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The World's Greatest Step

The story of the resurrection is not just good news; it's true news.

The story behind the sermon (from John Ortberg):

For Easter I wanted to present some of N. T. Wright's material on the Resurrection. I love his work on the distinction between the Resurrection and the immortality of the soul. Easter is much more than just the promise of life after death. The tricky part was finding a way to unpack his teaching in a way that doesn't feel overly didactic. For example, how do you quickly explain that the Jewish notion of resurrection was corporate, so no one would have thought of inventing a story of one individual experiencing resurrection "ahead of time." The single-sentence analogy I came up with to explain this idea—that "it would be like the Cubs' first baseman winning the World Series but not the rest of the team—actually took a ton of time and reflection to come up with. But what a gift to have Tom Wright help us see Easter with fresh eyes!

Introduction

The proclamation of what happened at Easter is the pivotal point in human history, but it's often not as well known as the Christmas story. Let's hear the Easter story once more, from Mark 16:1-8:

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! ...

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John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

Many of us don't really understand that there is a back story to this idea of resurrection, and that back story is critical to understanding Easter.

I. A first-century understanding of resurrection

II. Why we can know the Resurrection really happened

III. The greatest step in human history—and the step we must take in response

Conclusion

Death has no power to take you from the arms of the Father. To all who take the step of faith, resurrection is coming.