Easter 2020, from a Church in quarantine
Good morning everyone - HAPPY EASTER
A few quick announcements before we jump into our Sermon today
“Bible Study Worksheets” - Tuesdays
“Digital Devotions” - Thursdays
When there’s a special announcement about whats going on, we’ll go live on Facebook on Friday afternoon or evening to fill everyone in.
Next week, we’ll be starting a NEW SERMON SERIES about the character and nature of God.
What is He like?
How does He operate?
LASTLY------We’ll be having a Free “Grab & Go” ziti dinner on friday April 24th from 530-730.
You can show up, grab your food, and leave. We’ll be making sure to maintain our 6ft of Social Distancing, wearing gloves and masks and taking every precaution we can.
Friday, April 24th, pull your car up and leave with a free ziti dinner.
If you didn’t know, today is a special day
It has nothing to do with plastic grass
It has nothing to do with whicker diabetes baskets
And it has nothing to do imaginary egg laying rabbits
Today is the whole shebang
This is what it is all about
It is the day that Jesus Christ came back from the dead.
He lived a perfect life, proved His divinity, died a painful death----- and then came back to life.
The God we worship is one who defeated death
So today, were going to be looking at some verses that, while they arent the “traditional” verses that Preachers normally read from on Easter Sunday, they’re ones that convey the heart of the Easter message.
Mark 1:40-45 (NLT)
40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 43 Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: 44 “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” 45 But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.”
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
When people think or hear about Jesus, a lot of them think about instances like this.
They think about his miracles.
Walking on water…. Making blind people see… Making deaf people hear….
Even back then, when stories about Jesus circulated around the country and surrounding countries------they all sounded the same.
“Dude...theres this jew from Nazareth, doing some crazy things!”
He is talking to people paralyzed from birth, and they get up and walk away.
No atrophy in the muscles they’ve literally never used…
They just get up, and walk away.
“This one time, I heard a lady just touched His clothing, and she was healed from a 12yr long period.”
She just reached up, grabbed His robe, and BOOM she was healed.
And then the next guy:
“Oh that’s nothing man! I heard that he brought people back from the dead!”
Like, dead. Not mostly dead. Dead. No more. Ceased to be. Bereft of life.
Word of Jesus traveled everywhere….
So when we read those verses in Mark, we can know that a person who had a disease such as the man we read about, they would pay extra attention when Jesus was around.
And knowing what we know about Jesus and the miracles he performed, can give us an insight into the mentality of someone like him.
This man was living with a disease, where there was no known cure.
A disease that made his nerve endings die, and his skin and pieces of his body would rot and fall off.
It was a disease that was crazy stupid contagious.
In fact, this disease was so contagious, that having it meant so much more than your physical body decomposing while you were still alive.
It meant that you were ostracized from your friends and family
You had to leave your loved ones behind….
Quit your job….
And move your entire life out into a shack or a tent in the wilderness, and stay there until you somehow got better, or until you died.
Someone with this disease was entirely cut off from everything in the world.
No friends, no hobbies, no property, no family, no parents, no children, no siblings, no career, no income, no spouse, no love,
In fact, there are stories that people who lived in the cities and towns, when they saw someone with leprosy near them, they would gang up and throw rocks at them to keep them away.
Imagine that’s your life;
No friends and family, no job, no life apart from your disease
And strangers throwing rocks at you
They were separated from everything that they loved and understood, and forced into isolation while their body fell apart.
They were a useless, unloved waste of life
That’s not even the worst part though.
Yes it’s bad. Horrible. Degrading, depression inducing, soul wrenchingly bad….. to be an outcast, that no one wants to be around.
But it gets worse.
You see, back then, sickness of any kind, was seen as being a result of being “unclean”.
If you were sick, it meant that you had sin in your own life, or from your parents, that made you that way.
As in….you being “unclean” caused the disease.
You being a sinner, caused your sickness
You being a sinner, caused your separation
And if you were consistently sick, to such a degree that your body parts were falling off...it meant you were a dark evil person.
You would be an evil, looked down upon, stepped over, brushed aside, dirty rotten good for nothing sinner.
Not worth helping, not worth being polite and kind to, no one would go out of their way to help you or be nice to you
In fact, you wouldnt even be worthy of being told about the love of God.
People would think “oh we dont need to tell them about God, theyre already lost…”
I’m going to make a pretty bold guess here, and say there are some people in the world today who are thought of this way by many people who claim to be Christians….
Because of this, someone with leprosy wasnt allowed to go to the temple; meaning; they were stopped from
Going to God
From worshipping Him
Hearing from Him
Talking to Him
Hearing His words
You would be so unclean, that even God didn’t want to be around you.
To summarize, if you had leprosy, it meant that:
Your body was actively falling apart.
Skin, fingers, ears, toes…... you were dying.
It meant you were a literal outcast
No friends, no family, no job, no hugs or handshakes, living entirely alone with rocks being thrown at you by strangers to keep it that way.
And it meant that you were unwanted by God.
You couldn’t hear from Him, pray to Him, you couldn’t be saved, you believed yourself to be out of God’s reach.
You were an outcast. A loser. A nobody. No one wanted to be around you, no one cared, nobody loved you, no one showed you love or respect, you were a nobody whose life didnt matter, and no one would care if you died.
Coupling that with how contagious the physical disease was, people believed that you could transmit all of that stuff I just listed…... that “uncleanness” to other people.
Without intervention…. you were doomed.
But then, Jesus comes along.
Jesus comes along, and does what only Jesus can do.
You see, we can tell that this man with leprosy had heard about Jesus.
