EASTER BREAKOUTS TO CELEBRATE!

I. Jesus’

II. The Apostles’

III. Ours


Acts 5:12, 17-32 12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders

among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s

Colonnade... 17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the

party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put

them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of

the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the

people the full message of this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts,

as they had been told, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his

associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders

of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22 But on arriving at the jail, the officers

did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely

locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no

one inside.” 24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief

priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this. 25 Then someone came and

said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the

people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did

not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 Having brought

the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high

priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have

filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s

blood.” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! 30

The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging

him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he

might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32 We are witnesses of these

things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

In the name of Jesus Christ, who once was dead, but now is alive and victorious,

dear Christian friends,

When you hear someone use the word “breakout”, your first thought might not

be to celebrate. Instead, a feeling of fear might come over you if you connect

“breakout” with a prisoner breaking free from his prison cell and running loose in your


EASTER BREAKOUTS TO CELEBRATE!


I. Jesus’

II. The Apostles’

III. Ours


2


neighborhood. Or does “breakout” bring to mind acne and fill you with anxiety as you

wonder how many Easter candies you can eat before numerous pimples break out on

your face?

Hopefully, you can put those connections aside, as I tell you that we have

EASTER BREAKOUTS TO CELEBRATE! Today, we will look at I. Jesus’ and II. The Apostles’

and III. Ours as our Easter celebration continues and we see that witness marches

victorious over restraint.

We celebrated in grand style Jesus’ breakout from the confines of death’s grave

last week as we gathered in God’s house to sing, pray and listen and as we gathered in

our own homes to converse, eat and play. And the celebration continues today because

Jesus is still alive! Jesus is still victorious! Jesus is still leading his people to repent and

lavishing them with his forgiveness.

Listen again to the words of Peter and the other apostles. The God of our

fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.

God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give

repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.

Jesus’ breakout from the prison cell of hell took place on the cross on that first

Good Friday. He let himself be captured by the devil in order to take our death sentence

upon himself. He allowed the devil to do his worst to him so that the devil could not do

his worst to us! Then Jesus cried out, “It is finished!”, breaking out from the devil’s hold

on him.

But death still held him captive. Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross of

Calvary and placed into the tomb of Joseph. Then he was “made alive by the Spirit

through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison” (1 Pt 3:18,19). Now,

he had broken out from death’s grip as well!

Martin Luther wrote a beautiful hymn in celebration of Jesus’ breakout from the

devil and death. In stanzas 2 and 3 of hymn 440, we hear:

2 No son of man could conquer death, such ruin sin had wrought us.

No innocence was found on earth, and therefore death had brought us

into bondage from of old

and ever grew more strong and bold

and held us as its captive. Alleluia, alleluia!

3 Christ Jesus, God’s own Son, came down, his people to deliver;

destroying sin, he took the crown from death’s pale brow forever.

Stripped of pow’r, no more it reigns;

an empty form alone remains;

its sting is lost forever. Alleluia, alleluia!

We hear Peter and the other apostles announce the message of Jesus’ Easter

breakout in celebration of their own breakout! ...during the night an angel of the Lord

opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,”

he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.” At daybreak they

entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.


3


Having been thrown into prison for doing the Lord’s work and performing

miracles, you would think that having been released from prison by means of one of the

Lord’s miracles, the last thing the apostles would do would be to repeat what they had

been doing. But that is exactly what they did! They had to, like they said, “We must

obey God rather than men!”

Even though it meant they would be arrested again, even though it meant they

might be threatened with death, still they broke out of their shell of doubt and fear to

fulfill God’s will. They had been given new life and were compelled by God and

courageous enough to want to share the same.

This new life is a gift from Jesus! It comes to us through baptism and the Bible

and is strengthened through the Lord’s Supper. It consists of freedom from and

freedom for.

All who believe in Jesus as Savior have been freed from slavery to the devil, the

prison cell of hell and the penalty of death due to us because of our sins! All who

believe in Jesus as Savior have been freed for living a life to his honor and glory, in

thankfulness for everything he has done for us!

Our Easter breakout is worth celebrating every day of our lives and leads us to

tell others what Jesus has done because, like Peter and the apostles, we are witnesses

of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

The Holy Spirit makes known to us what Jesus has done for us and we make the

same known to others...or maybe not?!? We consistently invite the unchurched to

worship with us or maybe we don’t?!? We confidently defend the truth of Scripture in

the presence of those who preach and teach false doctrine or maybe we don’t?!? We

tenderly tell the dying loved one of our sure hope of heaven or maybe we don’t?!?

If we fail to be witnesses of these things Jesus has done for us and for all people,

we have accidentally forgotten or we have intentionally ignored or we have deliberately

despised the Easter breakouts we celebrate today! How necessary, then, to review

Jesus’ breakout from the grave as assurance of his forgiveness for all the times we have

not broken out of our own prison of doubt and fear! How important, then, to know

about the apostles’ breakout from prison and from their own inhibitions as

encouragement for us that God is able to protect us and has given us the same

instructions as he gave to his followers in the first century.

We are striving to continue to build a culture of outreach here at Grace. Did you

greet someone new last week? Have you introduced yourself to someone you don’t

know today? It might be a longtime member who needs to hear a kind word from

someone. It might be a new visitor who needs to know he is welcome within these

walls of worship. Either way, it is a good exercise to break out of your shell and start a

conversation with Jesus as the focus.

There will continually be forces of restraint which want to squash any effort we

make to be pleasing to God. Those might be internal or external forces working hard

against us. But Jesus works harder and smarter. His plan is perfect. His power is

unmatched. His protection is dependable. His peace is eternal. So, “Go...and tell the

people the full message of this new life.”

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