Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Emmaus City Liturgy | Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 – Jesus Comes to Us

Emmaus City Church Easter Resurrection Sunday April 20 2014

Emmaus City Liturgy – Celebrating Jesus and Being Part of His Story

For previous liturgies, click on the links below:

These posts will feature the themes, verses, hymns and songs (audio and lyrics), and prayers we enjoy together each Sabbath gathering. Key notes from the sermons will also be included.

Curious to know more? Want to spend some time with us? Don't hesitate. Contact us and come join us. In the meantime, enjoy the readings and listening to the songs below.


Jesus’ Seven Last Words from the Cross

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)
Forgiveness for people murdering Him

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43)
Salvation for those who trust in Him
“Woman, behold, your son! … Behold, your mother! (John 19:26-27)
Care for His family

“I thirst” (John 19:28)
Humility in His physical anguish due to sin
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Mysterious severing of His spiritual communion with
His Father

“It is finished” (John 19:30)
Atonement for sin and complete holiness, righteousness and justice for God were satisfied

“Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46)
Restored to God the Father after atoning for human sin

Welcome and The Lord’s Prayer
From Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from evil.
(For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.)

 We have come to give You glory; 
We have come to give You praise. 

You’re welcome in this place.
Have Your way. 

Bless the Lord, oh my soul,

And let all that’s within me shout out! 

It’s only You we want.


 Jesus Comes to Us
Our Death-Defying Savior Exceeds Our Expectations
Scripture Reading

Sermon Manuscript 

1) Jesus comes to us in the darkness of our grief and fear

As we look again at verse 14, we see that the Scriptures tell us … she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Mary Magdalene was a close companion of Jesus. She was such a good friend of Him and His followers that she appears in all four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. In the Gospel of Mark, we learn that Jesus cast out seven demons from Mary (Mark 16:9). And after her exorcism, Luke tells us that she faithfully walked with Him and supported His ministry in person, as well as financially (Luke 8:3).

So this moment that John captures in the garden next to the tomb is pivotal for Mary. Presbyterian pastor Scotty Smith beautifully describes the situation in this way: “How appropriate that Mary Magdalene was the first follower of Jesus to arrive at His tomb on resurrection morning. The Light of the World (as Jesus is described in John 8:12) had driven the darkness of seven demons from her soul; and now she came, while it was still dark, and was about to witness the dawning of His new creation through His resurrection … (here) we see the supreme instance of the truth that through death comes life, and through darkness shines light.”

But where we’re at right here in the story, Mary is still in the dark and dealing with death. She feels alone and is shrouded in the fear she knew before Jesus. Because before Jesus, Mary had a collection of demonic voices in her head telling her how little value she had, that her actions would only cause harm to others, and that darkness always defeated the light. Before Jesus, there was little hope in Mary’s life.

But then Jesus met her and every thing changed. With Him, she had one voice speaking to her, the very voice that created her. In her Lord’s voice she heard that she was infinitely loved and infinitely valued. He even told her that He would die and rise again for her.

But while she remembered His death, once she saw how He died and where He was buried, she was having difficulty believing in His ability to conquer death. Because John show us that she was there at His Crucifixion (John 19:25). And Matthew reveals that she was there for when He breathed His last words (Matthew 27:55-56). She even stayed to see Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus in Mark 15:46-47. She was with Him to the end. All of Mary’s hope was in Jesus. And now we see her weeping, at a complete loss for what’s next. And even when He comes to her, she doesn’t recognize His voice to cast out all her doubts.

But He still comes and He stays. And He has two questions for her. Wise and experienced counselors know we most often cannot just tell people to change their mind. Asking questions draws out our hearts so we can begin to hear where our individualized thoughts about life are not as sure or true as we thought they were. Questions help us to recognize our errors so we can begin to seek answers outside of our own heads. So we can seek Someone who knows and sees more instead of settling for a fallen world ruled by our own perception; a world where we determine what’s right and what’s wrong; A world where we see ourselves as our only hope. 

