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Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Sunrise Service: Something dawned on them....

Something Dawned on them that first Easter Sunday

Dawn at our Sunrise Service on the African Highveld

In Matthew's gospel, he talks of Mary Magdalene going to the tomb early Sunday morning – there’s an earthquake, an angel, a proclamation: He is risen.

And something dawns on her.

The soldiers who experienced all the above as well,..... Matthew tells us they run and tell the chief priests, and they make a plan, they pay them to say “The disciples came and stole the body.”

They do this because something dawns on them, that morning.

And so we can run through all the Resurrection appearances: 
.....Peter runs into the empty tomb and something dawns on him
.....John doesn't barge into the tomb – he looks and something dawns on him
.....Two of Jesus’ followers are walking to Emmaus and a stranger joins them – and something dawns on them

The process of the Resurrection Truth dawning on people seems to be one that takes differing amounts of time in different people.

The disciples are all together behind locked doors and Jesus appears....and something dawns on them.
Thomas isn't there, and it takes longer, but a week later something dawns on him as well.

This process of coming to terms with the Resurrection is just that,........ a process.
Like the dawning of a new day........... there’s not a moment where you say ..............now it’s dawn and now it’s not, dawn is finished.

And so it was that things dawned on them and understanding began to filter into them, becoming brighter...clearer. 

If there is one verse in the whole Bible that speaks light on God’s eternal plan, it is surely John 3:16

When they first heard those words it was in the context of Nicodemus coming to Jesus in the dark of night and Jesus talking about being born again and in the midst of it all saying “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life.”

I don’t think they understood that verse when Jesus first said it, but on Resurrection Sunday, it would have begun to dawn on them – friends may it dawn on you in some new way this Easter.

Because Jesus was raised from the dead 2000 years ago, may you and I change in some way today. 

God loves the world

This is an echo of the six days of creation. He saw each day’s work and it was good.
The sixth days work, which included the creation of you and me....of humans....was very good!

In John 3:16 comes the revelation that God loves the world and everyone in it – you and me. Let that dawn on you this morning. Bask in the light of that truth.

Not just His chosen nation, not just a few in His chosen nation – but the world.
He loves South African’s as much as… Nigerian's....
Americans as much as Iranians..................
Muslim’s as much as Christians as much as Buddhists................
Is there anyone God does not love?
He loves the world – if only that truth would dawn on all the people of the world it would change what we do to each other.
But oh, that it would just dawn on Christians and affect our born again behaviour.
And He not only loves us, but He loves us so much.

How much is so much – I saw a Easter Egg that cost €25 000 (1/4 million Rand)… it was chocolate studded with diamonds and the person said – this shows you love...implying, I think that this shows you love a lot.

God loved the world so much..... “ That He gave His only Son”.
That was Friday’s message, but it is in fact the message every season in every age.

You cannot really put a value to that and of course it eventually dawned on the early followers that Jesus the Son of God in living flesh was and had been and is forever… God the Son in eternity and then the idea of our God as Trinity began to dawn on them.

So God in fact gave Himself....and the giving of self is the greatest gift. You might have bought a diamond studded Easter Egg for someone you love, but be sensitive to the possibility that the person you love – a spouse, a child, a parent, might well be saying “I just want more of you”

Does that truth need to dawn on anyone or on any relationship this morning?

God so loved the world that He gave His Son........
So that everyone who believes in Him.

It would have dawned on the disciples that day, in fact it did dawn on them that this new religion required them to tell, to ‘tell on.’
Do you remember, ‘telling on’ – the fear that sometimes caused you, or the power it allowed you to exert. ‘I will tell on you.’

Christianity is a ‘telling on’ religion. Far more people are saved by being told about Jesus, than by reading about Jesus.
Almost everyone who discovers what’s happened on that first Easter Sunday is told to go and ‘tell on’...

Jesus was in the tomb but He’s not anymore, go and tell on Him.

Jesus was dead now He’s alive. Tell on.

There’s a sense in which satan thought: we had told Jesus to go ‘to the corner and stay there – the corner called death. 
But .....He doesn't stay there............... Amen.
He’s left the corner ..................... Amen.
And He says ‘Tell on me – tell everyone on me – this is not a naughty secret, this is the best news there ever was.’

Tell on.

Jesus was sent to the corner, the corner of death, from which no one has ever emerged, but He didn't stay there – tell on.
Parents, grandparents, tell this good news..... to your children........ often ......and be inventive.

If you’re a beer drinker (and I hope you’re not) but this works just as well for a cool drink drinker – take the cans, build a wall, put Jesus behind it and ask your children – did Jesus stay in the tomb???.....No!!!!!!!! and let them push the cans away with the words “He lives.”

If you’re a smoker (I hope you’re not) when the box is empty, tear out a silver man..... put him in the box......and tell your children ‘they buried Jesus” .....but did he stay there?? ............. and let them rip open the box. Tell on about the Jesus who did not stay where the political and religious leaders told him to stay – in the grave.

It dawned on the early disciples that they had to tell the whole world that God loved so much – what Jesus had done – why – so that all who believe will not perish but have eternal life themselves.

Has it dawned on you that what God did for Jesus, He will do for you. When you die physically but even when you die spiritually, die each time you sin – when you and I sin, something dies in us and in our relationship with Jesus. Let Jesus raise you from the death which is sin in your life. Die to sin friend, and believe that God the Holy Spirit can raise you up today to a new place of holiness.

Do you believe that God, the Holy Spirit, is powerful enough to not only save you from sin, but to save you from sinning, to help you if you let Him resist temptation.

How big is your God?

One of the best ways to ‘Tell on Jesus’ is by a life that is changed and changing. That's the best way to ‘tell on’ to ‘witness’: put on a life that is changing daily… from glory unto glory.

God can raise you to a new place today if you let Him – if you let Him enter the caves and tombs of darkness within you.

You needn't be perishing in this life because of sin... you can be raised daily by the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.

It dawned on many people that first Easter Sunday, that life would never be the same again.
May it dawn on you this Easter Sunday, that your life need never be the same again.
Too many of us don’t change because we don’t believe we can change. May the truth of the power of the Resurrection dawn on us this Easter.

Let us choose to die to sin, to be raised to new life in Christ, and to walk in holiness.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.


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