Easter 2008
M.I.T.A.(P) 100/01/2008
  VOL 39 NO. 1

The People who missed Easter
Sixth Letter from Pastor Quek Swee Hwa

An Apology To Our Reader
Re-affirming.....
In Memoriam
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The People Who Missed Easter
Message by Rev Tan Eng Boo,
Pastor Grace-Bible-Presbyterian Church at
SCCC-sponsored Easter Sunrise Service at
MacRitchie Reservoir Park, 23rd March 2008


Introduction

It to be here in MacRitchie Reservoir this morning to commemorate the resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Bible is very clear to tell us that Jesus is risen from the dead. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15: 4, “that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” But do you know that there were some people in the Scriptures who missed or almost missed this occasion of Easter.

1) The chief priests, elders and soldiers missed Easter (Matthew 28: 11-15)

In Matthew 27: 62-66, we are told that the chief priests and the Pharisees made sure that the tomb of Jesus was thoroughly sealed and guarded. They had heard from Jesus that He would come to life again in three days. Then in Matthew 28, the resurrection took place, and this time the chief priests and the elders, these were the Jewish leaders who tried their very best to cover up what had occurred. Matthew 28: 11-15 says they bribed the soldiers who had guarded the tomb to spread the story that the disciples of Jesus had come and stolen away His body. These people missed Easter!

How sad to read of this account. How sad to read of people who refused to believe that Jesus is risen again. These were people who knew about the resurrection. They must have examined the tomb. They were there. They saw with their eyes that Jesus was no more in the Tomb, and yet they denied His resurrection. They spread lies about His body being stolen by His disciples.

There are such people in the world today who would not believe that Jesus is risen from the dead, and they would go to any extent to deny this biblical truth. I hope that you are not one of those people. The facts of His resurrection are clearly stated in the Bible. We cannot deny it. And if anyone challenges us on this account, we will just have to take our Bible and prove it to them that Jesus is risen from the dead.

Jesus Himself said that He is the resurrection and the life (Jn. 11: 25). In Rev. 1: 18, He said, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore”. In John 14: 19, He said, “Because I live, you shall live also.” Today, He is alive and one day He shall return to take us to be with Him in heaven (Jn. 14: 1-3). We can only be with Him in heaven if we are saved from our sins. Paul says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16: 31). Don’t miss Easter. The evidence of the resurrection is abundant in the Scripture. Read it for yourself and believe it to be saved.

II) The two Emmaus disciples almost missed Easter (Luke 24: 13-43)

These two disciples were not any of the 11 disciples of Jesus (see v. 33). You can read the name of one of the two disciples in verse 18, Cleopas. As they were going back to their village in Emmaus, Jesus met them. But they could not recognize Jesus, as verse 16 says that their eyes were restrained so they could not recognize Him. This was so, because they were slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken that Jesus would be raised from the dead (v. 25). Can you imagine, they were “Slow of heart to believe,” how sad indeed. This was an inappropriate description of a disciple of Jesus.

Earlier on, they were told by some women who went to the sepulcher and found the tomb of Jesus empty (vv. 10, 22-24), and yet they would not believe the account. They were on the way back to their village. Looks like they have given up hope to see their Redeemer again (v. 21). Now, see how easy for the disciples of Jesus to give up. Apparently they have forgotten the words of the prophets. This is a crucial point to consider as a Christian. We cannot afford to forget God’s Word. We cannot neglect it. We read that Jesus brought them through the Scriptures concerning Himself (v. 27), and in verse 32, we are told that they said that their hearts were revived when Jesus opened the Scriptures to them.

Beloved, we will miss Easter if we neglect the Bible. We will miss the true meaning and significance of it. Easter will only be another holiday. It is another church event. Every year it’s going to be the same, with a Sunrise Service and a church service and that’s all there is to it.

But it may not be so. It can be the most meaningful event for us as we mediate upon the resurrection and realize that we serve a risen Saviour. He is here with us this morning and it is a great joy for us to open the Scriptures and read as these two disciples said in verse 34 “The Lord is risen”.

III) Thomas almost missed Easter (John 20: 24-29)

Thomas was not with the other disciples who saw the Lord alive. He said that except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe (Jn. 20: 25). Here was a disciple who had been with Jesus for three years. He must have seen the miracles of Jesus. He must have heard of the Lord’s teaching on His death and resurrection and yet when the event happened he doubted it all, that is why he has been called doubting Thomas.

Jesus was very gracious to Thomas. Eight days after this disciple said those things in verse 25, Jesus came into the midst of His disciples and He went straight to Thomas and told Thomas to handle Him (v. 27). What an insight into Scriptures that the Lord knows us. We can’t hide anything from Him. He knows the degree of our faith. He saw the faithless Thomas. He knew the struggle Thomas was going through and He reached out to him. And Thomas fell before the Lord and acknowledged Jesus as God (v. 28).

Thomas almost missed Easter. He had relied on his feelings and emotions. Unless I see Him, unless I placed my finger into His nail-pieced hands, I won’t believe. How common it is to hear people say such things, even Christians are not spared from such comments. The resurrection of Jesus has not been witnessed by us. Have anyone of us seen the risen Saviour? No! We have not seen Him. But that does not discount the facts of the resurrection. I don’t need to be like Thomas. I have all the facts I know about Jesus who is the risen Saviour today because He lives in me. He has given me new life. He has transformed my life. Jesus Christ has made me a new creature in Him. Easter reminds me of that event which the Lord has done to save me.

Thomas was told by Jesus in verse 29, “Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.” Beloved, look at our Christian life today. Have we been saved by Jesus? Has there been a transformation in my life since I became a Christian? Easter has made this possible when Jesus came and died for me, and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Paul tells us Romans 6: 5, “Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism unto his death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life.”

We don’t want to miss Easter as we reflect on the great work of Jesus on the cross and in His resurrection. Today we have newness of life. Every Easter, we ought to be reminded that God has given us new life in Christ and we must live it out for Jesus.
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