“He Is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!”

Posted on 12 Apr 2020, Pastor: Randy Sturzenbecher

Mark 16:1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Resurrection
16 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Easter Sunday Resurrection service.    FB Live only

Mark 16   Is Jesus enough?

In the Name of +Jesus+ Amen

We Pray:  Father on this day when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from death, and the defeat of our greatest enemies, we ask that you would strengthen and comfort us in the full assurance that Jesus’ life death and resurrection is enough for us always.  Bless now the preaching of your Holy Gospel.   In +Jesus+ Name. Amen. 

Dear Saints, I have to admit to you, this has been one of the strangest Lent’s and Holy Weeks I have ever experienced.  I have been preaching to an almost empty church building.  There have been no people gathered to visit with.  No choirs or trumpets or bells to sing praises to our risen Savior, today.  No Easter Egg hunt for the community. No Easter breakfast with the youth.    Over the last week I have heard many of you lament, the same thing “it just does not seem like Easter”. 

No, it really doesn’t.  This year does not feel like any Easter Celebration we have ever experienced.  Thanks be to God for that.   Yes, you heard me correctly.  Thanks be to God we are forced to see Easter for what it really is.  Easter is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God from the dead, for your forgiveness.  Easter is the Gospel.   Easter is Jesus defeating death by His sacrificial death on the Cross.  Easter is Jesus resting in the tomb making the grave a place where our bodies will rest in peace until our Lord calls us out of them on the last day.   Easter is believing that sin and death could not hold Jesus.  Easter is believing that because it could not hold Jesus it will not hold us. 

This temporary fast from gathering as the body of Christ has forced us to see, clearer than we ever have, that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead does not depend on family traditions. Jesus rising from the dead is not halted because there are no choirs or bells or a church full of people to hear.   Jesus forgiving you by His bloodshed on the cross is not put on hold because our lives and schedules have been interrupted by a virus or anything else.  Jesus’ death and resurrection was precisely for all these things! 

Job.

In the first lesson for today, Job says, For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh, I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” What a great confession of the resurrection of our bodies from death.  What boldness and confidence Job had.  When he wrote it, he must have been having one of the best days of his life!  

No, it wasn’t.  It was one of the worst times of his life.  In a matter of hours his children were all killed, his animal’s stollen, his servants kidnapped.   It’s in the midst of death and loss and grief that Job can confess, “I know that my redeemer lives”.  Jobs hope in God’s promises is not based on circumstances or success, it is founded first and only in God’s promises given through His Word. 

In the Epistle lesson St. Paul writes to a church that is extremely divided on almost every issue. He writes  “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55“O death, where is your victory?           O death, where is your sting?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In order to bring unity and healing where there is only division and discord. St. Paul takes the Corinthian church back to today, to Jesus’ resurrection.     Death is swallowed up in Victory!

Division, discord, not getting along, are all because of our sin, and sin brings death. 

Our pride over being right.  Our not wanting others to succeed all drives wedges.

How quickly do those wedges find a way to divide God’s people and His church when we lose sight of this.   Jesus died for sinners, and the church is full of them! Last time I checked, I fit in that category and so do every one of you.

Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ this day,  we are forgiven for all the times we have let our egos, our fear, our anxiety fool us into thinking Jesus’ death is not strong enough to take away my pain, calm my fear or carry me through my current situation. 

 Today, …..an Easter Sunday when we can not do what we want to do, or be where we want to force us to answer this question, “Is Jesus enough”?   Is the resurrection of Jesus from the bands of death enough to carry us through the quarantine?  Is Jesus rising from the dead powerful enough for the church to still celebrate and let her Alleluia’s ring even when we can’t gather?  Is the resurrection of Jesus,….. the forgiveness of sins that Jesus won for us,……. and the promise that we will rise because the grave could not hold Jesus,…… enough for us,….. when it doesn’t feel like Easter, or when I don’t feel forgiven? 

Yes,…….. it is.   During Jesus’ arrest, suffering, crucifixion and death, Satan threw everything he could to keep Jesus from completing His work of Salvation for you.  Jesus did not waver.  Like a lamb before the shearers is silent so He did not open His mouth, as they mocked Him, beat Him and Nailed His to the Cross.

Suffering on the cross He did not cry out and condemn those around Him.  He prayed, “Father forgiven them”  Completing His work of being our sinless sacrifice He said “It is finished” and He gave up His Spirit. 

He descended into Hell proclaiming to Satan and all his legions, Victory over death,…… and your complete forgiveness.  And on the third day,….today…… Jesus rose from the dead.  

Do you think a virus can change Jesus’ work on the Cross?  Do you think when we are not feeling Easter because we can’t do the things we love,…..it changes His Victory and your forgiveness?   No.  “ For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, (like social distancing, layoffs, sickness or sadness,)  nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.    Christ is Risen!   He is Risen indeed!  Alleluia!    

 There will be more times like this in our lives.  There will be other times when we can’t be where we want or do what we would like.  There will be times when the world around us makes no sense. 

It was like that for the Women who went to Jesus grave that 1st Sunday of the Resurrection.   Nothing was the same.   These last few days were watching angry mobs shout crucify an innocent man. Soldiers and spears, nails and blood.  Darkness and earthquake and death.  Jesus was quickly lowered to the ground.  His body cleaned and covered and laid in the tomb.   How do you make sense of that? 

In the last few weeks, our lives have changed more than anyone could have guessed.  We are still trying to figure that great Lutheran question.  What does this mean?  We don’t have many answers just a lot of precautions.     Where do we go from here?

We go to the empty tomb and listen to the angel on that first Resurrection morning. 

  “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.  

Jesus is living, giving peace and hope and unchanged promises to you.

Jesus is living, risen from the dead.  Sin, death, devil all beaten, and His promise is yours wherever life takes you.   One day soon when we can gather again as His Church this proclamation will shake the walls.   Christ is Risen!   He is risen indeed Alleluia.  

Today as you watch from home, isolated and unsure this proclamation is just as true.  Jesus is risen from the dead because Jesus is enough for us. 

 When life takes us someplace we have not been,…. or don’t want to be,…. we hold Jesus Resurrection even more closely because the Risen Christ is enough for us. The one that has died our death lives!   

 Jesus the firstborn from the dead has taken away your sin and promises He will be with you wherever life takes you.  That is enough for us. 

Our Risen Christ,…… that does not change,…… has kept His promise to you.  You are redeemed.  You are forgiven, because Jesus has gone before into your death, died in your place,  rose from the dead today.      

There is only one response to that.  It is the only thing we have not covered in the Lord’s Prayer.  It’s the last word.    

Amen.  Yes Yes, let it be so.  Yes Lord,…..let the resurrection of Jesus Christ be enough for us, today and always.    Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia   Amen!