Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sermon “Where Have You Put Jesus?” John 20:1-18

Where to put the dead body? Not a question we are used to asking very often, at least not most of us.
The disciples had given the body of Jesus a hasty burial. They had done what they could with the resources they had in a great hurry before the Sabbath started at sundown on Friday.

A rushed funeral is a very sad occasion. We need some time to process someone’s death.
This was made all the more difficult for the followers of Jesus because they believed he would be the deliverer.
    They expected some incredible visible victory
    Some expected that he would conquer the Romans
    Some expected that he would show himself to be immortal
What do people need to do? They often need to spend some time crying. And it’s fine.

After the sabbath - the sabbath ended at sundown on Saturday.
    The women could then buy what they needed to do a proper job of preparing the burial, not the hasty job done by the men on Friday afternoon
    They prepared themselves and came at dawn Sunday.
      Very sorrowful, genuinely.

Was the tomb known to them? Certainly.
    Observed by disciples
      Not foreign territory
      Marked by the political leaders who had posted a guard
      Fresh evidence of activity

Where is Jesus? What have you done with him?
  The presence of the savior is the most important feature of Christian belief.
    Without the risen Lord our hope is in vain.
    But where do the women find Jesus? Not among the dead, but among the living.
    The Christian faith is a trust in the living God.

Where is Jesus then?
    Remember Easter as a season.
    Jesus appears to disciples when they are in different places.
          walking away in discouragement
          hiding in an upper room
          assembled here and there
          finally, forty days later, on a mountaintop, he gives his disciples a charge and ascends
    Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven
          This is a metaphor for Jesus taking up his divine power and omnipresence.
            He is here for us, wherever we are, but particularly when we are assembled in his name.
            He is able to be very truly, even bodily and substantially present for us in communion.
            He is the one who has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

So where do you find Jesus? Or do we overlook him and leave him behind as a non-essential?
    Jesus as the heart and center of Scripture
    Jesus as the creator and sustainer of the universe
    Jesus as the one in whom all things hold together
    Jesus as the savior of the world and particularly of those who believe
    Jesus as the one in whom we live and move and have our being
    Jesus as our only hope in this life and in eternity
    Jesus here to deliver into our hands and our mouths his true body and blood, bringing forgiveness

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