Recorded on April 4th, 2021
Rev. Alan Rogers from Bogart Christian Church kicks off Easter Sunday with our Sunrise Service.
Transcript of Sermon:
Well good morning let’s begin our conversation together with uh a scripture reading from mark chapter 16 i’m going to read verses 1 through 8. excuse me that’s mark chapter 16 verses 1 through 8. hear the word of the lord when the sabbath with over mary magdalene and mary the mother of james and salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him and very early on the first day of the week when the sun had risen they went to the tomb they had been saying to one another who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb and when they looked up they saw that the stone which was very large had already been moved as they entered the tomb they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed but he said to them do not be alarmed you are looking for jesus of nazareth who was crucified he has been raised he is not here look there is the place they laid him but go tell his disciples and peter that he is going ahead of you to galilee there you’ll see him just as he told you so they went out and fled from the tomb for terror and amazement had seized them and they said nothing to anyone for they were afraid this is the word of god for the people of god may god add his blessing to our understanding of this his holy word so we know from scripture that he is risen thank you he is risen indeed and i hope those of you at home will uh will be responsive and wake your neighbors up with that he is risen all right little phillip a little boy by the name of philip was born with down syndrome and he attended a third grade sunday school class with several eight-year-old boys and girls and as is typical of that age the children didn’t quite readily accept philip as one of their one of their classmates because he had differences you understand and and they just knew that he was different but he had a really creative sunday school teacher and and um she because of her they began to care about philip and to accept him as a group as part of the group but not 100 the sunday after easter the teacher brought some i don’t even know if they sell them this way anymore but um pantyhose and an easter egg looking thing do they still market them that way probably not but that was a big thing back then and and so the teacher brought in an empty pantyhose egg for each of the children and uh after receiving one the children were told to go outside on a lovely spring day and find some symbol for new life and put it in the egg and then return it back to the teacher back in the classroom they would share their new life symbols with each other opening the containers one by one in a surprise fashion and after running about the church property and wild confusion the students returned to the classroom and placed the containers on the table at the front of the class and surrounded by the children the teacher began to open them one by one and after each one whether it was a flower whether it was a butterfly a leaf the class would ooh and ah at these symbols of new life and then one was opened revealing nothing inside nothing and the children exclaimed that’s stupid that’s not fair somebody didn’t do their assignment and philip spoke up and said that’s mine and and uh one of the classmates said philip you don’t ever do anything right there’s nothing there he i did so do it philip replied he insisted i did do it it’s empty the tomb was empty and silence followed and from then on philip became a full member of that class he had wisdom because he is risen you’re not you’re going to get tired of doing it but we’re going to keep on anyway he died not long afterward by the way from an infection that most kids would just shake right off and uh it was a very touching funeral at the funeral the class of his eight-year-olds marched up to the altar not with flowers but with their sunday school teacher each laid upon it an empty egg they learned from philip mary magdalene and other women that were there rose from a restless and from sleepless sleepless beds and they gathered ointments that they needed to anoint the crucified body of jesus he had hurriedly been placed in a borrowed tomb without having been anointed for burial their plan was to arrive early to perform that task and their silhouettes moved toward the tomb and i’m sure they carried sorrowful hearts with them i’m sure that each step toward that beaten and tortured body of jesus wasn’t easy for them to take but it was a job that had to be done not one of them was thinking about the many times that jesus said that he would arise from the dead on the third day and no there was no mention of that hopeful and joyful moment between them their heavy hearts guided their feet towards a heavy duty through a heavy fog a fog of grief and they had planned to have the soldiers roll away the stone so that they could get inside they didn’t feel that the men could possibly deny them that simple ritual and as they approached something was wrong the stone had been rolled away the women ran the remaining yards and peered inside to see an empty tomb one would imagine that at that moment his prophecies of rising from the grave would have been forefront in their mind but that’s not what happened they weren’t mary magdalene dropped her bundles and ran toward the where they knew john and peter were hiding from the crowds and her news was simple it had nothing to do with the resurrection it had only to do with an empty tomb and a missing body there was still no recognition in her mind that as jesus had predicted that he had risen from the dead and john and peter raced from the room that they were hiding in and fear of the high priests the religious religious leaders or the scribes wasn’t in their hearts at all for peter remember impetuous feeder who peter who was often driven by his