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Right now, we are living history.

There has never been a time when the world has been so affected by the one same big event.  We are living through a moment that will be written about in history books. You will tell your grandkids about the time the world shut down. Documentaries will retell the story for generations to come.

But right in the middle of history being made, we are celebrating the a far greater moment in history, a moment that has massive significance not only for us personally but for the entire universe –  Jesus’ death and resurrection.

I know some of you have been Christians for a long time and I know also that some of you here are newbies to the Christian thing – but it doesn’t matter if you’ve being a Christian for 50 years or 5 minutes – or even if you’re just asking questions at this stage – this is what we build our life on – who Jesus is and what Jesus did – we can never get tired of hearing about what Jesus did for us upon the cross and it is good to remind ourselves of the power of His promises and the reality of His work in our lives.

On Friday we remembered how Jesus came and lived the perfect life that we all could never live and how he bled and died for us – how He suffered and bore the punishment that we all deserved upon His shoulders and making a way for us to be fully connected with God again.

Now the disciples didn’t see it pan out this way –this was not their plan A.  There was no cross in their plan.  Plan A for the disciples was for Jesus to go DA DA HERE IS MY GLORY BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP ME, IM THE KING OF THE WORLD.    The last thing they expected was that Jesus would be brutally executed as a common criminal on the cross.  The last thing they expected was for Jesus to die.  His death ended their hope and their dreams.  They expected him to declare himself rightful king and messiah and to kick the Romans out and enter in an age of glory for Israel. Death on the cross wasn’t part of the plan.

Their hero was dead. Their friend was dead. Their leader was dead.

Their Saturday sucked. On Saturday all hope was lost.  We often skip over Saturday in the whole Easter experience.  We’re normally busy heading to our bachs, hitting the beach if the weather is nice, visiting friends, having family round for roast dinner… but this year, maybe our Saturday felt a little bit like the disciples.   We’re sitting in the unknown, we’re locked in, we’re feeling all the feelings and anxieties.

In 2020 we know the next page of the story for the disciples and for Jesus.  We know all about Sunday, we know all about resurrection, we know that nothing is impossible! We have the joy of knowing the end of the story but they were broken and grieving and shocked.

Let’s jump right into Matthew 28 to find out what happens next:

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.    2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.    3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.    4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.    5 The angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.    6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.    7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.    8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.    9 Suddenly Jesus met them. Greetings, he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him.    10 Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me. Matthew 28:1-10

That is worth a Woohooo!  That is worth a high five and fist bump to those in your bubble!

Everything in the Bible, everything that our faith relies on, and all of our reasons for hope rest on this moment.

Why does all this matter?   Because the empty tomb on Sunday proves the power of the cross. Without the resurrection Jesus was just another person claiming to be the messiah (Israel had had plenty) who ended up getting killed. But the empty tomb proves that not only did He take our punishment on the cross but that He has paid the price, made a way back to the Father and that Jesus, God in human flesh, has defeated death itself.

The promises of God we can read in the bible and the purposes of the cross are shown to be TRUE and REAL by the resurrection!

The cross purchased our salvation.

The cross purchased our forgiveness.

The cross purchased our access to draw near to God.

The cross purchased our family status – before we were rejected guilty strangers and now because of the cross we’re part of the whanau now.

It assures us of God’s power and of God’s ultimate triumph.

It declares loudly and beyond shadow of a doubt that YES God has the power to remove the guilt and stain of sin from us – that we can be born again and rescued and draw near to God, whereas before we were guilty and sinful – it’s an inside change, an inside transformation that before you experience it you wonder if this can really be too good to be true…

It shows us that God has the power to do the things He promises.

Healing.  Restoration. Forgiveness.  Provision.  Direction.  Strength to overcome temptation.  Empowerment to serve Him.  Real Peace.

The resurrection is the guarantee that God can perform the promises of the Word and the work of the cross in our lives.

More than ever we need that hope now.  More than ever we need to have that assurance and deep down inside out confidence that comes from knowing that what God says is true and who He is is who He is.  More than ever in our broken world we need to know that there is hope for now and hope for the future.

I know before I became a Christian I used to picture God sitting on a cloud far far away.  The God in my mind was indifferent, distant and grumpy.

But God isn’t like that.  He is near, personal and His heart is open towards us.   We can see God’s heart for us when we’re in the middle of our Friday Feels, when we’re sitting in the Saturdays of unknown, when we’re uncertain, afraid and doubting.

In John 20:24-29 we read about Jesus appearing to Thomas.  Thomas was one of his disciples but had been away doing something when Jesus first appeared in the upper room.  The other disciples had told Thomas all about it but Thomas just couldn’t believe.  Jesus appeared to them all again but invited Thomas to come and put his fingers in the nail scars and to see for himself that it was all real.  That the resurrection was real and that Jesus, here alive, was real.   It’s an invitation of grace.  It’s an invitation that understands that we are humans and we freak out.  It’s an invitation to come to God right in the middle of our brokenness.

The resurrection is the proof of the promise that God gives us a fresh start when we give our life to Him.  It’s the proof that He can take our sins away “as far as the east is from the west” as Psalm 103 says.

It’s the proof also that when that moment happens when we die that death isn’t the end.  Eternity is just like real estate, it’s all about location location location and Jesus’ death and resurrection assures us that our location as believers is with God.

Jesus can come right into the middle of whatever you’re facing and bring hope and purpose.   His resurrection is proof that everything He promised He is able to provide.   This morning the invitation is for you to be like Thomas, to come near to Jesus, to see and believe.   To say yes Jesus, you are my Lord and Saviour.