Has Jesus changed anything for you?

This article is adapted from a message given at Corner Church in Minneapolis, MN

Today is the day when we celebrate Jesus’ resurection.

Celebrate.

What does that mean? We all celebrate different things in different ways. Today, lets kick off with a dialogue question. This is a great moment to connect with each other relationally. It is also connecting us with what we are talking about today.

What are we celebrating on Easter? Good question. How do we celebrate “it?” Another good question. First thing first. I want to encourage you to be a reader of scripture. If you are looking for a place to start today start reading at Matthew 21 and read through the end. This is where Jesus comes into Jerusalem before His death.

There are some layers to what we are celebrating at Easter. There is the what happened, and then there is the what happened. I know that is a little cryptic but first, let’s look at what happened.

Jesus was betrayed by Judas:

Matthew 26:14–16, Mark 14:10–11, Luke 22:1–6, John 13:2,27

Jesus had now been with His disciples for about three years.

  • Teaching
  • Healing
  • Eating
  • Resting
  • Praying
  • Celebrating
  • Struggling
  • Facing the resistance
  • Living life along side his disciples

And in the midst of all this backstory, Judas resolved to betray Jesus.

Luke:22:4–6

4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

Preparation for the Passover

Matthew 26:17–20, Mark 14:12–17, Luke 22:7–14, John 13:1

Jesus and his followers made preparations for passover. Jesus washed their feet, and encouraged them to “do as I have done to you.”

John 13:12–14

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

Jesus spoke out that one of them was going to betray Him. They questioned who it could possibly be.

The Last Supper

Matthew 26:26–29, Mark 14:22–25, Luke 22:15–20, John 6:51–58, 1 Corinthians 11:23–25

They celebrated the Passover meal together. This meal’s purpose was the commemorating God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. In the midst of this very intentional, very traditional, very ordered celebration, Jesus stopped and did the unexpected.

1 Corinthians 11:23–25

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Disciples Bicker about Greatness
Matthew 20:24–28, 19:28, 23,11, Mark 10:41–45, Luke 22:24–30, John 13:4–5,12–17

In the midst of all of this. The disciples felt that the political revolution was at hand. It was clear they didn’t really get it still. They bickered between each other about who was going to be the greatest among them. Jesus struck down this conversation.

Luke 22:26

26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

Gethsemane

Matthew 26:36–46, Mark 14:32–42, Luke 22:39–46, John 18:1,12:27, 14:31

After leaving the Passover meal they went to the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus prayed. He implored his disciples to pray so that they would not fall into temptation, but instead each of them fell asleep.

Mark 14:37–38

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

While Jesus prayed and the disciples slept, the mob had been assembled and come to arrest Jesus.

Jesus Arrested

Matthew 26:47–56, Mark 14:43–52, Luke 22:47–53, John 18:2–12

Judas awkwardly came leading the mob to Jesus and Judas kissed Jesus on the cheek as a sign to alert them who to arrest. Peter lashed out and actually cut of one of their ears. Jesus called off peter and actually healed the man’s ear and calmly, peaceably, went with His captures.

Matthew 26:55–56

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Jesus before the Sanhedrin, Peter’s Denial

Matthew 26:57–74, Mark 14:53–72, Luke 22:54–71, John 18:13–27

They brought Jesus before the Jewish ruling authorities, and while Jesus was being questioned, Peter was at a distance denying that he even knew who Jesus was.

Matthew 26:74

74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.

Jesus Delivered to Pilate

Matthew 27, 1–2, Mark 15:1, Luke 23:1, John 18:28

Early in the morning they handed Jesus over to the Roman authority Pilate.

Trial before Pilate

Matthew 27:11–14, 26:53, Mark 15:2–5, Luke 23:2–5, 23:9–10,13–14, John 18:29–38

Pilate questioned Jesus. Asking, “what charges are they bringing against you. Are you the king of the jews?”

John 18:36

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Pilate went back to the Jewish authorities and said he found no reason to condemn Jesus.

