“Behold the Man: A God Who Rises” (John 20:1-18)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 21, 2019

“Behold the Man: A God Who Rises” (John 20:1-18)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Behold the man who is risen, who died and now lives. His heart was stopped, but now it pulses with renewed rhythm and vigor. His blood was spilled on Golgotha, but now his veins course with a fresh supply. His lungs were stilled after that loud cry with which he breathed his last, but now the breath of life has returned. His eyes were shut in death, but now they are open and see the light of life. His hands had been nailed to the cross, but now they pick up the grave cloths and fold them neatly in place. His legs were limp as his body was placed in the tomb, but now he stands upright. His body was cold and lifeless, but now he lives. He still bears the marks of the nails and the spear: those are Christ’s holy wounds by which he always wishes to be known. Behold the man, Jesus Christ, true God and true man–he lives. He rises triumphant from the dead and strolls out of the tomb into his green creation.

And Mary Magdalene mistakes him for the gardener. It’s an honest mistake, really. She was understandably confused. She showed up first, while it was still dark and the disciples were asleep. And she probably hadn’t gotten much sleep these last couple of days, so distraught she must have been. As soon as day began to break after the Sabbath, she went to the tomb. When she saw that the stone had been rolled away, dislodged from its fixed location, she ran and told the disciples. She found Peter and John, and her words came crashing out so quickly, it’s a wonder they understood her at all: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

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Published in: on April 20, 2019 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“He Is Risen: No Fooling!” (Mark 16:1-8)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 1, 2018

“He Is Risen: No Fooling!” (Mark 16:1-8)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Yes, it’s true! This is no April Fools’ joke. Jesus really is risen from the dead! Just like he said he would. Just like the angel said he had. But who believed this? Do you believe this? This is no joke. This is the most serious–and yet at the same time, the most joyous–fact in the history of the world. And it is the most important reality for you, when I say, “He Is Risen: No Fooling!”

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Published in: on March 31, 2018 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Raised with Our Risen Lord” (Colossians 3:1-4)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 16, 2017

“Raised with Our Risen Lord” (Colossians 3:1-4)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Yes, indeed Christ is risen! And because he is, guess what? You are risen too! That’s our message this morning on this beautiful Easter Day: “Raised with Our Risen Lord.”

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Published in: on April 15, 2017 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“If Christ Has Not Been Raised” (1 Corinthians 15:1-26)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, March 27, 2016

“If Christ Has Not Been Raised” (1 Corinthians 15:1-26)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Yes, he is risen indeed! Risen from the dead! Risen bodily. And everything depends on this. Your faith, your forgiveness, your future. Your eternal future. The future of your loved ones who have died in the Lord. Everything hinges on this great and glorious fact: that Christ has indeed risen from the dead.

But what if Christ has not risen from the dead? What then? What would be the consequences? You know, not everyone believes that Christ has risen from the dead. And for us who do believe, what if our faith is misplaced? What if it never really happened? What if this is all a big made-up story? Or what if we’re just misunderstanding the idea of Christ “rising from the dead”? Maybe it just means that he kind of rose spiritually, but not bodily? Like, his memory lives on, the great moral example that he set, the nice teachings that he set forth about loving one another, and so on. But not that he rose bodily from the dead! Surely that is too much! Let’s not go that far! You know, that is what a lot of people think about Jesus. Good moral teacher, fine example, died unjustly, but that was it. His body must be somewhere. His followers must have taken it and hidden it and made up this story about Jesus rising from the dead. For surely there is no such thing as a real, physical resurrection of the dead!

But then this is nothing new, this way of thinking. It was around also way back in the first century. This idea had even infiltrated the early Christian church, that there’s no such thing as a bodily resurrection of the dead. It apparently was the thinking of some people in the church in Corinth, because the apostle Paul takes on this notion and contemplates the consequences of it, if that were the case. That’s what’s going on in our Epistle reading for today from 1 Corinthians 15. So let’s ponder that prospect now for a few moments, under the theme, “If Christ Has Not Been Raised.”

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Published in: on March 26, 2016 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Just as He Told You” (Mark 16:1-8)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 5, 2015

“Just as He Told You” (Mark 16:1-8)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

And you say that with such conviction! As you should. The announcement of Christ’s resurrection elicits from us a hearty response of faith and joy. And rightfully so. This is the heart of our great hope as Christians, that Christ our Lord has conquered sin and death for us and has secured for us the sure and certain hope of our own resurrection and everlasting life.

Which makes our Gospel reading today a little strange. It doesn’t end the way we would like it to end. We want those woman at the tomb, who had just heard those great words, “He has risen”–we want them to join us in a hearty “Alleluia!” We want them to go away from the tomb with a spring in their step and hearts full of confidence and assurance, ready to tell everyone they meet the good news they just heard. But they don’t. That’s not how this reading ends. Instead, it ends with them being seized with trembling and astonishment. It ends with–and Mark’s whole gospel ends with–what seem to us these most unlikely words, “for they were afraid.” Now really, Mark, is that any way to end the story? Boo, we demand a rewrite!

But this morning I want to tell you that this ending does work. It’s an ending we can relate to. It’s an ending Mark’s original hearers could relate to. And really, it focuses our attention on the basis for our faith and our hope, and that is, the sure and certain words of Jesus. That comes through in this little phrase that the angel uses, when he says, referring to Jesus, “Just as He Told You.”

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Published in: on April 5, 2015 at 12:18 am  Comments (1)  
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“Amen” (The Lord’s Prayer; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 20, 2014

“Amen” (The Lord’s Prayer; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Yes, “Alleluia” of course is the word of the day for Easter Day. We’ve been saving it up all Lent, and now today we finally get to let it loose. And what a day to do so! Our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead on this day, winning the victory for us over death and the grave. If that doesn’t elicit an “Alleluia,” I don’t know what will. “Alleluia” is a Hebrew word originally, and it means “Praise ye the Lord.” And praise is most fitting for us to render unto the Lord God for the great salvation he has assured us of by raising his Son from the dead.

“Alleluia,” the word of the day for Easter. But today I’d like to suggest another “A” word that works just as well on this day. And that is the word “Amen.” “Amen” also is a Hebrew word that has carried over into English. It means “to be sure,” “to be certain.” The basic idea is firmness or certainty. In the Bible, the word “Amen” expresses a certain affirmation in response to what has been said. And that idea, and the word itself, carried over into the Christian church, and on through all the centuries, all around the world, down to this very day. “Amen,” we say, whenever we want to affirm as solid and trustworthy whatever has just been said, whether that is a prayer or a blessing or what have you.

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Published in: on April 20, 2014 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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