“What Happened? You Happened.”
March 27, 2016
By John Partridge*
Scripture: Luke 24:1-12 Romans 6:3-11
Pastor: He is Risen!
People: He is Risen indeed.
How are you feeling right at this very moment?
Most of us are doing okay, but among all of us that are here, there is likely to be quite a range of emotions.
And if I were to ask you all what emotions that you felt during the past week, I am confident that we would amass a list that would cover almost the entire spectrum of human feelings.
And that is exactly what happened to the followers of Jesus during the week that began with the triumphal entry (what we remembered at Palm Sunday) and ended with the resurrection of Jesus and beyond.
They were filled with wonder one moment, then joyous, then afraid, then panicked, then terrified, then shocked, then angry, then mournful, and everything in between. It was like body blows that landed upon them one, after another, after another. And then we read this in Luke 24:1-12.
24:1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Peter was just like us and every other human being that ever walked the earth. What was happening was totally unexpected and that’s why, to the ears of the disciples, the women sounded like they were babbling total nonsense. What was happening was clearly not normal.
So what happened?
Even when Peter begins to understand that Jesus rose from the dead, and even after Jesus ascends into heaven and Peter’s entire life is totally transformed, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some part of him was still just a little confused. Some part of him, and a part of us, continued to ask… what happened?
And in his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul answers many of our questions. (Romans 6:3-11)
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Paul explains that our baptism is a symbol of Jesus’ death. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish beneath the water for three days, and just as Jesus was in the grave for three days, our baptism is a symbol. The water is a symbol so that as we are covered in the water, we join Jesus in death and rise with him to a new life. Paul says that through our baptism, by joining Jesus symbolically in death, we are united with him and united in his resurrection. Just as Jesus was crucified, our old selves were crucified so that sin would no longer control us and we would no longer be slaves to sin.
Paul says that the death that Jesus died was for everyone, everywhere, forever and the life that he now lives is dedicated to God. In the same way because, through baptism, we have died with Jesus and were set free from sin and death, we also now live forever and our lives are dedicated to God.
It wasn’t surprising that Peter and the other followers of Jesus wondered what happened. But Paul wants us to know that what happened didn’t just happen to Jesus, and it didn’t just happen to the disciples, it happened to you too.
Pastor: He is Risen!
People: He is Risen indeed.
And so have you.
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