Date: April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday
Topic: The Resurrected Life is More Important!
Speaker: Rev Joe Pang
Passage: Matthew 28:1-20
Summarized by: Hilda Lam
Today is Easter Sunday, the last day of the Holy Week. Last Friday we commemorated the death of Jesus and today, we celebrate his resurrection. Logically, to celebrate one’s resurrection, death must come first. When I say “Happy Easter” to others, some people think I am cursing them. How can they be resurrected if they have not died yet? As Christians, we die the moment we accept Jesus or when we receive baptism. Not everyone celebrates Easter; some feel that they don’t need to be resurrected since nothing in them needs to die. Nowadays, the climax of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus are retold in many different versions, when in fact the life after the resurrection should have been the focus.
How is Post-Easter Jesus?
Firstly, Jesus is transcendent and omnipresent after the resurrection. Jesus passed through walls; something he did not do before His death. It is a sign that the soul of Jesus has risen and transcended space. He also transcended time and appeared in Galilee and other places almost simultaneously. And because He has risen from death, He is also the Lord who transcended death.
Secondly, He appears when his disciples are troubled. When two disciples doubted Jesus’ risen state, Jesus accompanied them to talk about theology and let them pour their heart out to Him.
Thirdly, when people are uneasy because they cannot let go of something, Jesus comforts them. When the women were anxious for the missing body of Jesus, Jesus appeared in front of them and comforted them.
Fourthly, Jesus appeases people who have doubts. Thomas did not believe that Jesus had risen physically. When Jesus said to his disciples “Peace be with you”, he didn’t believe unless he could see the nail marks in Jesus’ hands, and Jesus came to comfort him. Isn’t this the risen Jesus we are experiencing?
After the resurrection of Jesus, He continues to appear before people in various ways. From Acts 9:5, Jesus appeared before Saul (Paul) through a vision. Today, Jesus still appears in the hearts of many people, and we believe in Him. After the resurrection, Jesus called Peter to establish a church and re-establish Peter’s relationship with other disciples. At that time, Peter felt guilty of having disowned Jesus, and could not forgive himself. Nowadays, there are perfectionists in the church who blame others and themselves when things are not perfect, but Jesus will comfort and call upon these people. We can see that Jesus transcends everything after the resurrection. He comforts people and re-establishes the connection between people.
What about us after the resurrection? Jesus commanded the disciples in Matthew 28:19: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. After the resurrection, we should spread the gospel. However, if we have not experienced His resurrection first hand, how can we spread the gospel? In Matthew 28:8 when the women learned of the resurrection of Jesus, they were “afraid yet filled with joy.” This rush of astonishment and enlightens us. Do you commemorate Christmas, Good Friday and Easter with this excitement? Has your mood changed, or is it still the same as before? Our lives after the resurrection should be different. We should no longer be afraid of death in the same way as the traditional Chinese society does because we know that Jesus transcends death. We will also experience reformations in the church, and these reformations are the parts within us which are resurrected.
Jesus died for political reasons, but His resurrection conveys two messages and truth. Firstly, Jesus is alive. People thought that after the death of Jesus, the community would collapse. However, Peter declared that Jesus was alive in front of the crowd and reunited the followers. Secondly, Jesus is the Lord. He is the Lord of life and the universe, possessing the power and authority, as Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” People fall and make mistakes. We should focus on God and never leave Him when others turn their back. God is the Lord, not human being.
The resurrection of Jesus points to the rising of the soul, not of the flesh. He did things he has never done when alive, like passing through the wall. After His resurrection, people did not recognize Jesus. The appearance of Jesus is not important, because each of us can be Jesus. How do others know that you are a Christian? By looking into your heart. So the arguments of theologians and historians about the resurrection of Jesus are not important, and we don’t need anyone to tell us whether Jesus was resurrected, because we can experience the resurrection of Jesus by ourselves. Merely believing in Jesus in the brain makes one spiritually withered, so we have to pray and seek to experience the reality of God.
Resurrection is a process, not an end. I would describe this as a road to hope, death, and rebirth. Many things need to die before they can be resurrected. Do you have anything to let go? Does any part in you need to die? Letting go is the death of your worldly life. You can only experience transformation and rebirth if you let go. It is arrogant of you if you feel that nothing in you should die or change.