Worship Service – April 17, 2022

Scriptures; Matthew 28:1-10. Colossians 3:1-10.

Message; “Easter’s Grace”


Matthew 28:1-10.

The Resurrection

(1) After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

(2) There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. (3) His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. (4) The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

(5) The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. (6) He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (7) Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

(8) So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (9) Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. (10) Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”


Colossians 3:1-10.

Rules for Holy Living

(1) Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (3) For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (4) When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

(5) Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (6) Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (7) You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. (8) But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (9) Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices (10) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.


This is the word of God,for the people of God. Thanks be to God.


Somebody ought to write a book titled, “Preachers Are Funny Creatures.” It makes no difference if they are pastors, priests or rabbis–people who have the wonderful privilege as I do of standing in a pulpit each week are somewhat weird.

I’m reminded of the story about Pastor Magee. Magee is an enthusiastic pastor who doesn’t wear a robe. His sanctuary is plainer than most, adorned only by a cross and an American flag. Magee likes to wave his arms to emphasize important points in his sermons. Unfortunately, he is so animated that he has trouble keeping his shirttails in his trousers. To solve this he has developed the habit of periodically stuffing his shirttails back into his trousers as inconspicuously as possible, even while he is preaching.

One Easter Sunday, while preaching with great excitement, he fished around behind his back in the usual way, and found more material than usual to push out of sight. He persisted doggedly, however. On he preached and on he stuffed. It wasn’t until the congregation’s started to laugh that he discovered that he had about half of the American flag stuffed into his pants.  He felt foolish, of course. But what would you expect? It was Easter Sunday! What pastor can help but get excited on Easter Sunday?

We get excited because we see faces on Easter Sunday, that we might not see on most Sundays of the year. Just before the service today, I heard one young fellow ask his Dad, “Dad, where are the Christmas trees that were here the last time we were here?” That’s a joke, of course. I’m really very happy to see each of you. And most of you have been here since last Christmas. But it’s easy to get excited about the attendance on Easter, and the music. What would Easter be without the great music?

I’m reminded of a Family Circus cartoon: The family is leaving church, which has been packed with worshipers. The children are saying: “What a crowd, Daddy! Has our church been advertising?” One of them says, “I like it when the choir sings about that guy named Ollie Looya.” Well, I’m kind of fond of old Ollie Looya myself. What would Easter be without music?

Of course the main reason pastors get excited on Easter is because we get to tell once again the story of the first Easter.

If you were with us this morning at our sunrise service, we read John‘s account of the first Easter morning.

John’s Easter morning begins with Mary Magdalene alone and in the dark. The whole sense of the first 10 verses  in the 20th chapter of John is one of confusion, fear, misery and depression. Even after Mary sees the two angels in the tomb, things are still unclear. Jesus himself appears at first in a veiled, unrecognizable form. For John, the resurrection is as mysterious as it is miraculous.

To read Matthew’s version of Easter morning is to be dumb struck with wonder. It is as if Matthew decided to go for broke and show us what a real live miracle looks like, when you’re standing in the middle of it.

As in John, the scene opens at daybreak with Mary Magdalene, this time accompanied by “the other Mary” hurrying to the tomb.

Some  suggest that these two women went to the tomb for the purpose of finishing the care and preparation of the corpse of Jesus, that was left undone. I don’t know that for certain and Matthew doesn’t elude to that.

Note that while John emphasized that “it was still dark” (20:1), Matthew proclaims the day was “dawning” (28:1). Suddenly an earthquake shakes the ground beneath these women’s feet. Those hoping to rationalize away the tomb’s rolled back stone might have used this earthquake as a simple explanation for the immense stone’s movement, Matthew will have none of that. Instead of being a workhorse, this earthquake is simply a doorbell – announcing the arrival of a stone-rolling angel. It’s clear in Matthew’s text that the angel, not the earthquake, is the stone mover here.

This angel is no namby-pamby fluffy creature. Matthew describes the angel as a truly miraculous being. His “appearance was like lightning” – dazzling, striking, unexpected – while his clothing was “white as snow” – snow itself being a rare and wondrous occurrence in those desert-like regions.

The guards posted at the tomb, whom Matthew alone takes care to stipulate (27:64-66), are weak-kneed and worthless in the face of the angel’s power.  The guards might as well be dead before this mighty angel.

Unlike John’s angels – who only ask a question – Matthew’s angel comes with a well-prepared speech. First he soothes the frightened women. Saying: “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified”(v.5).Then he tells them straight-out what has happened – “He is not here, he has risen, just as he said”(v.6). This angel then acts as tour guide, inviting them to; “Come and see the place where he lay.” the empty tomb. Clearly demonstrating to these women that Jesus is gone. One further task remains for this angel. He gives the two Marys a specific directive; “go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him’(v.7).