So here we see Jesus as the great Counselor who is prepared to give Mary, and us, everlasting hope. He asks Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” With His question to her, He is asking her to look away from the grip the grave has on her so she can begin to wonder again, “Has what Jesus said about being raised from the dead actually come true?” As she turns to Him, turning from a scene of unbelief to the One who can give her faith, and ponders this first question He then asks, “Whom are you seeking?” He’s not only turning the direction of Mary’s thoughts from weeping to seeking. He’s shifting her focus from herself to Him, the One in whom she can find all her hope.

In these two questions, Jesus is giving Mary the opportunity to remember what it means for Him to be her Lord, the very word she used to describe Him moments before with the angels. He is opening the eyes of her heart to see that while her devotion to Him is precious, her estimate of Him and His power is too small. This Lord and Teacher has far more to give her than she thinks.

With Mary in mind, we can also ask ourselves, is our estimate of Jesus too small this morning? How great do we think His ability is to come to us in any situation in our lives? Have we considered Him only as a religious pick-me-up to make us feel better when it’s convenient to sing His praises? And then when life gets brutal and gut-wrenching, when all we can do is weep, do we choose to focus on the ever present tombs of grief and fear that we think we have to roll away in our own strength? Or do we look to the One who has paid all our debts and can raise our lives up from the grave?

What is the tomb in your heart this morning? What area of your life feels empty? What area of grief or fear can you not pull your eyes away from? Do you see that this Jesus is powerful enough to step into that scene in your life and turn you from unbelief to belief that He has the resurrection power necessary to change you?

Mary didn’t realize the One she needed was right there with her. But that didn’t stop Jesus. Even with Mary’s estimate of Him too small, Jesus still comes to her with great compassion. She is His and He is hers. And He knows exactly what she needs to hear. This morning, Jesus knows exactly what each of us needs to hear because:

2) Jesus comes to us, calls us by name, and reveals our true identity in Him

In verse 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’”

All He had to say was her name. Imagine how Jesus said her name, with all of His grace and resurrection power at His full disposal. That’s how God says your name. Full of love. Full of hope. Full of death-defying passion. Are you looking for that kind of Savior this morning?

Mary is still looking for a lesser savior in this garden. She’s looking for one who can’t defeat her worst fears. But this Savior, Jesus, who is standing before her isn’t going to just save her in this garden. He is prepared to restore what was intended between God and man in the Garden of Eden. He is planning to defeat death once and for all and bring His new creation to bear on this earth as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 and John tells us in Revelation 21-22, And He is still present in this moment to transform Mary so that her hope will be secure in Him.

Even when you think and act as if Jesus can’t defeat the things that steal away your life, there is still hope. Mary was looking for a lesser Jesus in this moment. She would not have found Him unless He sought her first. But He comes to her, gives her the two questions she needs to hear in order to gently open her heart to listen to Him, and then He says her name the only way her Lord and Savior can. He identifies her, His Mary, and by His grace, He gives her eyes to see and ears to hear her Rabbi, her Teacher. He has something new to teach her about life after death. She doesn’t earn this revelation. She doesn’t even know how to ask for it in this moment. But He’s ready and willing to give her eyes to see Him.

And He’s also here, with us, ready and willing to give us eyes to see Him today.

With Mary we see His heart for us as well. And we love Him even more for choosing Mary to be His first witness to His resurrection. He didn’t choose someone well known in society or a religious leader. He didn’t even choose one of his closest disciples to be His first witness. Peter and John had already come to the tomb and left. No, Jesus chose Mary to be the first one to see Him and know He defeated death.

And through Mary, Jesus tells us even now, “Even if you have not believed in me like you should, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, I come to give My salvation to you. You are invited into God’s family, to be with My Father and your father, not because of your class, race, talent, effort, or morality, but because of My grace. My grace is sufficient for the weakest of the weak. I’m here to save you, not by your strength, but by My strength. My gospel is an invitation for you to be saved from yourself. Put your hope in Me.

