Sunday, March 27, 2016

He Lives!

Many guests and a lively spirit of celebration filled the sanctuary this morning as our church family assembled for worship. Brad welcomed us with a "Good morning! I'm grateful you're here to worship with us today." He went on to share that we would be looking at the passage in Luke 24 about the encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

Darlene ushered us into worship with an especially rousing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today!" This was followed by a having the congregation join in singing a variety of Easter hymns that have been inspired by this great day. The offering was taken with an accompaniment of Jesus Paid It All.

Kelly Smith read from Luke's account of the resurrection. Brad and Darlene's duet about the Lord's love poured out from the cross.

After a time of prayer, the women's choir came forward to sing the classic hymn "He Lives!" He is risen indeed.

He Lives!

Today is a day about life and death. Many of us grew up saying the prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and if I die before I wake..." Pretty serious little prayer that we learned, and taught our kids.

At the end of Looney Toons cartoons, there was a character who said, "That's all, folks." But is it? Is death really the end?

Brad shared the story of Lazarus from the book of John. When Jesus learns that His friend is dying, He doesn't drop everything and go. He waits two days before hitting the road. Jesus does finally return, however, even though religious leaders tried to stone Him previously.

When Jesus finally arrived, Lazarus was already dead four days. Martha responds, "If only You had been here...."

Jesus says Lazarus will rise again. Martha says she believes it that he will rise someday. But Jesus goes further and says, "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?”

Do you believe this? That is a serious question. Martha says she does, but is she saying it because she believes or because this is supposedly the right answer.

There is a great tension in this scene, and ultimately Jesus wept.

He so wants to comfort them, and He weeps for this troubled world as well.

Jesus goes to where Lazarus lies in the tomb and instructs, "Roll away the stone."

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

Lazarus indeed came forth. This incident made such an impact that the religious leaders planned to kill Lazarus again because many people were coming to believe in Jesus because of this.

"Friends, death is not the end. It's just a change of address."

Jesus is still asking people, "Do you trust Me?"

Brad shared a story about two men in an art museum. One of these was very good at chess. They came upon a painting of a chess match, with two players, one of whom looks like Satan. The chess player studies it and realizes that the artist made a mistake, because the king still had one more move.

Many examples were then shared where it appeared the end was at hand, but the King still had one more move. Those who say "it's over" and "that's all, folks" don't see the way it really is. Well, the King still has one more move.

Whatever you face, there is hope. This is God's promise.

No comments: