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” April 20, 2014
Colossians 3:1-4 John 20:1-18 A !s 10:34-43
Some years ago, when I worked in Cleveland, all of our company employees went through a new quality training program in which one of the quality steps was to ask the question, “ hat!s in it for me"# $any of us thought that the question was a little odd simply %ecause in many cases, the things that we did had nothing in them for us, %ut were done simply %ecause it was company policy or %ecause it %enefitted another department, or more hopefully, that it might actually %enefit our customers& 'ut still, when we make the effort to do something, it is often useful to ask ourselves, “So what"# hat is the point of doing the thing that we!re doing" hy do we pay ta(es" hat!s the point" )nd most of us can answer that& Either it!s %ecause we feel that as good citi*ens we should contri%ute our fair share, or %ecause we really don!t want to go to +ail, or something in %etween& hy is it that we mow our grass twice a week" It might %e %ecause we en+oy working out of doors and %ecause we like for our property to look orderly and well maintained& ,n the other hand, if the only reason that we can think of is %ecause of what the neigh%ors might think of us, then we might want to ask why we care so much what the neigh%ors think of us& )s I write each week!s Sunday message, I often think of this& In seminary we had one professor who taught that at the end of each sermon we should ask ourselves, “So what"# hat is the point of this message" hat do I e(pect the congregation to do after they have heard it" )nd while I don!t always offer a specific “call to action# at the end of each message, I often ask myself if there is a point to what I am preaching& In our scripture message this morning we will hear a sermon a%out -esus that was preached %y the )postle .eter& .eter understood this principle very well and he was clear a%out the “so what"# .eter knew what he meant and he knew what he e(pected his listeners to do a%out it& 'ut %efore we get to .eter!s sermon, we should remem%er why we!re all here this morning& e hear the story in John 20:1-18" Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, !hey have taken the "ord out of the tomb, and we don#t know where they have put him$%
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. ' (oth were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. ) *e bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. + !hen Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. *e saw the strips of linen lying there, , as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus# head. !he cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. - .inally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. *e saw and believed. / 0!hey still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.1 23 !hen the disciples went back to where they were staying.
4ow Mary stood outside the tomb crying. 5s she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 22 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus# body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
!hey asked her, 6oman, why are you crying7%
!hey have taken my "ord away,% she said, and 8 don#t know where they have put him.% 2' 5t this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not reali9e that it was Jesus.
*e asked her, 6oman, why are you crying7 6ho is it you are looking for7%
!hinking he was the gardener, she said, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and 8 will get him.%
Jesus said to her, Mary.%
She turned toward him and cried out in 5ramaic, :abboni$% 0which means !eacher%1.
Jesus said, ;o not hold on to me, for 8 have not yet ascended to the .ather. <o instead to my brothers and tell them, =8 am ascending to my .ather and your .ather, to my <od and your <od.#%
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news> 8 have seen the "ord$% 5nd she told them that he had said these things to her. 0hat!s the Easter story that we all know& 0hat, along with the stories of 1oly eek that we have %een telling for the last month or so, is the great story of redemption and -esus! defeat of sin and death& 0hese are the stories that we have all heard and these are the events that .eter, the disciples, and many in -erusalem had lived through& So many people had witnessed these events during the .assover cele%ration that the news spread all across Israel and -udea and %eyond& )nd so later, as .eter is called to preach in -oppa, which is on the $editerranean Sea near what is now 0el )viv, he says this2 #A !s 10:34-43$
!hen Peter began to speak> 8 now reali9e how true it is that <od does not show favoritism &) but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. &+ ?ou know the message <od sent to the people of 8srael, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus @hrist, who is "ord of all. &, ?ou know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in <alilee after the baptism that John preachedA &- how <od anointed Jesus of 4a9areth with the *oly Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because <od was with him.
6e are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. !hey killed him by hanging him on a cross, '3 but <od raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. '2 *e was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom <od had already chosenAby us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. '2 *e commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom <od appointed as Budge of the living and the dead. '& 5ll the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.% .eter says, “. &+ You know the message <od sent to the people of 8srael, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus @hrist, who is "ord of all. &, You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in <alilee after the baptism that John preachedA &- how <od anointed Jesus of 4a9areth with the *oly Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because <od was with him.% .eter %egins his message %y reminding his listeners, those who lived nearly fifty miles (and pro%a%ly four days travel) from -erusalem, that they all knew the story& 0hey knew what the prophets had said a%out the $essiah, they knew what -esus had done and the miracles that he had performed& )nd then .eter reminds them of the resurrection story and reminds them that he and others who were there, were witnesses that that part of the story as well& 3
'ut then, without hesitation, .eter answers the “So what"# question& )fter reminding everyone that they, like us, know the stories, he then says that -esus “commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom <od appointed as Budge of the living and the dead.% 'ecause, “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.% 4ikewise, .aul also cuts right to the chase in Colossians 3:1-4, Since, then, you have been raised with @hrist, set your hearts on things above, where @hrist is, seated at the right hand of <od. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. & .or you died, and your life is now hidden with @hrist in <od. ' 6hen @hrist, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 'ecause you have %een raised with Christ, set your hearts on things a%ove& Set your minds on things a%ove and not on earthly things& 'ecause you have %een given this ama*ing gift of eternal life, stop wasting your time trying to accumulate earthly stuff& Stop trying to collect the adoration and admiration of other people, stop trying to collect more money, more cars, %igger houses and %etter toys& 5ocus your life on things that will last forever and not things that you will leave %ehind& ) platinum 6ole( is of no value to a corpse in a casket& Instead of investing in things that you will leave to your heirs, .aul reminds us to invest in things that will +oin us in heaven, and there is only on% !hin& that will do that& .eople& You 'now the message& You 'now what happened& You 'now the stories& 'ut so what" 'ecause we know, -esus has commanded us to preach and to testify& Christ has commanded us to tell others the good news so that they can +oin us in eternity& 7ou know& So" 8o, and tell the world&
7ou have %een reading a message presented at 0rinity :nited $ethodist Church on the date noted at the top of the first page& 6ev& -ohn .artridge is the pastor at 0rinity of .erry heights in $assillon, ,hio& ;uplication of this message is a part of our $edia ministry, if you have received a %lessing in this way, we would love to hear from you& 4etters and donations in support of the $edia ministry or any of our other pro+ects may %e sent to 0rinity :nited $ethodist Church, 9<=< 4incoln ay E&, $assillon, ,hio >>?>?& 0hese messages are availa%le to any interested persons regardless of mem%ership& 7ou may su%scri%e to these messages, in print or electronic formats, %y writing to the address noted, or %y contacting us at su%scri%e@trinityperryheights&org& If you have questions, you can ask them in our discussion forum on 5ace%ook (search for .astor -ohn ,nline)& 0hese messages can also %e found online at http2AAwww&scri%d&comA.astor -ohn .artridge& )ll Scripture references are from the Bew International Cersion unless otherwise noted&
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