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					                   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).

				
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