Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Easter Convention at PIWC, Atomic

Aps. Emmanuel Gyesi Addo

Luke 24:1-8, 1 Corinthians 15:15

 

We must tell the story of Easter
Read Luke 24:1-8.

The story of Easter is the story of our Lord Jesus Christ. Last Christmas when I went round, I told the congregations about the need to tell the Bible stories concerning Christmas and Easter. The stories of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection must be repeatedly told. In politics there is something they call propaganda. Ordinarily it is not bad—you have a message and you want to propagate it. But some politicians, being who they are, even when it is a lie, repeat it over and over again so that somebody who doesn’t know the truth will come to believe it. If those who want to propagate a lie will do that because they know the power of repetition, how much more those of us who have the word of truth and are witnesses of the birth and the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ? How much more shall we not repeat the story of the death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Jesus overcame death
When Jesus rose from the dead, he overcame death. It signified his triumph over death. So, Paul asks, in 1 Corinthians 15:15, “Death, where is your victory? Where O death is your sting?” The pain of losing a loved one persists but even in our mourning, we rejoice in hope that we shall see our loved ones again. The resurrection gives us a glimpse of life after death. The grave is not the final abode of mankind.

We shall also be given new bodies just like Jesus had
1 Corinthians 15:40-44 gives an idea of what the resurrection body will be like. Our bodies may be buried but out of them will come glorious bodies—bodies that don’t need any medication to survive. It will be like the body Jesus had upon resurrection by which he was able to appear to his disciples in a room with closed doors.

The resurrection makes Christianity distinct
The resurrection sets Christianity apart from all religions (Read 1 Corinthians 15:13-20). The women got up early in the morning with spices to embalm the body of Jesus. They were wondering who was going to roll away the stone for them. We don’t know exactly when Jesus resurrected from the dead but it was probably between midnight and dawn. When they got there, the stone had been rolled away and the tomb had been opened.

The stone was rolled away so witnesses could go into the tomb to bear witness
The stone wasn’t rolled away for Christ to come out but for the witnesses to come in. The angel invited the women to come and see (Matthew 28:6). When the disciples had met behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, he went into their midst without the need for an open door.

No condition is permanent
Why do you seek the living among the dead? That statement is loaded. It means that no condition is permanent and it represents the triumph of the sovereign will of God. He was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane but later he was not there—he had risen. He had been humiliated before Caiphas, Annas, Herod, and Pilate. They roughed him up, insulted him and treated him like trash. That was three days before but now he had risen. Three days prior, it wasn’t fun to be his disciple but now he had risen.

Have you been denied or betrayed? That condition is not permanent. They immobilized him but now he had risen. Anything that has immobilized you is removed. He was counted among sinners but now he had arisen the righteous one of God. Three days before, they had ridiculed him but now, not anymore. Now he is out. He is no longer in the company of sinners.

There was a huge stone at the entrance of his tomb with the seal of the state. Only the governor with the permission of Rome could remove that stone from the entrance. They wanted to ensure that he remained there permanently. Do you feel locked up? When God’s time comes, no seal can stand and no stone can remain.

The angel of the Lord was declaring a fact of history when he said, “He is risen. He is not here.” Christianity without resurrection is a dead religion. The great thinkers of old are all gone; so are the religious leaders who have come and gone but Jesus is alive.

The living cannot be found among the dead
There are places where seekers of Jesus should not expect to find him. He was in the cemetery because he died but after rising from the dead, he was no longer to be found there. If you don’t turn your mind to the current reality, you will miss your way. Jesus had arisen so he was no longer to be found among the dead.

If you were raised with him, don’t remain in the cemetery. Don’t let people go looking for you where you used to be found. When they go there and ask why they couldn’t find you, ask them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Your position has now changed.

In Luke 24:6, the angel told the women to remember what Jesus had said when he was with them in Galilee. It was because they had forgotten that they had come to embalm him with spices. People who forget the resurrection still worship with rituals. They need holy oil, anointing oil, and anointing water to give them hope and confidence. They have forgotten but those who remember the power of the resurrection don’t do so with spices and rituals. The power of the resurrection is enough. If they knew that Christ had risen, they wouldn’t have gone to embalm him.

Jesus left his death clothes in the grave and left a passage to the inside of the tomb. The resurrection was bad news for the soldiers who guarded the tomb and it was bad news for the Pharisees and false witnesses; it was bad news for Satan and his cohort but to those of us who believe it is the power of God. It is new life for those who believe. Because of it we are declared right with God just as if we had never sinned. Because of the resurrection we are able to proclaim loud and clear that we are saved.

The resurrection means new and higher levels of worship. It was so significant to the disciples that they broke from the tradition of worshipping on the Jewish Sabbath to the first day of the week—Sunday—on which Jesus resurrected (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2).

Whatever good thing you want to do for Jesus, do it now
Finally, why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here—he is risen. This was told to women who had good intentions and had come to do something good but giving something good to God or for his cause must be done at the right time. The women brought the spices at the wrong time. The spices were meant for the dead. There may be somebody you can help—help them now. Don’t wait till it’s too late.

Is there any sick person you can help? Is there someone you can help through school? There may be a vacancy at your workplace for which you can recommend a good Christian brother or sister do it now. Look around the church. Is there anything the church needs? Do it now. Is there a missionary you can support? Do it now. The women came to do something good but it was too late.

Someone like Joseph of Arimathea did good at the right time. He is the one, as a secret disciple of Jesus, who went to ask for the body of Jesus. He was a big man. When you are a big man, let Jesus feel it. Support the work of God. Be positive in the kingdom. Because of his influence, he could go to Pontius Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus and he was granted.

He must have been thinking of preparing another grave for himself but Jesus had other ideas. He had no idea that Jesus was going to need it for only three days. Jesus had elevated Joseph’s tomb and up till today it is a significant tourist site. Jesus adds value to whatever we give to him.

Today is a day of victory. Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, he is risen.

Main references
Luke 24:1-8, 1 Corinthians 15:15

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