the one about the message preached by the women...
April 23, 2019, 8:44 AM

Sermon from Easter Sunday - April 21, 2019

Text: Luke 24:1-12

Grace and peace to you from God our Creator and our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

This is a wonderful and great day. It is the greatest day in the life of the church. Without this day – without this celebration – without this resurrection – Jesus is just a man. Just a man with some nice things to say, born to some poor parents in the backcountry of Israel. Without this day, without the empty tomb, Jesus is just a guy with a somewhat interesting story of his birth. Because without this day, we wouldn’t even know that story.

Without this day and celebration, we wouldn’t know or care to pay attention to this guy who gathered a little band of followers, who apparently did some neat things with bread and fish, did something on some water, perhaps even healed some folks along the way.

Without the empty tomb, we probably wouldn’t know.

But, we do know. We do know this story. We do know this new life. We know because thankfully – someone listened. Someone believed. Someone shared.

This wonderfully story that we hear this morning is one shared first by women – those first few women who came looking to tend to the body of their dead lord, teacher, and friend. They came to tend to the lifeless form of the one they and so many others had put their hopes and prayers into.

The one who stood firm in proclaiming a life of repentance, love, and service. The one who shared that God loved you in spite of what the world would tell you because of your ‘sins.’ The one who said that he was, “I am.” The one who calmed storms, who raised the dead, who healed the sick, who broke bread and shared a cup with those society had pushed to the edge. The one who talked and spent time with the people that others wouldn’t come near. The one who spoke with authority and love of God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy.

That one, they knew was dead. They saw it happen. They watched through tear-filled eyes as he was nailed to a cross and struggled to lift himself in order to give words of forgiveness to those putting him to death.

They solemnly made their way to his tomb, expecting the usual. To tend to a young man who ran afoul to the authorities and the empire.

Yet, they did not find the usual at the tomb. The stone was rolled away. Two individuals were there and stated that they wouldn’t find the living among the dead. And then they remembered what he had told them (they are already far ahead of the disciples who still can’t remember). They remembered that he would rise again – but, to have a play on words with this story, Jesus’ words seemed an ‘idle tale’ and they didn’t believe him.

But, in spite of their reluctance to believe Jesus at his word, Jesus fulfilled and lived into the promise that he gave them and all the world. That death would not and is not the final word. There is indeed life – new life – gifted to the world through his victory over sin and death. The tomb is empty. The Lord is risen. Go and share this story so that others might believe. And they do.

As I read this monumental, holy, and miraculous story of Jesus’ resurrection and the empty tomb, I can’t help, but focus on one particular verse. Verse 11.

But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.

Imagine that. A story as old as time itself. The men didn’t believe the women’s story.

A story and unfortunate reality that many still adhere to today.

They were overcome with grief. They didn’t really see that. Why should we listen to them? Why should we believe?

But, the story we hear this morning, the one that is given to the women to proclaim and preach is the one we share. It is their passionate proclamation of the resurrection that pushes this story – this truth of God’s love born and made new into the world – to its farthest reaches.

Women have and do (and have always) played a pivotal role in the life of the church, you can argue even a central role in the life of the church. It is women who supported Jesus. It is women who followed him as he walked those streets with a cross across his shoulders. It is women who wrapped his body in linen and spices, it is women who went to the tomb that early Sunday morning to continue the burial customs, it is women who first share this splendid good news of Jesus’ resurrection to a world so torn and rocked by his death.

In so many specific ways, I say this – believe the women. Believe the stories they tell you around the table. Believe the stories they share about their life. Believe the stories they proclaim from the stand, the podium, and yes from the pulpit.

Believe the women. Believe women. Believe.

Our Lord and God has spread the good news of new life and resurrection to those first few women so that they might share this story.

And spread and share it they have. In spite of not being believed. They continued to share. Despite being pushed to the side of faith, they continued to serve and share. Despite being made to be the stereotypical scapegoats of all, women continue to proudly and passionately proclaim God’s love to the world.

What would this life – this new and renewed life that we have been gifted by God – be like, if we would just listen to the women in our life? What would it be like if we heard their preaching, their sharing of the gospel, their love, their care, their strength; and we believed them?

What story would we hear? We’d hear the one about the faith-filled one who we put our hopes and prayers into, the one who performed healings and more, the one who spoke with authority and newness about the scriptures, the one who calmed the storms, the one who raised the dead to new life, the one who stood against the authorities and the empire, the one who welcomed you, who loved you, who served with you – when no one else would, the one who called himself Son of God, the one who welcomed all into the love and goodness of God’s grace, the one who died…

That one? He is alive. Death didn’t win. Life and love have won the day.

Believe. Remember their words. Remember God’s word for you.

You are loved. You are not alone. Jesus is risen, he is risen indeed. Alleluia!

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