In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Dear Friends In Christ,
He Was Dead
It began with the centurion who was posted at the site of the crucifixion. He saw Jesus draw his final breath. He said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” The centurion was the first witness to the death of Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the lifeless body of Jesus, wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid it in a tomb. They too were witnesses that Jesus was dead. The high priests and elders had accomplished what they wanted. They had plotted his death and now it was complete.
Jesus had been crucified. At the ninth hour he could no longer breathe as the weight of his exhausted body crushed his lungs. Jesus was dead and amidst all the sorrow there was one who rejoiced.
Satan was please! His enemy was defeated. The one who would not give in to Satan’s temptations had been betrayed by one of his own. The tenants of the vineyard had kill the son of the master. All those who had hoped that Jesus was the one who would redeem Israel were devastated.
Because of You
Death had swallowed up this man name Jesus. The grave had its victory. Death came because death is the wages of sin. In his death the one who knew no sin of his own took your sin upon himself. The wages of your sin, that is why he died.
Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, died and was buried in a tomb because you have not respected others, said mean things about them and called others names. He laid down his life for you because of your sinful pride, evil thoughts, and better than others attitude.
Jesus was forsaken by his heavenly Father because you have taken the Lord’s name in vain, lied, and cheated. There is no sin that Jesus did not take with him to the cross, no sin for which he was not punished.
The Father gave his Son to die for you, for your sins for all of them. Jesus true man and true God was delivered into the hands of sinful men and was crucified, dead, and buried for you. The Good Shepherd laid down his life for you.
“One the first day of the week, at early dawn, [the women who were close to Jesus] went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.” The women thought that Jesus was dead. They had seen with their own eyes his body places in the tomb.
“When they reached the tomb they found the stone rolled away . . . but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Instead they found two men in dazzling apparel who said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
On that Sunday morning, the women and all Jerusalem thought that Jesus was dead but those two witnesses stood at the empty tomb and proclaimed that he was risen from the dead. Jesus was dead. Now he is alive!
He Is Alive
You may remember the words that the angel spoke to the shepherds when Jesus was born, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” The words of the angels at the tomb again bring good news of great joy that is for all the people, “Jesus is alive.”
Do not be afraid! This is good news. Jesus did not rise from the dead to take revenge but to give you peace. He is not risen from the dead to blame you but to give you forgiveness. Jesus overcome death to bring life.
You Too Are Alive
The resurrection is a sign to you from your heavenly Father. He is telling you that the sacrifice of his Son has been accepted as the payment for your sins. Satan can no longer claim you as one of his own. You will not share in his punishment.
Jesus was raised from the dead in the flesh and blood that he took upon himself when he was born of the virgin Mary. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s message that your death will be followed by a resurrection. Because he lives, you too shall live.
“Death is swallowed up in [his] victory. Death’s sting is gone. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus is alive. You too are alive in him.
That sinful nature of yours is all but history because in Christ you have been born again. He has baptized you with water and with a promise. The promise is this,
“all who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
Those sinful thoughts, words, and deeds of yours are daily removed from you. They are buried in the tomb never to see the light of day again. Today we break out the Alleluia banner. We say “Praise the Lord” because Jesus has won the victory for us over sin and death.
The women returned from the tomb and told the apostles what they had seen and heard. Peter went to the tomb himself to see with his own eyes that it was empty. We hear that “he went home and marveled at what had happened.”
It was not until Jesus spent the next forty days with them that they began to understand the enormity of the miracle that had happen on the cross and with the empty tomb. It was not until the Holy Spirit opened their eyes to the Scripture and to the Words of Jesus that their faith grew and allowed them to be witnesses of the good news.
None of us can truly understand this great miracle. We cannot fully fathom why this miracle was done for us. It is through the gift of faith that we receive forgiveness and new life. It is by his grace that we accept that this miracle was done for us.
As we leave here today, my prayer is that all of us marvel at what happened on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I pray that all the days of our life we will marvel at what a great gift Christ Jesus has given to us. He gave himself for you. My prayer is that you would return daily, weekly, monthly to the Word of God, because in his word your faith is strengthen.
In his word, the miracle is explained to you. In his word, you are given peace and the joy of salvation. In his word you receive forgiveness, life, and salvation as the Holy Spirit keeps you in your faith. His word gives you strength when tempted. If for a little while you face trials and tribulation, Jesus is there to comfort you.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” This is the message of Christmas, Good Friday, and of Easter. It is the message of Sunday Divine Services and Bible Studies. It is the message of Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and of God’s Holy Word.
Jesus is not death, he is alive and in him so are you. He is interceding for you. Jesus is preparing a place for you. Christ is risen, he is risen indeed! Alleulia!
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria