Easter Sunday


Message Title:
Main Text:
 All Scripture Readings
Scripture Reading:
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26; Luke 24:1-12
RCL Scripture:
*Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12
Focus: Jesus resurrected for all people to be invited to the family of God.
 To be comfortable in the unknown, to learn through the Spirit, and respond with praise.
Other Notes:

SCRIPTURE READING 1: Psalm 118 :1-2, 14-24 Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever. Let Israel say it: “God’s faithful love lasts forever!”… 14 The Lord was my strength and protection; he was my saving help! 15 The sounds of joyful songs and deliverance are heard in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s strong hand is victorious! 16The Lord’s strong hand is ready to strike! The Lord’s strong hand is victorious!” 17 I won’t die—no, I will live and declare what the Lord has done. 18 Yes, the Lord definitely disciplined me, but he didn’t hand me over to death. 19 Open the gates of righteousness for me so I can come in and give thanks to the Lord! 20 This is the Lord’s gate; those who are righteous enter through it. 21 I thank you because you answered me, because you were my saving help. 22 The stone rejected by the builders is now the main foundation stone! 23 This has happened because of the Lord; it is astounding in our sight! 24 This is the day the Lord acted; we will rejoice and celebrate in it!

SCRIPTURE READING 2: Acts 10: 34-43 34 Peter said, “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. 35 Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 This is the message of peace he sent to the Israelites by proclaiming the good news through Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all! 37 You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism John preached. 38 You know about Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and endowed with power. Jesus traveled around doing good and healing everyone oppressed by the devil because God was with him. 39 We are witnesses of everything he did, both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him up on the third day and allowed him to be seen, 41 not by everyone but by us. We are witnesses whom God chose beforehand, who ate and drank with him after God raised him from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

SCRIPTURE READING 3:  1 Corinthians 15; 19-26 19 If we have a hope in Christ only in this life, then we deserve to be pitied more than anyone else. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead. He’s the first crop of the harvest[a] of those who have died. 21 Since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came through one too. 22 In the same way that everyone dies in Adam, so also everyone will be given life in Christ. 23 Each event will happen in the right order: Christ, the first crop of the harvest,[b] then those who belong to Christ at his coming, 24 and then the end, when Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he brings every form of rule, every authority and power to an end. 25 It is necessary for him to rule until he puts all enemies under his feet.[c] 26 Death is the last enemy to be brought to an end,

SCRIPTURE READING 4: Luke 24: 1-12  Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Human One[a] must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words. When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles. 11 Their words struck the apostles as nonsense, and they didn’t believe the women. 12 But Peter ran to the tomb. When he bent over to look inside, he saw only the linen cloth. Then he returned home, wondering what had happened.


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: How many of you love home improvement projects? Which projects are always worth the money?
    1. Have you ever taken a short cut to save money?
    2. Have you ever found something bizarre while in the midst of a project?
  2. Perhaps it’s pregnancy, but house projects have been on my mind the last six months or so. I particularly love learning about home renos with weird discoveries. Sure, I always ask “Why would you cover up beautiful hard wood floors with carpet?” But what if they find something else under the carpet?
    1. One of my favorite stories is of a couple who decided to rip up the carpet in a room in their house and they discovered a fully tiled hot tub. PHOTO

TRANSITION:  While we may not understand *why* our previous home owner made their decorating decisions; we’ve got bigger puzzles to solve.

It’s Easter Sunday! He has risen- he has risen indeed. Today we will discuss the PUZZLING story of Jesus’ resurrection through our scripture readings. We’ll address the text in reverse order, starting with Luke and ending with Psalm 118. Join me as we walk through scripture and hunt for understanding in this complex story.

