Have You Heard the Good News? (Luke 24:1-12)

Journey with Jesus to ... the Resurrection! (Easter Day, April17)
Read Luke 24:1-12

Nobody expected Easter. Nobody. Everybody knew that a crucified Messiah was a failed Messiah.

So nobody showed up, except for the women. They were there at the break of dawn. Their intention was to complete the burial process begun on Friday afternoon.

What a surprise they got! The stone was rolled away, the grave was empty, and angelic messengers said Jesus was raised from the dead. Nobody saw that coming! The ladies didn’t see it, the disciples didn’t see it; nobody saw it.

Before long, Jesus made a personal appearance to Mary Magdalene, to Peter, and ultimately to many others. But the first responses to the empty tomb were decidedly confused: the women were “perplexed.” The disciples thought it was an “idle tale, and they did not believe them.” Peter went home “marveling at what had happened.”

A lot of time has past since that first Easter morning. But it’s still a perplexing, marvelous, and practically unbelievable story. We find it incredulous, too. A dead body raised to new life? Impossible!

And yet…. Within days or weeks, these same perplexed and disbelieving people were boldly “proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 4:2).

What happened to change these folks’ perspectives? Were they gullible? Were they deceitful? No, and no. What happened was this: they saw the resurrected Jesus. And when they saw him, they had to change their thinking. As incredible as it seemed, Jesus was alive again. There was no way to explain it, but they knew it was true.

Despite its incredulity, others began to believe it, too. The could see the change in their friends who followed Jesus. They were especially impressed by the love they saw in this new community of Christ-followers — "Christ-ians," they called them -- and before long they too believed in Jesus.

This is how the early church grew: the apostolic preaching of the resurrection of Jesus, combined with the living witness of the community of Christ-followers. There was something dynamic, inclusive, welcoming about that strange community of people who loved and served everyone. Their teaching had the ring of truth; their community had the feel of truth. Once people heard their story and felt their love, they were convinced, and they wanted it for themselves.

It’s that way today, too. We need both the message (the Gospel Words) and the music (the Gospel Community). When these are played together, it’s a compelling tune, and people want to join in.

So celebrate!  Have you heard the Good News? Jesus is Risen! He is Alive!

It’s Easter Day! The first day of the beginning of new creation. Get up! Go to church! Happy Day!

If you’re in the neighborhood, join us for outdoor worship at the Buffalo Chip Saloon. Services at 7:00 and 9:00. Complimentary continental breakfast at 8:15. What are you waiting for? Let's Go!