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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - What Did God Do on Easter?

James Meehan - What Did God Do on Easter?

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    James Meehan - What Did God Do on Easter?
TOPICS: Easter

Well, welcome to part two of our Switch Easter mini-series, "Light in the Dark". In this two part series, we have been looking at the two most significant events in all of history: the death of Jesus on Good Friday and his resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday. Last week, we traced Jesus' journey from the moment of creation all the way up until his death by crucifixion. This week is about the day that everything changed because the crucifixion was not the end, it was just the setup for a new beginning. To help us fully grasp the significance of Easter, we're gonna look at what God has done, what God is doing, and what God will do through His son, Jesus. Just like last time, we're gonna kick things off by going back to the beginning.

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was over the surface of the deep". The earth was formless and Jesus was dead. The world was empty, but the grave was full. Darkness was over the deep and a stone was over the entrance of the savior's tomb. "And the spirit of God was hovering over the waters and God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light". The same spirit that was hovering over the waters, the one who formed and filled the world, brought life into Jesus' lifeless body and filled his lungs with breath again.

"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance". The stone that sealed the savior's grave was rolled away and now the light floods even the darkest place. Oh, death, where is your sting? Oh, grave, where is your victory? "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it".

Now, Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her "Woman, why are you crying"? "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put Him". At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for"? Thinking He was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him and I will get Him". Jesus said to her, "Mary". She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni"! (John 20:11-16)

We celebrate Easter because of what God has done through Jesus. On that first Easter Sunday, some of Jesus' women followers went to put burial spices on his body, but when they arrived at the tomb, something was wrong. The giant stone that covered the entrance had been rolled away and Jesus' body was missing. For these women, this would've been devastating. Not only was their friend, their teacher, and the man they thought was the Messiah dead, but now someone had come along and stolen his body so they can't even honor him properly. But then everything changed because a man who was dead was now calling Mary's name.

Jesus, the light of the world, the God who put on skin and bones, who walked on two legs, worked under the Galilean sun, left his footprints in the sands of Judeo, who just days ago was hanging lifeless on a Roman cross, who was buried in the ground, was now alive and well. Blood was once again coursing through His veins, breath filled His lungs, and when He spoke, His words brought life and light into the darkness of Mary's despair. Who is Jesus? He is the light of the world. He shines in the darkness and He gives light to everyone. This was true at the moment of creation when light first flooded into the universe and it is true here at the resurrection. When buried under the earth, the very place where darkness and death are most present, light burst forth once again.

So what did God do on that first Easter Sunday? He raised Jesus from the dead. Now, just the fact that a dead guy was alive again is a big deal. But with Jesus, it is so much more than that because His resurrection was not an isolated instant disconnected from the rest of the world, it was quite the opposite. You see, His resurrection sparked a whole new stage of history. It's not a coincidence that what God did on that first Easter Sunday so closely mirrors what God did in his original act of creating the world because the resurrection of Jesus was the first act of new creation. Because of Jesus, the old order, the old way of doing things is passing away and God is going to make all things new. And He wants to start with me and with you.

Now there will come a day when every last remnant of the fall is dealt with completely. When death is no more, when sin is erased, and darkness is completely cast out, that's where all of this is going. All of the world joining in on Jesus's resurrection and being raised to a new life that will never die and never fade. But we're gonna talk more about that later. For now, here's what you need to know. Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome Him. How do we know? We know because the grave couldn't hold Him, because sin couldn't stop Him. And when the devil stepped up to the plate, he got dusted. And now Jesus is inviting us to join in His victory and continue the work that He started, the work of rescuing humanity from sin so that we can be reunited with Him because He's not done yet. So how do we play our part?

"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for the fear of Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' After He said this, He showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again, Jesus said, 'Peace be with you as the Father has sent me, I am sending you.' And with that He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'"

We are made in the image of the same God who spoke light into existence. The God whose life is the light to all mankind. His breath is in our lungs. And here, Jesus is breathing His life into us once again. When God gave us new life through Christ, He filled us with His essence, His spirit. Now, the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. He empowers us to work with Him to bring life and light to every corner of creation.

"Then he Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being. The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it".

Through Jesus, we can get our old jobs back, partnering with the God who went to hell and back to restore what was stolen, repair what was broken, and restore what was lost. To light the way home.

