On Easter Sunday, I was playing trumpet for a church with their hymns and their choir. My husband and I played both regular services. The pastor’s message was based on how Sesame Street dealt with the death of Mr. Hooper. His point was that Jesus rose, he DID come back, unlike Mr. Hooper. But because Jesus came back, you will too! And we’ll all be happy in heaven.
Yesterday, in my home church, the pastor’s message was ALSO based on how Sesame Street dealt with the death of Mr. Hooper. His point was that everyone dies, but when Jesus died, he took on the punishment for all people for their sins. There is a cost to sinning, from shunning God, but rather than see everyone in the world take this punishment, he took it on himself. But in order to finish the task, he also had to conquer death. He HAD to rise or his death on the cross was nothing but a gesture. His resurrection meant that we were reconciled with God and would never have to fear being without him. Dying isn’t the worst thing for a human, it’s the eternal life afterwards. It can be with God in heaven or it can be in Sheol with the Devil.
One sermon focuses on the resurrection that changes death from permanent to temporary. One focuses on the reason for Jesus’ death and resurrection and how it reunites Creator to Creation. Which one do you feel is more significant?