Sunday April 12, 2009 – Rick opened this Easter morning
service by reading an excerpt from a book by Max Lucado entitled “He Saw You”:
The final prayer of Jesus was about you. His final
pain was for you. His final passion was for you. Before he went to the cross,
Jesus went to the garden. And when he spoke with his Father, you were in his
prayers. As Jesus looked into heaven, you were in his vision. As Jesus dreamed
of the day when we will be where he is, he saw you there…Never had he felt so
alone. What had to be done; only he could do. An angel couldn’t do it. No angel
has the power to break open hell’s gates. A man couldn’t do it. No man has the
purity to destroy sin’s claim. No force on earth can face the force of
evil and win – except God. And God couldn’t turn his back on you. He couldn’t
because he saw you, and one look at you was all it took to convince him. Right
there in the middle of a world which isn’t fair. He saw you cast into a river
of life you didn’t request. He saw you betrayed by those you love. He saw you
with a body which gets sick and heart which grows weak. He saw you in your own
garden of gnarled trees and sleeping friends. He saw you staring into the pit
of your own failures and the mouth of your own grave. He saw you in your Garden of Gethsemane – and he didn’t want you to
be alone. He wanted you to know that he has been there, too. He knows what it’s
like to be plotted against. He knows what it’s like to be torn between two
desires. He knows what it’s like to smell the stench of Satan. And, perhaps
most of all, he knows what it’s like to beg God to change his mind and to hear
God say so gently, but firmly, “No.” For that is what God said to Jesus, and
Jesus accepted the answer. At some moment during that midnight hour an angel of
mercy came over the weary body of the man in the garden. Jesus stood, the
anguish gone from his eyes. His heart will fight no more. The battle has been
won. The sign of conquest? Jesus at peace in the olive trees. On the eve
of the cross, Jesus made his decision. He would rather go to hell for you than
go to heaven without you.
He finished leading the boys in prayer.
Lyndee led the boys in singing “Christ the Lord is Risen
Today”, “The Old Rugged Cross”, and “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble”.
After Lyndee introduced Wade doing the vocal and Edward on the cajon drum
performing a special entitled: “The World’s Greatest”.
Ben spoke, as only Ben can do, on a time in his life when he
knew he was guilty, it was his fault, he was sorry but could not take it
back. Standing before the Judge admitting his guilt he saw this man named
Jesus who said I know you are guilty but I am going to free you. I am
going to suffer your punishment. And then he saw them take this man and
began to beat him leading him away to his cell and as they did he turned around
and said “I’ve got you covered”. Thank you Jesus! You know guys
Christianity is just that simple; Thank you Jesus! Oh the wonder of that precious
lord who would take our punishment. He sang “I Will Glory in the Cross”,
“In the Cross” and “I Should have been Crucified”. He closed encouraging
the boys to stay near the cross.
Rick introduced Robert Taylor who had successfully completed
the Pegasus program. Lyndee said her goodbye to Robert blessing him with
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt
as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
4 Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
Rick prayed for Robert and encouraged the boys to pray for
Robert and ask Robert to pray for us. Robert spoke some words of
encouragement to the boys hoping they all would make it. He thanked
those who had ministered to him.
Rick, our speaker, as if taking his cue from Ben, focused
his message on the cross and the resurrection. He started with Mat.
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until
three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice,
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you
47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he
was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with
sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the
rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”
50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his
54. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the
crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They
said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
55 And many women who had come from Galilee
with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56 Among them were
Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James
and John, the sons of Zebedee.
57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea
who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.
And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and
wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new
tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone
across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were
sitting across from the tomb and watching.
62 The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests
and Pharisees went to see Pilate. 63 They told him, “Sir, we remember what that
deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from
the dead.’ 64 So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This
will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling
everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than
we were at first.”
65 Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best
you can.” 66 So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
He began to speak of how the cornerstone of Christianity was
the resurrection of Jesus Christ making it unique when compared to other
religions. This same resurrection power is available to us.
Rick continued by reading Mat. 28:1-10:
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel
of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3 His
face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards
shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be
afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He
isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see
where his body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he
has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee.
You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very
frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the
disciples the angel’s message. 9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted
them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus
said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
Rick emphasized the fact that the stone was not removed for
Jesus to get out of the tomb. He was already gone. It was removed
for us to get in and see He was not there.
He continued by reading Mark 16:6-14:
but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking
for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the
dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples,
including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee.
You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
8 The women fled from the tomb, trembling and
bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened.
9 After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday
morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom
he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went to the disciples, who were grieving
and weeping, and told them what had happened. 11 But when she told them that Jesus
was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.
12 Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of
his followers who were walking from Jerusalem
into the country. 13 They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed
14 Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as
they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because
they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from
What would I do if someone had told me a close friend had
risen from the dead? That would be hard to believe!
Rick began to tear apart all the unbelievers’ explanations
for why Jesus was not in the tomb.
He continued to teach from scripture - Luke 24:1-9:
But very early on Sunday morning the women went
to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 They found that the stone
had been rolled away from the entrance. 3 So they went in, but they didn’t find
the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly
appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.
5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces
to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for
someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what
he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of
Man[b] must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and
be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”
8 Then they remembered that he had said this. 9 So
they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone
else—what had happened.
John 20:19-22 & 30
That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind
locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus
was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he
showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy
when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has
sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive
the Holy Spirit.
The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in
addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that
you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that
by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
Rick closed by reading another excerpt from Max Lucado and
as he did his voice began to break with emotion as he read of the suffering of
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
It was a very moving Easter sermon. Thank you Rick!
Ken closed with the Lord’s Prayer.