All right. It’s great to be together. It’s been a glorious day. You see who’s talking behind the TV there, right? All right. So good to be together. God has blessed our day to be able to just look at what Jesus has done for us. So many good things going on. Even before I get into the message, I do want to share, like next week, of course, we have our missions contribution coming up. What an incredible time to give. And if you’re visiting with us, wondering what that is, we give to Argentina and we also give to the Caribbean. And next week we’ll be collecting that contribution. And members have put aside money for a while. But next week is our day to reach that goal. So that’s going to be amazing. But as we get into today, as the theme has been, God is not dead. It’s Easter Sunday. How do you like my Easter Sunday suit? You don’t get to wear suits much. It’s amazing how Easter Sunday, that’s when you get out the good clothes. I mean, I’m surprised you don’t have some hats on, sisters. I don’t know.

Put your hat on. My brother got his hat on, too. Look at that. See, it’s Easter. It’s fine for you to wear your hat and block people behind you. It’s fine. It’s Easter. Today is the day. It’s funny. My wife overheard us talking about what are we going to wear for Easter? And she said, your suit. And I said, Amen. You all know she dresses me. This is a new tie, too. Just to let you know, she helped me out. She really helped me out. But it’s really a time that we do come together and we say, okay, let’s spend some time thinking about Jesus. Let’s be thinking about what he has done for us. And today has just been so good. All the different people speaking and sharing just about the Resurrection. That’s what it’s all about. But we got to understand the power of the Resurrection. It’s what separates Christianity from any other religion. We have a savior who said, I’m going to die. And then on the third day, I’m going to be raised. And he did it. And that’s what separates us. So we’re on a journey together. We’re on a journey to understand that, to understand that story, that story’s got to mean something to you, that Jesus died on the cross, that Friday was Good Friday.

Did you have a Good Friday? Well, he died. And then the third day came and the tomb is empty. That’s so important for you to be able to tell that story about what happened on that day. I like what Jeff shared in his Communion. He says, I’ll never forget when my path crossed the Lord, when I experienced Jesus and that story began. Now, when was that for you? When did Jesus come into your life? And become part of your story. See, that’s what you got to be able to tell. This got to mean something to you, because if it means something to you, you will show up. It’s amazing how that works. I live in a condo association, and they have homeowners meetings all the time. And I don’t go. There’s so much going on. I don’t go. But it was amazing. They had this one meeting where they wanted to share about our clubhouse. And we use our clubhouse a lot. We use our clubhouse for leaders meeting, showers, baby showers. Come on, babies. We have showers at great location. It’s great. We can use it whenever we want. Then they have this thing that they sent out and says, we only want to let people that live here use it only.

They can be the only ones that enter into our little area there that we rent. That’s outrageous. Did you think I went to that meeting? I missed so many meetings, but do you think I made that one? I made that meeting along with everybody else who rents the clubhouse for us to be able to sit there and say, this is outrageous. And even the homeowner presence say, I know it’s outrageous. We just had to have this meeting. But it’s amazing how you show up for what you care about, and it’s going to be that way for God in Church. Do you really care about this story? Do you care that Jesus died for your sins? He died for our sins, and he’s part of our story. And you got to get the story right. Don’t you hate it when someone gets your story wrong? I’ll never forget. You all know that I’m from Jamaica, right? And the thing that me and Cosi grew up in the same neighborhood in Spanish Town. Right, Cosi? That’s right. All right, let me just tell the business. Let me get the business on here. I was a missionary in Jamaica, so I’ve claimed I’m Jamerican, but I say I’m Jamaican all the time.

Well, one sister on staff went up to Michelle, my wife, who I found in Jamaica, went up to her and said, how was it going to Jamaica with Brian? I know that you’re not from there. How was it? Was it hard for you? I know he’s from Jamaica, and I was like, this woman, Where did you come from? Let’s just say she got the story wrong. Did she get it wrong, baby? Yes, she did. And do you think it was corrected? Yes, it was corrected. Brian’s not from Jamaica, okay? So when we’re talking about our Lord, if the story’s not told in the right way, shouldn’t we, his sons and daughters step in and say, no, you got to get it right. The death, burial and resurrection. When I got baptized, my sins were forgiven because I said, Jesus is Lord. And then I got baptized. And for the forgiveness of my sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit and I was resurrected with the power that resurrected Jesus. When I came out of that water, I became a new creation. You got the new, improved Brian. The old Brian is gone, man.

