Sermon Outline On Mark 16:1-8Â (NRSV)
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem the people waving the palm branches had a plan. Their plan was Jesus overthrowing the Romans. They had a plan, but God had a different plan. Jesus would be arrested, tortured, and crucified. The one who was to redeem Israel was buried. He was dead. What kind of plan was that! On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday God’s plan didn’t sound all that great. No one was shouting, ‘I love it when God’s plan comes together.’
All hope was lost. The people needed hope. Have we ever felt that we need hope? If God’s plan was to bring hope, something needed to happen.
Ralph Sockman reminds us in Christianity Today that something happened on Easter Day which made Christ more alive on the streets of Jerusalem forty days after his crucifixion than on the day of His Triumphal Entry. The plan of the people might have lasted forty days but the church which was founded on a Risen Christ, God’s plan, has lasted for twenty centuries, producing generations of hope filled people.
The Good Friday service in Dampara Baptist Church, Chittagong, Bangladesh, was packed. Little children sat on the floor in the aisles and across the front of the church. Rows of people stood in the back, craning their necks to see the crucifixion scene as depicted in the “Jesus Film.”
Weeping and gasps of unbelief could be heard in the shocked hush as Jesus was crucified. As the Bengalis watched, they were feeling the agony of Jesus’ pain and the disappointment of the disciples.
In that emotional moment, one young boy in the crowded church suddenly cried out, “Do not be afraid. He gets up again! I saw it before.”
A small boy’s encouraging cry gave new hope to the viewers of the film. “He is risen!” is the cry that gives new hope to all. So God’s plan came together with resurrection. Hannibal always said, ‘I love it when a plan comes together.’ We simply shout, ‘He is risen!’
He is risen! Yes, God’s plan came together in resurrection. Or did it?
With resurrection, God’s plan still hasn’t come together. God’s plan can come together only when people like you and me come into a personal relationship with that Risen Christ. If we don’t accept Jesus as our savior, if we don’t live differently because of his resurrection, if we remain indifferent to what God has done for us in Jesus, then God’s plan of resurrection is not enough. God’s plan cannot come together if it has no transforming meaning in our life. So God’s plan comes together with our response to resurrection. Or does it?
There are people all around us fighting to make it through the day that don’t believe Jesus Christ can make a difference in their lives. There are people who feel that life is meaningless because their lives are meaningless. As Joe Gibbs said, without a personal, intimate relationship with the resurrected Christ our lives are meaningless. What do I mean by a personal, intimate relationship? You know! You know the difference between an intimate friend and a casual acquaintance. Is Jesus your intimate friend or a casual acquaintance?
‘He is risen!’ Resurrection is wonderful, but God’s plan comes together only after we respond to Jesus and invite others to know him in a personal, intimate way.