Focus: John 20:10-23
Are you open to change? Easter is meant to change lives. The first thing that you notice is that Jesus didn’t march into the temple and confront the religious leaders or say “got ya!”. They would not have listened any more than Ebenezer Scrooge. Jesus revealed himself after his resurrection only to believers. He revealed himself only to those who were ready to change and to accept the gracious gifts that He had to give on that first Easter. He would not waste his time or His gifts on the hard of heart. The question is whether you are open to change. If you are unsure about who Jesus is, are you ready to listen to his gifts to you? If you are already a believer, are you willing to move to a new level in your relationship with Him? The Easter story features four life-changing statements from Jesus for you and me.
A. Why are you crying? v. 15 Under normal circumstances, this would have been a silly question. Mary is standing at the tomb of a loved one, and his body is gone. Jesus knew what His resurrection meant. “Open your eyes Mary and see me so that you can leap for joy.” Many have not let that simple message hit home. Joy is right before them, but they are confused and not willing to accept it or have never really thought about the meaning of the empty tomb.
B. Go to my brothers v. 17 In the past, Jesus had called the twelve disciples servants or friends. Now He calls them brothers because they share in His resurrection power and glory. You are brothers and sisters in Christ. You call God Father every time you pray the Lord’s Prayer. Easter has elevated you just as it did the disciples.
C. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you v.21 Jesus gave them Shalom and called them to go and spread His peace to the world. The message of Easter would take away the guilt of the burdened and bring hope to those who were lost and confused about the future. Easter is your call to spread this message as well. So fan out and tell others what Jesus has done. Jesus is here, and He will help.
D. Receive the Holy Spirit v. 22 How will we bring God’s peace to others? The disciples and everyone who heard the Easter news was empowered with the Spirit to get the message out. They would speak the gospel message and the Spirit would change the hearts of many who heard the message. Now you receive the Spirit. He empowers you by giving you the words to say to your friends and family.
What makes Easter Different? There were at least five resurrection appearances of Jesus on the first Easter. Everyone was to a believer so that their life could be transformed and their sorrow turned to joy. Easter was not a day of doctrines, but a day where people could touch the wounds in his hands and feel the love in His voice. It was a day in which Jesus transformed the disciples who were scared and discouraged into men and women who were excited and who never wanted to let go of the salvation and love of Jesus the rest of their lives. They became bold and even willing to die rather than lose Jesus from their lives. Reach out and touch Jesus today. Touch his wounded hands as the disciples did and believe. Open your heart so that you might be changed.