We celebrate Easter because of what God is doing through Jesus. Because of the resurrection, new creation is now breaking into the world. Light is once again shining in the darkness and life has been made available to all. We become a part of new creation when we place our trust in Jesus. He adopts us into His family. We become citizens of His kingdom and He invites us to join Him in the work He is doing, the work of making all things new, of rescuing people from sin and partnering with God in His good plans to restore the world.

Here's where things get wild. You see, Jesus is the light of the world. And when we join our life to His, we become one with Him. When that happens, His light starts to shine through us, so that in a way, we too become the light of the world. The apostle Paul writes it this way. He says that "the spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you". It is this spirit, the one who raised Jesus from the dead to kick off the new creation, who is hovering over the waters at the first act of creation. He is the one who fills us with a light that shines so powerfully that darkness cannot overcome it.

So what is God doing? He is building His church, His people filled by His spirit, partnering with Him to fulfill His mission. And what is that mission? To rescue people from sin so they can be reunited with Him. Jesus is the light who shines in the darkness and his spirit lives in us. This is our part to play, but it's actually not something that we are meant to do alone.

So Jesus said in Matthew 5, "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven". So I'm curious for you guys, when you hear you are the light of the world, what pictures come into mind? What emotions are stirred up inside of you?

A scripture I was just reading and I think this is right before Jesus was going to raise Lazarus from the dead and the disciples are asking like a question about like walking like in the light. And Jesus was like, when people walk in the light or walk during daytime, they don't stumble. When they walk in the dark, they stumble because there's no light in them, right? And so if we're the light of the world and we're called with this mission to go, you know, share the gospel with people, it's our job as the light to kind of shed that and help them walk this life clearly and not fall.

I don't know what it is, but whenever I turn off the lights behind me in my basement, I just know there's somebody there. And by the end of that staircase, I am at like 170 beats a minute. I've raced up to the top. And whenever I think the light of the world, I think about the safety I feel when that light comes on.

Yeah, I'm also afraid of the dark. And the reason why I'm afraid is because I don't know what there is right there. So that's what I think of, too. There's light, knowing that you're safe.

I almost get nervous hearing that verse because it reminds me that we're the light of the world. We're spreading God's light. I think I overthink and think like, oh, what if I screw it up? What if I don't show Jesus is light the way that maybe we should be showing it?

What would it actually look like to be the light of the world, like right here at this school?

I think everybody needs a friend. There are a lot of people in need of relationships. Pray for 'em. Make sure that you ask how their day is and that's where us as a collective kind of comes in with us all being Jesus to other people.

For me, honestly, worshiping in my bedroom.

Sometimes at work, I'll do extra things. I'll just ask how everybody's doing or I'll say a simple good morning to everyone because we wake up super early and everybody's cranky. So I'm usually the one who tries to set the mood of the day.

What I love about that is it's kind of like a characteristic of light. Like, it changes the atmosphere that it enters into, right? Like, it's completely different when the lights are on than when the lights are off. Are there any other like characteristics that we can maybe exemplify in our own lives?

I feel like just the phrase like light up a room, I love people that light up a room. I'm gonna try to exemplify that in whatever room you're walking into, whether it's a job, a school, whatever.

I think that's a good thing, like a good thing to remember because something that I do is like, whenever I know I'm stepping into something and I'm not in the mood for it or I really don't feel like it that day, I do say a small prayer and it changes my whole day.

When are some of those moments when you feel most tempted to maybe hide instead of shine?

For a good point in time, I was getting challenged to just go speak to people and it'd be like a small phrase sometimes, like just tell 'em like Jesus loves you and stuff like that. Sometimes it was the fear of doing it. Sometimes it was believing that somebody else like would get to it and it'll put me out of the position to doing what God said.

I think having the mindset of this is important rather than this is weird. And a lot of the times, I think the reason I haven't spoke up is because this is weird wins.

I think even having this conversation has encouraged me more to just really step in. This is important. I think just trusting God in that and really going full force on like sharing the gospel and not being afraid of it anymore.

I like how the passage that we talked about ends, it just says, "Let your light shine before others". So just let it happen. Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven. What's one good thing that you are gonna do this week to let your light shine?

