Order, Words, & Voices 04.09.23

Order, Words, & Voices
04.09.23, Unexpected the Sequel, Matthew 28:1-10


Pre Worship Music

Opening Song    Everlasting God                    Lynn
            Christ the Lord Is Risen today

Lord’s Supper     How Deep the Father’s Love            Lynn/Rick

Call to Worship Response/Lord’s Prayer                Rick

Reading        Matthew 28:1-10                    Cricklins 

Songs              When I survey the wondrous cross        Lynn

Message        Unexpected…the Sequel            Rick

Music         My Living Hope                    Lynn

Community/Peace                                 Rick

Benediction                                    Rick

Post Worship Music

Slides Note: There is a blank title slide between each Section – except for message/sermon slides.

Music (slides)

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
Wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord.
Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord,
Wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord.

Our God, You reign forever
Our Hope, our strong deliverer

You are the everlasting God,
The everlasting God.
You do not faint, you won’t grow weary.
You’re the defender of the weak,
You comfort those in need.
You lift us up on wings like eagles.

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

Love’s redeeming work is done alleluia
Fought the fight the battle won alleluia
Death in vain forbids Him rise alleluia
Christ hath opened paradise alleluia

Our God, You reign forever
Our Hope, our strong deliverer

You are the everlasting God,
The everlasting God.
You do not faint, you won’t grow weary.
You’re the defender of the weak,
You comfort those in need.
You lift us up on wings like eagles.

Lord’s Supper/Song (no slides)

  • Description of order of Easter Worship
  • Observance of Lord’s Supper

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory
Verse 2Behold the Man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
Verse 3I will not boast in anything
No gifts no pow’r no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Call to Worship (Slides)

Leader: Jesus teaches us that a king isn’t what we expect a King to be.  For Jesus the King, a crown of gold became a crown of thorns, a symbol of power was turned into a symbol of suffering, a cross constructed for brutality became the avenue of Hope. 
Response: This is the good news of our lord Jesus Christ.

Leader: The cross was devised to be a symbol of degradation and subjugation, reserved for insurrectionists, political criminals, and your run of the mill scumbags. It was designed to be a humiliating way to kill someone leaving them naked, alone, and in excruciating agony. 
Response: It was designed to be a curse.

Leader: Jesus took the curse upon himself. The cross was where the forces of evil, the powers and the principalities, the delegates of Rome and the Jewish religious elite, all converged together against Jesus in a collision of injustice & brutality. 
Response: Humiliation, violence, pain, abandonment, betrayal, and death. 

Leaders: However, evil was outmatched. Jesus was able to call on legions of warrior angels to defend him in his most vulnerable moments, but he didn’t do it. He didn’t need to do it. Divine power doesn’t work like that. 
Response: Divine power doesn’t return violence for violence. 

Leader: No matter how brutal, evil, or inhumane, Jesus could withstand it. There is no amount of evil that Jesus cannot endure, absorb, and transform. Jesus does not get tired and weary, we will not stumble and quit, he stands with us, cries with us, bleeds with us, and heals with us.
Response: That’s the power seen on the cross. 

Leader: At the cross, Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Jesus absorbs our sin so, even if we could, we don’t have to. Our call is to believe. Our call is to trust God.
Response: This is the good news of our lord Jesus Christ.
(Adapted from the works of J. Topper)

Lord’s Prayer (Slides) ‘Join me in the prayer of Jesus’
Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us. 
And, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (Slides)   Matthew 25:31-46

Following the crucifixion and entombment of Jesus, as the sun was rising on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see Jesus’ tomb. 

Suddenly there was an great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled back the stone that had been blocking the tomb and sat on it. The angel’s appearance was like lightning – his clothing was white as snow. 

The guards were terrified of the angel, as well as all that was happening, and they shook and became like dead men. 

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, he has been raised, just as he said he would. Come and see the place where Jesus was laid after the crucifixion. 

After the women looked, the angel instructed them to go quickly and tell Jesus’ disciple that he has been raised from the dead, and that he has ‘gone ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there.’ 

So the women quickly left the tomb; they experienced both fear and joy as they ran to tell Jesus’ disciples. Then, on their way Jesus met them saying, “Greetings!” The women went to him, they took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; now go and tell my brothers and sisters to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
 Matthew 28:1-10

Music (Slides)

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Above all powers above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began

Verse 2Above all kingdoms above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
There’s no way to measure
What You’re worth

ChorusCrucified laid behind the stone
You lived to die rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
Above all
I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
Crucified laid behind the stone
You lived to die rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
Above all
Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a present (an offering) far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul my life my all

Message – Unexpected…the sequel, Rick  (Slides)

(Screen Share/post slide as music ends – leave screen share up until notice)
“Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”
N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

(Slide) “Easter is very important to me. It’s a second chance.”
Reba McEntire

Easter is very important to all of us, it is evidence of our only chance. It was, and can be, a very emotional realization.

(Slide) Writer Eileen Benthal asks the question, “Does God cry when we cry?”

I think the bigger question is, “Does God experience the emotions, and emotional turmoil, that we experience?” Does God experience pain, disappointment, frustration, fear, anger, shock, surprise, joy? Is God ever overwhelmed. If so, then the question becomes, ‘How do our emotions present in the person of the God of Peace?