You never knew him. Amen. But that’s my story. And we’re going to talk about the resurrection. One of the most powerful parts of that story is when Jesus rose from the dead. It’s that power that gives us the strength to take on Satan, that he can’t threaten us with death, that we have an answer for death. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. But if he did not raise if he did not rise from the dead, First Corinthians 15 says it right here in verse 16. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile. You are still in your sins, then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are, of all people, most to be pitied. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then what do we have? Our sins are not forgiven. So we’ve got to know the story well. We’ve got to be moved every time we hear it. And it means our faith is futile. That means that what we’re doing, if this is all we’re doing it for, just to have great fellowship and to have a nice club, some good refreshments, some songs, and that’s all it is. We should be pitied.

It’s so much more than that. It’s a story about a relationship with God. So it’s not just a holiday, okay? Now I get it. Easter. We’d always go to Church at Easter. And I remember growing up, my mom would make sure we get some new clothes to wear to Church. And how many of you had to go to Church as well? I had to go to Church. Why did you have to go to Church? Because your mother said, you’re going to Church. And if you grew up with your grandmother, she said, Get ready and you got ready and you went, right. But there’s got to be a shift when it becomes I want to be there for God. So for many of us that are visiting, this might be a new story, but brothers and sisters and those of us who tell this story every Sunday, every day of our lives, this is our story. So I thought that we’d go to John 20 and look at Mary.

Mary Magdalene. Who is she? Well, she’s someone who is very close to Jesus, a relationship with Jesus. She found herself on her knees weeping many times in Jesus, responding. Isn’t it crazy that this is the one that Jesus chose to be the first one to reveal that he was resurrected? That’s got to get the sister to say Amen. Amen. We’re going to look at her heart and see when we read this story, I want you to see where you are. Are you like Mary? Are you like Peter? Where are you in the story? Because as I tell this story, hopefully you’ll stay with me. Don’t leave. Don’t leave me. Because sometimes as the message goes on, you could kind of leave and go somewhere else. Stay in this story. As we look at Mary, it says here in verse one of John 20, now, the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early while it was still dark and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciples whom Jesus loved, and said to them, they have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have laid them.

So she goes to the tomb because she wanted to go and just prepare the body because it was a path. She didn’t get a chance to do that. So she had a reason to go there. And when she gets there, it’s still dark, but the stones taken away. And that alarmed her. And what does she do? She runs to Simon Peter and I love this, to the other disciple whom Jesus loved. Isn’t it amazing how stories are told? You know, when it’s your story, it’s amazing how you tell certain things. Now, those of you that read this before, you know who this is. This is John, the one who’s writing the story, the one who he loved. Okay. And we’ll see more about John a little bit. But when you’re telling your own story, sometimes you want to make sure things are clear. But right now the narrative she has in her mind when she saw the empty tomb is they. Somebody took him. It was they. What had happened? So at least this whole thing, the reason that we’re still talking about this 2000 years later is because it’s a mystery. And we got to figure out what’s the truth about this story. In her mind, it was they someone has stolen the body.

How could this happen? So she got others involved and she goes on back, look what happens. Peter therefore, went out and the other disciple and we’re going to the tomb. So they both ran together and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. Important information in the story right there. And he stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths there, yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came following him and went into the tomb. And he saw the linen cloth lying there and the handkerchief that had been around the handkerchief that had been around his head, not lying with a linen cloth, but folded together in a place by itself. This is amazing. First, of course, John gets there first. He looks in. He sees everything. But don’t you love Peter? Peter probably just like, get out the way. Let me get in here. Let me see what’s going on. And he got in there and he saw and this is suspicious. You have the cloths laying there, you have his linen folded. Now, how many of you made your bed in the morning because your mother said Jesus made his bed.

You need to make your bed. Remember that. Now, that’s where it comes from. That’s biblical. When Jesus got up, he put stuff together neatly. So if your bed is a mess right now, be like, Jesus. No, that’s not the message. But it was there and it was there and it showed that this was not someone stealing the body. Thieves are not neat. Thieves are not neat. They wouldn’t have taken off everything and then folded it together. Hang on. Do you have them? No, let’s get it right. No, they’re not neat. So they’re like, what’s going on here? A mystery. Then the other disciple, that’s John, who came to the tomb first went in also and he saw and believed, for as yet they did not know the scripture that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. Now, this is interesting because then John gets bold because Peter is in there and John goes in and it said that when he got in there, he saw and believed. But what did he believe? If it says 2 seconds later as of yet, they did not know the scripture that he must rise again.

