The Dawning of Real Life

After Jesus’ brutal death there is the quiet and stillness of the tomb; Jesus’ dead body was laid in the tomb. We read:

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.” (Matthew 28:1)

But there was also the quiet and stillness of the sabbath. The Jewish followers of Jesus entered into the sabbath, which means to cease. There was no activity to distract them as they waited in their griefs and loss. 

I’m sure that each one of us has at some point been in a season of waiting. We’ve all felt the pressure of waiting in one way or another; waiting for that phone call about the job, that letter of college acceptance, the news from the doctor after the test, the anticipation before the child came home, and so much more. Waiting is a common experience in life.

But seasons of waiting can be difficult, particularly when we cannot see that anything is happening. It’s not easy to wait for your body to improve while undergoing medical treatment or after recovery from a surgery because you cannot always see the difference on the surface.

It can be difficult to wait for that breakthrough in a friendship or marriage relationship when you still feel the tension even after long conversations or counseling.

Waiting is hard.

Here are these women, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the honored and favored first arrivals at the tomb.

What they, and the other disciples, don’t know is that while they were waiting, even while they were asking those “where is God?” questions, when the stone was rolled in front of the tomb, God had not abandoned them. In fact, God was working and was already ahead of them.

In our hunger for real life, even for God to break into our seasons of waiting, the promise of the empty tomb is that even when we cannot see it, God’s work has already begun. Even when we are asking, “where are You, God?”, God is already ahead of us…we often just do not see it. Our eyes are closed, or we are looking in the wrong direction. And then…the stone rolled away…an empty tomb…God was there all along.

Real life is dawning.

The resurrection promises us that even in our waiting God is at work. In fact, while the two Mary’s are walking to the tomb in dread and grief, Jesus has already left the tomb.

Real Life: Jesus’ resurrection

This past weekend at Eastbrook, as we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus our Messiah, we paused our series “Becoming Real” on the Sermon on the Mount, and turned to Matthew 28:1-10.

This passage tells the first part of the resurrection narrative, with the angel addressing Mary Magdalene and the other Mary before they first encounter the risen Jesus.

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire “Becoming Real” series here, as well as the devotional that accompanies the series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.” (Matthew 28:1)

The Dawning of Real Life (28:1)

  • Sabbath rest
  • The women
  • The work already begun…Jesus is already gone from the tomb

Announcing Real Life (28:2-7)

  • The angel’s appearance
  • The angel’s message:
  • Jesus was crucified
  • Jesus is risen
  • Go and share the message

Encountering Real Life  (28:8-10)

  • “Afraid yet filled with joy”
  • Bowing down to touch and worship
  • Go and share the message

Living Real Life

  • The living message of Christ
  • The unlikely who live with Christ
  • The charge to share the living message of Christ

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into Jesus’ resurrection in one or more of the following ways:

  • Consider memorizing Matthew 28:18-20 this week.
  • Share with others, both believers and unbelievers, about what Jesus means to you. Pray about who God would have you share with this coming week or month. Don’t just think about it, but actually do it.
  • As the weather improves, take a prayer walk around where you live. Pray for those who live near you that God would open their hearts to Jesus in new ways.

7 on Discipleship (discussion questions)

becoming-7-series-gfx_app-squareHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “7 on Discipleship,” which launched our series, “Becoming 7,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you ever set new years’ resolutions? If so, what have been some of your most important resolutions? If not, why not?
  2. This week we begin a new series on our vision for the year and beyond called “Becoming 7.” As you begin your study, ask God to speak to you and reveal His purposes for You and our church. Then, whether you are with a group or on your own, read Revelation 7:9-17 aloud.
  3. This passage reflects an interlude in the flow of the book of revelation between the opening of the sixth (Revelation 6) and seventh seals (Revelation 8). Here we reconnect with the heavenly vision described earlier in Revelation, chapters 4-5. How would you describe the number and nationality of this group? j
  4. Because of their white robes and palm branches, we know this group is part of the redeemed in Jesus Christ. How does their acclamation in verse 10 reflect their stance as the saved?
  5. What do you think it looks like for a church on earth to be a snapshot of this heavenly vision? How do you think our church could grow in this way?
  6. Now read Matthew 28:16-20, which is known as the Great Commission. What are the summary commands of Jesus Christ to the disciples here in these verses?
  7. Why is it important that, as stated in these verses, Jesus holds authority and is present with His followers? What might this say to the disciples then and what does it say to us now?
  8. If this Great Commission is the essential call of the church, how well do you think we are living this calling out as a church? How well do you think you are doing at living this calling out as a disciple yourself?
  9. What is one significant thing you are learning through this study? How might you put that into practice this week as you pray? Whether on your own or with a group, take some time to pray based off of what God was speaking to you during this study.

7 on Discipleship

becoming-7-series-gfx_4x3-title

I began our “Becoming 7” series this past weekend at Eastbrook with a message called “7 on Discipleship.” This series is an overview of our vision for the year, focusing on our big five vision objectives: becoming a Revelation 7:9-10 church; growing in discipleship depth; growing in mission width; growing in leadership multiplication; and increasing in overall engagement. Sometimes we aim to become a “10” but in this series we will talk about why we are aiming for “7” instead.

You can also follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.

Becoming 7 (Revelation 7:9-10)

“There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9)

 

The Essence of Life with God is Discipleship (Matthew 28:18-20)

  • What is discipleship?

 

  • What is our definition of discipleship at Eastbrook?

 

Becoming 7 on Discipleship

  • Our goal at Eastbrook