An Empty Tomb: Life Begins (3 of 10) by Roger Thomas

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An Empty Tomb: Life Begins
Roger Thomas
John 19: 38-20:9
April 15, 2001

In the eyes of most people, Philip didn't know much. But he understood Easter.

Philip was born with Downs Syndrome. He was a pleasant child--happy, it seemed--but increasingly aware of the difference between himself and other children. Philip went to Sunday school at the neighborhood church every week. His teacher taught the third-grade class with Philip and nine other eight-year-old boys and girls.

You know eight-year-olds. And Philip, with his differences, was not readily accepted. But the teacher was creative, and he helped the group of eight-year-olds. They learned, they laughed, they played together. And they really cared about one another, even though eight-year-olds don't say they care about one another out loud. The teacher could see it. He knew it. He also knew that Philip was not really a part of that group. Philip did not choose nor did he want to be different. He just was. And that was just the way things were.

The Sunday School teacher had a marvelous idea for his class the Sunday after Easter. You know those things that pantyhose come in--the containers that look like great big eggs—the teacher had collected ten of them. The children loved it when he brought them into the room. Each child was to get one. It was a beautiful spring day, and the assignment was for each child to go outside, find a symbol for new life, put it into the egg, and bring it back to the classroom. They would then open and share their new life symbols and surprises one by one.

It was glorious. It was confusing. It was wild. They ran all around the church grounds, gathered their symbols, and returned to the classroom. They put all the eggs on a table, and then the teacher began to open them. All the children stood around the table.

He opened one, and there was a flower, and they ooh-ed and aah-ed. He opened another, and there was a little butterfly. "Beautiful," the girls all sai ...


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