3) Jesus sends us in the His power to share His Gospel and His love with others 

We see that when Mary was restored to who Jesus truly was, and who she truly was, that she was given the power and the freedom to share the announcement of His resurrection with others. 

17 Jesus said to her,“Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Once Mary knew Jesus was alive, that He defeated death and had returned, she did not want to let Him go. She wanted to be certain no one would take Him from her again. But He knew He needed to go to His Father to send her the Holy Spirit so she would have the comfort and power she would need to share His sacrificial love with others.

And wouldn't we be the same way? If someone we deeply loved, who gave us value, who calmed our fears, who saved our very lives, returned to us after we thought them dead, why would we ever let them go? And yet, Jesus knew it would be better for her and for those she loved for Him to send the Holy Spirit.

Because if you follow Jesus, then you are a sent one. You are called to live and love as He did. And this includes being vulnerable. This includes living for others. And we can't do without Him. We need His Spirit to lead us. 

This morning, I invite you to turn from your focus on what you can’t do. Turn to this Jesus who is making and will make all things new through the power of His resurrection, including you. Let’s be like Mary. Let’s hear and listen to His voice more than the voices inside our own heads. Let’s put our hope in nothing less than this death-defying Savior, King Jesus. And let’s go to others in His name again and again, with His identity for us and His resurrection power for us, to those that need to know He is alive.


There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;

And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains (3x).
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he,
washed all my sins away (3x).

And there have I, though vile as he,
washed all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power

Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more (3x).
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die (3x).
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

Take a moment to remember
Who God is and who I am.

There you go lifting my load again. 

No longer am I held by the yoke of this world.
Come upon you the yoke of Jesus.

His yoke is easy and His burden is so light.

His burden is so light.

You’re lifting my load.

Your love carries, Your love carries me through
All the valleys and the darkest places.

Once my heart was lost, tangled deep in sin
Wandering far from grace, and veiled in shame;
Yet with boundless love You have brought me home.
Now my greatest prize: to know Your name.

Knowing You, Jesus, only You

There is no greater aim.
In Your presence here my joy is found.
There is no higher gain!

Oh my soul cries out just to know You more
To be fettered by unfailing love.

Though the fires may flash, mighty thunders roar
Still my hope’s secure in Christ above.

(Chorus Repeat)

Your love is higher, Your glory brighter,

And my hope is set on You!
My greatest longing is found in knowing
That my hope is set on You!

May my life be steeped in unceasing praise
‘Til in death we’ll meet on heaven’s shore.
Oh that glorious day, ‘tis Your face I’ll see
And in Your arms I’ll sing forevermore.

(Chorus and Bridge Repeat)


Death by Love: Letters from the Cross // Preface
“ … Jesus’ work began with his incarnation as Immanuel, God with us. 
The Eastern church helps us see the importance of God’s coming to bring divine life, energy, and power back to sinful humanity. Subsequently, the full humanity of Jesus is stressed without denying his divinity. 
Jesus lived a life that was not just a preparation for the cross but also an example of how we, as Jesus followers, should and can live, which the Anabaptist church helps us see.
Jesus made God’s character dramatically real through his faithful obedience, sinless living, and unfailing love. His cross brings divine propitiation and forgiveness and is the basis of our justification, as the Reformed church helps us realize.
His resurrection is the power of divine life breaking out in addition to being proof that the Father was satisfied with his payment on the cross. Jesus’ resurrection is the basis of our regeneration and new life, in addition to the guarantee of our future resurrection. The pietistic church emphasizes this. 
Jesus’ exaltation as anointed king culminates his victory over Satan and demons. Jesus is now the glorious Son of God who will defeat all enemies at his return, as the ancient church believed in the midst of its polytheistic and pagan culture. …” 

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 
Hebrews 13:20-21
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