This was the question that stirred a recent conversation I participated in with a group of pastors as we discussed Jesus and his time in the Garden of Gethsemane. A discussion that began with Jesus’ request of his disciples to stay awake with him as he prayed, “Is it okay to say that Jesus was overwhelmed, even more, is it possible that Jesus was experiencing a panic attack, and, if that is true, can we say that to our congregations without offense?”
(End Screen Share)

Since we know that we are made in the image of God, our emotions and our mental frailties are not out of the question – it would make sense that Jesus would grieve, and hesitantly face emotional and physical pain just the same way that we humans innately do. 

It’s kind of a minefield. Messing with peoples’ stoic emotionless images of God can quickly stir up a lot of contentious and angry responses. This is a shared common response across the spectrum of religiosity, even across different religions – we do not want anyone challenging our set perspective and image of our God. 

Nevertheless, emotions are a constant in scripture, as well as the holy writings of most religions. Even in our Old Testament we witness God call on Jeremiah to speak to the people through God’s tears that would be reflected on Jeremiah’s face. Jesus, God in the flesh, cried with Mary at the tomb of Lazarus, and then Jesus shed more tears for the city and people of Jerusalem. Then, in the Garden, Jesus begged his disciples to stay awake, to not leave him alone and isolated before his arrest.

Unexpected emotions are a shared element of the birth story of Jesus and, then again, in the death and resurrection narrative of Jesus. Surprise, fear, joy, anxiety, shame, are prominent aspects of both moments in history. Also, in both stories is the encouragement, “Do not be afraid…”

Both stories, the birth and the death narratives, present the element of surprise. While everyone was awaiting a Messiah, few expected Jesus to be a baby. A baby brings smiles, joy, and exhaustion, not the image of a conquering King which they were looking for. And then, while the Isrealites understood the concept of the sacrifice, no one anticipated the cross. Even more, while everyone heard Jesus speak of Life, everyone held to a reality where death is death, an unquestioned understanding that death is the end. 

Fear, grief, and panic set in the moment their anticipations and expectations did not match their reality. Over two thousand years later, the same is true for us as well – fear, grief, and panic sets in at the moment when OUR reality does not match OUR anticipations and expectations. It is a human frailty that we all struggle with. Consider current laws being created in the capitals of over half of the states in the US – legislation to try to control and prevent those realities that do not match the anticipations and expectations of the politicians. It is our nature to want to rid our surroundings of anything we are uncomfortable or disagree with.

The male disciples’ response was to be afraid and hide. Mary, and some of the female followers of Jesus chose to travel to the tomb as soon as they possibly could regardless of their fear.

Let’s go back a bit to earlier actions and words of Jesus.
(Slide – leave screen share up until notice)

(Slide) Matthew 16:21 – ‘Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised.’

(Slide) Matthew 17:22 – ‘Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” The disciples were greatly distressed.’

(slide) Matthew 20:18-19 – ‘Jesus said, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, there the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and on the third day he will be raised.”’

One cannot help but wonder how no one expected the cross or the
 resurrection. Afterall, Jesus said it over and over. Honestly, this is the question I ask every year at this time. “How is it possible that the followers of Christ, the hearers of these words, how did they not anticipate both the cross and the resurrection?”

(Slide) ‘“We preach Christ crucified, the cross, which is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles”’ I Corinthians 1:23

Jesus had warned them, he had prepared them for this truth of what had to happen, but still, they were not ready for this collision of their reality with their anticipations and expectations. They were not ready for the cross and they were even less prepared for the resurrection.
 (End Screen Share)

Jesus had to go through the cross to arrive at the resurrection, but the disciples and followers got stuck at the cross. Many say that the cross was Jesus’ final and ultimate purpose, I think they are wrong. No, walking away from an empty tomb was Jesus’ earthly destination. Allowing his very alive physical presence to show his unexpecting followers that death had been defeated, to let them all see that hope was not gone – this was his purpose, providing us the ability to see the final proof of his words was his final and ultimate purpose.  Final moments of physically walking with those who he had walked with before the cross – and serving witness to us thousands of years later  that Jesus still walks with us today. This was the reason Jesus had to walk away from the tomb.

The cross was a roadblock that became a stumbling block even for Jesus’ believers – they, on their own, could not get past it, it was impossible to think that death was not death, that death was not the end. They could not understand it, death was permanent, death was final, this was their expected reality…But, Jesus did walk through the cross, Jesus did walk beyond death, and in doing so, Jesus defeated death, the very thing we can not do – Jesus absorbed the weight of sin, in order to show us hope in the reality of his resurrection.

And, that same cross absorbed the shame of those that abandoned Jesus. Just as it still absorbs the sin and shame in our lives, and the empty grave and the resurrected Christ is the evidence we still need.

(Slide) “If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus’ fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice. Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him.”
― A.W. Tozer, Preparing for Jesus’ Return: Daily Live the Blessed Hope

Music (Slides)

How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished the end is written
Jesus Christ my living hope

Verse 2Who could imagine so great a mercy
What heart could fathom such boundless grace
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ my living hope

ChorusHallelujah praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ my living hope

Verse 3Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus Yours is the victory whoa

Community (Slides)

  • Next Sunday, April 16, Matthew 28:16-20, ‘Always’ (Final week of our study of Matthew)

Benediction (Blank Slide)
May we walk securely in the confidence of the defeat of death on the cross.. May we release our burdens at the wonder of the empty grave. May we continue forward in our hope proven through the resurrection. May we meet our world understanding the blessedness and struggle of humanity. May we live in our reality with the challenge to be salt and light. May we see with God’s eyes and glorify God in our lives.

Closing Peace
Leader: May the Peace and Hope of the Lord go with you.  
Response: And also with you.
Leader: Go in the Peace and Hope of the Lord.

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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