Why do you look for the living among the dead?
Luke 24:1-12 Resurrection Day March 31, 2013
I am glad that there were no churches on resurrection day. The two men in dazzling clothes might have been thinking of a church or two!
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” That is a question that could be asked of the United Methodist Church. We have lost over 3 million members since 1968. This is not something in which to have pride! But thankfully, there are churches in the UMC that are alive. I hope that as you are with us today, that you realize that you are among the living, and not the dead!
You see, we have encountered the words of Jesus Christ. He is not in the tomb. And like the women at the tomb on that first Resurrection morning, we remember what Jesus said that he would rise again the third day.
As we remember and live Jesus’ words we are alive. It is by forgetting what Jesus told while he was still in Galilee that we are among the dead. Is not that what the women experienced at the tomb that first resurrection morning?
- They did not find the body (24:1-9)
- Sunday was the 1st day of the week
– We hear Zechariah say, “Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit us, to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death.” (1:78-79)
- Ready to anoint him – couldn’t on Friday afternoon – not enough time before the Sabbath started
- The stone closing the tomb was moved!
- They did not find the body (of the Lord Jesus)
- Two men in dazzling clothes stood with the women!
- The women go from being perplexed to being terrified
- They are not given a proclamation of peace
- He is not here, but has risen (or been raised)
- Remember what he told you in Galilee – a remembering that involves the understanding of what was remembered
- Luke 9:22 – “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
- Luke 9:44-45 – “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.”
- Luke 17:25 – “But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.”
- Luke 18:31-34 – “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.”
– Prophets – Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, 31
- The women left the tomb & told the disciples – “all”
- What an experience that the women had at the tomb! They go to see two men in dazzling clothes. More importantly, they got to remember what Jesus had told them! Jesus, the Son of Man, the one who identified with us, was turned over to humans, and he died. Yet, now he is alive! He has risen! That can get you excited! What, you are not excited about Jesus being raised from the dead? Well, you are not the first!
- The disciples did not believe them (24:10-12)
- Three named women & other women
- The men did not believe them – though it was an idle tale (it was after all women who were talking!) (And we don’t actually listen to each other.)
- Peter rand to the tomb & went home amazed
– Others went as well – 24:24 – didn’t see him
- We probably would not know what to expect if we went to a tomb that was supposed to have a body, but did not have a body. We may even be amazed. Peter did not see Jesus. Later on we know that the disciples did see Jesus. And I will venture to say that as you look around you today, there are people here who have seen Jesus in their lifetime. Yes, they have seen Jesus work in their lives. They have seen Jesus help them. They have remembered what Jesus said. They are alive now because of what Jesus has done for them in this life.
Jesus was raised from the dead. Yes, that means he died. But he is not dead now. Since he is not dead, when we remember his words about his death, then we too can believe that he is alive. We need not live in the shadow of death. Jesus does not and neither do we need to live in the shadow of death.
Why do you look for the living among the dead? You won’t find the dead here either. We know who Jesus Christ is. We have met him in our lives. And we are alive because Jesus died and rose again. I hope you meet Jesus while you are with us. It sure would be good to know that you can live, just as Jesus is alive.