Sermon Series: Things that make a Difference

Mark 16:9-16

Have you ever been touched by the resurrection? I can imagine you thinking to yourself that is a peculiar question. What do you mean “Touched by the Resurrection?” Before I answer your question let me just say when you have been touched by the Resurrection it is an experience that you will not forget. In fact, it is an experience that will change your life forever.

So what does it mean to be “Touched by the Resurrection?”

Let us turn to the gospel according to Mark the 16th chapter verses 9 to 16. In these eight verses we see the words “He appeared” or “Jesus appeared” three times. In all three cases the meaning is very similar but the application is slightly different because of the intent. In the first case Jesus reveals Himself to Mary Magdalene. In the next case Jesus exposes Himself to the two men on the road to Emmaus, and in the third case Jesus shows Himself to the eleven. In all three cases Jesus makes His presence known but does it differently in each case. When Jesus was with Mary around the tomb He simply “revealed” or let her see who He was by calling her name “Mary.” When Jesus was with the two men on the road to Emmaus He “exposed” or uncovered His presence by connecting what had just happened with what was foretold would happen in the scriptures. In other words, Jesus exposed the truth of the scriptures. When Jesus went to see the eleven in the upper room He “showed” or again uncovered His presence but this time by simply showing up and letting them see the nail prints in His hands and feet.

In each case the appearance of Jesus gave those who saw Him a reason to believe. Before a person can accomplish anything in life they have to believe they can accomplish it. Before we can build a successful relationship we have to believe the ingredients are present for the relationship to grow, thrive, and succeed. Before we can acquire our dream home or dream job or even the school we desire we have to believe that we possess what it takes to not only get in, but stay in, fulfilling and realizing our true potential even during hard times. Before we can do anything we have to believe – how do we come to believe? We have to be “Touched by the Resurrection. Literally, we have to see Jesus in all that we think, desire, and do, or we have to hear His voice.

When we can see or hear Jesus, we also will see what Mary Magdalene, the two and the eleven saw. They saw in Jesus the power to conquer every obstacle through the one who had conquered death and the grave. They saw that even though they themselves were limited, Jesus is limitless and Jesus removes the limits, boundaries, and raises the ceiling for all who are “Touched by the Resurrection.”

While those who saw Jesus were visibly impacted, those who heard but did not see struggled to comprehend. On two separate occasions the eleven received the report that Jesus had risen and still they did not believe. For some only hearing about Jesus will not be enough. Hearing about Jesus’ miracles, Hearing about Jesus supernaturally restoring sight to the blind, restoring hearing to those were deaf, empowering the lame to walk again, and calling those who died back to life, for some just hearing about these things will not be enough. Hearsay is never a good substitute for first hand information. One of the first principles of the social sciences and the hard sciences is the principle of observation. In any study a scientist first observes and records their observations. This is called primary source information. All researchers regardless of their field always seek primary source information if it is available. The purpose of primary source information is to validate a researchers hypothesis. What they think will happen during the study.

When it comes to knowing Jesus and understanding whom Jesus is, a person cannot live off of someone else’s experience. The individual who desires to know Jesus and gain an understanding of whom Jesus is must have a personal encounter with Jesus. Literally, we have to see and hear Him for ourselves.

How do we see and hear Jesus for ourselves? We have to want to see Him. The only people who saw Jesus after His resurrection where those who either went looking for Him or those who desired to see Him. The Bible says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found.” This implies that in order to find Jesus you have to look for Jesus. Today, it is easy to find Jesus. Today, we simply have to pick up our Bibles and turn to any of the gospels and find a passage where Jesus is speaking and start reading. It is as simple as that. As we continue to read the words of Jesus we will begin to discover after a while that we too have been “Touched by the Resurrection.” As Jesus reveals, uncovers, and shows Himself to us through His words we will begin to comprehend and come to know Him because we will have been “Touched by the Resurrection” speaking directly to us, about us and into our lives.

One of the questions that has always amused me is when a youngster asks, Pastor, what does Jesus look like? In verse 12 the Bible says, “Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.” The principle application of this verse for us is that Jesus appears to each of us differently. As we trace each appearance of Jesus throughout this narrative, we see that in each appearance Jesus manifested Himself as each person or group of people needed to see Him.

To Mary Magdalene Jesus revealed Himself. In the form Jesus presented Himself to Mary she could clearly see that it was Jesus. To the two men on the road to Emmaus Jesus exposed Himself to them. In this case Jesus help the men come into the knowledge of who He is. It required spending a little more time with these guys, but by speaking to them through the scriptures the two were able to recognize who Jesus is. To the eleven Jesus simply showed or again uncovered His presence so that they could know that He was alive and well.

The one thing that all these had in common was that Jesus came to them at their point of need and in a form they could comprehend. The same principle that held true then, also holds true now. Jesus comes to us also at our point of need and He comes in the form that we need Him to take so that we too can know who He is.

- To the orphan, Jesus comes as a loving Father
- To the widow, Jesus comes as a kinsman-redeemer
- To the sick, Jesus comes a doctor and a healer
- To the depressed, Jesus comes as the bright and morning star
- To those who are hurting, Jesus comes as a comforter

Jesus meets us at our point of need and reveals Himself to us in whatever form we need Him to take at that point. Can I share a little secret with you, whenever Jesus meets us at our point of need He will always come in the form of a servant. A servant is someone who works for another. You tell the servant what you need and they are obligated by the terms of their contract to meet your needs. Jesus is in the need meeting business.

All who saw Jesus and were touched by His presence ran to go tell others that they had seen Him. Once you have been “Touched by the Resurrection” we cannot keep it to ourselves. How do we know if the Resurrection has touched us? We will feel compelled to share our encounter with others.

I can see your face and you are probably saying no way that is way off base. OK, consider other experiences you may have had and shared with others. Why did you share them? You shared them because they were pleasant, pleasurable, memorable, or they impacted you in some way and we wanted to let others in on our experience. The bottom line is things that impact us either positively or negatively we share – What about Jesus? If Jesus has impacted us in anyway why should we keep that kind of good news to ourselves?

May be we are like the eleven we have heard about Jesus, but we have not yet been “Touched by the Resurrection” yet.

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