On Feb. 27, 1991, at the height of Desert Storm, a mother received a very sad message from the Pentagon. It stated that her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private 1st Class, had stepped on a mine in Kuwait & was dead. She later wrote, "I can't begin to describe my grief and shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For three days I wept. For three days I expressed anger and loss. For three days people tried to comfort me, to no avail, because the loss was too great." But three days after she received that message, the telephone rang. The voice on the other end said, "Mom, it's me. I'm alive." She said, "I couldn't believe it at first. But then I recognized his voice, and he really was alive." The message was all a mistake! She said, "I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels, because my son whom I had thought was dead, was really alive. I'm sure none of you can even begin to understand how I felt." Perhaps not, but some who walked the pages of the New Testament would have understood how she felt because they experienced the same emotions themselves. One day they watched their best friend and teacher being nailed to a cross. They witnessed His pain as He cried out, "I thirst!" and "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" They listened as finally He bowed His head and said, "It is finished!" and "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit"
They watched as His body was taken from the cross and buried. All their hopes and dreams were buried with Him. For three days they mourned, until finally, "very early in the morning the first day of the week" the scripture says, some women made their way along the path that led to His tomb, wondering who would roll away the stone for them. But when they arrived, they found that the stone had already been rolled away. And an angel there told them, "He is not here: for He is risen, as He said..." Cf. Mt. 28:6a
I. Difference: Hope and Despair. Mt. 28:1-8
A. Jesus gives us hope for this life.
Joh 10:10b "…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
1. If we will turn to Him in faith, He will forgive our sin and give us a new life.
2. He gives us a new direction and new purpose.
3. He gives us an understanding of our real reason for living!
B. The resurrection of Jesus Christ means that there is hope beyond this life.
Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
II. Difference: Darkness and Light. Lk. 24:13-27
A. The Emmaus Disciples walked in Darkness.
1. These disciples didn't understand what had happened.
2. They were saddened by the events they had witnessed.
3. Jesus appeared unto them, but they couldn't see that it was Him.
4. Now, they had heard of the empty tomb, but they were still in the dark as to what this meant.
B. Jesus Showed Them the Light of the Word.
1. The Lord rebuked them for their lack of understanding of what God had previously revealed.
2. He then began to open the Word and teach them from the beginning how that God had set all of these events into motion.
3. That long seven-mile walk must have gone by quickly.
4. When they "drew near" to Emmaus, they "constrained" or begged Him to stay with them.
5. So He went inside and "…As he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them."
6. Something amazing happened! cf.v31-32
C. The resurrected Jesus can bring Light to our darkness too.
Joh 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Ps 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
2Pe 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
III. Difference: Faith and Doubt. Jn. 20:19-29
A. Thomas was a Skeptic.
1. Sometimes I think Thomas gets a bum rap.
2. After all, would we have been much different?
3. He misses coming to church and the rest of the disciples tell him, "You should have been here!"
4. Jesus came and met with us! His response, "Yeah, right…I don't believe you!"
B. Thomas makes sure he doesn't miss next Sunday night's gathering.
1. What was that week like for Thomas?
2. Did he wonder? Did he think maybe they are telling me the truth?
3. Why would he come back? If he really thought they were lying to him, I don't think he would have wanted to have any more to do with this bunch.
4. I think that deep down Thomas wanted to believe.
5. Jesus shows up again! This time just for Thomas!
C. Thomas was immediately taken from doubt to belief!
1. Faith is believing without proof.
2. It is trusting in God's Word regardless of what others might think.
3. That's what the resurrection will do for us…it will take us from doubt to belief!
IV. Difference: Victory and Defeat. Jn. 21:1-19
A. Peter had failed miserably.
1. For all his bravado and boasting, when it came time to stand for Christ…
2. Peter fell flat on his face, and denied that he even knew Him.
3. We see Peter go out and weep bitterly when he realized how he had failed the Lord.
4. But the resurrection changed all of that.
B. Jesus reaffirms His love for Peter, and His calling upon his life.
1. Talk about amazing grace!
2. Just a few weeks later, this man who had denied the Lord would stand up boldly on the day of Pentecost and proclaim His gospel to the world.
3. He would be a vital moving force in the early days of the infant church.
4. He would be used of God to write two books of the NT.
C. Jesus still gives His Grace and takes us from defeat to victory!
What a difference three days make! It is the difference between: