Easter Sunday, 4th April 10.30 am Order of Service

EASTER DAY: JESUS IS ALIVE!

Sherlock: Good morning to you all. My name is Sherlock Holmes and today I have a very big mystery to solve…..it is my biggest mystery yet and it is the mystery of….wait for it…..the missing body.

Last Friday, by all accounts Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. After He had died his body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in cloths and laid in a tomb.

A large stone was rolled in front of the entrance of the tomb and a seal was put on the stone. This tomb was then guarded night and day by Roman soldiers.

When a woman called Mary went to the tomb this morning, not only did she find the stone rolled away from the entrance, but Jesus’ body was gone.

So what has happened to Jesus’ body?

Bodies don’t simply disappear…..I need to find out what happened to it.

The first possibility is that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross and that in the coolness of the tomb He revived, pushed the stone away and escaped.

Do you think that’s what happened to Jesus’ body?

Let’s have a look for clues. Here’s one.

But when the soldiers came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” (John 19:33-34)

Hmmm….thank you. Roman soldiers knew how to crucify people. If they thought he was dead, Jesus was dead. Not only that but blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side after He was speared, is medical proof that Jesus was dead.

Let’s think about another possibility. Perhaps Jesus’ disciples came in the night and stole Jesus’ body…..yes that must be it.

How many of you think that’s what happened to Jesus’ body? Let’s see if I can find any more clues. Here’s one. “That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.” (John 20:19)

It sounds like the disciples were terrified and were hiding. They wouldn’t have risked their lives to break a Roman seal and fight off the Roman guards to try and take Jesus’ body. No….that’s not what happened.

Perhaps grave robbers came and stole the body……yes that’s the most likely thing……

How many of you think that’s what happened to Jesus’ body?

Perhaps I can find a clue that will lead me to the grave robbers. Oh look I have found a couple of clues. It won’t be long now until this mystery is solved. Here is a 3rd clue

“Then Simon Peter came along behind John and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.” (John 20:6-7)

You know grave robbers wouldn’t have gone to all the trouble of taking Jesus’ body and leaving the cloths behind because the cloths were the most valuable thing in the grave…..so we can’t pin this mystery on them. This is getting odder and odder.

How can a body simply disappear leaving the grave cloths in place? Perhaps our final clue will solve this mystery. Mark 16:6

“The angel said: “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.””

An angel appearing to a woman saying that Jesus has risen from the dead!

Now that I don’t believe…..that is too fantastic…..

I mean….if I am going to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead, then I need to speak to someone who has actually seen Him alive. Excuse me folks while I go and see if I can find an eye-witness…..although I am not very hopeful. Perhaps the mystery of the missing body is one of those mysteries that I will never solve.

Well, you will be pleased to hear that I met up with a lady called Mary. She told me she had met Jesus. She had watched as they laid Jesus in the tomb. She went back a couple of days later and Jesus met her and talked with her.

Mary said that Jesus even called her by name!

I am struggling to understand what this all means, but it is looking like Jesus died, was buried and then was raised from the dead. Another big mystery solved by the great Sherlock Holmes.

EASTER SONG – Come people of the Risen King

1 Come people of the risen king,

who delight to bring him praise;

come all and tune your hearts to sing

to the Morning Star of grace.

From the shifting shadows of the earth

we will lift our eyes to him,

where steady arms of mercy reach

to gather children in.

Rejoice, rejoice! Let every tongue rejoice!

One heart, one voice; O Church of Christ, rejoice!

2 Come, those whose joy is morning sun,

and those weeping through the night;

come, those who tell of battles won,

and those struggling in the fight.

For his perfect love will never change,

and his mercies never cease,

but follow us through all our days

with the certain hope of peace.

Refrain

3 Come, young and old from every land-

men and women of the faith;

come, those with full or empty hands-

find the riches of his grace.

Over all the world, his people sing-

shore to shore we hear them call

the truth that cries through every age

‘Our God is all in all’!

Refrain

Kristyn Getty, Keith Getty (born 1974) and Stuart Townend (born 1963)

PRAYER

TALK

On Good Friday Jesus was crucified on a wooden cross.

  • He died and was buried and placed in a tomb,
  • but Jesus didn’t stay dead.

The good news that we are celebrating today is that Jesus was raised to life on the very first Easter day…..and He is alive today!

Jesus’ Resurrection demonstrates that Jesus is who He said He is.

  • Jesus is the Son of God.
  • Do you believe that?

We have just seen our very own Sherlock Holmes investigate all the different possibilities that could have happened to Jesus’ body after it went missing from the tomb,

  • and the only possibility that makes sense is that Jesus was resurrected.

Not only that but the Bible tells us that over 500 different eye-witnesses (1Corinthians 15:6) saw Jesus alive in the 40 days after His Resurrection before He went to be with His father in heaven.

Jesus was dead.

  • Jesus was buried,
  • but now Jesus, the Son of God is alive.
  • Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father and is reigning as Lord.
  • Do you believe it?
  •  

EASTER SONG Low in the grave He lay

1 Low in the grave he lay,

Jesus, my Saviour,

waiting the coming day,

Jesus, my Lord:

Vainly they watch his bed,

Jesus, my Saviour;

vainly they seal the dead,

Jesus, my Lord:

Up from the grave he arose,

with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;

he arose a victor from the dark domain,

and he lives for ever with his saints to reign:

He arose! He arose!

