Our Easter Sunday morning service was taken by Ian Jones who preached from Luke chapter 24. He began by asking us how we view the Resurrection. Is it a living hope? The Resurrection points us to Jesus’ return and we will rise again. Ian then gave an overview of the chapter showing how a person is saved. In the Resurrection account there are three stages of night turning to day:
• Day break
There was darkness when the women set out (John’s gospel). This is important because not only was there a physical darkness, there was a spiritual darkness too. The women may have talked about how things had happened so quickly, who would roll the stone away so they could put spices on the body? They were not the only ones in darkness. The religious leaders did not accept Jesus as their Messiah, they thought He was an imposter. They placed guards at the tomb so Jesus’ body could not be taken by the disciples. The disciples were also in darkness. On the road to Jerusalem Jesus told them He would rise on the third day, but even when the women told them Jesus’ body was gone they would not believe them. Even when He later appeared they still not initially believe – they were in darkness. Once, we were in darkness, we lived in darkness and didn’t know the truth. Many people are still like this today; they hear the Easter story but it means nothing to them. They don’t see what we see. The world loves the darkness rather than the light. We were born in darkness but we didn’t stay that way.
Out of darkness the light began to shine – dawn came, a wonderful part of the day. As the women approached the tomb, dawn began (Matthew). It was only when dawn came that they got to the tomb and they began to see. The stone had been rolled away, there were angels, the guards were like stone. There was a lot of emotion; fear, tears being shed. The angels tried to console and encourage the women, then they began to see what had taken place.
This happened with the disciples as they sat in the upper room and the women told them what had happened. Initially they wouldn’t believe them. Peter and John then ran to the tomb. They looked inside together. Peter saw the folded linen garments. He wondered what had taken place. The two men on the road to Emmaus had great hope that Jesus was the promised Messiah. As they returned home Jesus appeared to them and unfolded the Scriptures about Himself. They were challenged.
In the upper room, when the Lord was in the midst of the disciples, He challenged them. He helped them try to understand. We have also been in that situation. We were in the darkness ourselves, the Lord came and brought light and we were challenged by what we heard and wanted to know more. Jesus came into our lives and the true light shines. We seek Him as our lord and Saviour.
There comes a time when Jesus calls us out of darkness, we see the light and we embrace Jesus. We see this with Mary Magdalene; when Jesus speaks her name she recognises Jesus for who He is, the risen Saviour. When both disciples saw the empty tomb they knew of Jesus’ Resurrection. When the two men on the road to Emmaus took Jesus home and He broke bread, their eyes were opened. They returned to the disciples in the upper room because they were so full of joy, like Mary Magdalene. They wanted to share the news. Then Jesus appeared and showed Himself and they all believed. Thomas was not there and had an unwillingness to believe. But the next time the disciples met, Thomas was there and the Lord spoke specifically to him so he might believe. We have to get to the point where we see the day light, that we recognise the Resurrected Jesus. Have you come to that point of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ? He wants us to believe in Him and come to Him. Paul says we were once in darkness, not just in darkness, but darkness itself. We have come into the light, we need to stay in the light and have fellowship with one another. Live for Him and serve Him in the light.