So he didn’t believe yet about the resurrection, but he believed something. What was it? He believed that God is doing something right now. I don’t know what we’ve been around Jesus for three years and he does a lot of crazy things, things we don’t understand. He rises. He raised Lazarus, he fed the thousands. We don’t really know what’s going on. But here I am going to do this, though. John must have just got there to the point to where he says, I believe something’s going on. You know, How’d you get here today? If you’re visiting, you know God’s been working on your life. And those of you that are disciples don’t you remember the road you had to God? There are certain things that happen in your life that direct you that you got to get your life right. What are you doing? And you’ve got to pay attention to God. And it might be that God saved you from an accident. Maybe it was something where it shook you up and you almost died. How many of you almost died? When I was before I was disciple, I almost died so many times.

And I look back on that and say, that was God, how I got home when I was drinking and smoking and high and driving a car and sometimes not remembering who drove home. That was God saying, Brian, what in the world you’re doing? You’re a Minister. You look back on this one day and say, I saved you. You see, God got you here. I don’t know how you got here this morning, but he wants you to believe. But you’re going to have to go a little further, as it says here, to where the scriptures are getting involved. And I want to encourage everyone who’s here visiting. If you don’t know the story or you don’t tell the story of Jesus, I want you to get to know the story and study the Bible. And many of us have heard it. And I’m not saying you haven’t heard it because you’ve been a Kingdom kids or Sunday school or you heard this message, but have you read the Bible? Have you sat down, looked at the scriptures with someone? It was then when Gary Newton, my spiritual dad, sat down with the Bible with me. And I was very religious and knew many stories.

I was religiously proud at that time. I repented from being that person I described that God saved. And I went to churches, all kinds of different churches, and cleaned up my act. But yet I still didn’t know the Bible. I still wasn’t following the Bible. So I had someone sat down with me and shared with me, and I was able to understand what the scriptures were saying. And it was a beautiful thing. The other day we had a chance, if I could just put someone on spot here. We’re studying the Bible with Melvin over here. Melvin, I’m gonna put you on a spot. Forgive me, I didn’t tell you before. But we’re studying with him, Elroy’s with me and Archie, and we’re reading the book of John and we’re talking about Jesus, about how he’s the word of God. He’s the word in the flesh. And I’ve read that many times, but it still amazes me every time I read that Jesus is the word in the flesh and that he was with God in the beginning. And that story, I’m telling you, I can read that every time. I get chills thinking about it. Why? The word of God is powerful, and you got to allow it to get in your life.

And here, right here, where are we at in our story of the direction we have Peter, John in the tomb saying something’s going on. I believe something’s going on. We got Mary. They. She’s still at their place. They took them. He took him away. The story hasn’t finished. But then it says here the scriptures got to get involved. Let’s keep going. Here we go. Peter and John went back home, but Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb and she saw two Angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus was laying. You know, this is a new view. Where were the Angels before? Maybe they were there, but they just didn’t see them. There could be Angels even here right now. How many of you believe that Angels are around us and protect us? How many believe that Angels are around us and protect us? Probably in the room right now. Maybe it was the angel to help usher you here. But hey, she was able to see. She looks in the tomb this time and she sees where Jesus was laid.

She sees everything laid there. And then she sees an angel right here and an angel at the other end of the tomb where he was laid in that bed that he was laid. And I always say that that was a vision that she saw because her heart was willing to stay and question. And if you will, it reminds me of something. Let me say what’s that vision look like to me? Well, to me, it looks like the Ark of the Covenant. Two Angels, and the word is inside the Ark right between. To her, I don’t know what it meant. It meant something was going on for her for sure. But that’s just my view that, wow. It’s interesting that Jesus is the word and the flesh. And the two Angels were right there doing the same thing right here. Something’s going on. Now the Angels speak. Then they said to her, Woman, why are you weeping? She said to them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him. She’s crying. Sure. Her narrative is someone stole him. Now, when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there and did not know that it was Jesus.

