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The Living and the Dead April 20, 2014

(Easter Sunrise)
Matthe 2!"1#10 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
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There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. !is a""earance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. # The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
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The angel said to the women, %&o not be afraid, for ' know that you are looking for (esus, who was crucified. !e is not here* he has risen, +ust as he said. ,ome and see the "lace where he lay. - Then go quickly and tell his disci"les. /!e has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into 0alilee. There you will see him.1 2ow ' have told you.3
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So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with +oy, and ran to tell his disci"les. 5 Suddenly (esus met them. %0reetings,3 he said. They came to him, clas"ed his feet and worshi"ed him. 67 Then (esus said to them, %&o not be afraid. 0o and tell my brothers to go to 0alilee* there they will see me.3 --That first Easter morning was filled with confusion. The resurrection of Jesus turned the world upside down. Things that everyone understood to be absolutes were overturned. Imagine your confusion if you woke up one morning and discovered that your refrigerator made things hot and your stove made them cold. You would be confused. The day after the Sabbath the two !ary"s go to the cemetery to look at Jesus" grave. #nd this becomes a source of confusion. #ll of us know and understand that cemeteries graves and tombs are places for dead people and it is in the world of air and light where we find living people. #nd yet as these two women are in the cemetery the earth which is supposed to be solid and still begins to shake. #n angel appears and rolls back a stone that ordinarily would re$uire the strength of several men. This angelic being who looks like a man radiates light. %e all reflect light and we are accustomed to how a person who is standing in the sun looks a little brighter than someone standing in shadow but this man radiated light. John says that looking at him was like looking at lightning. This was not normal. The guards were so afraid they became paraly&ed with fear. John says they became like 'dead men.( #nd so here in the place of the dead the living who were supposed to be upright and breathing appeared to be dead. )ot only that but the angel proclaims that Jesus who everyone knew had been crucified was dead and then buried was no longer dead but had risen from the grave and was on his way to *alilee. The living appear dead and the dead live. +

This was not normal. The world had been turned upside down. #nd as the women run to tell the disciples what they had seen they meet Jesus. #nd Jesus tells them to tell the disciples whom he calls brothers to meet him in *alilee. #nd this last part also turns the world on its head. Those of us living in the twenty-first century simply don"t see it but it is there all the same. The angel tells the $%en to tell everyone that Jesus has risen. Jesus tells the $%en to tell the disciples that he will meet them in *alilee. The key is the women. Two thousand years ago the testimony of a woman was worthless. ,nder the law both in Jerusalem in and -ome the testimony of a woman even several women was inadmissible in court. %omen were considered to be prone to hysteria and fits of emotion and could not serve as witnesses of anything. #nd yet it is the women that are sent. If the resurrection were a fabrication of the disciples or the followers of Jesus if anytime in the first three centuries after the death of Jesus someone anyone were to write a fictional account of what happened the witnesses that morning would undoubtedly have been men. )o one would believe a story in which women were the witnesses of what had happened. #nd yet the story that we hear happens e.actly that way. The only way that the story could have been told and retold and recorded that way was if that was the truth. #nd so a messenger from *od shines like lightning. The living appear dead. The dead live. # cemetery becomes a place of celebration. #nd women become witnesses to the most ama&ing event in history. *od has turned the world on its head. #nd we re/oice because he did. '0e is risen1( &e$ple" 'e is risen(

You have been reading a message presented at Trinity ,nited !ethodist 3hurch on the date noted at the top of the first page. -ev. John 4artridge is the pastor at Trinity of 4erry heights in !assillon 5hio. 6uplication of this message is a part of our !edia ministry if you have received a blessing in this way we would love to hear from you. 7etters and donations in support of the !edia ministry or any of our other pro/ects may be sent to Trinity ,nited !ethodist 3hurch 89:9 7incoln %ay E. !assillon 5hio ;;<;<. These messages are available to any interested persons regardless of membership. You may subscribe to these messages in print or electronic formats by writing to the address noted or by contacting us at subscribe=trinityperryheights.org. If you have $uestions you can ask them in our discussion forum on >acebook ?search for 4astor John 5nline@. These messages can also be found online at httpABBwww.scribd.comB4astor John 4artridge. #ll Scripture references are from the )ew International Cersion unless otherwise noted.