanks for, and rejoice in the world-changing, calendar-splitting, death-defeating, hope-giving, and life-rearranging resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Today we will explore the historical record of Jesus’ resurrection from the Gospel of John—an eyewitness account of the empty tomb and what happened next as the risen Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and to the disciples.
Whatever you believe about Jesus, about life, about death, and the ever-after, it is obvious that this Jewish carpenter and teacher has indelibly changed the world. It might just be dumb luck, it might be devious manipulation on the part of those who came after him, or it might just be that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus sin really has been paid for, death really has been defeated, and restored relationship with God really is on offer for all those who will place their trust in Jesus. In the words of the Apostle Peter, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, God “…has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
This is why the resurrection really is a world-changing, calendar-splitting, death-defeating, hope-giving, life-rearranging event—and not just for everyone else, but for you, too. In his book, ‘Raised Forever: Jesus’ Resurrection and Ours’, Western Australian pastor Rory Shiner puts it this way: “…to receive the testimony that Jesus was raised from the dead would involve you, and would involve changes in you. It’s not the sort of knowledge that can easily be accommodated into existing structures. It’s an intrusive sort of guest, one that starts rearranging the furniture—and eventually (if you’re not careful) you’ll wake up one day and find it doing major structural work on the whole house.”
Indeed, if true, the resurrection of Jesus changes everything for us and about us—our past is paid for, our present filled with purpose, and our future filled with hope. And so, the question is simply this: Is it true? And if so, what is your response? Jesus made this claim and posed this question during his time on earth: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
You might very well have further questions, and if so, let me invite you to come back tonight at 6pm as we watch ‘The Case for Christ’, a movie about one man’s journey from atheism to faith in Jesus. Also, next Sunday (9am & 6pm) we kick-off a series of talks from the Gospel of John called ‘Meeting Jesus’. We will be exploring the way Jesus interacted with all different kinds of people—a confused minister, a condemned woman, a doubtful disciple—and what he had to say to them, and through them what he has to say to us. Please join us.
My prayer for all of us this Easter is that we might come to know the rearranging power of the resurrection; a power that undoes death, empties the grave, and makes all things new, for our good and the glory of God.
He is risen; He is risen, indeed!