We are living in uncertain times. Uncertain of when this virus will come to an end. Uncertain about when we can gather at church or together as family groups. Uncertain when will be able to visit loved ones that are in skilled nursing or the hospital. Uncertain if we or someone we know will be stricken with this virus. Uncertain about jobs and uncertain about the economic future of our country. Uncertainty fills the air.
The first Easter morning begins with fear, disappointment and uncertainty. Friday had been a very tumultuous and violent day around the city of Jerusalem. At least three men have been put to death on crosses. Saturday was the Sabbath, the day of rest observed by the people of that time and place. The world has been sitting in stunned silence because of the events that have taken place on Friday. The darkness of uncertainty seems to be a blanket upon all of creation.
Sunday morning comes. The sun is rising in the east and the first beams of light are breaking through the dark morning chill. In a graveyard, some women are walking together. Their eyes are fixed on the ground. Their heads are hanging in disappointment. Their voices are hushed in uncertainty as they are asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?”
These women were on their way to prepare a body for burial. On Friday, they had seen the dead body of Jesus and knew the body was covered with dried blood from the hair on his head to tips of his toes.
That first Easter morning was not filled with joy, but with uncertainty. Because they loved this one who had died, they wanted to wash away the dirt and blood stains from the body. And with tender hands they would smooth oil over the open wounds and the torn flesh. With spices, they would wrap the body in a linen clothe, and place the body BACK into its final resting place. They would complete this tender act if they could “Roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb.”
Early on that Sunday morning we now call Easter, the uncertainty of Friday was carried to the grave of Jesus. All these women knew for certain, is that Jesus was dead.
We can imagine ourselves as those people of that first Easter.
There are times we are discouraged and we are uncertain.
There is the stress of our jobs and the worries of our family. When we watch the news and we see world events, we wonder, are we even going to be able to survive?
But, let me tell you about God’s answer to our uncertainty? Gods answer is the Risen Christ! The Apostle Paul wrote, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.”
If we know Christ and the power of his resurrection, we will also know that we can make it through any time of uncertainty. Even when circumstances are not as we had hoped for or our expectations are not met, that is not the end.
The women who came to the graveyard, met the Risen Christ. Yes, there are many difficulties in life, we all know that. We are in that season right now, Some-times life is nearly overwhelming if not completely overwhelming. Yet the power of the resurrection of Jesus shows us that there is always new life beyond disappointment and even beyond death.
Let us be sure and let us be certain, the resurrection of Jesus is central to the Christian gospel. The Christian gospel is the proclamation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Jesus, God has come to us, and God is present in our uncertainty and has made known his love for us.
I don’t know everything that goes on in your life. But I know right now there are many people who live with the uncertainty of what is happening. We are yearning for this to be over. We long to see our families and friends. We want to get back into our church buildings.
We want everything to get back to what we thought was normal. And we just don’t know when that will happen, or are we going to have a new normal. I don’t know what our new normal will be. But I can say with certainty that by the grace and power of God which is personified in the risen Christ. Our future is in God’s hands.
Now let’s go back to that first Easter morning, in the predawn darkness as those women walked to the grave with all their uncertainty.
Those women come to the tomb thinking they would prepare the body of Jesus for a permanent burial. All they knew is that Jesus had died. They didn’t even know how they could move the stone away from the entrance of the tomb.
But they found the answer; they find an empty tomb.
Jesus is not there. He is risen.! He is Risen from the dead!
The women were the first eyewitnesses. That afternoon Jesus walked on the road to Emmaus with two other disciples. That evening Jesus suddenly appears with the disciples in a locked room.
In the book of Acts it tells us over the next forty days Jesus would be seen by hundreds and hundreds of people who would become eye witness’ of the Risen Christ. For every person, the Risen Christ turned their uncertainty into hope.
For every person reading this, Jesus can turn your uncertainty into hope.
For two thousand years the followers of Jesus have gathered on Sunday mornings to worship and learn more about him. Every Sunday morning is a celebration of the resurrection Jesus Christ. One of the songs we like to sing, not only at Easter but on any Sunday is called “Because he Lives” the first verse says, “God sent his Son, they called him Jesus, he came to love, heal and forgive; he lived and died to buy my pardon, an empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. Because he lives, I can face tomorrow, because he lives all fear is gone; because I know he holds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives.”
I think God is bringing a movement out of this uncertainty with the COVID-19 virus. We may not be going to church, but we are being the church. I invite you to become to a part of a church where Christ can touch your life in meaningful ways. Let the presence of the risen Christ be the answer to your uncertainty,
Let me finish with this quote; I don’t know who the author is, but it is very good.
“Jesus rises before us with new life. He offers us forgiveness and guidance, inspiration and salvation, asking ONLY that we put our trust in Him and walk in His way. He invites us to join Him in a new kind of life — a resurrection life — one that — moves us past our failures — one that no longer fears sickness or sin or loneliness or death. But focuses only on the abundant and everlasting life that begins and ends in God.”
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
Written and submitted by Pastor John Williams.