“But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 3 So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus.4 As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. 5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee,7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”8 Then they remembered that he had said this. 9 So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. 11 But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. 12 However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.”
Today we will be starting a new series titled “Living in the Reality of the Resurrection.” So often we get done with the Easter season and then go on as if nothing significant had happened. When it comes to Easter we have a tendency to pack it up and put it away instead of living in the reality of the Resurrection. It becomes just head knowledge instead of a heart knowing. It’s like putting the batteries in the flashlight once a year and letting the power illuminate our path and then pulling them out putting them back in the package only to stumble around in the darkness and struggle to survive through the rest of the year. We were not saved just to survive but to thrive. Many of us have settled for a mediocre life instead of a meaningful one because we are living life in our power instead of the Resurrection power. As we go through this series we will see our Risen Savior intersecting and impacting many different people’s lives during the 40 days between the resurrection and the ascension. We will see how different people responded to the reality of the resurrection, how it changed their lives and how it can change ours. The story starts with women who are going to serve Jesus by anointing Him with spices, and on the front end their acts of service look good. There is only one problem, behavior is driven by belief, and because they believe that Jesus is dead and gone their behavior and service is driven by sadness not gladness. You see they have a pessimistic perspective not a praise perspective. Many of us are serving out of servitude instead of servanthood, it’s a I have to instead of I get to. Servility and servitude make ministry miserable, where we end up taking on a martyr mentality. Now I’m not saying that ministry is always going to be easy but many of us have made it a job instead of a joy and so we have lost our joy in serving Jesus. Just like the women we find ourselves trudging to the tomb, dragging our heavy hearts through the darkness, living in the despair instead of the delight. Your belief affects your behavior, it impacts both your attitude and actions. What about you, are you living in the reality of the resurrection? Or are you like the women heading to the tomb living in the death and the despair instead of the light of day? Because of what they believed they headed out to anoint Jesus body with spices. When they got there they discovered that the stone had been rolled away which was great because how would they have gotten into the tomb to anoint his body if it hadn’t been rolled away? The rolled away stone fit very neatly into their plan, but it wasn’t rolled away because of their plan, it was removed based on God’s plan. And it’s here that we see God’s plan deviating from theirs. How do you respond when God’s plan doesn’t line up with yours? For the women it rocked their world. They were perplexed, confused because things were not going according to their plan. You know the number one reason why so many people walk away from God is because life doesn’t go their way, it doesn’t fit their expectations. Their belief didn’t just effect how they served it effected their expectations, they expected a dead body. And when life didn’t meet and measure up to their expectations they were disappointed. How many disenfranchised disciples do we have today, disappointed in the deity because life hasn’t worked out the way we wanted. As a result, we are standing in the tomb living in the place of death and being mad because life hasn’t measured up our expectations. Maybe the reason you are miserable disappointed and disheveled is because you are serving in the graveyard. Their belief also affected what they carried, spices to anoint His body. Tools of death not life, many of us are carrying the tools of death not life, we won’t let go of our bag of bitterness, we keep packing around our anger and anxiety, trying to run the race carrying resentment that is ruining not only our lives but the lives of those around us. Let me ask you this question do you think the women would have rather follow their plan of death and decay or God’s plan of delight? It comes down to trusting that God is in control, that He knows what He is doing, and then believing and behaving accordingly. Because the stone was rolled away they were able to go in and see, God didn’t roll the stone away, so they could serve Him with their spices He rolled it away so that they could see His plan. It’s not about what you are doing its about what He has done. As long as we shelve the Savior and keep Him in the tomb we will mope about serving out of servility and living a miserable meaningless life. These women walked right past the power of God and missed it, they missed the first miracle, because they were focused on the misery. They missed the supernatural miracle of the stone being rolled away. Instead of saying Wow look what God can do they worried about what was going on because it didn’t fit their expectations. What about you are you disappointed and disillusioned with God because things haven’t gone the way you wanted? Rather than focusing on our perceived problems we need to start focusing on God’s plan. Because even when life doesn’t make sense we can still trust and serve the Savior. Are you living in the reality of the resurrection or the ruin of perceived unmet expectations?