Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

March 25, 2018 Sermon

“Eternal Life”
John 20:1 – 18
Ted Jansen March 25, 2018 Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        We finish John’s Gospel, and the overview of the book by Adam Hamilton. I hope you have enjoyed the book, the messages, reading the scripture and being in the groups.  
            John ends the last two chapters of his book with Resurrection appearances of Jesus. So, what do you do when it is Palm Sunday and the text is about the Risen Christ? I decided to take two Sundays to focus on the Risen Christ from John 20 and 21. 
            We do remember Palm Sunday when Jesus was coming down the Mt of Olives into Jerusalem.   His appearance on the donkey as He descended was a symbol of the divine Son of God, the promised Messiah, Jesus, who came to the earth from heaven. Jesus came down to earth like He was coming down Mt Olives riding on the donkey. He came to serve. 
Holy Week demonstrates to us that Jesus chose the path of humility and service as He allows Himself to be captured, tortured, tried and crucified. We see a Savior communicating love in a powerful way in the events of Holy Week.     
 
2.)        “Eternal Life,” is the title of the last chapter of our book, focusing on John 20. John wrote his Gospel to help us believe in Jesus Christ.   
John 20:31 summarizes this truth. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”       
The disciples believed Jesus while on earth, but what did it mean to believe Him after He had been crucified and buried? How could a person believe in Jesus and after Jesus rose from the dead? We gain insights from Mary as she spent time at the tomb that first morning of the week.      
 
3.)        John 20:1 – 2 says, “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. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 
Peter and the other disciple ran to the empty tomb and looked inside. They did not see a body, only the burial clothes. How could they believe in Jesus? What would their belief in Jesus be like know? Where was the body of Jesus? Who moved it? There were so many questions!  
John tells us in chapter 20:9 that “They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” 
The resurrection to life from death was not something they understood or had been planning on. They had no idea. 
           
4.)        John 20:11 – 18 tell us how Mary came to believe and have life in His name.  
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
 
5.)        Mary believed that Jesus was a gardener that had taken the dead body of her Lord some place. She saw a man, the gardener, and had grief. Do you see what happened to give Mary life?    
            Jesus called her by name. Jesus said, “Mary.” In that moment Mary saw and understood that this was Jesus, her Lord. She now believed in the Risen Savior and was known by Him.   When she believed in this new Jesus, the resurrected Lord, she had life in His name. 
            When Jesus called her by name that was the moment of faith. It was a personal, private, loving Jesus that wanted her to know Him. He was not the gardener, but the Risen Lord. 
           
6.)        This moment in the garden with Jesus, who Mary thought was the gardener, made me think about how we have different ideas about Jesus, or God. We, in our hearts think, in some settings that Jesus is a gardener, or some other personality.     
JB Philips wrote a book called, “Your God is Too Small.” The author talks about the different ideas of God. He portrays the ideas and then talks about the Jesus of scripture and life. 
Here are a few of the ideas that he focuses on, these concepts of what God is. Resident Policeman, Parental Hangover, Grand Old Man, Meek and Mild, Absolute Perfection, Heavenly Bosom, Managing Director, Perennial Grievance, Pale Galilean, Projected Image. 
            At times I hear people talk about “the man upstairs.” That is one concept of God that people are referring to. 
We have these ideas and images about what we think who God is and how God will act and what life with God will be like.           
            If you would have asked Mary, she had her ideas of Jesus, based on her relationship with Him. She was not looking for a Risen Savior.  
 
7.)        Adam Hamilton wrote his thoughts about Mary on page 148 of his book. The first subtitle were these words, “Sorrow to Joy and Hope.” That was Mary’s path in the garden and how she came to believe and have life. 
She came to the garden with sorrow. She grieved and mourned the death of Jesus. Her heart was heavy with loss. It clouded her thinking and understanding.   
In the garden Jesus called her name. She was given the gift of joy when she finally saw and understood that Jesus was alive. Joy cannot be described but felt and known deep in the heart.           In the garden is when her hope grew for her future. She now had hope and it gave her a reason for living and a new momentum for life. Hope gave her new life.   
 As we think of Mary and her moment in the garden I invite you to consider your journey in 2018 and how we can have life in His name.    
 
8.)        Do you come today with sorrow? What had brought the sorrow in your heart? Sorrow can come because of loss, death, change, sadness. Are you grieving someone, or something? 
            When my Dad passed away this was a hard time. I had sorrow and felt empty. I smiled on the outside but was hurting on the inside. I appreciated all the cards, messages and ways that shared my sorrow. We need to remember that we are not alone in our sorrow. The truth is that “Jesus wept” one day when he saw that Lazarus had died. The Lord is alive with us in our sorrow.      
9.)        Do you have joy in your heart with something that happened to you that was unexpected and surprising? Did a visit with a friend, a gift, a word of appreciation, something you were given bless you with joy? Jesus wants us to know joy and blessing.     
This past week I had a grandma of one of our pre-school children thank me and the congregation for giving a Bible to her granddaughter. She said that both of her granddaughters appreciate and enjoy their Bibles. It was a sincere word of appreciation that gave me joy. Joy came because of an unexpected word of thanks. 
Has there been a time, this past week, month, or year when you had joy in the heart because of something unexpected that you received?      
            The Lord is alive and wants us to know joy and sends us unexpected blessings.  
 
11.)      Do you have hope today is greater measure because of the truth of Jesus Christ and the way we celebrate and remember that Jesus is alive? Hope gives us a different attitude and your outlook is positive. That is one of the biggest thing you can do to change things, have hope. 
            Hope comes when we are convinced that God is real and working in lives. We can have greater passion and direction in our lives in all areas of our lives. What do you hope for in your life, in the life of the congregation, in the life of your family, your community, your world?     
The Lord gives us hope, because He faced death and overcame its power.
           
12.)      Dave Stoecker is known as the Hope Dealer. He encourages those who face additions. He knows about addictions because he traveled that world when he was younger. His story is in the recent issue of Guideposts, March 2018. He offers hope instead of other things he used to deal in.   
            Dave shares that there are three things that helped transform his life and give him hope from a life of addictions to alcohol and drugs. He believes in Jesus Christ and the way the Lord worked His presence to give Dave hope came in these areas.  
            *Dave was befriended by a Christian man who worked at Ruby Tuesday’s with him. They began talking and in time Nate asked him to go to church. He felt like he had love close to him. He was not judged, but loved and Jesus was seen in the life of Nate and the other people.   
            *Dave shared about being a part of a 12 step group, Celebrate Recovery, and taking a slow path to understanding himself and his addiction. He took positive steps in the right direction and this showed him a different path. Those in Celebrate Recovery become like Jesus to Dave.    
            *Dave shared that he needed to help others, help someone else and in the process this reinforced the hope he needed for himself. He started helping others, got involved in helping meet the needs in the community, and this transformed his life. He became the life of Jesus for others and new life came to him.         
 
13.)      Mary heard her name called by Jesus. We all need to hear our name being called by Jesus, the Risen Lord, right where we are. We do not have to clean up our act, pay for God, tell God we will do better. We need to hear Jesus calling our name. 
There was a family that had a little boy and his grandma living them. She had her room next to the little boy’s room. 
One day as the boy was praying with his mom he prayed to God about wanting a bike.   So, when he prayed he spoke really loud. After he finished his prayer his mom asked him why he was praying loud.   The boy said that if God did not hear his prayer he hoped Grandma would hear. 
            There are times when the answer to our prayer comes from God and other times it comes from Grandma! Jesus is alive to our lives and hears us and knows us.