Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009 Easter 1 Mark 16:1-8

And the Sabbath, being over, Mary of Magdala, and Mary the one of James, and Salome bought spices, that they may come and anoint Him. And very early, on the first day of the Sabbath, they come to the tomb, the sun having risen. And they were saying to one another, "Who will cast aside the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb? And looking up, they see that the stone had been cast aside, though it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they marveled. And he says to them, "Do not marvel; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, Who has been crucified. He is risen! He is not here; look, the place where they laid Him! But go, say to His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you into the Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He said to you.' " And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had taken hold of them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

There are monumental events which leave people dumbstruck. On your wedding day, at the moment you become husband and wife, you may find yourself tongue-tied. As the clock winds down, and your team wins the championship, your may find yourself at a loss for words. As your first child is born into this world, that moment may overwhelm you, and find you speechless. An even greater event took place on Easter Sunday, and the woman were so bewildered at the event they were dumbfounded!

Yes, resurrections from the dead are pretty amazing situations. But the resurrection of Jesus was different. Jesus had made a habit of raising folks from the dead well before Easter. Jairus' daughter was awoken from her sleep of death at Jesus' words. The widow's only son was raised as Jesus ruined a perfectly fine funeral. And after four days in the tomb, Jesus raised Lazarus to life again. But these were resurrections performed by others. Never had a dead man raised himself to life again!

But that's just what Jesus did! Most dead folks do nothing but stay dead and rot. Not Jesus. He was one of the busiest dead men you'll ever meet! On Friday, He ascends to heaven to be with the thief on the cross in paradise. Then sometime before dawn on Sunday He descends to hell to ruin the devil's evil *God is dead* party by preaching a sermon Satan and his minions don't care for. Then, early on Easter morning, Jesus raises Himself from death to life once more, as described by the angel.

What can you say to such an amazing action of a dead man! You may be tempted to speak words of disbelief. "It's just not possible!" you might want to utter. But with God, all things are possible! "It's all so unbelievable!" you may want to say. Yet a God-given faith is capable of moving mountains! "It's just too good to be true!" you may want to exclaim. But remember, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! And Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life for you as well. He is risen, amazing though it is.

The women trembled in fear, because they were taken hold of by their astonishment. So they said nothing to anyone, even though the angel told them they should. Perhaps they were afraid to say words of disbelief, so they chose to say nothing, discretion being the better part of valor and all. Or maybe they feared the Romans or the Jewish leaders, who might come after them if the news got out that they were the first to find the empty tomb. But more likely they were just overcome and speechless.

Today, almost 2000 years removed from this amazing resurrection event, what can you say now about it? Do you tell others what Jesus rising from the dead means to you, or do you find yourself speechless instead. You can't blame the shock of the resurrection event for making you tongue-tied. Perhaps it's been a long time since you've been in a bible class, so you are not sure exactly what it means. Or perhaps you do know, but fear your friends or family won't understand it like you do.

But be reminded how important Jesus' resurrection is for you. For you know that you died with Jesus on the cross too, and you were buried with Christ by baptism into His death. If Jesus hadn't raised Himself, you'd stay dead in the tomb as well. But Jesus is risen, and so are you! Jesus has raised up you as a new person, forgiven in the cleansing of Holy Baptism, and given opportunity to walk now in newness of life. The New You walks here in time with Jesus, and hereafter with Him in eternity!

Jesus' rising is vital for your triumph over sin and death as well. His resurrection Easter Sunday is proof positive that His death on the Cross indeed has conquered death for you, once and for all. His body given at Calvary, and His blood shed for you there are offered you for your forgiveness this day in the Lord's Supper. The victory of Jesus is no longer His alone, but now yours to share forevermore!

Hymns from LSB for today:
#457 Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia lyrics
#475 Good Christian Friends Rejoice and Sing!
#458 Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands lyrics
#489 Hail Thee Festival Day (Easter stanzas)
#463 Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia! lyrics

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