Easter Sunday…Series C
(March 27th, 2016) St. Andrew’s EC
Text: Luke 24: 1-12
Title: Planet NINE and the Resurrection!!
On January 20th, 2016 the world was introduced to a new planet in our solar system. This new planet (named planet NINE by researchers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA who discovered it) is huge…estimated to be 10 times the mass of planet earth. Planet Nine is located on the far edge of the Solar System (approximately 50 billion miles from planet Earth). Because of it’s location, it is estimated that it takes Planet Nine 15,000 years to orbit the sun! Now the interesting thing about Planet Nine is that no one (including the astronomers at Cal Tech who discovered it) have ever actually seen it, but they are absolutely convinced that it exists! “It must be there”, said one of the astronomers who discovered it…”Because nothing but the existence of Planet Nine can explain the way our solar system works”.
The discovery of Planet Nine explodes everything we have ever known (or thought we knew) about our solar system for hundreds of years. But sometimes accepted facts…conventional wisdom about the way the world works, must change in light of new evidence!
The women who came to the tomb in the predawn light of that first Easter morning (Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joanna and the other women) think they know the facts…the truth about what happened on Good Friday. After all, they had seen it all. They were at Calvary on Friday afternoon…they had watched in silence as the life of their beloved Rabbi had slowly slipped away. They saw the men remove Jesus’ lifeless body being taken from the cross and placed in a borrowed tomb. They knew the facts…and they came to the tomb that first Easter morning to do what they had done many times before…to clean and anoint a dead body with spices and ointments in preparation for a proper Jewish burial…and that’s when their world was suddenly and unexpectedly turned upside down. Because the huge granite stone had been rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, and the tomb was empty…and two men in dazzling clothes announced to the terrified women the improbable message of the Resurrection…He Is Not Here…but is RISEN!!
And the interesting thing is that no one saw it happen! There were no eye witnesses to the Resurrection…no one saw him take his first breath…no one was present when his heart start beating again…no one saw his eyes open…no one saw him rise from the rock slab where he had been laid the night before. But, just like the existence of Planet Nine, what else could explain what happened AFTER Easter other than the fact that Jesus actually Rose from the Dead? How else can you explain the transformation of Simon Peter, from a frightened denier of Jesus to a fearless proclaimer of the Gospel of Grace who was not afraid to speak truth to power.…how else do you explain the transformation of 11 simple, ordinary, uneducated fishermen and farmers who were hanging out in the Upper Room…certain that the Jewish Religious Authorities were about to do to them exactly what they had done to Jesus on Good Friday into bold and courageous Apostle’s whose proclamation of the Resurrection turned the world upside down and changed the course of human history? How do you explain the transformation of the lives of billions of believers down thru the centuries…the transformation of ordinary men and women (folks just like us) into fearless and faithful martyrs and missionaries…preachers and prophets…activists and organizers!
Now, you might argue that this transformation which took place in the lives of the first believers in the Resurrection is certainly not proof-positive…proof beyond a “reasonable doubt” that Jesus actually rose from the dead. And you are correct…it is NOT. Belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus cannot be PROVED, scientifically (or disproved, for that matter), but it seems to me that the “PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE” supports the announcement of the angels to the women on that first Easter morning…e PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE supports the central proclamation of the Church of Jesus Christ (for more than 2000 years) that “On the 3rd day, Jesus rose from the dead” !!
I have no idea what your relationship to this central proclamation of the Church…this belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I suspect that most of you are here this morning because you believe it to be true. But some of you may not believe it at all…you may believe it is “wishful thinking”…a pious myth, but somehow it seems right and good to be in church on Easter Sunday so you came. Some of you may want desperately to believe it…but, somehow the whole idea of a dead person rising from the grave is, well, unbelievable. Whatever your reason for being here this morning, I want you to know that we are very, very glad that you are here (and we hope you will come again), and I want you to know…we want you to know that belief in the Resurrection of our Lord is not just “wishful thinking”…it’s not just a “Pious Myth”…the only reasonable and logical explanation for the transformation that took place in the lives of those first frightened out of their wits and half-believing disciples and billions of believers down thru the centuries…the only explanation that makes sense to me is that it actually happened…Jesus rose from the dead (just like he said he would)…and because he rose from the dead…our lives and our world will never be the same again…
CHRIST IS RISEN…THE LORD IS RISEN, INDEED…ALLELUIA!!