Project Description

Happy Easter!!!

Jesus Christ is risen from the Dead—
So everything—
everything is different now.

Jesus, who claimed to be God—
Jesus who was dead—
beat to death—dead—
pierced in the side—dead—
nailed to a Cross dead—
dead—dead.

Well that was on a Friday.

But when Sunday came—
they went to the tomb—
and it was empty.

And this once beaten—
once pierced—
and nailed to a Cross—
dead man—
started appearing to people.

And ever since—
things are different now.

And that’s a good thing.

No, that’s a great thing.

Have you ever doubted that Jesus
was raised from the dead?

Did it really happen?

Well, I’ll be honest with you.

I’ve certainly doubted before!

There was a time in my life when I didn’t believe.

In the scientific age we live in. . . .

In an age where the miraculous is
automatically excluded. . . .

In an age where the supernatural is
not even a possibility. . . .

Doubt about such a miracle is not
such an uncommon thing.

But, remember—
doubting is OK.

It’s kind of natural to doubt.

There’s always been doubters.

So, how did Jesus deal with doubters?

How did Jesus deal with Thomas—
One of the twelve—
the icon of doubt about the resurrection?

Jesus said,
“Come—
come, Thomas—
place your hands in my wounds—

Feel for yourself—
and believe.”

And Jesus says the same to us.

So, we wrestle with our doubts.

We look at the evidence.

And there is much, much evidence—
Historical evidence.

Were there eyewitnesses?

Absolutely.

Multiple accounts—
from multiple independent sources—
about many eyewitnesses.

One source—
St. Paul—
Writing just 20 years or so after it happened—
said the Resurrected Jesus appeared to over 500 people.

And some of them are right here among you—
So, go ask them.
Ask an eyewitness.

Maybe they just made it all up?

The evidence suggests that’s incredibly unlikely.

A Crucified and Risen Messiah
that came before the end of the world—
before everyone was raised?

Well, this went directly against what the Jews believed!!!

This was not what would have expected.

If they made it up—
and wanted their fellow Jews to believe in their made-up story—
they would have come up with one
that would have been easier to believe.

Made up?

Not likely.

If they would have made it up—
they would not have written down in the record
that it was the women who were the first witnesses.

In the patriarchal society in which they lived—
The witness of a woman couldn’t be trusted—
Not even in a court of law.

Made up?

Not likely.

When I studied in Rome,
one of my favorite places to pray
was on Tiber Island.

On that little island—
there is a church and
in that church lie the remains of St. Bartholomew.

He was one of the twelve.

After Bartholomew saw the Resurrected Jesus—
he went and spread the Good News wherever he went.

Eventually, he was martyred for it.

If you go to the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican,
and look above the altar at Michelangelo’s
great painting of the Last Judgment,
you’ll see St. Bartholomew.

He’s in the company of the saints—
right next to Jesus.

Michelangelo painted him,
standing next to Jesus—
holding his own skin.

You see St. Bartholomew was flayed—
skinned alive.

Who would be skinned alive for some made up story?

So, don’t be afraid of doubts.

Wrestle with them.

Look at the evidence—
And there is much, much more.

If we doubt,
Jesus says:
“Come—
Come and place your hands in my wounds—
Feel for yourself—
And believe.”

And since it is true—
As I said,
everything has changed!!!

You see, Jesus’ resurrection means that we can rejoice.

Even in the presence of existing sin and death—
Even in the presence of such chaos and darkness—
We can rejoice.

Because with the Resurrection—
we know that in the end—
Good will triumph over evil—
Love will triumph over hate—
Eternal Life will triumph over death.

So, Rejoice!!!!

Good and Love and Eternal Life won!!!
Jesus won!!!
God won!!!

And if we remain with Him—
we will be part of His victory—

Things are certainly different!!!

With Jesus’ resurrection—
We have been assured of His teachings.

They’re bona-fied now.

Bonified by God the Father Himself.

So, we no longer have to reach and
stumble in the dark.

In the midst of so much confusion on
how we can choose to live—
with the Resurrection—
we know how we are to live.

Jesus is our sure guide!!!

So, we give of ourselves. . . .

We feed the poor—
We clothe the naked—
We forgive our enemies—
We never return evil for evil.

We don’t make war—
We make peace.

We don’t take—
We give.

We don’t hate—
We love.

With the resurrection—
We know—
We know that Jesus is the Way—
Jesus is the Truth—
Jesus is the Life.

See!!!

See how everything is different now!!!

We can rejoice.

And with the resurrection—
With the resurrection—
We are assured of God’s forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not some abstract idea—
Forgiveness is not something that we only hope for.

When we do wander away from Jesus—
or wonder from the path that Jesus has set for us—
When we are not the people that we want to be—

We are now assured that God is there to forgive us.

And to forgive us with love and mercy—
with gentleness and kindness.

Oh, how I hate to do some one wrong.

And how I really hate to do God wrong.

A God who sent his Son to save me—
A God who loves me infinitely—
A God who has done nothing but
shower me with gifts my whole life.

How I hate to offend Him.

But when—
in my human weakness I do—

God is there like the Father in
the story of the Prodigal Son with open arms—

Just happy that I have returned home—
Just happy that He can put His arms around me and
show me how much He loves me.

Just so He can say those words that are so sweat to my ears—

“I absolve you of your sins—
You are forgiven—
Be at peace—
Begin Again.”

See, how everything is different.

The Resurrection of Jesus—

Not only is true—
Not only did it happen—
But it matters to us that it happened.

It assures us of Good triumphing over evil—
It assures us that we are loved and forgiven—
It assures us of eternal life—
It assures us of the way we are to live.

So now—
we can now rejoice.

Holy Spirit 04/20/2019