The Lord Has Spoken
I have been waiting for it for a while. I need me some Easter. I need the dawn to break and to know that the sun is coming up and that the night is about to be over. I need to feel resurrected.
Maybe you've been feeling that way, too.
When you go to church this Sunday, if you're the church-going type, you'll undoubtedly hear the story of Jesus' resurrection read at some point. You will at my church...at both services.
A friend of mine asked what I was preaching on this Sunday. He was being funny. I thought about being funny back and saying something like, "Actually, I am going to be preaching on Giving this Easter. I figure since I've got a full house, why waste it?"
So when you hear the story of the Resurrection read from one of the Gospel accounts on Easter Sunday morning, what do you think? Most people who find themselves sitting in a church pew on Easter morn typically know at least a little about the reason they are there.
So what's yours?
Do you believe that it didn't happen? Is it too far fetched for you? Do you go to church on Easter just to make someone in your life happy?
Do you think that it's a great metaphor for what happened to the disciples after Jesus died? That somehow they were filled with the spirit of Jesus and that spirit lives on in his followers today?
Or maybe you believe that it all happened because that's what you've always known. You've always been a Christian, and that's what Christians believe--that kind of thing.
Maybe you believe that it is absolutely true because it's in the Bible, and you believe that the Bible is completely true.
Funny. If we are being honest, no matter what we believe about the Resurrection, all of us come to the story with a one word response: Impossible.
Holy Land Experience in Orlando a year or so ago. It's like what Disney World would be if Disney World were designed by televangelists who spared every expense.
At any rate, there is a replica of the Garden Tomb at the Holy Land Experience. You can walk inside and see that it's empty. None of it is made out of rock---some kind resin, as near as I can tell. When I went into the Garden Tomb, I noticed this door. It was locked. I thought the mysterious door in the Garden Tomb presented a very interesting theological dilemma so I took a photo of it.
If it had "Employees Only" on it, that would have really blown my mind.
I think it would be easier for all of us if there was some sort of door in the theology of the Resurrection.
Instead... we have impossible.
There are all kinds of things that we might consider impossible.
Ending hunger is impossible. Peace in the Middle East is impossible. Finding a cure for cancer seems impossible. Getting politicians to agree is definitely impossible.
In Isaiah 25:6-9 we have this:
6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepareI love this passage. As you move through it, you get the sense that something incredible is happening. The symbol of a great feast with good (aged) wine... A shroud that could symbolize death and sin is being removed for all people... The way that God "swallows up" death. And then we have this: "The Lord has spoken..." You have to like that.
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears
from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.
9 In that day they will say,
“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
God speaks possibilities. The last word belongs to God and God alone.
This passage is a vision of what Resurrection brings. It's when the impossible is made possible. There is enough for everyone. Mortal enemies are breaking bread. Death is defeated. There is no regret, no shame or guilt.
The Lord has spoken. Hunger doesn't get the last word. It's not impossible. Hatred doesn't get the last word. It's not impossible. Racism and Religious Fanaticism doesn't get the last word. They aren't impossible. Sin and Death do not get the last word. God speaks possibilities.
This is what the Resurrection is all about. What is impossible is made possible. Because God raised Jesus from the dead, all things are possible.
What are the impossibilities in your life? Healing? Shame? Peace? Financial Freedom? Powerlessness? Loneliness?
The Lord has spoken. Right into your life.
The Resurrection is everything. It's impossible made possible. It defines us. It transforms us. It fills us with hope. It's not just an idea, it's not just a fanciful story that makes people feel better. It's not just a tradition.
It is the very thing that gives us possibilities of transformation for our own lives and for the world.
The Lord has spoken.