Easter Sunday

JESUS IS SPEAKING

: Easter Sunday
HI FIVE… JESUS IS ALIVE!

 

Leading up to Easter we’d been focusing on the idea of ‘Listening to God’. Of course you can’t listen to someone who doesn’t exist or who is dead.koch3

Today we celebrate the fact that Jesus is ALIVE! He’s not dead. God’s not dead; in fact through Jesus he has opened his heart and soul to us. He’s invited us to share life with him, up close and personal.

Of course Jesus was killed because people didn’t want to listen to him. People didn’t like what he was saying, they felt threatened, they were worried about losing their influence and control, they didn’t want to change, they liked the way things worked for them, they didn’t want another king because they were happy playing at being their own king.

And people are still trying to shut Jesus up today. They’re still trying to kill him, or at least kill his followers. Jesus is still seen as a threat. People don’t want to be told what to do. People what to be free, free to do what they want when they want; so who do you think you are to tell me what to do. People still seek to kill Jesus, to shut him up.

When Jesus was crucified people mocked him. No different today; if you stand with Jesus, you’ll be mocked; labelled irrelevant, out of touch with the latest research, or just plain stupid, labelled as robbing people of their freedom, after all who do you think you are to judge people.

Have you noticed in the media how as a general rule those who claim to have Christian values are mocked, or more and more attacked as bigots who are out of touch with reality? I might be wrong, but it seems to me that in many and varied ways Jesus is being told to shut up. His followers are being killed, quite literally, all over the world.

But guess what; you can’t shut him up, because Jesus is alive. He is alive and well. Not only alive and well, he’s still speaking, he’s still king, and he is bringing in his kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is near.

We’re not left with some good teaching; that’s one of the subtle ways of trying to shut Jesus up. He was a good teacher. No, Jesus IS a good teacher, but oh so much more. Jesus is still speaking.

Do you know what he is saying?

I love listening to him speak to me through the words he spoke to his disciples when he came into their locked room, where they were hiding because of fear. They’d been shut up.

Jesus comes in and says; “Peace be with you.” A traditional greeting at that time would have been ‘Shalom’. That’s the Hebrew word we translate as peace. The thought behind it was fullness of life with God. So it goes way beyond not having any conflict but a life that is rich and full. That’s Jesus’ words to us this morning; ‘Peace be with you’; I want you to have life, life lived to the full.

Jesus is saying; ‘I’m here to invite you into my life that together we might discover and enjoy Father’s love, that we might be living it. Living out this deep, rich, full relationship which brings out the best in us. Lives flowing in, with and under Father’s love as we become a living, breathing expression of that love. Jesus is inviting you to share this wonderful life with him. He has such great hopes and dreams to live with us.

Jesus is alive, you can’t shut him up.

You can chose to ignore him, but Jesus is speaking, Jesus is inviting you, inviting all people to share life with him in Father’s love. To share life with him growing a community that reflects Father’s love.

That’s why Jesus is inviting and not forcing us. Force, brute force, can make people do what you want, but it can never create a loving environment, let alone create a loving person.

People sought to use brute force to shut Jesus up; did they create a loving world through this force?

Jesus takes the brute force that was directed to get rid of him, and comes back, not with totally brutal force, but with amazing love. Jesus forgives. Jesus opens his heart and soul so that we might know without a shadow of a doubt that we are loved. Jesus offers life; life in all his fullness. Life lived from the core of who we are; Father’s child, chosen and marked by his love the delight of his life.

You can choose to ignore Jesus and go on doing things your own way. You can choose not to listen and live by sanctified reason. You can choose to treat Jesus as a figurehead, but of no real influence in the way you live. You can choose to ignore Jesus, because he loves you too much to use brute force just to get his own way.

Jesus is speaking; not to condemn you, but to love you. Jesus is speaking, inviting you into life where you live secure in the new identity he has won for you through his death on the cross.

Jesus is speaking so that we might be able to grow and mature in this new identity we have been given. That identity results in a living expression of God’s very nature; that’s why we live love. In Jesus, it’s who you are; did you hear that? In Jesus you are, not might be or could be if you try really hard. No, in Jesus you are Father’s child, chosen and marked by his love, the delight of his life. That’s who you are.

Now, together with Jesus, your life is a wonderful voyage of discovery, as you grow and mature in this relationship. In Jesus you now have the wonderful freedom to share life with him as together you grow in discovering this wonderful new identity that you have.

Have you ever noticed that people don’t live free when they are left simply to go off and do whatever they want when they want? I soon discover that I’ve become a slave to something or someone. I become a slave to my desire to be praised; hearing people say what a person of worth I am. Slaves aren’t free.

Knowing who you are creates freedom. And the freedom we have in Jesus not only creates freedom for me but for every other person in his kingdom. I don’t discover my worth in competition to you, rather I live out my identity lifting you up to be all that God has created you to be, celebrating life with you.

Jesus is alive and well; speaking life. Speaking life into all who will listen, so that they might discover their new identity in Father, and live free being true to who they are.

Jesus is inviting you to be part of his life, to share living with him. If you can’t hear him, just ask him to remove the curtain, because you want to hear. Just ask, and listen, he’s speaking.

Jesus is inviting you to share life with him, but he won’t force himself on you, he’s waiting for your response. For Jesus is out to create genuine love, and he knows loved people love, and that when people are loved well they’ll love well.

Jesus is inviting you in; I’d encourage you to invite him in. To invite Jesus into your life, your home life, your work life, your leisure life, your sex life, your economics, and even your politics. Daily invite him in because you accept his invitation to love you in every area of life, so you can be living loved, and not just reacting.

Jesus is speaking, he’s alive. Daily make time to chat and talk about life with him. That’s how you invite him in. Invite Jesus to send the Spirit and to lead you into all areas of life that you might be growing, discovering the fullness of life that come when you live loved; loved by Jesus, loved personally each day through the Spirit being there to share life with you.

Jesus is speaking, he’s alive. Invite him in and listen; enjoy the relationship and be all that he has dreamed possible. Go and live loved.

Pastor Tim Koch.

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