*Last year I missed Easter. It was awful! I had gone through all the preparations for Easter that a pastor should undergo. I was ready, I was excited, I was pumped about Easter Sunday. The, the day before Easter, I came down with a horrible stomach bug. I called Patrick that evening and said, ”I’m sick, I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to church tomorrow.” So Patrick, poor guy, had to take my notes and preach my Easter message. Because of being sick that day I missed Easter! I missed church, I missed one of the greatest Sundays of the year, I missed Jake’s first Easter Egg Hunt and his brand new Easter outfit…all because I was in the bed sick! There were consequences for missing Easter.*

Today, I want to talk to you about someone in the Bible who missed Easter. Now, he didn’t miss Easter Sunday service, like I did last year. But he missed Easter because He missed the meaning of Easter. You see, you can be HERE today, on Easter Sunday, and still miss Easter. Missing Easter is not about missing a church service; it is about missing a personal experience with the risen Christ. To miss Easter is to miss the meaning of Easter- to miss the resurrection- to miss the real Jesus.

John 20:19-29 tells us a story of a disciple of Christ who missed Easter. Thomas, known to many of us as ”Doubting Thomas” missed the appearance of Christ after His resurrection. As a result, he missed Easter. What happens when you miss Easter?

1. If you miss Easter, you miss an encounter with Jesus: 19-24

Explanation

Verses 19-23 describe a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to His disciples. It was the Sunday evening after the crucifixion of Jesus. His disciples were scared and confused, they had locked themselves in a room in fear that those who had murdered Jesus would soon be looking for them.

All of a sudden, Jesus appears to His disciples. The Bible says that ”Jesus came and stood in their midst…” Notice this, Jesus was dead, they were scared, the doors were locked and Jesus appears to them! It’s clear that he came into the room even while the doors were still locked. When you encounter Jesus…

a) He gives you peace- 19-21a ”peace be with you…”

Christ can offer peace like you’ve never known. He provides peace that comes only from a right relationship with Jesus Christ. You know the appearance of Jesus must have brought peace to the disciples’ troubled hearts. They were worried, confused, frustrated, heart-broken, afraid and upset. But the presence of Jesus had brought peace.

He showed them ”His hands and His side” and the Bible says that the disciples ”rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”

b) He gives you purpose- 21b ”as the Father has sent Me, I also send you…”

Not only did Jesus offer peace, He also gave them a purpose. Now the Christ had been crucified and resurrected, He had a task and assignment for His followers. He commissions them to go and be ”Jesus” to the world. He gave them a purpose and a commission. And this group of people turned the world upside down with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

c) He gives you power- 22-23 ”receive the Holy Spirit…”

Jesus then ”breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.” In this powerful act, Christ provided the strength and power they needed to fulfill His commission and task. He provided them with such power that they were able to preach and teach about the forgiveness of sins and salvation through Christ.

What an awesome encounter with Christ…the disciples were radically and eternally changed as a result of this encounter. They were transformed from fear to courage, from sorrow to joy and from hopelessness to purpose.

But the Bible simply says in verse 24, ”Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came…” In other words, He missed the encounter with Jesus. Thomas missed this incredible experience because He missed Easter…he missed the resurrection of Christ.

And as a result, Thomas didn’t experience what they experienced; he didn’t encounter what they encountered. You see, when you miss Easter- when you don’t understand the resurrection- you miss this!! Belief in the resurrection is essential to a true encounter with Christ!

Argumentation

There were at least five Resurrection appearances of Jesus on that first day of the week: to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), the other women (Matthew 28:9-10), Peter (1 Corinthians 15:5, Luke 24:34), the two Emmaus disciples (Luke 24:13-32), and the disciples here in our story. And Thomas missed them all! He missed the encounter with Christ because He missed Easter…He missed the meaning of the resurrection.

Illustration

Don’t you hate the stories that begin with, ”Man, you sure did miss it. Too bad you weren’t there. There’s no way to describe it. You just had to be there.” Recently I called my mom and dad on a Sunday evening to check in and say hello. When I made the phone call I realized through the course of conversation that they had hosted, at their home, almost all of the Grammy nominated/Grammy winning artists in their home previously that week. I mean, artists like Third Day, Casting Crowns, and many more very popular secular artists were hanging out with my mom and dad. It’s just one of those events that I didn’t even know about and would have loved to experience.* But I missed it…I didn’t have that encounter.

