03/31/13 Tears Turn to Joy, on Easter!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 Under: Sermon

Text: John 20:11-18 (NKJV)

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). 17  Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.' 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.”

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

Application: The empty tomb is a sign?

Intro:  The resurrection spelled “victory.” 

I want to make this statement but this isn’t an original: this is the Super bowl for Christians, this is the event, and the good news we have already won. Christ Arose! Our Salvation is sure.

17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Because He has risen we shall rise also:    21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.”  1 Corinthians 15:17-23

Illustration: Battle of Waterloo - General Wellington commanded the victorious forces at the great battle of Waterloo that effectively ended the Napoleonic Wars. The story has been told that when the battle was over, Wellington sent the great news of his victory to England. A series of stations, one within sight of the next, had been established to send code messages between England and the continent. The message to be sent was “Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.” Meanwhile a fog set in and interrupted the message sending. As a result, people only saw news of “Wellington defeated—” Later, the fog cleared and the full message continued, which was quite different from the outcome that the people originally thought had happened! The same is true today. When many look at what happened on Good Friday, the death of Christ, they see only “defeat.” Yet, on Easter, at the Resurrection, God’s message was completed. The resurrection spelled “victory.”  

1. Mary’s Depression: vs. 11-13

But on that first Easter Morning Mary Magdalene was weeping:  “Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.”

Why tears on this day of triumph? This is one of the most precious events in history. It was our Lord's first appearance after His resurrection; it was an appearance to a woman who had been saved from the depths of human depravity. It was the appearance to Mary Magdalene, one who loved Jesus with the deepest of loves because of what He had done for her. My thought to this fact of how Mary responded, shouldn’t we respond the same? Hasn’t He done something for you, for me… Jesus dried Mary’s tears because of the work He finished! This is Mary’s Journey from sorrow to service, this should be ours also.

Mary went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus, when she arrived, the tomb was empty and Jesus was not there she had expected the worst. Mary came to do the task of an undertaker. Her spices for anointing showed her doubts. I guess you could have been as guilty as Mary to look into a tomb to find Jesus and find Him not.  Doubt can be a great catalyst of depression.  Many, like Mary, are defeated by their doubts; did a dark cloud follow you into the service? Are you filled with anxiety? Do you believe in Christ but doubt His power? The stone wasn’t made out of Styrofoam!

God’s messenger ask “Why weepest thou?” Why indeed?

- Mary doubted the Lord’s promise.
- Mary doubted the Lord’s power.
- Mary doubted the Lord’s presence.

Mary’s tears were needless. Christ had risen! Are you worrying over things that will not happen? Maybe it is time you trade your fears for faith and rest in the risen Christ! Christ can and will deliver you from your depression.

2. Mary’s Devotion: vs. 14-16

Mary may have felt the cross and the loss more than others; she had been delivered from seven demons: “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.”  Mark 16:9 “Seven” shows she had been completely under their power, Christ had set her free! Her devotion to Christ was real because of what He had done to set her free from the bondage of sin.  The Lord’s question:  "Woman, why are you weeping? Mary turns and sees Jesus but does not recognize Him. Sometimes deep emotion blinds us to the presence of Jesus.

- Deep depression: so sad we do not see Him
- Deep anger: so mad we do not see Him
- Deep joy: so glad we do not see Him

“They have taken away my Lord” If this had been true, tears would have been timely, but no one can do this: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. 30I and My Father are one."  John 10:28-30

When Mary finally sees and hears the voice of Jesus she response with “Master” Have you called Jesus master? Are you still in deep depression, deep anger or is there a joy that is complete? A joy that brings you to a real devotion with Christ! 

3. Mary’s Direction: vs. 17-18

“Go to My brethren!” First time addressed as brethren. WE are brothers and sisters in Christ and its time we start treating each other like family. The empty tomb is a sign, it is directions to Go! Mary is given a mission to carry out for Jesus. That hasn’t changed, Ocean View is “on mission by the sea sharing Christ love”   Life is good when we give ourselves to the work of Christ, your tears can be turned to Joy! Let the hope of the Easter mornings resurrection of Christ give you direction.

There is an Invitation to Discouraged People to Come to Jesus, He’s Alive! Trust Him and turn from tears to joy.

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”   Ephesians 2:1, 4-6  

Mary’s direction to go as Christ has instructed are the orders we have been given and we can rejoice with this: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5  who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials.”  1 Peter 1:3-6

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

John G. Paton, a nineteenth-century missionary to the South Seas, met opposition to leaving his home in Scotland and going to preach to the cannibalistic peoples of the New Hebrides Islands. A well-meaning church member moaned to him, “The cannibals, the cannibals! You will be eaten by the cannibals!” Without hesitation, Paton replied, “I confess to you that if I can live and die serving my Lord Jesus Christ, it makes no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms; for in that Great Day of Resurrection, my body will rise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer!”

Turn your tears to Joy! Mary did! The Empty Tomb is a sign! A sign to rejoice!

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