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Easter Sunday

April 20, 2014 | Pastor Bruce Plummer

It’s Easter Sunday! We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead today, but there’s something else you should know. If the Resurrection was a surprise (and it was) then surprises inspired by the Love of God ought to be the experience of everyone who follows Him!

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Sermon Notes

Easter Sunday  John 20.1-10

4.20.14

Surprise!

It’s something unexpected or shocking, to the point that you gasp in reaction.  And depending on whether or not it’s a good surprise you might smile, laugh or just stand there agape.

Robin and I met in high school, so she was just 16 when I met her, I was 17.  So I had a great opportunity when her birthday came around.  We had the surprise party all planned out; our friends were hiding out in her parent’s finished basement.  My job was to take her out and keep her occupied and unsuspecting.
But I learned something about Robin that night.  She can only rarely be surprised.  After getting her home and getting her to walk down to the basement and get the “Surprise!” I asked her if she was really surprised.  No, she wasn’t.  And then she recounted all the clues that I and everyone else had given her.  She really should have been a detective.

But here’s what happened on that first Resurrection Sunday.

John 20.1-10

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from
the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying
with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

Do you think they were surprised?  Yes, even though they were told it was coming.

They had only experienced pain, death and disaster at the betrayal and the Cross.  Here He was, scourged, mortally wounded and hung on a Roman Cross, over, done with a steel door clap.

And yet, in the aftermath, there was a surprise.  Really a shock, a sudden blast that was so unexpected that they couldn’t really figure out what
it was.

The surprise was Life when I had only experienced death and disaster.

The Resurrection was a surprise!

God built our future on a surprise.

A surprise brought to you by the Love of God.

And even though they had been told by the Lord that this would happen, it didn’t register.

Told you so!

In the times after the Resurrection surprise, Jesus made Himself known by visiting His Disciples for about 40 days.  And He told them to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who came and launched everyone who follows Him to this day.  But the surprises haven’t stopped since, surprises inspired by the Love of God.

They’re a theme now.

Peter  in Acts 12

Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.

Tell the rest of the story…

James was dead

Peter in prison

Kept under the most guarded situation they had available.

Then an angel comes in response to constant or earnest prayer

God is the source of Resurrection surprises.

The entire New Testament is a book filled with people surprised by God.

Would a surprise be welcome in your life right now?

Where could your surprise be and is there anything that could release God’s surprise from your end of
things?

Pray desperate prayers when you’re stuck.  “Constantly, earnestly.”

(stretched out, ektenes)  Like a slingshot, those prayers contained powerful, potential energy.

Take faith-filled steps; don’t stay where you are.

wait and watch for God’s surprises.

Most importantly, resurrection surprise doesn’t happen without Jesus.  He told Lazarus’ sister that He is the Resurrection and the Life.  Have you, do
you, have a real, transforming, sold out relationship with Jesus? Your vital connection to the Lord Jesus is the way that resurrection surprises come to
you.  So if you’re far from Him, expect the same old same old.  But if you’ll step into new life with Him, He will surprise you right away: with new life.