The name of the movie is “Hook” staring Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Julia Roberts. The story is about Peter Pan—all grown up and his adventures when he goes back to Never Never Land in search of his children. At the end of the movie, Tinkerbelle, whom he calls, “Tink” tells him. “I’ll always be there for you Peter—in the place between waking and sleeping. I will always love you.”
We all dream of being happy in a place like Never Never Land. Not having to get old. Using our imagination. Being able to fly—that’s a favorite. The point of the movie, like all good movies is that good triumphs over evil. Peter Pan was the hero and Captain Hook was the bad guy. Our hero is Jesus Christ. Nobody can beat His record. Jesus did more for humanity than any other human being who has walked the planet. Today we celebrate His victory over sin and death. Wasn’t easy. He had to pass through many trials, much harder than Peter Pan. His opponent was the devil and he put on many disguises to try to trick Him. But Jesus kept focused on His Father and what the Father had asked Him to do—tell all people that God loves us and that we are supposed to love each other. Sounds simple, but Jesus got killed for bringing a message that folks thought was blasphemous. How can God love us when we know we have sinned? How can God forgive us when we can’t forgive ourselves? The world was not ready to hear the message of freedom. People were too stuck in the old ways of thinking that God was going to punish them. So the majority of the crowd decided to crucify Jesus. Many went to the execution, some were present when He died, others went to the burial. The stone was put across the entrance and everyone thought that the bad guys had won.
After three days, the disciples had run for their lives and were in hiding. The Father raised Jesus from the tomb. The cross was not the end, death was not the end, only the beginning. Jesus came back in the flesh, the same but different. Some could not recognize Him. Jesus could walk through walls. Now He was invincible. Everything that Jesus had told His disciples started to make sense. Finally the little lights went on and they realized that He had not been joking when we told them that He would be killed and then would come back to life.
“Do not be afraid!” the angel said, Jesus said, the prophets said. The phrase is repeated over 600 times in the Bible. Why? Because we are afraid. Even with Jesus standing in front of the Apostles in His Resurrected Body, they were afraid. We each know our greatest fear—perhaps different for each of us. Today is about trusting. Fear will never help us to grow. We will come to discover our full potential when we stop being afraid. Got to get out of the tomb. We were not made to hide, but to serve. Lots of work to do. We are a very young church, living so close to the time when Jesus rose from the dead. Countless people have not heard or refuse to believe the message of life. They prefer a culture of death, of war, of hate. The challenge is before us. Yet, we are not alone. Jesus is with us—in our waking and our sleeping. He will always love us, no matter what happens in our life.
The words are meant for us. “Do not be afraid.”