Choosing Life Again!

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Sermons | 0 comments

April 7, 2024

Scripture Reading: Luke 24:1-12

The whole resurrection event is such a big thing that everyone involved is changed. In this week’s One Call, I thought about it from this perspective: Every one of the followers of Jesus were very quickly confronted with the same question: “What do we do NOW?” Something has fundamentally shifted and we don’t know what it means! How can we go back to life as usual? It must have been inconceivable to even think about going back to the way it was before they met Jesus and committed their life to following him!

Right after the crucifixion and putting Jesus in the tomb, the women (two Marys and Joanna) and the 11 disciples were trying to find the body of Jesus. That is, until 2 angel-types, sitting in the empty tomb, said: “Why are you seeking the living among the dead?” Of all the absurd questions! “We’re not looking for the living! We’re looking for a body!” And what were they supposed to do?

This business of following Jesus is tough! Just choosing to follow Jesus in the first place was hard enough! So much to let go of! Now he has died and is somehow alive again, but it isn’t the same. We chose life once and now we’re facing his death so soon and the pain here is unthinkable! The angels told us we are “Looking for life in all the wrong places.” But, where do we look now?

What we need to understand here is that life is not about one choice and it’s settled. It’s one choice, followed by another and then another and another.

We’re walking along, happy as larks and suddenly, the landscape looks totally changed, the sky is dark and the direction signs seem altogether absent or conflicting and we must choose what is most life-giving now!

I don’t know if you noticed when Earl was reading the text, but beside Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, there was Joanna. She was a woman of some means and financially supported the ministry of Jesus! I don’t know if you know her story or not, but choosing life was, I’m guessing, not easy for her. Luke tells us in another place that her husband’s name was Cuza and Cuza was no less than the head of Herod’s household. The manager of his whole house and the finances! Can you imagine how tricky that little arrangement was?

Her husband’s immediate boss, Herod, was the one who was responsible for the execution of John the Baptist (Jesus’s cousin) and he was also a prime mover in the execution of Jesus! But somewhere along the line, Joanna met Jesus and she was transformed by him. Can you imagine the conversation around the dinner table that night? “Honey, you won’t believe who I met today!”

How did she tell him that this encounter so changed her life that her old life was no longer tenable! “I know this will be tough for you to hear, but I have to follow Jesus and, by the way, it’s going to put a pinch on our budget!” How hard must that have been for her and for them?

Now Jesus has died and what will she do now? She ends up at his empty tomb to hear the angels say: “Keep on choosing life! This is not the end.”

I don’t know what you face in your life, in your family, among your friends, but God continually calls us to choose the path that is most life-giving! Sometimes those decisions seem to pull you apart at the seams when to choose life means to turn away from those who disagree, to change friendships or to change jobs or the way you spend your time or money!

It is so easy to get lulled into a lifestyle or a habit that simply squeezes the life out of you. It may well be something that nobody but you can change! It may feel like the hardest thing you ever did, but if you have been gripped by life, you must say “YES!” once again.

The bottom line is this: God doesn’t lead us into jams where it is nothing but a dead end and then leave us there to wither away and die ourselves. Even the tomb is not the end! Life always wins! Love always wins! But it doesn’t mean that there are no days or weeks or even years when it looks like no direction is life-giving! AND, it doesn’t mean that we will have some tough decisions to get there, but I believe that ALWAYS, God leads us into life!

Pastor Don Crist