Journey to Jerusalem: Come to Jesus
Luke 24: 1-12
Sermon by Pastor Josh Van Leeuwen
Introduction by Phyllis Yearick
What makes you feel most alive? Is it going on vacation and leaving all your problems behind? Or maybe watching your child succeed at something? Or maybe it’s getting a promotion or a raise at work. Or achieving a personal goal. Buying that perfect new thing. Whatever that something is, you know how it makes you feel. Everything seems better. The grass is greener, the flowers more colorful, people’s moods lighter. We are addicted to the rush we get from even the smallest new things.
But vacations end, and we have to return to real life. Our kids mess up, and their past success is a distant memory. New spending habits erase our salary bump, and our new position at work starts to feel like the same old grind. Another day, more goals to be met. Once the newness wears off, that purchase we were so excited about quickly becomes a familiar old thing. We know this will happen, so why do we look for lasting satisfaction in things that don’t last?
It was early, before sunrise, on the first day of the week. The third day after Jesus had been crucified. The women—Mary Magdalene, Johanna, Mary the mother of James, and others—had brought spices so they could prepare the body of their Lord for a proper burial. As they approached the tomb, they noticed that the huge stone that had covered the entrance had been rolled away, and the tomb was empty. Were they at the wrong place? No, they distinctly remembered that this was where the body of Jesus had been placed. Suddenly, two men in lightning-white clothes appeared beside them.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” the men asked. Why would Jesus be in the grave? He had told his followers many times that he would die and rise again, but nobody understood or believed him. Even when Peter ran to the tomb and saw for himself that it was empty, he wondered what had happened. Not until Jesus appeared to his disciples later would they accept that he was alive.
Jesus said, “I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Do we believe him? If we do, why do we chase after things that give us a temporary boost instead of embracing the life that Jesus offers us? Why do we waste our time and money on things that don’t last? Is it because we really, in our heart of hearts, don’t believe that Jesus can give us the full, abundant, and eternal life he promised? Is it because we fear the cost of such a life? What might we have to give up if we accept his abundant life? Will it be worth the sacrifice?
It was worth the sacrifice to Jesus. He gave himself up for us. He left his heavenly throne and took on human flesh, was born to peasants, grew up poor, and became an itinerant preacher, traveling around healing people and telling them about the good news of God’s love and offering forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all would accept him as their savior. He was ridiculed by learned men and labeled an enemy of the state. He was arrested on bogus charges, tried by a kangaroo court, tortured, and crucified, then buried in a borrowed tomb. A tomb that could not contain him because death could not hold him. The same can be true for us, too. If we trust Jesus, confess our sins, and accept him as our savior, death has no claim on us. Whatever we have to give up is worth the sacrifice, for only in and through him can we find life that lasts. He is risen! He is risen, indeed.
You are welcome at Westview Church! Join us this Sunday morning at 9:30 and stay for Discovery Hour (all ages, little ones through adults).