Crossroads: He Is Risen!

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John 20:1-18

My Story

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Easter is such a wonderful time. The dark, somber mourning of Good Friday has passed and in its place is new life, lots of color, and thankful spirits. The best part of our story as Christians is that we are not grave people—we are resurrection people. The grave could not hold Jesus and the grave cannot hold us. Although we will eventually leave our earthly bodies, that will not be the end of us. We will be forever with God, the created being with the Creator who made and redeems us all.

My favorite Easter hymn as a child was “Christ Arose.” It begins low and somber, still in the throes of Good Friday: “Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior, waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord.” And then all of a sudden, it bursts forth with new life as it proclaims, “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 forever with his saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah Christ arose!” I loved this hymn precisely because it switched from slow and somber to fast and upbeat. But it also tells us a lot about Easter. It reminds me of the excitement the disciples must have felt when they realized that Jesus was alive. Think about it—here they were trudging along in the midst of extreme pain and brokenness but, all of a sudden, bursting forth with new life and bringing back their hope, here was Jesus! Easter reminds us that we don’t have to remain on Good Friday. We don’t have to remain in the midst of hopelessness. Instead, we can cling to the hope of Jesus, knowing that He defeated everything and that love has won.

Your Story

If you went to church on Easter as a child, what were some of your favorite hymns/songs? Why? If you began going to church as an adult, what are your favorite Easter hymns/songs now? Why have you chosen these?

The Bible Story

Read John 20:1-18. Here it is from The New Living Translation: Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home. Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

As resurrection people, we should live as people whose sins have been forgiven, who have been made clean by the Creator of the Universe and who are dearly loved by God. And yet, sometimes, we allow our sin to pull us down. We allow other voices to crowd out God’s and begin to believe that we aren’t worthy of God’s love. We remain in the grave of our sin. But Jesus is there with us, waiting to pull us out of that sin and into new life with God. The grave could not hold Jesus. Our sin doesn’t have to hold us back. May we live as people who have been forgiven and who are loved, no matter what.

Action and Discussion

• Ask your children about their favorite songs for Easter. What songs do they like to sing to praise God?
• Give each person in your family a piece of paper and a pen/pencil/marker. Have them write down things they have done wrong. When everyone’s finished, do not read the lists. Instead, tell your family that God has forgiven everything they have done wrong and that God loves them. Then burn the pieces of paper or have each person tear his/hers up into small pieces and throw them away.

Prayer

Praise God for Easter. Thank God for the hope that Jesus brings. Ask God for help in remembering that God’s love is more powerful than anything we could ever do wrong.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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