Now, I just want to stop right there. Have you ever been crying, weeping? When you get to that state, you basically just pouring it all out. You don’t care anymore how many of you have wept to where you just have the ugly cry. You know, the ugly cry? You don’t care anyone watching. You don’t care about how you look. You’re just frantic. He’s like, Lord, they’re taking them away. And now she’s talking to Angels. Angels are talking back to them. They’ve taken them. I’ll go find him. And then next thing you know, Jesus is behind it. Does she recognize Jesus? No. Jesus said to him, Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? And he probably had a smile on his face. She supposing him to be the gardener said to him, sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. She is frantic. She is like, Listen, Jesus Gardner, I don’t know who’s talking to me. I’m talking to Angels? Just show me where he is. Show me where he is. Jesus said to her, Mary. And I think she stopped crying. She turned and said to him Rabboni! which is to say teacher. Jesus said to her, Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my father. But go to my brother and say to them, I am ascending to my father and your father and my Go and your God. Isn’t this amazing? Isn’t this intimate? She’s crying out. She’s talking to Jesus as the gardener. And then she hears the Lord say her name. What an intimate, amazing point in history with one name, Mary. She encountered the Lord then he rose again. She did not say, who are you? You’re dead. She said, this is Raboni. This is the teacher. And she grabs onto him and clings onto him. And I think right here, he probably was like, okay, hang on. I’m in the middle of something. I don’t even know where he was before. I can’t wait to get to heaven to ask Jesus all these questions. Where were you before? I bet he was doing something. Now we know he went and preached to other people down there. That’s a whole nother lesson. And he went different places. I think she started crying, and he had to probably get a little interrupted. Let me go see Mary’s crying again. Let me go. Let me go talk to her quick. I don’t even know.

I’m asking. Was that the first one you wanted to go see? Because remember, the first miracle was because his mother said, hey, we need some more wine. I wouldn’t doubt that maybe this might have been, I don’t know. I have a lot of questions to ask. But Jesus showed up because she was crying. My question to you right now, does Jesus show up when you do? Another question I have for you? Does he know your name? How do you know if he knows your name? Well, you said, he is Lord. And you follow the Scriptures to be saved. And when that day happens, you know what your name gets put in Jesus heart. To where he can call your name. To where he can say Lynette. And you can say, that’s, my Lord. When he can say Eric. And you know that’s the Lord. Do you see what this is? This is an intimate part of the story. And we know when people we love who call our name. I remember when my mom would call my name for whether it was for dinner. She called me Come, dinner’s ready and say, Brian, come. I know what that tone was like compared to my full name when I did something wrong.

Brian Joseph Santos. I know my name. And I know when my mom speaks. I know when I hear my wife call from the other end of the house. Brian, you know when that voice of someone you love calls you. Jesus is calling you today. If you’re visiting, he knows your name. You did not come here by accident. He came so you could understand that he died for you. He came so that you’d understand that he resurrected. And that power that rose that day. That when he told her, Let go of me. Don’t cling to me. Go declare to your brother. And go declare to them that I’m ascending, that I’ve got things to do for you. I’m going to heaven. That my Father, your Father, my God, your God. And I think she ran off from there and she started telling this story. Do you think Mary could tell this story? I’m sure many were saved after she said, no, no, let me tell you my story with Jesus. And she added all the other times that she was crying at his feet. So my challenge today is are you telling the story of how Jesus rose from the dead and how he rose in your heart to give you a new life?

And I close out right here in Colossians three, one through four. I love the way it says it. 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, when you also will appear with him in glory. You see, the resurrection story isn’t just for Easter. Are you with me, Church? The resurrection story is you saying how Jesus came into your life and changed your life. And you can tell this story. If you haven’t told this story recently, it’s time for you to get someone and say, you got to hear this story. We need to study the Bible. We need to sit down. Let me tell you the good news. You know why studying the Bible is so good? Because it reminds you about what you need to be doing. I love studying the Bible because then it reminds me, I’m a disciple. When Jesus called me, told me, you got to deny yourself, pick up your cross daily and follow me every day. Luke Nine, Amen 23. All of us are like, Well, I know that scripture. You do that in a study. You say it confidently. And usually we say to ourselves, yes, I better get back on my game. And that’s how it works. Every time you tell it, it gets stronger. You correct the story and you make sure that everyone knows that Jesus has risen. That’s a fact. He’s risen. In my life and what you see in my life is important because Jesus is inside of me and I have a part of this story. I’ve got to tell it whenever I can. And even if my part is small and no one notices it, it’s still important. Are you with me? Did you all see me play the rain stick today? How many people remember that I played the rain? Raise your hand if you see me. You don’t know what a rain stick is, do you? Frank said I could play it today, and he brought it for me. And during that special song, I made it rain. Do you remember that part of the song?

You don’t? Come on, let’s do this song again, everybody. I give you this illustration because you may feel like well I’m not doing much for God, I’m just playing a small part. That’s not true. Mary Magdalene was not an apostle. She was known to be sinful women like us before she met Jesus but she was the first one he appeared to when he rose. God wants to do great things through you too.

So when you get your rain stick play it well. That’s all I have for you today.

Let’s have a song.