Application

Have you had an encounter with the risen Lord? If so, it radically changes you from the inside out! But when you miss Easter, when you miss the truth and reality of the resurrection, you miss out on a true, personal encounter with Christ.

2. If you miss Easter, you miss an experience in faith: 24-29

Explanation

Notice what Thomas says in verse 24, ”Unless I see…and [touch]…I will not believe…” The Bible says that they ”were saying to him…” this gives the indication that they kept on telling him over and over yet he was unwilling to listen or believe. He was so certain of Christ’s death that he would not believe their report.

Thomas uses strong language here to say, ”I will not believe.” He says literally, I absolutely, positively will not accept this unless the conditions of my proofs are met.

You see, some of you have heard the reports of others about what Christ has done for them…yet you still doubt. Only God can change your heart and mind. That’s exactly what He did for Thomas. Yet Thomas missed the chance to live in true faith and accept the testimony of those who had seen Christ.

Jesus met Thomas right where He was – in his unbelief – He know what he had said and He provided the proof that Thomas longed for. You see, God is not hiding from you, He is not afraid of your questions.

But Thomas missed an experience in faith because he had to have proof. But notice how Thomas responded, once he realized that Christ was really risen from the dead. He proclaimed, ”My Lord and my God.” This is the strongest statement in any of the gospels to the deity of Christ. He is Lord and He is God, but notice this, Thomas makes it personal! He is my Lord and my God!

You see, God is to be experienced through faith. That’s the way He has designed life to work. We know Him, experience Him and follow Him through faith. Yet Thomas missed the experience of faith because he demanded proof.

Illustration

Every year especially around Christmas and Easter the liberal skeptics always begin a fresh new wave of attacks. This year many of you are probably familiar with the newest claim that archeologists have found Jesus tomb with him in it. The story is published in a book called ”Jesus, family tomb” and a special has appeared on the discovery channel. Whereas the writer of the DaVinci code claimed that his book was fictional, the author of this book claims it to be factual. Now we don’t have time to pick this book apart his morning. I will only mention that the man who is presenting this as Jesus tomb is now on trial for fraud. He is the same man who presented archeologist with an ossuary with the inscription of James the brother of Jesus on it in which has been found to be a fake. And now he is at it again. I would also like to add that there is not one serious archeologist that has backed up the claim that this was in fact Jesus’ tomb. In fact they have vehemently denied such a claim. Not even the Jewish archeologist that excavated the tomb itself. Now if anyone had a good reason to fudge on the facts concerning the burial of Jesus it would be a Jewish archeologist. But instead of backing the claim he has rejected it as fraudulent. Now why is this issue of the resurrection so important to these skeptics? I mean it is obviously important to them or they wouldn’t spend so much time and money trying to convince people that it is true. Or as Romans 1:18 states if it wasn’t so important they wouldn’t spend so much time ”suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.” The rejection of the resurrection is important to the skeptic because if they can disprove the resurrection they can then dismiss the Bible’s claim that apart from admitting that we are sinners, repenting from our sin and turning to faith in Christ we are doomed to an eternal hell. They would then be free to live their lives as they please.*

Application

You see, for Thomas to doubt meant that he had forgotten the words of the prophets in the OT, he had forgotten the teachings of Christ Himself, he ignored the experience of others and still didn’t believe. And the truth is, that we ignore all of those same signs today to disbelieve what the Bible so clearly teaches.

We ignore the prophecies in the OT, discount the teachings of Christ and dismiss the experience of others and demand the scientific method to prove God ”I must see/touch to believe.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to believe in Christ through faith. God will meet you right where you are and change your life! Then you can say with Thomas, ”My Lord and my God.”

Conclusion

Don’t miss Easter! Don’t miss the reality of the resurrection, the life-filling power of the empty tomb and the risen Christ who stands ready to bring new life to your heart.

