Waynedale United Methodist Church
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!

April 5, 2015 Sermon (Easter)

“Tears and Triumph”
John 20:1 – 18

Ted Jansen  April 5, 2015  Waynedale UMC

Resurrection Sunday

1.)        Tears and Triumph.   I want us to consider those two words.   I want to create a spectrum with each word on separate sides.  I want you to think about tears and triumphs and the experiences in between those words.  (Put up posters on either side of the front to give a visual picture.  Tears by podium and Triumph by piano.)  I want you to think about your life experiences and how tears and triumph are represented. 

            Tears can symbolize the sadness, the loss, the hurt, the pain, the tough times in life.   Triumph can symbolize the joy, the success, the happiness, the achievements, the good times, the moments when we experience victory.  I want you to speak or act in a way that demonstrates those words.  First let’s do tears, then triumph.    

            When you are in between these two perspectives there is a variation of these emotions in degree.  The middle of the spectrum would be a place with few tears and not a place of big triumph. 


2.)        Your age and stage in life can help define those words for you.  Tears are defined in different experiences. 

If you are a little child tears can come when you are asked to share a toy with someone that you don’t want to.   You cry because you don’t want to share.  You cry if you are a teenager and your boyfriend or girlfriend tells you they are breaking up with you.  You cry if you are an adult when the doctor tells your wife that she has cancer.  Tears come to us in different times in different experiences in different moments.  How do we define moments with tears?     

            Triumph is defined in different ways based on our age and stage as well.  It is all a matter of perspective.      

            I remember when I was coaching Kevin’s Kindergarten soccer team.   I would define triumph as a victory, that we had scored more goals than the other team.   I remember one game when Kevin taught me about how he was measuring victory, what triumph meant to him.   He exclaimed after the game, a game in which we lost, that “he had kicked the ball six times!”  It was triumph to kick the ball.  

            A teenager might define victory as the first day of getting your driver’s license or getting your first job or a good grade on a test.  An adult might define triumph as doing well at work, or taking a nice vacation.     

            How do we define our triumph, how do we define “success?”   


3.)        As we consider tears and triumph and the life experiences we have consider where are you today on this continuum?  Are you leaning toward having more tears in your life or having more triumph in your life? 

            The good news that we celebrate today is that wherever you are God is right there with you.  He is alive to you. 

We might think that if we are really living as God would desire that we would be on the triumphant side all of the time.  Life is always great and wonderful 100% of the time.  I want to propose to you that on this Resurrection day the promise of the good news is not that we can have triumph all the time but because He is alive He is with us wherever we are in life.  The Lord is with our loved ones and friends as well in their life.  Jesus Christ is present with every person.        


4.)        As we read from John’s Gospel both tears and triumph are experienced when Jesus was raised from the dead.    

            We read John 20:11 which says, “Mary stood outside the tomb crying.  As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb.”  Mary went to the tomb early Sunday morning.  She was looking for Jesus.   She is filled with grief.  Tears have been flowing freely from her broken heart. 

            As Mary is weeping two angels speak to her as we read verse 13.  “They asked her, woman, why are you crying?”         

            She wants to know where Jesus’ body is.  She speaks to the angel and then another person, who is unknown to her, speaks.  This unknown person, Jesus, offers these words, “Woman, why are you crying?  Who is it you are looking for?”   (John 20:15)

            Mary is beginning this day of Resurrection with tears with crying.  She was looking for Jesus’ body.   She was not expecting that the Lord would be alive.  She is on the tears side of life.     


5.)        Tears are mentioned in the Bible on several occasions.  The shortest verse in the Bible mentions tears.  “Jesus wept,” is from John 11:35.  Jesus wept when He heard that His friend Lazarus had died.  Jesus was not exempt from pain and hurt.   He knows what it means to lose someone close.  Jesus knew what it meant to hurt, to care, to cry.        

            We read about tears in the book of Revelation.  In Revelation 7:17 we read, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”   This tell us that God will not prevent tears but wipe them from our eyes.  

            In Revelation 21:3, 4 we read, “God himself will be with them and be their God.   He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”

            The gift of God’s reign at the end of times is that God is with us, and that God will wipe away our tears and wipe out pain, death, and crying. 


6.)        The angels knew that Resurrection had occurred, that triumph was the message for this day.  Christ was raised from the dead.  That is why they asked Mary, why are you crying?  They wanted Mary to see something new, something amazing, something that would change the world.   Jesus is not in the tomb.   Jesus is alive.   God triumphed over death and brought Jesus to life again.      

            The Lord is at work moving us closer to the triumph side of life.  God has been at work in your life, even amidst your tears, to let you see His victory and joy.  I believe that.  You might be able to see it, or you might not be able to see how God is working in your life.  God’s love will not leave you where you are, God is working to bring triumph to your heart.       


7.)        An elderly woman had just returned to her home from an evening worship service and was startled to find an intruder in her house.  

            Catching the man in the act of burglarizing her home, she yelled, "STOP! Acts 2:38!" (Which says, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven.")

            As the burglar stopped dead in his tracks, the woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

            Shortly, several officers arrived and took the man into custody.  As he was placing the handcuffs on the burglar, one of the officers asked, "Why did you just stand there? All the lady did was mention a scripture verse."

            "Scripture?" replied the burglar."  She said she had an axe and two 38's!"


8.)        It is important to name your faith, wherever you are between tears and triumph.  Say with confidence, “I praise the Risen Lord, who was crucified but now is alive!” 

            Jesus is alive and I can praise His name.  Someone or something might be trying to move you closer to tears and brokenness.  You might be far away from the experience of Triumph but you need to speak “Jesus, the Risen One is with me!”  Have faith right where you are!      


9.)        A song that has helped me in my walk with Christ amidst my triumph and my tears has been, “Blessed be the Name,” by Matt Redman.  It speaks of joy and hardship.  Christ is alive and I can bless the Lord regardless of what is happening in my life.  Wherever I am between tears and triumph, I can bless God.  That is a gift Christ gives us on Resurrection day.    

            I want you to hear the song and watch the video.   I want to speak to a heart that is filled with more tears than triumph. I want you to bless the name of the Lord.  As you express your praise you will find hope, healing and joy amidst your tears.   (“Blessed be the Name” You Tube video by GodonlyWorship)


10.)      There was a woman in a park who was sitting on a bench crying.   A policeman comes to her and wants to know what is happening.   She tells him that she has a wonderful husband that fixes her breakfast and coffee.  Then he helps her with errands.  Then he fixes her a wonderful lunch and they go to a movie or something.  Then he fixes me a great supper.   

            The policeman wonders why she is crying.  This sounds like a wonderful life.    She tells him I took a walk to the park and I can’t remember where I live!     


11.)      I don’t want you to forget the truth of the Resurrection.  You live in the truth that Jesus Christ is alive and He loves you with an everlasting and eternal love. 

            You might be on a park bench crying because you forgot where you live.  You have known the goodness of life with Jesus Christ as your Savior.  Jesus loves you, heals you, and forgives you.  You have forgotten and the life has moved you away, you have forgotten how you are loved.  I want you to remember.    

            Remember that on this Resurrection day Mary, who was looking for Jesus, was crying.  Her tears did not last long because when it was revealed that Jesus was raised from the dead she had a triumphant spirit.  


12.)      Prayer for those who need to know that Jesus is with them.  Prayer for those who want to come back to the Lord.  Prayer for those who want to affirm that Jesus is Lord and Savior.