April 9, 2023 CND Sunrise Service

I preached again!

Specifically, I was honored to preach our special Easter Sunrise Service.

(I also happened to have a fresh cold! Sorry about the coughing.)

As usual, these are my rough notes below.

CND Sunrise Service – April 9, 2023

Let’s test this:
“He is risen!” [“He is risen, indeed!”] [Prayer]

But what about that first Easter? How did the first followers of Jesus react?

First, let’s look back at a few days earlier.
Where was Peter?
Here is the man who said he would never abandon Jesus, even if he had to die.
Yet, we know that he ran away with the others when Jesus was arrested.
Sure, in John 19 for example, he came back during the “trial” of Jesus, but he tried to stay at a distance, and then he called down curses on himself as he claimed to not know who Jesus is.
This was one of the most faithful followers of Jesus, right?

Where was John?
We know he ran away at the arrest, but John 19 also tells us that John may have stayed for the trial with the high priest. It is not clear if this was John, but the way he usually talks about himself as “another disciple” and “the disciple whom Jesus loved” implies it could have been him.
We also see he came to the crucifixion.

John 19:25-27, ESV
but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

John saw Jesus on the cross, but where was he Sunday morning? Hiding with the other disciples. All of the disciples hid in a locked room (John 20:19)
But who is not staying put, during the crucifixion and on that first Easter morning?

John 20:1, 11-18
[v. 1] Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

We know Mary Magdalene was accompanied by Mary (James and Jesus’ mom) and Salome (James and John’s mom). Arguably, these three women were truly faithful, but why would these Mary’s be there?
Jesus’ mom makes sense. She’s His mom and definitely had her life changed by His birth and life. Back to reading, in verse 11:

[vv. 11-15] But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Here is a woman weeping at the tomb of Jesus, and even doesn’t notice the hint of angels being present. She didn’t even notice Jesus as Jesus, thinking He was just the gardener near the tomb.

Here is a woman that Luke 8:2 and a few other places remind us had seven demons cast out of her. She may or may not have been a prostitute (Scripture is not clear on this), but at the very least she had seven demons cast out of her.

Here is a woman who had her life drastically changed by Jesus, making it possible for her to live a normal life after only-God-knows how long under demonic oppression and societal rejection.

Why was Mary Magdalene at the crucifixion and the first to the resurrection while the men all hid?

Because Jesus had touched her with His healing power, making her whole and clean again. The men did not. She was shunned, while they could move about freely (though some like Matthew/Levi did have minor obstacles).

Mary was changed from the inside out.

And in all of their grief, they all still missed Jesus.

Our grief can blind us to God.
Our own self-righteousness can blind us to God.
Our successes and failures can blind us to God.

It is only when God is with us and touches us with His healing and grace and we hear Him calling us by name can we see Him working.

[vv. 16-18] Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Have you let Jesus change your life?
It is His death and resurrection that has brought us change. It is nearly impossible to see it until we are open to hearing His voice.
And when we do, it is tempting to sit and cling to that initial feeling, but He has given us the charge to tell others that He is has saved us.

And He is risen.

Let go of your pain, your grief, your self-righteousness, your works by hearing the voice of our risen Lord.

He is risen!

And He has changed us with His power and healed us of our emotional and spiritual wounds by taking them on Himself.

And He has removed our fear and given us hope through His resurrection.

And He calls us by name in the midst of it all.

And He sends us to tell the world …

… that He is risen!

  1. Awesome

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