On Sunday 1st April, we had our Easter Sunday service. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to this, click here.
One of the privileges of my job as the minister of this church is conducting funerals. I have learnt new and revealing things about people that I have known for years as others bring their recollections and stories about the deceased. Different people see and experience different aspects of people’s lives and personalities. They all have different perspectives that bring richness to our understanding of that person. It often leaves me wishing that I had known them better. I would have seen them very differently I might even have acted a bit differently towards them as well. It is often only after someone has died that you get the full picture. Maybe you have had similar experiences. The reality is that we all see just one aspect of the person. We see them from only our own perspective.
This is true of our understanding of who Jesus is as well. We also all have differing perspective on Him and so did his closest friends and family.
It was only after he died that they got they full picture, because he didn’t stay dead. You can read about this by clicking here.
The women were devoted to Jesus, they loved him and went to the tomb to prepare him properly for burial. They went at the first possible opportunity. Up at the crack of dawn to do what they thought would be their final act of service to him. They were not expecting anything from him. They just wanted to serve him. These women were really sad because they thought that they had lost this really amazing friend and teacher. They didn’t remember what Jesus had told them about his death and resurrection; they needed to be reminded. They were surprised by finding Jesus even in the depths of their sadness. When they discovered the empty tomb their first thought was to tell the others. This was the sort of news that they didn’t want to keep it to themselves.
But the disciples and others didn’t believe the women they thought that they were making it up! It all seemed a bit far-fetched. I would guess that if it were us we might well react in the same way.
But Peter was different, he ran to find out for himself. He was not content to hear about Jesus from others he wanted to see and experience this amazing thing for himself. Peter came away from the tomb without all of the answers. He was still puzzled by the evidence that was before him. He was unable to make sense of it all. But he hadn’t encountered the living Jesus yet. It was only later when Jesus meets him face to face that he realised who Jesus really was. Because it was only after Jesus death that he understands who Jesus really is, because he didn’t stay dead. If we read on we see that when Peter understands who Jesus really is it affects the way that he acts towards him and it in fact it changes the way he lives the rest of his life. This is because it is only when we encounter Jesus for ourselves that we know who he really is. When we do it will change our lives forever.
We may look at this story and wonder who we relate to most in this story. When confronted with the news of the empty tomb, how do we respond? The fact of the full understanding of who Jesus is has the potential to affect the rest of our lives, but does it?
Maybe we still need convincing.
Over the next few Sundays we will be exploring “Reasonable Faith” in our new series. We will be exploring together 3 critical pieces of evidence. The first is this whole issue of the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. The second week a scientist will be looking at the evidence for God in “life the universe and everything. Far from science making him sceptical he sees science as something that opens a window on faith. The final week looks at a totally transformed life as tangible proof of God’s .
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. Read the verses through 2 or 3 times. Is there anything that strikes you? What is it and why do you think that it jumped out at you?
2. Having read this through which word or phrase resonates with you the most? Why do you think that is?
3. Which, if any, of the characters in the story do you identify with? Why is that?
4. What is it that strikes you about the women’s experience?
5. Are you surprised about the majority of the disciple’s attitude to the women’s news? Do you think that we are more or less sceptical that them? Why do you think that is?
6. Peter sees the empty tomb but he still has questions. This tells us that it is ok to have questions. Do you think that we should foster an environment that helps people to be open about their questions and uncertainties? What are the things that help this and what is it that makes it difficult?
7. Having heard again the story of Easter is there something that you need to do in response?