Jesus before Herod

Matthew 27:12, Mark 15:3–4, Luke 23:6–12

So Jesus was handed off to Herod because it was found that He was under his jurisdiction.

Luke 23:8

8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort.

Herod wanted to see something cool, but when Jesus did not perform, they dressed him up like a mock king and made fun of Him.

Pilate Declares Jesus Innocent

Luke 23:13–16, 23:4,22, John 18:38

On receiving Jesus back, Pilate declares Jesus innocent, but the crowd of Jews revolted.

Jesus or Barabbas

Matthew 27:15–23, Mark 15:6–14, Luke 23:17–23, John 18:39–40

Pilate thought he found a loophole in the tradition of releasing a prisoner on the Passover, thinking that he could release Jesus and not have to deal with the Jews, but instead they wanted a man named Barabbas who was a murderer to be released.

Matthew 27:22–23

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Behold the Man

Matthew 27:28–31, Mark 15:17–20, John 19:1–15

So Pilates soldiers twisted a crown out of thorns and beat Jesus.

Pilate Delivers Jesus to be Crucified

Matthew 27:24–26, Mark 15:15, Luke 23:24–25, John 19:16

And even with the repeated protest of Pilate, finally Pilate relented and ordered that Jesus be crucified.

Matthew 27:24–25

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

The Road to Golgotha

Matthew 27:31–32, 38, Mark 15:20–21, 27, Luke 23:26–32, John 19:17

Jesus was forced to carry his cross, but because of its weight and the beatings he had endured, he was unable. Simon, a traveler through town was forced to carry his cross for Him.

The Crucifixion

Matthew 27:33–38, 55–56, Mark 15:22–26, Luke 23:33–34, 38, 49, John 19:17–27

When they arrived at Golgotha they nailed Jesus to a cross through his hands and feet.

The Death of Jesus

Matthew 27:45–54, Mark 15:33–39, Luke 23:44–48, John 19:28–30

At noon darkness came over the land. At about 3 pm Jesus cried out.

Matthew 27:46

46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

Matthew 27:50–54

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

The Burial of Jesus
Matthew 27:57–61, Mark 15:42–47, Luke 23:50–56, John 19:38–42

A man named Joseph went to pilat and got Jesus’ body and placed him in a tomb.

Three Days Later: The Women at the Tomb

Matthew 28:1–8, Mark 16:1–8, Luke 24:1–12, John 20:1–13

On the first day of the week the women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with spices. They found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Suddenly two men clothed in white appeared.

Luke 24:5

5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Jesus has risen, the story was not over.

  • Jesus appeared to the two on the road to Emmaus
  • Jesus appeared to His disciples
  • Jesus appears to the eleven on the Mountain in Galilee
  • Jesus appears to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias
  • Jesus appears even to Paul

Can we process this for a moment as people.

Now for the second what that we are celebrating at Easter. While Jesus being alive, being God with us, Him dying and being alive again, the second “what” we are celebrating is the avenue to right relationship with God being forever changed. In saying that there are a lot of complexities behind that “what.” There are some truths of humanity that are told through the old testament long before Jesus was ever born.

  1. God is “perfect”
  • What you can’t see, what you can’t comprehend, what you can’t quantify, is perfect

2. Your “sin” separates you from God

  • Some things you have done, are doing, will do, separate you from relationship with God
  • You are not alone, everyone is in the same boat

3. “Sacrifice” restores relationship with God

  • Things of value must be surrendered, killed, burnt with intentional sacrifice to restore relationship

4. Jesus is the “perfect sacrifice”

  • Jesus’ death and resurrection is an open door to perfect relationship with God

Now this can be a moment of practicing saying those things. Ready? Repeat after me…

  • Perfect God
  • Sin separates
  • Sacrifice restores relationship
  • Jesus is the perfect sacrifice

AGAIN — REPEAT AFTER ME……..

