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The Easter Morning 
That Changed Everything
by Robert L. Cobb
-Administrator, News For Christians Dot Com

"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?..."  John 20:15

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see 
the place where the Lord lay.   And go quickly, and tell 
his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, 
he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see 
him: lo, I have told you."   Matthew 28:6-7

Introduction: There are certain days in the timeline of history that have special significance.  These are days that change the lives of people -either for good or for bad.  In our generation, the first moon walk in July 1969, the assassination of President John Kennedy in 1963, and, more recently, the September 11th terrorist attack on America, qualify as life-changing days.    But there was one day that changed life more on Earth like no other before or since.  It was the first Easter, the morning of Christ's resurrection.

The question of our text,  "Woman, why weepest thou?" was a personal one for Christ to Mary; but it was also a theoretical one that goes far deeper than the surface.  Certainly there have been oceans of tears shed since that first Easter morning, but since the resurrection our tears have an end and a fulfillment.  Because of that morning, all tears will one day be wiped away for the last time. 

Revelation 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

How did the resurrection of Christ change human life?  We propose to examine that question in this message.

I.   It was a Morning of a New Kind of  Pain.   (...He is not here...)
Pain and suffering have been constant since the Fall in Eden.  There is a divine curse on humankind because of sin and the Old Testament and ancient history testify of the amount and the intensity of suffering throughout those early ages.  But for the disciples, the death of Christ must have been a most cruel pain.

He had been their Leader.    Never had a leader spoken like this man!  Never had life's mysteries been revealed and explained like Jesus had done.  He did not speak with "perhaps" and "maybe" in His voice.  He spoke with authority and certainty -as One Who knew the answers!  And they loved Him.  They had invested every part of themselves in Him!  Never had they been so sure of His authenticity and lineage.  This was God in flesh, the Maker and Sustainer of all of life!  How could He die?  How could He be gone?  What pain they must have felt.

He had been their Friend.   Yes, He was their leader.  But wonder of wonders, this Great God-Man took a personal interest in each one of them.  He cared for them in a special way.  Think of the hours spent in discussion and repose with the Savior.  He allowed them a special access to Him, the access of a friend.

John 15:13-15  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

As much as we may sympathize with the loss of the disciples,  many had lost loved ones,  family members and friends before this event and since.  Some of us have been affected greatly by the hand of death touching someone close to us.  What makes this first Easter event so significant?  Christ's was the first death which resulted in life and hope!  This death was a death followed by a resurrection!  It was a one-of-a-kind event.  And it was a prototype for all subsequent deaths.  The words to the human express it best:

Jesus opened up the way to heaven's gate, 
When He died --on the cross-- to redeem all the lost; 
He prepared the road --that leads to His abode. 
Tis a road-- marked by blood-- But it leads us home to God.

II.  It was a Morning of a New Kind of Power.   (...for He is risen...)
The Jews had seen with their own eyes when Jesus raise Lazerus and others from the dead.  He possessed a power that had not been seen since the Old Testament prophets.  But Jesus was far greater than any of the prophets, for none of them had the power to raise themselves from the dead.

It was a Power over the Devil.  Many today do not believe in the existence of a literal Satan.  They only believe in a spirit of evil that is not supernatural at all.  But a real and personal Devil had done all in His power to destroy Christ before He reached the cross.  Numerous times the crowd picked up stones to kill Him.  In John 13:27,  "And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly."  This is speaking of Judas.  Satan had entered into him with a mission of destroying the sacrifice of Christ, but only hastened it instead.   Truly Christ defeated the intentions of Satan in His sacrificial death and His resurrection.

Hebrews 2:14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
1 John 3:8  ...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

It was a Power over Death.    Death is the last enemy.   Before the resurrection, death held uncertainties and fear.  How could we know and understand its mysteries?  But now, Christ has overcome death through the resurrection.  Christ saves us from our sins; He gives us many blessings as His children.  To the Christian, death is a mere obstacle between us and our Savior.

I Corinthians 15:20, 22, 53-55  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept...For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive...For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

III.  It Was the Morning of a New Kind of Promise.  ("...there shall ye see him...")
Before this special Easter morning, no one expected to see their dead loved ones again.  There was no hope for those who stood among the tombs and mourned their dead loved ones.  While the death of Christ paid the sin debt of every person who lived or ever would live,  the resurrection legitimized Christianity as a religion and placed it at the top of the world's religions.  No other religious leader or so-called "god" had been raised from the dead.

The Promise of a Victorious Life.   Wouldn't it be great to know that we could be successful and fulfilled in our lives?  The angels told the disciples,  "...and lo, he goeth before you..."  Wherever we go and whatever we do, Christ has gone before us.  He knows our weaknesses and our frailties;  He knows our failures and our sorrows.  He has made the way for us and promised us,  "Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our lord Jesus Christ."  (I Cor. 15:57)

The Promise of a Vision of Christ.  Those who say that they have "seen" Christ are either speaking figuratively or telling an outright lie!  No one has, with the human eye,  seen Christ in our day.  But we shall see Him one day!  The Bible teaches that Christ will return for His saints in the rapture.  (see I Cor. 15:51-54)  Some scholars deny the literal return of Christ.  To them I say, "Does the Christ that raised Himself from the dead have the power to return again bodily to this earth?"  If you believe in the literal resurrection of Christ, you should have no trouble believing in the second coming of Christ!

There's coming a wonderful, wonderful day,  Its glory has never been known;
When free from our burdens we're going away, As Jesus returns for His own.
When Jesus returns for His own, And carries us up to His throne; 

There'll be no more sadness, But all will be gladness, When Jesus returns for His own.

Conclusion:  The September 11th tragedy changed the face of modern society.  We may, in the future, face more life-altering days.  But nothing can happen in our future that could darken that great first Easter morning when Christ rose from the dead.  All that we are --and all that we ever will be, was made possible on that day.  In our bland and tasteless Christianity today, we fail to recognize the importance of that special day nearly 2000 years ago when Christ arose from the tomb.

Low in the grave He lay--Jesus my Savior! 
Waiting the coming day--Jesus my Lord! 
Vainly they watch His bed--Jesus my Savior! 
Vainly they seal the dead--Jesus my Lord! 
Death cannot keep his prey--Jesus my Savior! 
He tore the bars away--Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose, 
with a mighty triumph o'er His foes; 
He arose a victor from the dark domain, 
and He lives forever with His saints to reign, 
He arose!  He arose!  Hallelujah! Christ arose!

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