題目 (Title)： 不要在死人中找活人 / Don't Look among the Dead for the Living
主講 (Preacher)： 林立峯 主任牧師 / The Rev. Philip Lin, Rector
翻譯 (Interpreter)： 梁金連 / Jerry (Mookoo) Liang
時間 (Time)：2013 年 3 月 30 日復活大守夜 中英聯合禮拜中 / During the Chinese-and-English Combined Service of the Great Vigil of Easter, March 30, 2013
地點 (Place)：台灣聖公會台中聖雅各堂 / St. James's Episcopal Church, Taichung City, Taiwan
講道大綱 (The Outlines of the Sermon)
A. 前言 (Foreword)：令人興奮的日子 / An Exciting Day!
B. 正文 (The Text)：
1. 尋找死人的婦女 / The women looking among the dead
2. 我們也在死人中尋找活人嗎？ / Are we seeking the living one among the dead?
3. 讓「你的耶穌」復活吧！ / Is "your Jesus" risen?
4. 去告訴別人耶穌復活了 / Tell others that Jesus is risen
C. 結語 (Conclusion)：現在就行動吧！ / Let's act now!
= = =
Note: If you are interested in the original/Chinese text of the sermon, please contact Rev. Philip Lin at St. James' Episcopal Church, in Taichung City. I'd like to share with my blog readers the English translation (interpretation) as follows:
DON'T LOOK AMONG THE DEAD FOR THE LIVING
FORWORD: AN EXCITING DAY!
It’s an exciting moment now, because Jesus is risen! Our service this evening started with something about the fact that Jesus suffered and was crucified on the Cross. However, the death of Jesus was inseparable from his resurrection. So this evening we kindled a new fire, which symbolizes the beginning of a new life. When we lighted up the candles in our hands, it seemed that we were sharing the new life. But we were still waiting (or preparing) for seeing the Lord; we prepared ourselves by reading the Old Testament, [and] by recalling the covenant of salvation that God had established long time ago. And, finally, we met with Jesus, and therefore we proclaimed, “Jesus is risen!” If you witnessed the death of Jesus, you would certainly have a great joy when Jesus was raised to life!
THE WOMAN LOOKING AMONG THE DEAD
(Luke 24:1) “On the first day of the week, at early dawn . . . .” Here “the first day of the week” means Sunday. In Jesus’ time, however, Sunday was the first workday of the week. The women who were very sad about Jesus’ death probably did not sleep well the previous night. They just tried to come to Jesus as early as possible, and tried to do something for him. But they were astonished to see that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, and inside the tomb they didn't find the body, but the linen cloths. St. Luke describes their responses as “perplexed (about this).” [or, in another version, as “puzzled (about this)”] Those women were really confused about where the body of the Lord Jesus had gone.
I believe that not only the women who went to the tomb were confused, but all the disciples were bewildered by what the Lord Jesus was saying or doing. They might have asked: How did he work miracles? How did he cast out demons and heal the sick? Why has he preached with authority, but oftentimes his sermons and parables are so hard to understand? Is he really to be the King of Jews? He mentioned the death and the resurrection – did he talk about the last day of the world? . . . The disciples of Jesus had so many “doubts” in their minds, just as the women were puzzled at the tomb. Then, suddenly, two angels asked them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead?” (Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive?) These powerful words pointed out the women's fundamental error: They overlooked [didn't know] that Jesus was not among the dead and that Jesus had been raised to life. They had no idea that Jesus is Son of Man/God, whose nature is the Lord God Almighty.
ARE WE SEEING THE LIVING ONE AMONG THE DEAD?
Are we also looking among the dead for the living? One day, I went to a bank trying to deposit a check. I approached a machine and got a queue ticket, then I filled in the deposit slip. When I passed the deposit slip to the clerk behind the counter, he told me that I could not deposit my check there. I was confused, asking him why. He said, “Your passbook (bankbook) is for Cathay United Bank.” I said, “Yes, Cathay United Bank.” He replied, “But this is Chang Hwa Bank.” Oh, my! I had entered the wrong bank -- Those two banks were/are next-door neighbors?
This is how we have sometimes made a mistake, a fundamental error. If we do not know well who Jesus is, then we’ll possibly be confused about our Christian faith. We’ll possibly ask this kind of questions: Why? Why did God let me suffer so much? Why are there so many people unemployed -- out of a job? Why is the world rife with hunger, disasters, and wars? . . . But have you thought of what Jesus has been doing? Millions of Christians have been called by the Lord to minister to people in need (or in trouble), to witness God’s love, and to transform the world. Take Taiwan as an example, many admirable missionaries came here (for instance, 馬雅各James Laidlaw Maxwell, 馬偕George Leslie Mackay, 巴克禮Thomas Barcley, etc.) -- they came and worked hard to transform (or improve) our society in some respects. Due to their great contributions and good influences, the transformation of Taiwan has continued to this very day?
Seeking the living among the dead would make it impossible for us to share the great power of the resurrection of Jesus. In that case we would easily deny the resurrection of Jesus, like Jesus’ disciples. If so, even though we have the rational knowledge, knowing that Jesus is risen, we still lack the real confidence or faith in the resurrection. We cannot really experience the great power of Jesus’ resurrection unless we have the resurrected life ourselves; that is, we should be reborn or renewed to be full of love, hope, and power.
IS "YOUR JESUS" RISEN? [or LET “YOUR JESUS” REVIVE!]
Anyway, let me tell you the good news again: “Jesus is risen.” Jesus is risen indeed; he is no longer in the grave. Jesus is alive, and he lives here and now. Jesus loves you, and he can change your life, amazingly. Jesus the Lord, who has come back to life, can remove the death from your life, making you a “new being” (2 Corinthians 5:17 -- a new creature or new creation). No matter how terrible (or how nice) your life is now, Jesus can renew your life, to make it better, much better! Well, how do we know for sure that Jesus can make it? That is because he himself has died, and then risen. By means of his resurrection he not only gave those women new lives, but also gives the new life to anyone who believes in him.
Let “your Jesus” revive, or rise again! Don’t be sad or frustrated any more. Don’t be defeated by failures or pains. Your life should be as strong as what St. John said, “My dear friend, I pray that everything may go well with you and that you may be in good health -- as I know you are well in spirit.” (3 John 1:2) You will be delivered, as you gain the life of resurrection. This new life, the life of resurrection, is full of hope and joy. This new life should be your choice. Just let Jesus the Lord rise again from the inner part of you! But don’t waste time looking among the dead for the living one.
TELL OTHERS THAT JESUS IS RISEN
The resurrection of Jesus has meant a lot to our modern society. Here in Taiwan, there have been quite a number of homicides [murders]. Whether to complete building the fourth nuclear plant has been a tough issue for us to discuss/debate. We are deeply concerned about that kind of things! And yet we believe that Jesus’ resurrection can empower or strengthen us, so we can have courage and ability to face the difficulties that we encounter. Jesus Christ, the supreme leader of all, is the core of the history and the source of salvation. He is the hope of all human beings. Just as the women at the tomb did: “[they] returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven disciples and all the rest,” now you may tell “all these things” to your friends, your neighbors.
CONCLUSION: LET’S ACT NOW
Let’s act now! Let’s tell the good news to our friends and our neighbors, saying, “Jesus is risen! Our Lord Jesus is risen indeed.” [Amen.]