Easter Day - Acts 10:34-43 Where are they now? Four little words that have generated so much quality television. I think the latest incarnation of that is Mel and Kochie’s “Where are they now?” on channel 7. I don’t know if you’ve ever sat down and watched that show, but the really interesting thing about it is that most of the time you didn’t even know who the people were when they were famous. They have to spend half the time introducing the people to you before you even think of asking the question, where are they now? But still we watch, because there’s something strangely compelling in finding out the rest of the story of their lives. And I feel that as much as anyone. Do you remember Eddie the eagle? 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, England’s first and only entrant in the life threatening sport of Ski Jumping. Eddie became a celebrity for two reasons, firstly, because he looked like a middleaged book-keeper who’d nipped out for a coffee break and had accidentally taken a wrong turn at the top of the ski ramp. He didn’t look remotely like an elite athlete. The second reason why he became famous was that he didn’t ski jump remotely like an elite athlete either – he was really bad. There were 57 contestants in that event, and he came 56th, only avoiding last place by virtue of the fact that one bloke was disqualified. Have you ever wondered where he is now? I did, so I looked it up. Apparently he diversified into the musical field, had a chart topping single in Finland in the early 90s, and is now doing the circuit as a motivational speaker. The thing about all the people on those “where are they now?” shows is that, like Eddie, they’re no longer famous – they did something that captured the world’s attention, and then dissappeared into obscurity. Well, it’s Easter day, and today we remember an event that has captured the world’s attention for two thousand years, we remember and celebrate that great resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Have you ever wondered where is he now? What’s he up to today? He rose from the dead, as Mary discovered that first easter morning, Jesus had overcome death, no need for a tomb, he’s still alive today. Have you ever wondered where he is now? What’s he doing now? Well, if you open up your pew sheets to the Acts reading, I think we’ll discover that we’re given a few hints about the answer to that question in that passage. The reading follows the usual format for a where are they now type show. Have a look. Firstly in verse 36, Peter introduces the subject of our little version of where are they now. He tells us what we already know about Jesus. “You know”, he says, “about how Jesus preached the message, and that message spread throughout Judea, starting in Galilee. You know how God was with him and you know how, as it says in verse 38, he went about doing good and healing.” Perhaps this is the Jesus you know. Perhaps you’ve heard of him and hold him as a good man, someone who spoke wise and good words, someone who helped people. And you’d be right, it says it right there in our reading. But if you think that’s all he is, you haven’t heard the half of it, you haven’t begun to understand why he’s so famous. There’s more. Peter doesn’t stop there, he doesn’t skip straight to the where is he now part of the show. No, the biggest stuff, the most important part is still to come. Verse 39: “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.” Good Friday, nails piercing hands and feet, death by Roman death squad on a cross. At this point, Peter who is running his where are they now show, really should have wrapped things up and gone to find a more promising subject. Where is he now? Well, he’s resident in a Jerusalem cemetary. That’s the answer he would have got from Mary Magdalene that first Easter day, had he asked. That’s why Mary Magdalene was heading off to a tomb early that day, because she thought she knew where he was then. But no, Peter continues: verse 40 “But God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen to be witnesses and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” God raised him on the third day. This is the event that has resounded down through history for the last two thousand years, this is the event which marks Jesus out not just as a wise and good spiritual teacher, but as someone unique in history, this is the event that renders Jesus not just a figure of history, but a person of the present. This is the event that has gathered us here this morning as we celebrate Easter. If you’re wanting to garner world-wide fame, resurrection is probobly one of the more spectacular things you could do. People who become clinically dead but are revived hit the news every now and then even now, they have their fifteen minutes of fame and then, like Eddie the eagle, plummet back into obscurity. And yet here we are, 2000 years later, and we’re still talking about it, we’re still talking about Jesus. Unlike every celebrity who has ever been the subject of those where are they now shows, Jesus’ fame didn’t wane, in fact it’s grown and grown, as nation after nation came to hear of him and person after person had their lives transformed by him. Today we are but one small gathering in a congregation that spans the world, a congregation of over 1 billion people, that join in celebration of this resurrection event. Why is that? It’s not just because Jesus rose from the dead. People have come back from the dead before. Jesus’ fame doesn’t rest on the fact that he rose from the dead, it rests upon who he is now, it rests on where he is now. Have you ever asked the question of who the risen Jesus is now? Have you ever asked the question of what he’s doing now? Who is the risen Jesus? Acts 10:36 gives us the answer – He is Lord of all. Present tense, right now, the one who rose from that tomb, He is the Lord of all. The letter to the Ephesians (1:20-21) says that “God put [his] power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.” Where is he now? At the right hand of God in power and he is Lord of all. Lord of me, Lord of you. Lord of Australia, Lord of the world. After Eddie’s ski jumping career brought him world wide fame, he got himself a new job, pop star of finland and motivational speaker. After Jesus rose from the dead, he was given a new job too. We see it in verse 42, he was ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. This Lord who is above all is the judge of the living and the dead. Most “where are they now?” shows, you never get to personally meet the famous person. The exciting thing about Peter’s “where are they now?” show is that we’ll all get to meet Jesus one day, we’ll get to meet him as our judge. And that wouldn’t so much be exciting as terrifying if it weren’t for that Good Friday cross and the empty tomb, if it weren’t for God’s great love for us in sending his son to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, and raising him on the third day. We see that in verse 43 – “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins in his name.” For those that trust in Jesus’ death and his resurrection, the judge of the living and the dead will bring down a verdict of “not guilty” and will attest before heaven and earth that you are a child of God. That’s why we celebrate Easter, that’s why christians throughout the world will praise his name today, for he is the Lord of all, he is the judge of the living and the dead, he is the one who has given forgiveness of sins, for all who believe. Where is he now? Well, we’ve answered that question, the only question that remains is, where are you now? Do you believe? Most here I’m sure do, but if you don’t believe, know that God has come to you, has died your death, has raised you to new life in Jesus. Where are you now? Wherever it is, Come, believe, and join in the Easter celebrations. Ideas: Who do you think Jesus is? A good man? Yes – that’s what it says, he did good. BUT, the resurrection doesn’t let us leave it at that. Central to the message Peter spoke was that Jesus died and rose again and he’s now: Lord of all ordained by God as the judge of the living and the dead. Can be a scary thing, so why is the resurrection such a joy? Why do we celebrate Easter? Because it also means: Forgiveness comes through his name; peace by Jesus comes. He was Englands first and only ski jumper, comprising the sole entry on the part of the UK in the Calgary winter Olympics in 1988. He came in 56th out of a field of 57 (the 57th was disqualified), jumping 77 meters and somehow not killing himself. Instant fame followed, but predictably, did not last. Where are they now? According to Asserta.com's "riches to rags" column, neither did his fortunes: " The enormous media attention he attracted with his flailing arms, wobbling skis but plucky desire to jump (with only two seasons of professional experience) gave him a pot of cash totalling £87,000 in the weeks following his jump. This he cannily built up into £385,000 by the end of 1988 with income from endorsements and sponsorship following saturation coverage in the nation’s media. The money wasn’t to last and, amid press rumour that he had given it away to family and friends, he was declared bankrupt in 1992. The real reason for his financial demise, however, is more mundane - Edwards claimed that a trust fund designed to handle his earnings wasn’t set up properly. " He attempted to revive his ski jumping career in the 90's but new minimum requirements on ski jumping denied him a berth in the 1998 Olympics. He currently works the lecture circuit, does advertisements and has a some sort of a musical sideline (a song featuring him apparently charting in Finland in the late 80's).