Dear San Lo Community, an Easter update for April 16, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from Matthew 28:1-10, “The Miraculous God.” There is a man in Oakland making miracles. His influence impacts people all over the world. Yes, it’s Steph Curry, of the Golden State Warriors. It’s amazing how Steph makes miracle shots on the basketball court. There is another man who made miracles for a living, and He lived over 2000 years ago. He was born into humble beginnings and crowds surrounded Him as He performed miracle after miracle. Yet in a finale of all miracles, He rose from the dead. His name is Jesus Christ. His resurrection stands as the pinnacle of His life and ministry. The resurrection of Jesus is the final proof and evidence that He was not just an ordinary man. It begs and pleads with us to see that He was God-incarnate. Jesus Christ was and is the miraculous God, the Creator, Savior, and Master of the Universe and He changes everything for those who follow Him. The resurrection invites us to take a deeper look into Jesus Christ. How does the miracle of the resurrection change everything?
Miracle #1 - The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a supernatural perspective. (vv.1-4) Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. The women came to see the tomb. They expect the tomb to be closed and locked down under Roman guard. Their perspective on life is bleak and they are living in a huge cloud of sadness, sorrow, and darkness because their beloved leader, Jesus, is dead. He has just been brutally crucified and has been put in the tomb for three days already. All hope has been lost! Sadness overwhelms their heart and sorrow weights heavy upon their souls. Everything changes (v.2) when there is a great earthquake. This supernatural event begs us to wake up to what God has done. Then God sends the angel of the Lord from Heaven, and he rolls back the stone and he sits on it. This action is a seat of triumph for God. God has done the miraculous. The angel in perfect and pure light reminds us that the light of the world is Jesus, who came into a dark world with His birth, and He leaves the earth shining His light out of a dark world. The light is so bright that the mightiest and fiercest Roman guards tremble like dead men because they had seen a miracle of God. The most important thing to remember is that the removal of the stone wasn’t meant to let Jesus out. No! He was already gone. As God, Jesus didn’t need the stone removed in order to rise from the dead. The angel removed the stone so the women might be able to look in and to see the miraculous deed God had done. We too, can behold the tomb is empty. We too, can gain a life changing and supernatural perspective of God and see that Jesus Christ is truly God. The empty tomb demands us to not stand on the sidelines but make a decision about Jesus Christ and ultimately to follow Him. The miracle of the resurrection gives us a new perspective and to see that the case for Christ is rock solid, He is real and He is worthy to live for.
Miracle #2 - The resurrection of Jesus Christ conquers the power of death. (vv.5-7) 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. See, I have told you.” The angel calms the women down and explains to them that Jesus who was crucified, is not here. The angel emphasizes something extremely significant about Jesus, “The One who was crucified.” It causes us to look back to Good Friday and compels us to never forget the cross and to remember Jesus was just brutally mocked, scourged, crucified and buried in the tomb. There is power in His death, because it overcomes our sin. At the cross, Jesus erased our sin - past, present, and future - by putting it upon Himself and we don’t have to pay God back for any of it. It is done and completed, a finished work. Just as the cross cancels the power of our sin, the resurrection cancels the power of death. In verses 6-7, the angel emphasizes this point twice by saying “for He has risen,” just as Christ prophesied to you. Then, the angel commissions them to go quickly and tell others, “Christ has risen.” The miracle of the resurrection is the ultimate proof of Jesus’ miracles, life, and ministry. Without the resurrection, there is no faith, there is no Christianity, and there is no hope, no happy ever after, eternal life in Christ. Jesus has overcome sin, the grave, and death. He has conquered what no man ever has or will. He has defeated for all time the single most terrifying thing that faces us all, death itself. Death is the sad news of life, but the good news of the gospel is that it doesn’t have to be. The miracle of the resurrection affords you, me, and us all the opportunity to live forever. This is the hope and the good news of the gospel. The fact that Jesus overcame death frees us from death’s grip both right now and forevermore. He offers us eternal life.
Miracle #3 - The resurrection offers us a new purpose in life. The resurrection sets us on a new course in life away from ourselves toward our God. The resurrection provides us with a new promise of hope. (vv.8-10) 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” The women came to the tomb in sorrow and grief just having seen Christ beaten, crucified, and laid in a tomb. Now, they leave that very tomb in great awe, wonder, and delight. They picked up their long gowns and ran like the wind to the disciples. But before they even get there, Jesus meets and greets them. They behold Jesus in His resurrected form, glorious and perfect. All they can do is fall at his feet, and worship Him on the spot. Their purpose in life becomes one of worship. Jesus is the person they long to praise, love, and honor in life. Jesus becomes their overwhelming passion in life. Jesus reassures them, “Don't be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee and there they will see me.” Jesus furthers their purpose in life from joy and worship to mission. He commissions them to be His messengers for His sake. They are given the greatest purpose statement in life to live for Him and tell more and more people about Him. The miracle of Jesus’ resurrection goes far beyond a perspective of God and the power of God, because it brings to us the purpose of God. Heaven comes to earth once again in a radical way as God breathes life into our present, to bring the purposes of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others into our very lives. Because Jesus lives, we have an impelling reason to live…God’s greatest mission purpose of all.
This Easter passage helps us to answer the BIG questions in life. Like what is the meaning of life? Why am I here on this earth? What is my reason for living? Where do you find meaning in life? Where do you find your significance and identity? Success. Achievement. Money. Marriage. Family. Children. Career. All those things are good. There is nothing wrong about them in themselves…but they won’t satisfy you. They can’t and will not make you complete in life.
Maybe you came here today, seeking that something or someone. His name is Jesus Christ. His resurrection opens our eyes to see that He is the miraculous God who still does miracles and offers us the miracle of salvation and purpose in Jesus. He can do the same for you too if you are willing to follow Him, if you are willing to surrender your heart and mind to Christ, if you are willing to trust in Him.
For those who are already believers in Jesus Christ, the resurrection stands to give us confidence, hope, and security in a fallen world to go forth with greater purpose to live for Him. We are commissioned with the greatest mission of all time to bring people the life changing message of Jesus. So this Easter, let us behold and hold onto the greatest Person in the world, our miraculous God, Jesus Christ, that we might enjoy Him now and forever.
Pastor Eric Yata
Miraculous Easter blessings to you,
Stan, for SLZJCC