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Easter Sunday 4-21-19

Easter Day  Luke 24:1-12

 

Alleluia! CHRIST is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

The women that first Easter morning didn’t have any alleluias in them. ir hearts were filled with sorrow and grief. ir minds remembered the horrible images of their abused and crucified Savior. There was no joy for them; only silence as they walked to the tomb. weight of the spices they carried was nothing compared to the heaviness of their souls.

And then, if it wasn’t bad enough, when they got to the place of the tomb, the stone had been rolled away. Someone had desecrated the grave. The tears started to flow again. Wasn’t it enough they had killed Him? Their hearts sank into the pits of their stomachs.

 

We all know in grief haunting images of past and present hurts, flood your mind. Difficulties, struggles; wishing things could be different. Wondering why all this happened? And where is God when I need Him?

But God was exactly where He needed to be for these women and for us. He needed to be on the cross--He didn’t need to be in the tomb. He needed to be delivered up for our sins to be raised up for our justification (Rom 4:25).

So the women peered into the tomb expecting the worst. But Jesus’ desecrated and abused body wasn’t there. His grave clothes were there, but no body. now what? And then seemingly from out of nowhere, 2 men are standing by them, and in dazzling white robes. Frightened by their appearance, the women looked away in uncertainty.

Then the women were asked: Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, - well duh, we all can see that, Captain Obvious! - He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you?

 

Only then did they remember his words. For the Holy Spirit worked through the Word spoken to them - as Jesus had promised He would. He said He’d be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and He was. He said He was going to be crucified, and He was. He said that on the third day He was going to rise, and He did.

 

By the angels preaching God’s word to them, the women’s sorrow lifted. The angels who had preached to the shepherds at Jesus’ birth had now preached to them the good news of His resurrection.

He is not dead! The women’s hearts overflowed with hope again! Jesus did it! He won the victory!

It is that same hope and confidence that is ours. Our world is filled with people infected by sin and death that tries to rob us of our loved ones. But the confidence we now have is that in CHRIST—anything affiliated with death—the struggles and troubles—the hurts we carry; the sadness and separation from those we love--is all replaced with words of life, love, hope, and promise.

Life in CHRIST now means life with CHRIST forever. Or as we heard earlier For as in Adam all die, so also in CHRIST shall all be made alive. Having a safe and secure future enables you to live your life in confidence and peace now.

Knowing that your sin is forgiven enables you to forgive others. Knowing that CHRIST is here for you enables you to be there for others. Whatever struggles and troubles, hurts and fears satan hurls against you-- just remember who was the last man standing on that first Easter. It was Jesus!

That’s why the Church proclaims this victory today - to us and to all the world! Our faith and this hope is not in ourselves, but in Jesus. This faith and hope enable us to live in joy, no matter what the evil one may throw at us. He did not win. He cannot win, unless you let him. The tomb is empty. Jesus has risen from the dead. We can celebrate the power of God’s love with our words and with our lives lived in the reality of the resurrection.

The tomb is empty. God’s love has moved powerfully and we are invited like Peter to act in response to the empty tomb.

Jesus is present with us. His forgiveness and life are here. You tell everyone with confidence of what you have heard and received. When people live in a world of death it’s impossible to believe in life. But all things are possible with God. In the same way the Word conceived faith in your heart. So speak biblical truth. Don’t ever give up. Speak biblical truth, pray and allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of unbelievers, because He specializes in creating life and raising the dead.

The strife is o’er, the battle done; Now is the victor’s triumph won; Now the song of praise begun. Alleluia! Amen!