Before I have my tea at night I like to watch the News headlines to see what’s been happening in the world.
If I’m home in time I like to watch the Channel 10 news.
But because I don’t like to miss the start of the news as I turn it on a couple minutes early which means I usually end up catching the last couple minutes of The Bold and the Beautiful.
And I’m always intrigued how it ends with great suspense which it does to hook in the viewer so they’ll tune into the next episode.
I wish to apologise at this point if I offend anyone, but I usually ask myself – who on earth watches this nonsense.
Apparently a lot of people as it’s been on TV for over 30 years
That response is not a lot different to people’s response to what we believe happened on Easter Sunday.
In fact our bible reading says exactly that:
When Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women went and told the apostles about angels telling them that Jesus has risen from the dead they didn’t believe them because their words seemed like nonsense.
Who believes this nonsense
Some feel it’s because they were women that they weren’t believed – but it’s not.
Let’s remember that even after 40 days of walking on the earth after his resurrection when he was ascending to heaven it says that some of his own disciples still doubted.
Who believes this nonsense?
I’m hoping you do – because it is nonsense.
That might sound strange coming from me but it has to be nonsense.
Because if it made sense then you wouldn’t need faith to believe it.
In fact everything we do in the Christian Church seems to be nonsense;
We eat a piece of bread and have a sip of wine and say this is Jesus Body and Blood which washes away all our sin and assures us of eternal life in heaven – nonsense.
We splash some water on the head of a baby and say that this saves the baby from sin and assures them of eternal life in heaven.
It seems nonsense to those who have no faith.
Which is what St Paul says in 1 Corinthians – the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
In fact Martin Luther said that very same thing.
When explaining the Apostles’ Creed he says: I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him;
And that’s what makes the Christian faith so special – because the world can’t explain it.
This is the one thing that we cannot control – that we cannot manipulate – because it’s from God.
It is so ludicrous – so nonsensical that no one would make this up.
Do you remember as a child – or if you have children – the wild stories that they would make up that you would always be able to disprove.
Well, the world has been trying for 2000 years to disprove the Christian faith.
If we read Matthew’s gospel it would have been the perfect story to disprove the resurrection:
The chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate and said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”
“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
How easy it would have been to spread that story of the disciples stealing the body – it would have made a lot more sense.
In fact that is what they did when we read Matthew’s gospel further it says:
Some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews.
But it didn’t circulate for long because it was not the truth and because it made sense.
So just because what happened on Easter Sunday doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean it’s not true.
And if it is true – which it is – what does that mean for you.
If it’s true – and it is – then it means that everything else that Jesus has said and promised is also true.
And what Jesus has said and promised is wrapped up in the most quoted verse in the Bible:
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
There it is!
That’s what Easter Sunday is all about for you.
That’s why the Christian message has stood the test of time because nothing else deals with death in such a way.
That death is not the end but the beginning of eternal life in heaven.
That’s why I believe.
That’s why the church with a message that doesn’t make sense has stood firm for 2000 years and despite what the media is telling us the Christian faith is growing around the world.
The message is such a beautiful message of hope and comfort in this age where we are bombarded with such tragic news of terrorism, crime, murder and so much terrible news around the world.
And here we are again to celebrate the best news ever.
That Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and promises that we too will rise from the dead when we die to live forever in heaven.
Until that day Easter still has significance in our daily life also:
Every day Jesus comes into our lives and offers us his peace in the middle of our fears, frustrations and insecurities, especially when things seem to be totally out of control.
And when death comes we can remain strong knowing that Jesus is walking with us when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death as our good shepherd.
In your baptism St Paul says you share in the resurrection of Jesus, and when you receive Holy Communion today you receive the body and blood of Jesus who gives you the assurance that he is truly present with you every day of your life and will make you strong in body and soul unto eternal life.
Who believes this nonsense?
That’s why we are here today because the Holy Spirit has called and gathered us here and keeps us united in the true Christian faith.
May God bless you every day as you walk in the knowledge that God loves you so much that he sent his one and only son so you will not perish but receive eternal life in heaven. This is most certainly true.
Christ has risen, he has risen indeed.
Let us go in the peace of the Lord.