SERMON FOR THE WEEK: Where do we meet Jesus today?
Because opportunities to attend services may be limited for several weeks, the newspaper has invited local clergy to submit sermons for publication here.
Peabody United Methodist Church
I ..have just reread the resurrection accounts in the Gospels. Part of that story says the two Marys went to the tomb at dawn on that first Easter.
“I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn’t here because he’s been raised from the dead, just as he said. He is going ahead of you.” … With great fear and excitement, they hurried away from the tomb and rant to tell the disciples. But Jesus met them and greeted them. … Don’t be afraid. … Go and tell my brothers. … They will see me.”
— Matthew 28
Where do we meet Jesus today? How do we meet Jesus today? My question is, “Do we go to the empty tomb and find it empty when Jesus is not there but He is risen?
- Some people are looking for Jesus in the tombs of the past.
I remember the warmth and excitement when I first met Jesus. I was 14 and seeking him. He came to me in my bedroom on a Saturday night. I sensed him and a wondrous peace came over me.
But no matter how glorious and wonderful our past experiences have been, Jesus is not in the past. Jesus is alive and in the present. The disciples learned this same Jesus who had walked among them was still with them, resurrected and in them in the Spirit.
Jesus is with us now, in our church, in our worship, in our fellowship, and what Jesus does today is for us now. We must not be tempted to talk about “the good old days.” We are called to be alive and see Jesus alive and with us now.
- Some are looking for Jesus in the tomb of the elsewhere.
Another temptation we have is to look on the other side of the fence — where the grass seems greener. It seems the disciples scattered quickly but then went to the tomb where they knew He was.
They had no concept that Jesus was alive and mobile. They were going to where they absolutely knew Jesus was, and at that moment He was on his way to where they were, and they missed him.
When I was a young preacher in Ohio, a district superintendent told us, “Don’t ask us to send you to a better church; work and make the church were you are better.”
The lesson is, don’t expect the risen Christ to be someplace else. Jesus lives and is already working in your life, your church, your home, your job. He comes to where we are, meets us, and redeems life where we are.
There are at least 12 times Jesus visited his followers before He ascended to heaven. I am sure there were more.
- Some are looking in the tomb of someone else’s experience.
Jesus comes to people in various ways — each of them real. Read the Gospels. Every appearance of Jesus is unique. I think this is because every person and group then and now is unique.
Mary Magdalene was different from Thomas, who was different from Peter, who was different from those walking to Emmaus, who were different from the 10 in the Upper Room, who were different from Saul of Tarsus. And this is true today.
Our experiences of the risen Christ are unique to each of us.
The important thing is that we meet Him.
Let Jesus the Christ come to you because He is risen, and he comes to you now, where you are, and He comes personally to you.
Last modified May 27, 2020