I believe this angel was thinking, mission accomplished, as he spoke these final words; ’Now I have told you.”

Little wonder that the women are filled with “fear and great joy” at the content’s of this message. Not only have they experienced an earthquake, seen an angel, received a tour of Jesus’ empty tomb and been given a mission, but they have also been promised Jesus will meet them again soon.

But Matthew isn’t finished with the morning’s miracles. As the women run to give the disciples their message, Jesus himself appears before them.

For Matthew, there is no guessing or trickery in Jesus’ first resurrection appearance. His identity is clear, and maybe a bit startling to the woman as they hurried away from the tomb. Matthew writes; “ Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said.”  Jesus’ first appearance was one of hope and joy.

“Greetings,” The women responded immediately. They, “clasped his feet and worshiped him” (v.9). Then after reassuring the women, Jesus again directs them to: ”Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me”(v.10).

Jesus’ apparently unscheduled appearance seems to be an added miracle for the benefit of these faithful, fearless women. They come to the tomb at the crack of dawn expecting to find only the cold, broken body of their teacher and friend. They come alone, despite the fact that they knew Roman soldiers guarded the place. They listen to the angel, enter the tomb and then immediately act on the instructions they are given. They never ask “Where is Jesus?” or “Why can’t we see him now?” They simply accept everything that is presented to them and; ”hurried away from the tomb afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples”(vs.8).

Then, according to scripture, the risen Christ began making appearances. Not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen by God. The reports are mysterious and confusing. The risen Christ passed through closed doors. Yet, on other occasions, he ate and drank with his disciples.

No one would fabricate a story with as many troubling discrepancies. These are the jumbled eyewitness accounts of men and women who are experiencing something that never happened before. Who could help but get excited reporting such news? They all had witness miracles. They all had the opportunity to experience, “ Easter’s Grace “. Have you? Are you here today because you’ve experienced a miracle of resurrection to life by “Easter’s Grace”, of the forgiveness of your sin?

The writer of Colossians sums up the meaning of “Easter’s Grace“ the resurrection like this: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Are you here today because you need to see more clearly what purpose God has for you?

Maybe you’re like the man and his wife who were on a long trip and stopped at a full-service gas station. After the station attendant had washed their car’s windshield, the man in the car said to the station attendant, “It’s still dirty. Wash it again.”

So the station attendant complied. After washing it again, the man in the car angrily said, “It’s still dirty. Don’t you know how to wash a windshield?”

Just then the man’s wife reached over, removed her husband’s glasses from his face, and cleaned them with a tissue. Then he put them back on and behold—the windshield was clean!

Paul tells us our mental attitude has a great deal to do with how we look at things. The whole world can appear pretty bleak if we have a depressed mental attitude. Yet how bright the world can appear if we have a joyful attitude of hope like the two Mary’s.

Easter isn’t just about an historical event that took place more than two thousand years ago. Easter isn’t just about dying. It’s about the power of belief in a world of lost hope. It’s about knowing that no situation is beyond God’s redeeming power. Because of “Easter’s Grace” we can have confidence that God will never forget us nor forsake us.

If you’ve received Christ as your savior, you have experienced a miracle. You’re in the middle of it. Can you hear Jesus saying to you, “Greetings.” “Do not be afraid”. Go and tell of “Easter’s Grace”.

In His Service, Pastor Joe

Listen To Audio: Sermon 20220417

Listen To Audio: Service 04172022


Call to Worship:

L: This is Easter morning: dry your tears and shout for joy!

P:  Jesus is not dead. He is Alive!

L:  God has conquered death and Jesus has canceled sin.

P:  This is, indeed, a new day!  Leap for joy!


Prayer of Confession:   Holy, Holy, Holy God, as we draw near to the mouth of the tomb and find the stone rolled away, as we bend with racing hearts to look inside, we are struck dumb.  All our words are as prattle before the awe and majesty of your power.  In silence, we bow before you, for we have fallen short of the glory for which you created us.  Lord, have mercy upon us, and make us worthy to be called your own.  Amen.



Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday Mornings from 10:30 to 12:30.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to Kenya/Rev. Malaho.

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Choir practice will be on Thursday at 9:00 A.M. 

One Great Hour of Sharing ends today.

Men’s Breakfast Wednesday April 20th at 8:00 A.M.

Session will meet on Saturday, April 23, at 9 A.M.

Newsletter Deadline – Tuesday, April 26th, 2022.

Please mark your envelope if you are contributing to the piano repair fund.


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