Make Room For Miracles, Part 1

April 4, 2010

The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor

Montgomery United Methodist Church

 

Mark 16: 1-8  

1And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 
4And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
7But go
8And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed.

 

This morning I would like to invite you to join me as we begin a series of sermons called: Make Room for Miracles.

 

Over the next few weeks I want to talk with you about how different people in the Bible, people who knew Jesus, experienced the miracle of His Resurrection. Also, how we too can experience the miracle of God's love and amazing blessings in our lives. We need to open our spiritual eyes wide enough to experience the power of God. Friends, I am inviting you to intentionally make room for miracles in our lives.

 

Today, we are exploring the greatest mystery and miracle in the Bible, the Resurrection and Rising of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

 

It has been quite a week. We have had five services in the last three days. Some kind people have come up and asked if I was tired yet. ďNo,Ē I replied, ďI am feeling fine.Ē  I am surrounded by wonderful people and with all your love and encouragement and blessing. However, it does remind me of something I read in a book of Childrenís Letters to God. One child wrote:

 Dear Jesus, I am really sorry about Good Friday and everything.

 Boy, I bet you were glad when the weekend was over.

   (much laughter from the congregation)

 

Friend, today is the Day of Days. It is the day when we celebrate the central miracle of the Bible:  Jesus is Risen!

 

Ordinary people, people like you and me, experienced this greatest of miracles in a direct and amazing way.  When all seemed lost, when all seemed like defeat, God had the last word - and the last word was not the sorrow of Good Friday - the last word was the triumph of Easter morning.  Jesus rose!  What a miracle!

 

Whether it is for the next several hours, or the days to come or the year ahead, or the life beyond-the great truth of Godís word is that it is good.  God brings us blessing.  Easter is the testimony of this.  God has something good in store for you.

 

 Please join me in making the decision to make room for miracles in your life. Do you need a miracle?  Do you need God's help in blessing some situation in your life?  God is ready with a blessing.  Our job is to be open to it, to give thanks in advance for it.

 

We are a cautious people, arenít we? We are really responsible. We take care of things; we make sure that things are in order.  We prepare for this and that.  And of course, that is good.  We need to be prepared, to take care of things.  I am not putting that cautiousness down.

 

However, can't we become so cautious and fearful and so tight inside that we miss the wonderful, beautiful miracles that God has in store for us? Let's not miss them, okay? Make yourself a person with open eyes for miracles.

 

What is a miracle? Simply put, a miracle is an amazingly good thing.  A remarkable, breathtaking turn of events that represent the blessing of almighty God.  They are all around us, in every moment of life, in every step we take.  I invite you to open your heart and mind to the amazingly good things God is putting before us, amazing gifts of His love, all the time, every day of our lives.

 

Let us talk about what happened on that first Easter day.

 

All hope was lost. This great leader Jesus,
                        Who had said so many brilliant things,
                        Who had set the record straight about God,
                        Who had told people what God was really like,
                        Who had been so kind,
                        Who had healed people,
                        Who had performed so many  miracles,

He was gone.

He seemed to be destroyed in one swift act.

 

They had buried his body in a cave, a tomb, hewn out of rock. In front of that cave was a little channel that was chipped into the rock. On that channel was a huge round stone that would be rolled in front of the tomb. The stone was enormously heavy. In that way, the tomb was closed. The seal of Rome, a big wax seal, was impressed upon it. It reminded all not to break the seal, or the punishment would be death.  Further, there were Roman guards in front of the tomb.   

 

On that first Easter morning, the friends of Jesus, those wise, wise women, got the traditional spices and perfumes ready to go and anoint the body of Jesus. It was the practice of the day to go to the tomb during the first three days after the death. It was believed that the spirit hovered near the body during the first three days. They couldnít go on Saturday because it was the Sabbath, so early on Sunday morning; they gathered the fragrant spices and perfumes to anoint the body of Jesus.

 

As they went along, they asked an interesting question of one another. Who will roll the stone away?  They didnít know the answer, but they went anyway. Even in all their despair, they gathered all the things they needed, they got on the road, started walking, they made room for a miracle. Donít you think that the statement, Who will roll the stone away?, contains the implication that maybe, just maybe, they had hope that there would be someone to help them with the stone.

 

The women did two things. They had a mustard seedís worth of faith. I am asking us to do this also. In the midst of our cautious, protected lives, can we have just a mustard seedís worth of faith that a miracle might happen? I have seen them so many times, havenít you?  It would be a shame if we missed it. It would be a shame if we werenít ready for it. It would be a shame if we didnít rejoice in it when a miracle happened!

 

The women had that mustard seedís worth of faith. The second thing they did was that they started walking. They started going in the direction of the miracle. Perhaps we are called to do that too. They could have just given up, but the women didnít.  They kept their feet moving in the direction of their blessing, and believed that maybe there would be somebody to move that stone. You know what happened. They got to the tomb. To their joy and amazement, the stone had been rolled away, the soldiers fell like dead men and there was a radiant, spiritual Being sitting on the tomb, dressed in colors that are almost beyond our vision because they are of a Heavenly dimension. He said, Why do you seek the living among the dead? Jesus is Risen, just as He said.    The women ran from the tomb in fear and great joy to tell the others.

 

I invite us to have a mustard seedís worth of faith this week, faith that something good is coming your way. Start moving your feet in the direction of your miracle. 

 

Are you a walking miracle?  I know that I am. On October 21, 2005 I was sitting in my office and I had really strange chest pains. I was having a hard time breathing, I couldnít get a full breath. I said to myself, it will go away.  I took some aspirin.  But the next day it didnít go away. I went to the doctor and he was concerned and diligent and said that I was having a heart attack and that I was going to the hospital right then. I did and I had magnificent care. The healing power of God came through the hands of all those wonderful doctors and nurses who cared for me. That was five years ago and thanks to that miracle I stand before you now. How about you? Are you a walking miracle? Please raise your hands if you are. (about half of the congregation raise their hands) Everyone, please look around you; I even know some of these stories, a good half of the room.

 

Here is our assignment for next week.   Please think of one miracle in your life, just one, think about it and thank God for it.  Next week, we will think about these some more. Are you a walking miracle?  Friend, our lives are filled with miracles - amazingly good things - remarkable gifts from an abundantly generous God.

 

Make room for a miracle today - because God wants to bless you.

 

God loves you; I do too. Happy Easter.

© 2010 Anthony J. Godlefski