Easter Sunday: The power of resurrection hope

03/31/2024

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We are looking forward to our Easter celebrations. Today is Good Friday and we will have a Good Friday service in the sanctuary tonight at 7:00 pm with Tru-way Church of the Risen Christ. Pastor Elwin Jenkins will give the message. Our Easter morning celebration begins at Stockton Park at the 6:30 Sunrise Service. (If you would like to download the Easter Sunrise bulletin to your device, you will find a link and QR code below.) This is a joint service with Ortega United Methodist, St. Mark’s Episcopal, and St. Johns. The Reverend Charlie Holt will share with us a powerful message of resurrection. Pastor Jon will be leading the communion portion of the service. We continue our celebration at St. Johns with our 9:00 am and 11 am services. As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we have to recognize that the disciples struggled to believe. At first, they were not certain or convinced of the resurrection. If there had only been an empty tomb, the disciples would probably have drifted apart. Why didn’t this happen? Jesus understood their uncertainty and struggle to believe. Our Easter message is The Power of Resurrection Hope. On Easter morning, the resurrected Jesus meets Mary in the garden, but she does not recognize him until he speaks her name! Our message is based on Luke 24:20-32. It is a story of Cleopas and his unnamed friend discussing their hopelessness, disappointment, and fear on the road to Emmaus which was about 5 miles from Jerusalem. As they are going along, Jesus approaches them but they, like Mary, do not immediately recognize him. As he walks with them, he explains why Christ had to suffer, and how the Redeemer was going to set people free! As they arrive home, they invite Jesus for dinner and they ask him to say grace. As he takes the bread, blesses it, and breaks it, their eyes are opened and they realize it is Jesus! This moment transformed their hopelessness and fear into joy and celebration! Nothing would ever be the same for them or for us. If you are struggling to believe, take heart! The resurrected Jesus wants to meet with you this Easter to encourage you, to give you a different vision, but most all, to ignite the power of his presence in your life. This is our most earnest prayer for you as you proclaim this Easter that “He is risen!”

Luke 24:20-32 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”  (NIV)