He’s heard the stories
He’s heard the rumors
He knows the kinds of things people have said about Him, and he gathers what courage and boldness he had within him…..approaches a stranger, close enough to be touched, and says:
“If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,”
You hear that? ---------- You hear his question?
“Heal me AND make me clean”
He knows that he needs spiritual healing.
Do we think that?
Do we just go to God when our physical needs aren’t being met?
God I cant pay my bills
God i have cancer and my body is dying
God I have these physical needs that cant be met and I need a miracle!
I cant pay my rent ------- I dont have any food
My car is broke down
I have these needs, and im coming to you for them…..
Not that those are bad things we shouldn’t bring to God…..but is that it?
If we neglect the spiritual healing we all need, then the problems of this physical world that come at us…….we have will define us
The man asked Jesus for a miracle------
So what does Jesus do?
He reaches out and touches the man.
This man probably hasnt had physical contact with another human in years
No high fives
No pats on the back
Jesus reaches out, to a broken, sick, condemned outcast------- and touches him.
The God of all creation, came to earth, and touched a man that everyone on the planet agreed shouldnt be touched.
The outcast who shouldnt be cared for-----
The person who could transmit a deadly evil disease to someone else by touching them-------
The loser, the outcast unwanted by his society------
God reached out and touched him.
The man’s leprosy was immediately healed
Meaning no sores
Nerve endings coming back to life
Meaning no open wounds
Meaning if there were missing body parts, these would have been made whole
Jesus reached out, touched the outcast, and healed him.
What happens after that?
Jesus tells the man to go into the city, and show the religious leaders that he is healed------that he is clean.
When the religious leaders saw that this man was healed…...it would mean that Jesus healed his social sickness as well.
He would be allowed to have a life
To have friends
To have or start family
To be accepted by his peers and neighbors
To have a job
To earn and provide for his family
When Jesus intervened in this man’s life, He made it possible for him to have an identity beyond what was wrong with him
Now something a little strange happens after this, Jesus tells the man to not tell anyone……. except the leaders.
Dont go shouting it on the streets
Dont start blabbing to everyone
Just go straight to the leaders and tell them whats up.
You see, Jesus told him that, because He knew that if people heard this and started coming to Him……
He would be gaining an audience, not a congregation
And if you want to come to God….if you are going to call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ…..if you are going to call yourself a Christian….you cant be an audience member.
It must be a total and complete and pull you into action
You cant come to Him and say God I need you…..but this part of my life is fine. I like how I live in regards….to this...
You cant say “Yes I am a Christian, yes I love Jesus and live for Him”......... and then go on and live your life however you want regardless of what Jesus has said.
If you are going to claim that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, but you live your life contrary to what scripture teaches...then you are an audience member and not a follower.
Ok….now that the hard part is over……
Here comes the best part. Are you ready?
Here comes the part where we see the essence of the Easter message.
What does it say happened to Jesus after this?
If we read the text and see that Jesus reached out and touched a man that wasnt allowed to be touched, causing this man to be healed….
What then happens to Jesus?
Verse 45 says
“He couldn’t go into a town, and had to stay out in secluded places…..”
The outcast was accepted in…..and Jesus was cast out.
The goodness of Christ was transferred to the man, and Jesus was rejected.
This is what Easter is.
This is why we celebrate.
If you repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God will accept you into His eternal loving embrace.
Jesus will have died for your sins, and His goodness will be transferred to you.
He will have been rejected on your behalf
Your sin and mistakes will have been laid on Him, and He will have died the death that you earned.
Jesus Christ is the God of all creation and He died the death of all who ask for forgiveness and believe in Him.
We are welcomed in----- -----and He was rejected
We are set free from the curse of sin and death---- -----and He died in our place.
This is Easter.
Those who repent and believe, are saved from eternal damnation by the shedding of His blood and the breaking of His body.
Jesus Christ died to save you--- and give your life eternal everlasting meaning, beyond anything in this world.
Beyond and above your job
Beyond and above your family
Beyond and above your hurt
Live for Him, and your life will have a meaning that cant be affected by anything in all of creation.
There will be no evil so dark that who you are as a person will change
There will be no hurt so painful and stressful that you can’t be held together
Your life will have a true, honest, unchanging meaning that cant be touched by anything in this world.
Turn away from your sin----
Fight against your sin with sweat and tears-----
Repent of your pride
Repent of your hate
Repent of your lust, anger, arrogance,
Repent of your sins and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and you will be accepted into heaven for all eternity
Where there is no hate
No sorrow // No sadness // No trauma // No lust or self righteousness
Where there is no pain or hurt
No betrayal // no one is lifted higher than others // where there is perfect peace and unity // Perfect love and acceptance,
Repent of your sins and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and you will spend eternity upon the shores of the river of life, forever enveloped in the neon righteousness of the God of the universe.
Jesus Christ loves you and died to give your life meaning.
He was cast out------so we could be accepted in
He died so we could live
He took the full wrath of God, against the evil in your life, accepting the punishment that you earned-------and making you as clean as snow--------If you repent and believe
God will forgive you, for everything in your life, not because of some apathetic whimsy, not because He just flippantly decides to forgive-------
When you repent and believe, He will forgive you because the punishment will be laid upon the back of His Son.
This is Easter.
The Holy dying for the outcast, so that they can be accepted into His Father’s House.
In closing….if anything i’ve said this morning is sticking with you
-----for good or for bad----
Let us know.
Send us a message here on Facebook and give voice to your thoughts.
If you want your life to have meaning beyond this world, then let God know.
Pray to Him
Admit to Him your fault and He will forgive you for everything in your life
He will be rejected and cast out, so that you can be accepted and welcomed in.
( → → Close in prayer ← ← )