April 19, 2015 – Third Sunday of Easter

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Try to imagine: you spend three years of your life following a man you have come to believe is the Messiah, the One who is to save your people. With your own eyes you have seen Him raise people from the dead, cause the blind to see and the lame to walk; you have seen Him cast demons out of people. You even saw Him take a handful of fish and loaves of bread and feed more than 5,000 men, women and children with it. Over the course of three short years you saw Him transform your land as His reputation went before Him and thousands of people flocked to Him in every town and village He visited. He said and taught things that tortured your heart and made your heart soar. You never believed you could feel such joy.

And then, they killed Him.

The same people that cheered Him on as He entered Jerusalem turned on Him like a pack of ravenous wolves and destroyed His reputation, beat Him to a pulp, and then murdered Him in the most painful and terrorizing manner ever created. And with your own eyes, you saw this too. In all the bloody reality, you saw Him die. You saw His battered and defeated body taken down from the cross, laid in His mother’s arms and then buried in a borrowed grave. You saw the stone rolled across the entrance and heard the echo as the situation came to a sudden and final close.

And then He came to you.

As you huddle with your friends discussing some very strange and hardly believable happenings, He is there! Standing before you in an instant, stretching out His wounded hands and feet; inviting you to touch His side. Inviting you to believe the unbelievable.

He is Risen!!

Not in your wildest dreams could you have imagined. And yet, as He speaks and opens the Scriptures to you, your heart burns within you; your heart soars again. You know a depth of joy you never knew was possible. The One you have lost has been found! The One who was dead is alive! The One you had hoped was the Messiah truly is!

Now what are you going to do?

I think you would spend the rest of your days telling as many people as possible the Good News. I think you would exhaust yourself spreading the joy in your heart. I think you would be willing to undergo any hardship, even death, knowing that the Savior lives!

And yet, all of us living today, two thousand years after these miraculous events, know of these things. They have been handed down through the centuries. The blood of the martyrs has fertilized the Word and the grace of God has continued to grow the Church. We are the recipients of such abundant blessings. We have experienced the reality of the Resurrection without having had to see the reality of the crucifixion. We have been entrusted with great power and great news. Do we have the joy of Christ in our hearts? Do our hearts burn within us? Are we witnesses to the Truth?

If not us, then who?

Go my friends, and preach the Gospel.

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