I think inviting one of my coworkers to church. I think that's something that I've been wanting to do and she's one of the people there that's just super nice. I think just fully stepping into that and just, you know, doing what God wants me to do.

Honestly, I think inviting this one friend to church that I've been thinking about inviting is the move.

I'm gonna give an old friend a call. I'm just gonna give him a call this week, see how he's doing.

I think the first thing that came to mind was just continue to be faithful in the avenues that God has already like have for me to share his gospel. You know what I mean? So just continue to be faithful and work my hardest to make sure that those opportunities are being like met with like great effort and stuff like that.

And thank you guys so much for sitting down and talking to me. This has been a really good conversation.

"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it". From the beginning of time, the king of the cosmos, the light of the world has dispelled darkness with His word. With every miracle He performed, demon He drove out, and message He preached, the word in flesh, Jesus Christ pushed back the darkness with His life. When He died, the earth was covered in deep darkness in the middle of the day because the light of the world had descended to the grave. In the darkness of death, Jesus was laid to rest for three days, but on the third day, while it was still dark, light broke into that garden because Jesus had come back to life. Death couldn't hold Him, the dark couldn't overpower Him, the snake couldn't crush Him. And the overcoming light offers us His life. He invites us to return to the image we were made in and the purpose we were created for, to be the light of the world and fill the whole earth with healing and hope.

So, now we carry the light forward into every dark place because it's who we are, it's in us, and it's meant to shine through us. And as we watch the darkness flee in front of our eyes when people move from death to life in Christ, we share his light with all the confidence and courage in the world because we know that a day is coming when darkness will be displaced forever. God will be in the midst of His people and we will rule with Him forever and ever. "No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun for the Lord God will give them light and they will reign forever and ever. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it".

We celebrate Easter because of what God will do through Jesus. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, new creation has been initiated. God is working to make all things new, starting with me and you. He's actively working in the world right now to bring as many people to Him as possible. He is building the church, a present preview of His future kingdom because he wants everyone everywhere to be a part of His family. And He's invited us to join Him in this work. We do that by letting the light of Jesus fill us, by letting the light of Jesus shine through us, by doing what we can to rescue others from sin and bring them into his family. The good news is that none of what we do, even if we fail, is ever wasted because God never fails. He is using and will use all of it. He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

And if you're a Christian, you have been called by God to live in the present age as an agent of the world to come. If you aren't, then today is the day that can change because Jesus came for you. He died for you. He rose to new life for you. And when you put your trust in Him, He fills you with eternal life because Jesus is the light who shines in the darkness and He gives light to everyone. It's time to step into the light. Maybe you're sitting there listening to this message and you realize that today is the day you say yes to Jesus for the very first time. You've been going through this thing that we call life, looking for hope, maybe looking for answers, looking for a place to belong, searching for love. But no matter how hard you try, you cannot find it. It's because there's nothing in this world that will ever satisfy the deepest longings of your soul. Because you were made for more than this world. You were made by God on purpose and for a purpose.

In the beginning, God created everything and He had a plan to live with us, His people, in relationship forever. For the first human beings, we sinned. We rebelled against God and we threw all of God's good world into chaos. That sin, this disease of selfishness that has infected all of us, separates us from God. That's not something that God was okay with. So He put a plan in place to become a human being. He became Jesus, one of us, so that we could become one with Him. Jesus lived a perfect life. He died a brutal death on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins to deal with the disease in the only way that it could be. And then He rose from the dead, bringing new life and hope into the world so that anybody who puts their trust in Him could be saved, that your relationship with God could be fixed.

And maybe that's exactly why you're here today, to say yes to a relationship with Jesus, to put your trust in Him, and to receive the light and life that He is offering you. If that is what you want to do today, it's really simple. You just trust in Him. You commit your life to Him. And there's a way to show that. You can just type in the comments below. Say, "Jesus, I give you my life". Just type that in. "Jesus, I give you my life". And then what we're gonna do together as people are making that decision is pray a prayer that is signaling with our words what our heart is doing, devoting who we are to Him. And so if you're watching this message, whether you've made this decision before or today is the first time, I wanna invite you to pray this prayer out loud with me.

Heavenly Father, forgive me. I'm turning from my sin and I'm turning to you. I need your love. I need your grace. I need your mercy. Today, I give you my life. In Jesus' name, amen.

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