Props: The Photos Included in this Story
Happy Easter, everyone!
This morning I want to tell you a special story. This story started 2,000 years ago in the country of Israel, at a place called Masada. Masada was a fortress built by King Herod as a place he could go to be safe in case Israel was ever invaded. Food was kept there in big store rooms just in case the kind needed to make a quick get-away.
One of the foods that people enjoyed in Israel at that time were dates. People in Israel and around the world still enjoy eating dates today. But there is one type of date palm tree that used to grow during Herod's time that is now extinct. There are no more of these particular trees left in the world--that is, until 8 years ago.
In the 1960's, archeologists were digging up artifacts at Masada. Among the interesting, ancient things they found were several seeds from this extinct date palm tree. I have a picture of them here to show you. They are about an inch long, and skinny. For a long time, the seeds were catalogued and filed away. Then on January 29, 2005, on the Jewish New Year of Trees, they decided to plant one of the seeds. The scientists took extra care and soaked the seed, and prepared an especially nutritious soil mix to use. They didn't know if a 2,000-year-old seed would grow or not! So they crossed their fingers, said a little prayer, and planted the ancient seed. And guess what...(show picture of plant)
2,000 years ago, in the country of Israel, in a place outside of Jerusalem, some of Jesus' friends went to the tomb where he was buried. They brought spices and things they needed to prepare his body for a proper burial. When they got to the tomb, which was like a cave, the big stone the covered the opening was rolled away. They stepped inside, and Jesus was gone. Two men were there in brilliant, white clothes. They said to the women, "Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive? He is not here! He is risen!!"
Even more amazing than a 2,000-year-old seed making roots, sprouting and growing into a tall, tall tree, is the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The resurrection is why we are here today on Easter Sunday...to rejoice, to worship, and to say together,
Christ is Risen! And you say..."He is Risen Indeed!"
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!!