Resurrection: Easter. 04/12/2020

Pastor Pete Hartwig

Sermon Notes

Resurrection: Easter


Welcome to this Easter Resurrection Sunday morning sermon!


This is the morning that all followers of Jesus look forward to experiencing and remembering every year.


This day to Christians… speaks of a new kind of life, a new way of living… a new way of seeing the world.


I was remarking to my wife Fran… how this Easter season, this Spring has been the most naturally beautiful Easter season I can remember since moving to Charlottesville 21 years ago to become the pastor City Church.


The flowers, the gorgeous blooming  trees, the weather… they all speak of new life.


Visually this Spring has visually provided a spectacular Lenten Easter season that mirrors the new life the resurrection brings.


At the same time, due to – the COVID-19 crisis – there has been the emotional context of concern, fear, uncertainty, confusion, sadness, heartache, separation, sheltering in place and talk of death and the loss of human life.


This morning every preacher knows…  the COVID-19 crisis – mirrors all too closely the emotional context of the resurrection morning found in the Bible.

As my son Peter and I were sharing about the resurrection with a group of people he said… The time between Jesus’s crucifixion on Good Friday and Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday morning- that span of 3 days produces an emotional response in the disciples that so closely connects to the COVID-19 crisis it is undeniable.



The people in the biblical story around Jesus during those 3 days are scared, separated, confused, sad and focused on the death of Jesus. For them… there are more questions than answers. What was certain to them has been deeply shaken and killed. They are huddled in a home with the doors locked, “sheltering in place” due to fear, uncertainty and disappointment.


Again, every pastor in every pulpit has been keenly aware of how true this is for this Easter Sunday and how this Easter season has been uniquely similar to the resurrection Sunday morning found in the Bible.


Well speaking about this preacher and this sermon I want to be clear about where we are all headed through this message..


My goal in this Easter sermon is to help us to come to an understanding or to remind us again of the cultural, biblical and spiritual context for the resurrection and how Jesus’s resurrection speaks to our lives 2,000 years later in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

Lets begin our journey…  by stating the obvious


Easter is one of the 3 annual worship services with the largest attendance.


Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day


Every year as I teach and preach on Easter I share the following biblical perspective about Christmas and Easter…


Christmas is only found 2 of the 4 Gospels –


I am not saying that Christmas is unimportant!


Christmas IS not mentioned again anywhere in the NT


Easter meaning the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus

All 4 Gospels


Up to ½ of each Gospel involves Jesus’s announcement of his death and his journey to Jerusalem to lay down his life for the spiritual benefit of all people.


SLIDE: Mark 8:31-32  Jesus Predicts His Death

He (Jesus) then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.  He spoke plainly about this

CHAPTER 8. Mark 16

Christmas is important but you would have never heard of Christmas had it not been for Easter


The resurrection by mentioned by ALL the NT writers!


Paul who wrote the greatest amount of the NT writes…

SLIDE: 1 Cor. 15:12-18 The Resurrection of the Dead

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.


Of the 4 Gospels I have chosen

The Gospel of Mark chapter 16


Mark was written to the Roman audience.

We in America are most like the Roman audience

What were the Romans like?


Fast paced… action oriented… get to the point story that ends in VICTORY!


Before we read of Chapter 16 we need to take a look at Chapter 15 for our biblical context.


Mark 15: Jesus – Suffered horribly, tortured, mocked, stripped naked and on Good Friday he was nailed to a cross between two rebels.




This cannot be missed…

Crucifixion was so painful and tortuous..


Excruciating – Ex = out of

Cruciate  – the cross


Mark 15 also tells us…


  1. All of Jesus’s disciples, his closest friends have fled.


  1. Joseph of Arimathea– Pilate

The sabbath was about ready to begin on Good Friday    evening he hurriedly placed Jesus’s dead body in the tomb.

Rolled the stone over the tomb.


  1. There were 3 women who were faithful to Jesus to the very end, they watched him die and saw where Joseph had hurriedly laid Jesus’s body in a tomb.



SLIDE: Mark 16  Jesus Has Risen

16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.[a]


They came to prepare a body.


Not a single person is at the tomb with the expectation of Jesus being resurrected.


Jesus’s closest followers are these 3 women.


The men are “sheltering in place” hiding in fear for their very lives.


Everyone else is gone – just 3 women are left.


Why? – Men fear of their own death.


Theological reason –


OT prophecies and passages about

The Christ, the messiah – the God man.


They believed Jesus was the fulfillment of these prophecies.


He would reign on king David’s throne forever!


Daniel 7:13-14

His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.


Handel’s Messiah – He shall reign forever and ever!


If he is nailed to the cross – and suffered –

how can he be the Christ?

The God man?

The Messiah.


Because of his suffering, death and crucifixion – they walked away.   (Suffering to death)




WHY I AM A Christian


Jesus (Suffering to death)


Let me explain


I grew up on a Farm in Wisconsin – life, death – suffering!


Pre teen boy farm boy –

My family… The Hartwig family… were “unchurched”


All of sudden someone shares the good news of Jesus with my mom…


We started going to church


Jesus had come as God in the flesh – The God man, the Christ,


I heard about how he suffered and died.


That made sense to me.


I want a God who knows the suffering of the world!


As a pre-teen boy I had seen enough to know the world has dysfunction, heartache, disappointment, shame, suffering and pain.


IN his suffering I knew he too knows,

shame, suffering, pain, mocking, betrayal, feeling overpowered.



Another words…  if Jesus Never suffered… I am out!


If he “suffered to death” – then God knows.


At this church also heard about…


how Jesus was killed because of Political insecurity, Greed, bribery, human violence, hatred, jealously, bitterness, religious corruption and unforgiveness –


Ultimately … death hell and the grave All conspired and colluded to make sure Jesus would die.


DEATH… has always been the final word.


IF Jesus who had experienced all of this can come through all of this and come back to life! – now we’ve got something


Then there is victory

There is new life

There is hope

There is a God who knows.




CLOSE: Mark 16:6-8

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.[a]


SLIDE:  FOOTNOTE: NOTED!  [The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.]


The Gospel of Mark ends here!


3 petrified women!

Testimony not allowed in a court of law!


All the men are hiding and afraid…


What kind of an ending is this?


Romans love victory and fanfare!




If Jesus is resurrected… you cannot stop it!



If he is… then hell, and all the opposing spiritual forces to the goodness of God have lost!


It means that in the resurrection there is a power to live a life where triumphing by exerting your will over people, having it all, stepping on others, crushing those who get in our way… doesn’t have to be our only choice.


It means that…


Weakness triumphs over brute force.

The gentleness ends up defeating the sword

Love and humility rises up through death and offers a new kind of life.

Gentleness, kindness, self-control, humility, unselfishness, compassion, generosity, goodness and true deep lasting “all in love” – wins


SLIDE: 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 

54  then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”  56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Laying one’s life down for a friend truly is the greatest act of love.



SLIDE: Feet to Your Faith


What do you do?

you believe, your give your faith to Him,  You trust in the story.



SLIDE:  Pastoral help line: Text to 434-260-1052