Jesus is Calling – Introduction
No, He’s not leaving a voice mail. He’s not sending text messages. He’s not posting on Facebook, or sending us emails. But, Jesus is Calling. He’s calling us to Come to Him, to See Him, to Go to Others, and to Tell them about Him. He’s calling us into a new life, a life transformed by our faith in Him.
“No man can follow Christ and go astray.”
~William H. P. Faunce
Every holiday has a message:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Equality through peace and non-violence.
- 4th of July – Our nation’s independence from foreign rule.
- Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – Moms and dads are special; deserving of honor, love, and respect.
- Memorial Day – Freedom comes at a cost; and we should remember and honor those who paid for our freedom with their lives.
- Christmas – Jesus’ birth.
Today, we come together to celebrate Easter. More than bunnies, fake grass, brightly colored eggs, candy, and egg hunts; Easter is when Christians remember Jesus’ death, and celebrate His resurrection. The message, of course, is, “He is Risen!”
I’d like to talk today about a deeper message that can be found in Scripture. It’s a message that, though written over 2000 years ago, can be applied to our lives today. Each of the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – tell of the events around Jesus’ resurrection slightly differently. Today, I’m going to focus on the story as it is told through the eyes of Matthew.
To set the state: Jesus has been tried, convicted, beaten, and crucified. His body was prepared and buried; and the tomb was sealed with a stone. After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week (known today as Sunday), Mary Magdalene and a woman identified as “the other Mary” went to see the tomb. There was an earthquake, an angel appeared, and the angel rolled away the stone. We pick up the story in Matthew 28:5-8.
“But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.”
There are five words in the passage that convey a meaningful message – Jesus is Calling.
The first word is – Come! The angel invited the women to come. Scripture often invites people to come. The people of Israel were invited to come out of Egypt; then, they were invited to come to the promised land. Listen to Isaiah’s invitation in Chapter 55, Verses 1-3:
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread. And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me…”
And listen also to the invitation issued in Revelation 22:17:
“And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirst come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”
Who is “the Spirit and the bride”? The Spirit, of course, is the Holy Spirit. The bride is the church, the body of believers. The church, along with the Holy Spirit, invites everyone to come to know Jesus – the Living Water.
In Matthew 11:38, Jesus extends the same invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
This has a spiritual meaning. What’s our burden? Are we burdened by guilt, negative behaviors, or trying to live up to others’ expectations? Jesus is Calling – and He invites us to Come to Him.
The second word from Matthew is See! Seeing is more than just looking. When we look at something, we may not always understand what it is we’re looking at. When we truly “see” something, we understand or comprehend it. That’s why the angel told the women to See, not just to look. The angel wanted the women to understand the magnificence of the moment – the tomb was empty, Jesus had risen.
In Ephesians 1:18, Paul invites us to See when he prays, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling…” Through seeing, knowing and comprehending, we are transformed.
In Romans12:2, Paul invites us “to be transformed by the renewing of (our) mind…”
Jesus is Calling us to See Him – and to be transformed.
Next, the women are told to Go and to Tell. This is reminiscent of our Palm Sunday message last week. The Gospel of Mark tells the story of a demon-possessed man who was healed by Jesus. The man decides to travel with Jesus. Instead, Jesus tells him, in Mark 5:19, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
Mark 16:15 tells us to, “…Go into all the world and preach the gospel…”
Go and Tell is a common theme in Jesus’ teachings. Jesus is Calling us to go out into the world and tell others, not only about Him, but of our experience with Him – how our faith in Him has transformed our lives.
The last word from our passage is not so much a word as it is a behavior – Obey. The women obeyed the angel and “went out quickly…and ran to bring His disciples word.” Jesus is Calling us to obey. Just as we discussed last week, we are to obey His commands – His command to Come, to See, to Go, and to Tell. And what was His greatest command, after loving God? The Gospel of John tells us twice:
John 13:34-35 – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 15:12 – “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
The message of Easter is – Jesus is Calling.
He calls us to Come to Him, to See and to Know Him, to Go out and Tell others about Him, and to Obey His command.
We don’t have to stand on street corners and yell through bull horns or loud speakers. We don’t have to carry large posters and signs. And we definitely don’t have to beat people over the head with our Bibles. We simply have to live the message of Easter each day.
When we truly live our lives as followers of Jesus, and we obey His simplest of commands – to love others – others will see the changes in us. They will See Him, the risen Christ, living in and through us when we obey His command and learn to truly love one another. They will be inspired to Come to Him. And, as their lives are transformed, they too will go on to tell others.
Jesus is Calling us, each day, to be just a little bit better than we were the day before. Jesus is Calling us to a fuller, richer life – through Him. I invite you to answer His call.
- Matthew 28:5-8
- Isaiah 55:1-3
- Revelation 22:17
- Matthew 11:28
- Ephesians 1:17-18
- Romans 12:2
- Mark 5:19
- Mark 16:15
- John 13:34-35
- John 15:12
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