anger it was probably another indignity that the wretched religious leaders of the day would have added insult to their injury he ran hard but john was faster john made it to the opening of the tomb and looked in and peter came second but didn’t stop at the gaping hole in the rock then john followed him in they saw nobody but they did see grave clothes grave clothes that their master had been wrapped in and those clothes were neatly folded on the cold stone resting place of his body the two stared the scriptures tell us that john believed but neither understood what it truly meant we just know that john believed a miracle what we’re not sure but we simply know that he believed and after the two had left mary magdalene appeared again at the tomb and when she looked into the tomb she saw two men clothed in glorious white robes and through her sobs and tears they became clear to her and one asked her why are you crying it was the same question the man standing behind her had asked mistaking him for the gardener she begged of him to tell her where they had taken jesus’s body she was sobbing hard her tears were filling her eyes and it was still early dawn and the light was low she was after all asking the right question where have they taken his body in another second she would have that answer in the most miraculous way jesus called her name in that moment in the midst of the greatest of all sorrow and the most intense grief of her life her emotions transformed into astounding joy because after all he is risen thank you you know psalm 35 had become an experienced reality for mary magdalene it says this weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning for truly her weeping had lasted through the night and during her first trip to that tomb but at that moment all sorrow all grief all pain all fear all depression was lifted instantly and joy came in the morning you know we all know joy we all know that it isn’t also a constant state of emotion yet we have had wonderful periods of it maybe it came at your wedding maybe it came at the wedding of one of your loved ones maybe it was the birth of a child or the birth of a niece or of a nephew and for a grandparent i’m told that it’s a special joy because you know that the season of spoiling that child is about to come now donna and i have not been blessed with that with that but i know from my dear friends that it is a joy like no other for the christian it may have been the moment when jesus became your savior and you felt your sins washed away in the spring of new life maybe it was when you helped another seeker to cross from death into eternal life for me it’s every time i’ve been blessed to baptize some person mostly children it’s a joy that that all of us feel in some form or another for mary this must have been an uncontrollable joy she wanted to grab him she wanted to hold him she wants she wanted to weep at his feet but at that moment jesus had not gone on to his father so he cautioned her don’t touch me mary magdalene was filled with joy jesus later appeared to peter and the other disciples minus thomas and you can imagine the fear and remorse in peter’s heart before christ’s appearance you see we remember that he had denied him three times he had sworn he did not know jesus he had let jesus down and when he was called upon to give testimony that jesus was the messiah peter turned his back he denied that he knew him and he walked away he had compounded sorrow and remorse that was uncertain eating eating at his soul many christians understand that feeling there are times when we’ve turned our backs on our faith and on our lord we went along to get along perhaps that could even have been the reason that you started on your lenten journey this year you know how peter felt he had two fears one that jesus would not appear to him and the second was that jesus would appear to him after having denied him and suddenly jesus appeared in that room at first they thought he was a ghost luke 24 41 tells us that disbelief was due to another reason and while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement he asked them do you have anything here to eat their reaction to seeing jesus with was both joy and amazement you see he proved with the physical action of eating that he was here paul tells us in first corinthians 15 6 that jesus appeared to 500 followers he appeared to thomas he appeared to many people with one unified reaction joy joy should be our reaction today on this easter morning the disciples saw jesus and they were filled with joy yet jesus holds a special blessing for those of us who have experienced his reality his power his grace and his love in john 20 29 it says blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed the message of the resurrection is really a simple one jesus came he died he was buried and then he rose from the dead you’re either one who believes with seeing him or one who does not as jesus said blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed i believe with all of my heart and i know that you do too but i ask do you believe do you have questions has this lenten season followed by today this easter morning brought you to the point where you need to talk to your pastor call alyssa call ted call me call your pastor we’d like nothing more than to help you work through whatever it is you’re wrestling with today the lord has risen he is risen indeed amen let’s pray oh risen lord we give you thanks for your presence with us not just on this easter morning but every step of every day that we take so long ago those that first saw you having risen from the dead they had questions but they also had joy lord may we be immersed in the joy of knowing that life is new because of you may we share that joy with all that we meet we may we be your face your hands your feet today and in every day to follow we ask this in the name of christ, Amen.