Isn’t it frustrating when you try a door knob, expecting it to turn, and it doesn’t because it’s been locked and you don’t have the key? Or maybe you did have the key but something isn’t working right and you still can’t get in.
Back when explorers were coming from the European continent to find the New World or a shorter route to India so they could buy spices and silk one of them was intent on finding the fountain of youth. If I remember right it was Ponce de Leon. History is not certain that he really did search for it but some stories were circulated and recorded in history that he did and it was in the state of Florida. Whether it's true or not he was trying to find something that would allow him to live longer and be younger and stronger.
I think there are still some people looking for the fountain of youth in Florida. Quite a few go down there every winter to be rejuvenated and made new. Most of them come back with peeling skin from too much sun; not one of them looks any younger, happier maybe because of not having to put up with the cold and snow but not any younger.
It seems like there are people everywhere looking for that thing or things that will let them live longer, be healthier, and stay looking like they did when they were twenty something. There are so many ads in the media for vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies, health spas, diets, you name it that are guaranteed to make you slim, trim, and youthful looking.
The problem is most of us abused our minds, bodies and psyches so much when we were young and thought we were invincible that there is nothing that will completely repair the damage we did to our joints, our lungs, and our minds.
But friends, there is real hope for eternal life. That’s right, eternal life. You can have eternal life, you can live forever. A door has been opened into eternity. How is that possible you say? It’s possible because this man Jesus, who claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah everyone was waiting for, did what he said he would do. He rose from the grave three days after he was crucified on a cross and put in the tomb.
This isn’t just some feel good story somebody made up. It was corroborated by the two Mary’s who watched him die on the cross, were there when he was put into the tomb, and today we heard how they both were there in the garden when an earthquake happened again. An angel declared that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb any more. He had done exactly what he told them he would do; he defeated death. And we no longer have to fear it.
Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers…” The angel told them, “He has been raised from the dead; he is going on ahead of you. There you will see him.”
Friends, that’s what I believe. He has been raised from the dead; he has gone on ahead of us and is waiting for us there and there we will see him. Do I want to die, no not exactly. There are a few things I haven’t done that I would like to do. But I don’t fear death, not the way I used to. Because I do believe that what happened in the garden did in fact happen and what Jesus told us about God is true.
I believe that Peter and John and the two Mary’s saw him in the flesh. I believe that he revealed himself to those whom God chose and they understood then what Jesus had been teaching them in those years they were with him on their journey around Galilee and Samaria. They understood then, their eyes were opened, the door opened and a light came on and they believed.
The door to eternal life has been opened! It’s still a mystery to us how God was able to accomplish all this through Jesus. But it’s enough for me to know that he did. And if he could do that then the promises that Jesus made to the disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them in heaven and that he would be coming back give me hope for the future, eternity in heaven with our Lord and Savior.
The door has been flung open. God’s seismic activity has shaken the world to its very foundations. In fact I think God still shakes our world up. Sometimes you can just about feel the foundational plates of our world shifting. And it scares us sometimes how God’s changes the landscape of our lives. You know, when foundations shift, sometimes the doors fly open.
This morning we remember what he did in the garden when the ground shook and death’s door came flying off its hinges. We no longer need to fear death because it holds no power over us. The door to eternal life is wide open to us.
I think that’s what Paul was saying to the people of Colossae in the letter we heard read this morning. And I think those words are speaking to us today. We really need to listen.
So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ. (Colossians 3:1-4 The MSG.)
The door is open. We had better quit dilly dallying around and get to the work of being Christians. Live like we believe that Jesus did die for us and rose again. Live like we believe the promise of eternal life and live like death doesn’t have a hold on our lives any more. Live like our old lives are truly dead. Live like we can’t wait for Jesus to show up again.
The psalmist had it right. The hand of God has turned the tide. The hand of God has pushed us hard but he hasn’t turned us over to Death. The door is wide open and we are invited to walk right on in. Give God the thanks that the door has been flung wide open so we can enter in. Thanks be to God. Amen.