You can be HERE today, but still be a million miles away from experiencing Easter. It’s not a Sunday service; it’s a change of life!

Missing Easter NCBC John 20:19-29 4/8/07

*Missed Easter- missed church, great Sunday, Jake’s Easter outfit and Egg Hunt; consequences for missing Easter* Someone in Bible who missed Easter; Missing Eater=missing the meaning of Easter; you can be HERE and miss Easter! Miss the resurrection of Jesus! John 20:19-29 tells us a story of a disciple of Christ who missed Easter. Thomas, known to many of us as ”Doubting Thomas” missed the appearance of Christ after His resurrection. As a result, he missed Easter. What happens when you miss Easter?

1. If you miss Easter, you miss an encounter with Jesus: 19-24

EX- vs 19-23 a post-res appearance of Jesus to disciples; disciples were scared and confused, they had locked themselves in a room in fear that those who had murdered Jesus would soon be looking for them; Jesus appears- ”came and stood in their midst” through a locked door! When you encounter Jesus…

a) He gives you peace- 19-21a ”peace be with you…” they were worried, confused, frustrated, heart-broken, afraid and upset. But the presence of Jesus had brought peace.

b) He gives you purpose- 21b ”as the Father has sent Me, I also send you…” go and be ”Jesus” to the world; turned the world upside down for Christ

c) He gives you power- 22-23 ”receive the Holy Spirit…” provided the strength and power they needed to fulfill His commission and task.

transformed from fear to courage, from sorrow to joy and from hopelessness to purpose; 24, ”Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came…” he missed the resurrection of Christ; Belief in the resurrection is essential to a true encounter with Christ!

AR- There were at least fiver Resurrection appearances of Jesus on that first day of the week: to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), the other women (Matthew 28:9-10), Peter (1 Corinthians 15:5, Luke 24:34), the two Emmaus disciples (Luke 24:13-32), and the disciples here in our story. And Thomas missed them all! He missed the encounter with Christ because He missed Easter…He missed the meaning of the resurrection.

IL- *”you sure missed it/should have been here” Grammy people at mansion*

AP- encounter with the risen Lord? radically changes you from the inside out!

2. If you miss Easter, you miss an experience in faith: 24-29

EX- 24 ”Unless I see…and [touch]…I will not believe; they ”were saying to him…” kept on telling but he was unwilling to listen; ”I will not believe.”=I absolutely, positively will not accept this unless the conditions of my proofs are met; heard reports from others but still doubt? Jesus met Thomas right where he was but Thomas missed an experience in faith; once he realized that Christ was really risen from the dead. He proclaimed, ”My Lord and my God.”

IL- *Jesus family tomb- not one serious archeologist backed up, in fact, they deny it; not even the Jewish archeologist that excavated the tomb itself.*

AP- Thomas forgot prophets, Christ, experience of others and we ignore same signs today! Don’t miss this opportunity to believe in Christ through faith. God will meet you right where you are and change your life! Then you can say with Thomas, ”My Lord and my God.”

CON- Don’t miss Easter! Don’t miss the reality of the resurrection, the life-filling power of the empty tomb and the risen Christ who stands ready to bring new life to your heart. You can be HERE today, but still be a million miles away from experiencing Easter. It’s not a Sunday service; it’s a change of life!

 

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About The Author

Jim Perdue is the Lead Pastor at Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins, GA. His desire is to faithfully preach and teach the Word of God. The mission of his ministry is to build up the church and lead others into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jim has been preaching since surrendering to God's call in 1995. He has had the opportunity to lead new and established churches, which has provided him experience dealing with different styles of churches. Having served in both rural and metro settings, Jim understands how to connect with a wide range of people through his preaching. His passion is to rightly divide the Word of God in a way that engages contemporary audiences. In 2003, Jim was awarded the Bessie M. Sarchet Preaching Award from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC for excellence in the preparation and delivery of sermons. Jim attended the University of Georgia and earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Education. He also earned a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Liberty University. Read Pastor Jim's sermons through books of the Bible and various other topics to gain a different perspective for your sermon preparation. Jim and his wife, Stephanie, are married with five children and live in Middle Georgia.

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