The issue is being able to repeat it is that repeating it doesn’t necessarily mean we get it. So let me give you a caveat right now. The goal is not that we today would simply get it, but that we would wrestle with getting it. Let’s walk some parallel process in order to help.

Now that you have verbalized the broken parts of relationship, let me walk us towards something that is really uncomfortable. Think about when it is someone else’s fault that relaionship is broken. Maybe you can think of one right off the top of your head. Maybe they:

  • They lied
  • They didn’t follow through
  • They were unfaithful
  • They were selfish
  • They were wrathful
  • They didn’t help
  • They weren’t responsible
  • They alienated
  • They falsely presumed
  • They wouldn’t communicate
  • They wouldn’t change
  • They wouldn’t acknowledge their responsibilities

Now that list might not seem comfortable, but there is actually something for less comfortable. Replace the they with I.

  • I lied
  • I didn’t follow through
  • I was unfaithful
  • I was selfish
  • I was wrathful
  • I didn’t help
  • I wasn’t responsible
  • I alienated
  • I falsely presumed
  • I wouldn’t communicate
  • I wouldn’t change
  • I wouldn’t acknowledge my responsibilities

When it’s my fault. Let’s talk about this.

There are several things that I need to do when I have failed:

  • Learn from failing
  • Change
  • Repent
  • Rebuild trust
  • Rebuild connection

These things are vital, but no matter what I do, it must be recieved with grace or it is not going anywhere towards restoring relationship. The other what we are celebrating (besides Jesus’ physical resurrection) at Easter is grace from God through Jesus. Paul verbalizes it this way in Ephesians 2:

Ephesians 2:4–8

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —

In Leviticus 16 we see a window into the elaborate process of grace being brought to God’s people in the old testament, through the old convenant, before Jesus.

  • There were sacrifices in order to be able to come behind the curtain into the presence of God
  • There were sacrifices for the sins of the people
  • There was casting lots over two Goats and one being the Scapegoat and was set free as an illustration of the sin of the people being taken away

This picture shows the seperation of poeple from God because of their failings. God dwelling in this most holy place, and the elaborate process of entering before him, of having connection to Him. But, In Matthew we see as Jesus dies and that very same curtain in the temple, that signified this seperation was torn from top to bottom.

Matthew 27:50–51

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Hebrews processes this moment

Hebrews 9:11–14

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Paul again process it in Romans 5

Romans 5:6–8

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Today’s goal is not to be able to simplify these two things that we are celebrating today. I believe that this is a lifelong process. But I do see something that I think we should work through in order to help us celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. To help us celebrate grace that leads to opportunity to have relationship with Jesus. How do you receive grace? Think about this. When you failed in relationship and the person you failed is undeservedly gracious to you, how do you respond? Remember this fun list:

  • I lied
  • I didn’t follow through
  • I wasn’t faithful
  • I was selfish
  • I was wrathful
  • I didn’t help
  • I wasn’t responsible
  • I alienated
  • I falsely presumed
  • I wouldn’t communicate
  • I wouldn’t change
  • I wouldn’t acknowledge my responsibilities

And in those moments what you recieve is grace. How do you respond?

There are some options. Some bad responses:

  • Manipulation of grace
  • Taking advantage of grace
  • Not accepting grace
  • Self doubt
  • Self loathing
  • Self destruction
  • Rejection of grace
  • Accepting it but not giving it
  • Running from grace

There are some good responses:

  • Appreciation
  • Repentance
  • Change
  • Trust
  • Passing grace on to others

So a final question. Here is the challenge for me. When I really get what Jesus has done for me. When I get it, not just say it. It impacts my life. It changes everything.

Take It Deeper Questions

  • Read Romans 5:1–11
  • How do you prefer to resolve conflict and why? Avoidance, giving in, compromise, confrontation.
  • What makes conflict resolution good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, effective or ineffective?
  • What puts humanity at odd with God
  • How does God deal with sin’s conflict?
  • What does life in relationship with God look like post conflict?

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store