THE TEXT:  Luke 24:1-12; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26; Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24


  1. WHAT HAPPENED: Luke 24:1-12
    1. Gospel disclaimer: Each Gospel is different about who went to the tomb and what happened at the Tomb. This is Luke’s perspective. Not a resurrection text but a discovery of the empty tomb (Wp)
      1. I think we’re given this passage as examples of our own experience. We weren’t there on Easter Sunday. We didn’t get to see the resurrected Messiah. BUT we’re still called to believe.
    2. Fear was present: it was not a good time to be connected to Jesus. Jesus had just been brutally executed; you could easily assume the same fate – guilty by association. Therefore, many of the disciples went into hiding.
      1. BUT the women went to the tomb. The women did not dwell in their fear. They lived in their love for Jesus.
    3. The text tells us “men” appeared (angels) and announce to the women that Jesus is alive and remind them of what Jesus taught them.
      1. The women remembered and went to spread the news.
    4. Then they went to tell the men, but the men didn’t believe them. The disciples treated the women like their culture expected—women are property, they can’t speak truth. Women couldn’t even testify in court… I mean if a cow or a table can’t testify, why should a woman? (just considered it “hen talk” as Gary would call it.)
      1. Peter even goes to the Tomb and leaves wondering.
    5. Disbelief is part of the Easter Story
      1. Belief is not the natural response of anyone (WP)
  2. SIGNIFICANCE: 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 can’t rewrite history or faith so that it makes you feel good.
    1. Struggles with belief was not a problem for just the disciples. Early Christians, especially those who didn’t meet Jesus or witness the resurrection struggled to understand and build their faith.
    2. Many tried to explain things away that they didn’t understand so Paul wrote to show them how their “solutions” to the “problems” made different problems.
      1. Christ was resurrected… if not, then we have not hope of being resurrected and our faith is silly.
    3. The concept is difficult to comprehend BUT Jesus resurrected FOR US and we have hope in our own resurrection because of Easter.
  3. INVITATION: Acts 10:34-43 Learning and growing with God
      1. Both Paul and Peter had to learn the lesson that God was opening doors for Gentiles, not just for Jews. They learned that we didn’t have to become Jewish to follow Jesus, who was Jewish. The resurrection was a promise not simply for a select few, but for everyone to expect.
    2. This passage in acts is beautiful because Peter has to admit that God is doing things he didn’t expect. Peter sees the Holy Spirit work in people that he had written off and was forced to adjust his own beliefs to fit how God ACTUALLY works.
      1. (Pentecost of the Gentiles- Peter’s eyes have opened that God calls Gentiles as well as Jews).
      2. “I am learning” – He’s a work in progress, he’s undoing his preconceived ideas and working on opening his mind to how God had designed things.
    3. God doesn’t show partiality to one group over another
      1. Audience engagement: Let’s unpack verse 35 in a way that hits home. Every nation—reflection time: “every ____” (political party, generation, country, race, etc)
  4. WORSHIP: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24- a partial repeat of last week.
    1. We read part of this psalm last week for Palm Sunday but the sentiment remains: God’s plans are bigger than we understand. God’s methods are frequently puzzling. BUT God’s motives are always praise worthy.
      1. Praising God in the midst of our unknown
    2. We’re praising God from the other side of a promise. Easter Sunday is waiting on one less promise than Palm Sunday’s praises.


  1. You don’t have to have God all figured out.
    1. Jesus’ disciples (who were there! Who travelled with Jesus, ate with Jesus, saw miracles were inconsistent!)
    2. Faith doesn’t mean “I understand completely.”  Faith means “I’ll trust in the midst of the unknown.”
  2. There will be learning opportunities as you stick it out.
    1. An ongoing relationship with God will open doors of understanding in many ways— in other ways it will open peace for the unanswered.
    2. Peter was “learning” – we can learn too.
  3. Jesus’ resurrection is full of mysteries but his love for you is unquestioningly true.

CONCLUSION:  The Good news? You won’t find any hidden hot tubs under the carpet. The truth? There will be plenty more puzzling parts of faith as you grow with God. Embrace the mysteries. Expect new things. Welcome to the resurrection.

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