Alleluia! Christ arose!

3 Death cannot keep his prey,

Jesus, my Saviour;

he tore the bars away,

Jesus, my Lord:

Up from the grave he arose,

with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;

he arose a victor from the dark domain,

and he lives for ever with his saints to reign:

He arose! He arose!

Alleluia! Christ arose!

Robert Lowry (1826-1899)

So what does the Resurrection of Jesus mean for us?

Reading: Acts 10:34-43

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

Easter tells us God loves us.

EASTER Puppet Script

So what is Easter all about?

Hugh: Hello everybody. It’s Easter Day, and I’m really excited!

Rodger: Me too! Me too!

Hugh: Everyone makes such a big fuss about Christmas, but Easter is just as important.

Rodger: That’s right- I can’t wait ‘till he comes!

Hugh: Till who comes?

Rodger: The Easter bunny of course!

Hugh: The Easter bunny?

Rodger: Yeah……you know, long pointy ears, woffly nose and whiskers, and a cute little bob tail…and…and (shouting excitedly) EASTER EGGS! It’s what Easter is all about.

Hugh: The Easter bunny and Easter eggs are a lot of fun, but there’s more to Easter than chocolate!

Rodger: Did I hear you mention chocolate?

Hugh: Yes but..

Rodger: (interrupting) Mmmmm chocolate…chocolate eggs, chocolate lollies, chocolate chicks, chocolate bunnies, mmmmmmm!

Hugh: OK we get the idea- you like chocolate!

Rodger: HOWEVER, my mum always makes hot cross buns. They’re disgusting. Yuk! No chocolate, just currants and raisins. She says we have hot cross buns to remind us of something.

Hugh: Do you remember what?

Rodger: Well all they remind me of is the Easter bunny- you know, all those currants look like rabbit p…

Hugh: Don’t say it, we don’t want to know!

Rodger: OK, I won’t say rabbit poo. Well it’s been nice talking about what Easter is all about. But I have to go now.

Hugh: Just a minute- what do you mean? We haven’t said what Easter is really about at all.

Rodger: Yes we have- The Easter bunny, eggs, chocolate, holidays and hot cross buns. I can’t think of anything else.

Hugh: But you’re forgetting the most important thing of all.

Rodger: What’s that?

Hugh: Love! Easter is all about love!

Rodger: Love? That’s soppy!

Hugh: Easter is all about God’s love. God’s love isn’t soppy. God’s love is the strongest force in the universe. It is more powerful than life and death, and lasts forever and ever.

Rodger: But what has God’s love got to do with Easter?

Hugh: Everything! Easter is when we remember God’s son Jesus died on a cross and came to life again three days later.

Rodger: I remember, someone told me that once! They said Jesus didn’t deserve to die because he hadn’t done anything wrong. So why did he let them kill him?

Hugh: Love!

Rodger: I don’t understand!

Hugh: The answer is in God’s word, the bible. The bible says that God loved the world and everyone in it so much…

Rodger: Everyone? Even me? Even when I’m in a bad mood or been naughty?

Hugh: Yes, everyone, all the time – even when you think you don’t deserve it. Anyway, God loved the world so much he sent his only Son…

Rodger: His Son was Jesus, right?

Hugh: That’s right! Anyway, father God sent Jesus so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. That means they can live forever in heaven.

Rodger: Sounds cool!

Hugh: Yes- but that’s not all! God can also help you to have a good and happy life, and He is always there when you need him, because He cares about you.

Rodger: Wow! It’s like when Jesus died, He made a way for me to get to know God.

Hugh: That’s right- and that’s why Easter is so important!

Rodger: Well Easter just got better!

Hugh: What do you mean?

Rodger: Now I know what Easter is really about – and it makes me happy to know that God loves me so much.

Hugh: The Easter bunny! Easter eggs!

Rodger: Chocolate!

Hugh: Hot cross buns!

Rodger: But best of all

Hugh: and Rodger: God loves me!

Summary:

Today as we have celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus we have discovered that:

  • Jesus is who He said He is; the Son of God.
  • Our sins can be forgiven.
  • God loves us very much

EASTER Song. Christ the Lord is risen today

1 ‘Christ the Lord is risen today’,

Alleluia!

Sons of men and angels say,

Alleluia!

Raise your joys and triumphs high,

Alleluia!

Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply,

Alleluia!

2 Lives again our glorious king;

Alleluia!

Where, O death, is now thy sting?

Alleluia

Once he died our souls to save

Alleluia!

Where thy victory, O grave?

Alleluia!

3 Love’s redeeming work is done,

Alleluia!

Fought the fight, the battle won,

Alleluia!

Death in vain forbids Him rise,

Alleluia!

Christ has opened paradise,

Alleluia!

4 Soar we now where Christ has led,

Alleluia!

Following our exalted head,

Alleluia!

Made like him, like him we rise,

Alleluia!

Ours the cross, the grave, the skies,

Alleluia!

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Blessing:

As we leave today, with our hearts rejoicing in Jesus’ resurrection, and all that this means for us, let us go into the world to share the good news with others.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Alleluia, Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

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