PASSION WEEK | APRIL 16

THE BRIDGE TO FREEDOM

 

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple…So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.  Both were running…Simon Peter…arrived and went into the tomb.  He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head.  The cloth was folded up by itself…”  John 20:1-7 (NIV)

 

There is no day like Resurrection Day!!! The greatest exodus of all time was not Moses leading Israel out of captivity in Egypt, as great as that was.  The greatest exodus was when Jesus was raised to life, never to die again!  Its impact is far-reaching and never-ending:

             TO A CHILD:
  • That’s when Jesus said, “Get me out of this hole!”
  • There is one word for Easter – “Surprise!”
  • Jesus was laid in a borrowed tomb because He knew He would not need it very long.

 

            TO THE WORLD:

  • No one or nothing has so impacted the world.
  • The world does not understand the true believer because we are so different: we are twice-born people in a once-born world.

 

            TO THE THIRD-DAY BELIEVER:

Just yesterday, we were sitting in silent unbelief.  We found ourselves on the side of the trail.  Unless something is changed, the best part of our lives is over and we will simply fade into the distance.

 

But something has changed!  Jesus’ best work was His final work.  His strongest step was His last step when He stepped out of the grave!!!

On the third day, men and women
ran!

Jesus’ followers started living like true believers again.

Yesterday we were bound with fear:  today we ran with freedom!
 

Why such enthusiasm?  Was it because of what they found in the tomb or because

of what they did not find in the tomb?…Both!

 

            They did not find Jesus’ body, but they did find His burial clothes.  Have

            you ever wondered why the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head

            was “folded up by itself?”  I believe it was Jesus’ signature, the mark of

            a carpenter.  It was customary for a hired carpenter to take the cloth that

            he used to wipe the sweat from his face, to fold it twice, and leave it on

            the completed project to let the owner know the work was finished.

 

Peter would have been familiar with this custom.  Could it be that, when he looked

inside the empty tomb, he saw the folded burial cloth as Jesus’ sign of encouragement?  If anyone needed encouragement, it would have been Peter who denied his Lord.

 

            THE FOLDED BURIAL CLOTH SAYS:

  • I have left you a sign of encouragement.
  • I am no longer dead, and neither are you.
  • I will trade your sorrows for My joy.
  • I will take away your death and give you my life.

 

THIRD-DAY BELIEVERS ARE CHANGED IN HIS PRESENCE AND CONSUMED

WITH HIS LIFE!  IT IS TIME TO STAND TO YOUR FEET, JOIN THE RANKS,

AND RUN IN THE POWER OF HIS HOLY PRESENCE!!!!