SermonResurrection Day or Easter?
An all-creatures Bible Message

Resurrection Day or Easter?
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
27 March 2016
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Luke 16:13
John 20:1-18
2 John 8-11

Resurrection Day or Easter is the question that is before us; for we need to decide which day we are really celebrating.
Are we celebrating Resurrection Day even if we call it Easter, because we are focusing upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after He died on the cross?
On the other hand, are we really celebrating Easter the way the world celebrates Easter with rabbits, milk chocolate, baby chickens and Easter eggs, and dead animals piled upon our plates?
What is this day to us, personally?
Is it Resurrection Day or Easter?
Letís think about this distinction as we look at John 20:1-18Ö

1. Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.

The tomb was sealed with a huge stone that was rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, and Mary saw that Jesus wasnít there, which was very troubling to her, for she went there to mourn Him, not believing that He had risen from the dead, even though Jesus told them He would rise from the dead.

2. And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved [John], and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

There is doubt, but they are still focused upon Jesus and not on the corrupt ways of the world.

3. Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they were going to the tomb.
4. And the two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first;
5. and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in.

John and Peter are still looking for the dead body of Jesus, for like Mary, they didnít believe that He had risen from the dead.
They doubted, but they still were seeking Jesus, which is an important thing for us to do also.

6. Simon Peter therefore also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he beheld the linen wrappings lying there,
7. and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.
8. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb entered then also, and he saw and believed.

Was John the first to believe that Jesusí body was missing from the tomb, or that Jesus had risen from the dead?

9. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
10. So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

This is the problem in the world today.
People donít really believe that Jesus rose from the dead, so they celebrate the day the way the world does with all the non-biblical trappings of Easter.

11. But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb;
12. and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.

Why did God allow Mary to see the angels, but He did not allow Peter and John to see them?
This is one of the mysteries of this Biblical story.

13. And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
14. When she had said this, she turned around, and beheld Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

As we have talked about previously, this is one of the reasons that we know that Jesusí resurrected body did not have the exact appearance of Jesusí earthly body.
What this difference is we are not told, so this also remains a mystery until we get to heaven.

15. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away."
16. Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher).
17. Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.' " 
18. Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her.

Mary recognized the voice of Jesus and with that, His appearance.
Did the Lord reveal these things to Mary at the tomb, because He knew that she would totally believe?
Are we to conclude that her faith was greater than that of Peterís and Johnís?
And, what about us?
Do we believe without really seeing what Mary, Peter, and John saw?
We really hope so.
Keeping this and our question for today about whether we are celebrating Resurrection Day or Easter in mind, note what we are told in 2 John 8-11Ö

8. Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.

If we follow and celebrate the worldly ways of our society, we can easily confuse this with following the teachings of our Lord and Savior; for the way the people in the world around us profess their ďfaithĒ is done in ways that all too often sound like some of the teachings of Jesus.

9. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

In other words, we cannot have both the ways of the world and the heavenly will of God.
We have to choose one or the other; we have to choose between celebrating Resurrection Day or celebrating Easter with all its worldly ways including suffering and death.

10. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching [of Christ], do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting;
11. for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

This is the same kind of thing we hear people say about eating animal products; they say that they didnít cause the suffering and death of the animals, which is totally wrong, because those who are eating animal products are absolutely participating in the suffering and killing of the animals as if they did it with their own hands.
This is also what Jesus teaches us in Luke 16:13Ö

13. "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." 

Mammon refers to wealth or profit, and in this case it most likely refers to the riches of the ways of the devil.
We cannot serve the ways of the devil such as what Easter has turned into with all the pain, suffering and death of the animals whose skin and fur people wear and show off in church, and the animal products they eat in their celebration, and at the same time serve God.
The devil wants us to love the ways of the world: look at how beautiful this fur looks on my coat, isnít that milk chocolate delicious, doesnít this glazed ham make your mouth water?
These things keep us in the ways of the world and not in the heavenly will of God.
God wants us to focus upon the resurrected Christ and the hope of our eternal salvation in heaven, and to let go of the worldly things that we canít take with us to heaven.
God wants us to live in His heavenly will where there is no longer any pain or mourning or death.
He wants us to live and not die.
He wants us to be His peacemaking children.
He wants us to be happy and rejoice in this Resurrection Day.

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