In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia! For the mount of resurrection, the mount on which Christ died is the source of the finest feast of all time. (Isa. 25:6) The feast of resurrection of our Lord is not just any family gathering but a gathering of all those who died trusting in our Lord and will be raised in Him on Last Day. (1 Cor. 15:12, 20, 23)
It will be a great and glorious feast day. For when you have a family reunion what do you do? You eat. You have a great big feast. Whether you slave away to make that meal yourself, or you get it catered by the best fried chicken in tri-state area (as they do when my American family reunion happens), you eat. And so shall we on that Day. (Isa. 25:6-7) For we shall feast on the finest wine and the sweetest meat. For our meat shall be Christ Himself who is the bread of life. (Isa. 25:6; John 6:35; Matt. 26:26) And our wine shall be Christ’s own blood which is the life of the body—the body of Christ. (Jn 6:50-51, 54; Lev. 17:11) For that’s who our family is: the body of Christ. Christ Himself. His glorious Church. His saints, baptized into His name, into His death, into His body. (Rom. 6:3-4) A body fed by Him, from Him, grafted into the vine of Christ, (Rom. 11:17) so that the blood of Christ flows in us (John 15:4-5) and we are alive in Him. A life we live by faith now, but will live in our body then on Last Day. (1 Cor. 15:6, 20)
For the reproach which covered us will be gone. Our sin, our death, our shame will be removed from us. (Isa. 25:7-8) And we shall be revealed to be who we are meant to be in Him. (Rom. 8:19)
For Christ our death eater has eaten death. (Isa. 25:8) Devoured it whole. Put it to death in His own flesh. And brought life and immortality to light (2 Tim. 1:10) so that we can swallow His feast of life. Drink His wine of salvation and rejoice in Him. (Isa. 25:6, 9)
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:22) We were born in the natural way, of human parents, whose genetics’ trace all the way back to the one perfect source of the human genome, Adam and Eve. Who passed on not only your genetic traits, but also a spiritual legacy called sin. A nature which was against God. A covering and veil of death over all nations. (Isa. 25:7-8) Cut off from God who is life, after eating the fruit of the tree God had commanded them not to eat of. (Gen. 2:16-7; 3:22-23) But by eating the fruit of Christ’s tree, all shall be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:21) For we believe what we have heard from Christ Himself, that He has granted to us a feast. (Matt. 26:26-28) A feast of the fruits of Christ’s tree of life. A tree of death. Of dead wood. Of dead flesh. Fruit that looks like death. Like a man crucified. Like a God dead. But this righteous God who suffered death for you has granted you His food, His fruit, from His tree. Faith sees that dead tree as a tree of life. (2 Cor. 5:7) As a living branch from the dead stump of Jesse. (Isa. 11:1) Not only an instrument of death and torture, but a tree of life of which if you eat, you shall live forever.
For Christ who rose from the dead this day is the first fruits from the dead. (1 Cor. 15:20) Not only does this tree on which He was hanged give you the first fruit of life, but that day when Christ was raised was also the Festival of First Fruits. A festival in Old Testament (Exod. 23:16a; Lev. 23:9-14) when the Israelites brought their first fruits to the Temple to offer them to God. But on this day, God the Father sends His Son from His side, from heaven above back into His flesh, back to life, so that He might be first fruits from the dead. (1 Cor. 15:20) Whereas Jews offered their first fruits to God, Christ gives you His first fruits of life in His feast of life. A feast which may be received as often as you want, for you can never have enough. A feast you are commanded to receive for your good. (1 Cor. 11:25; Luke 22:19; Matt. 26:28) But a feast whose culmination will not be until the Last Day, when we shall all rise in Him. (1 Cor. 15:23)
For Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
For Christ was no longer in the tomb. His body was moved. (John 20:2, 15) Moved by the breath of life entering Him so that He got up off the stone cold slab and walked out of the tomb. (John 20:9) His body was not to be seen by any of early morning witnesses (John 20:1-8) Not until Mary saw Him. (John 20:14) But thinking Him dead—her head likely downcast, tears in her eyes—she did not recognize Him. (John 20:15) That is, until He the risen Lord called her by name. Calling her out of the veil of death and mourning into the joy of the resurrection. (John 20:16)
But she could not cling to Him just then. (John 20:17) For He was not staying long on earth. (John 20:17; Acts 1:3) Only 40 days. Just enough time to seal the deal. For 40 days is always a number of preparation in the Bible. Jesus had fasted for 40 days. (Mark 12:13) The Israelites had wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. (Deut. 8:2-4) The earth was cleansed for 40 days by the rain of the Flood. (Gen. 7:12) And our Lord appeared to His disciples for 40 days before He ascended. So though they could see Him, hear Him, touch Him to satisfy themselves that He was alive, and not a ghost. Though He ate with them repeatedly they could not cling to Him. For He was not staying. He was departing to His Father. (John 20:17) He was merely strengthening them, preparing them to give joyful witness to His resurrection victory before He would depart and then send them the Holy Spirit 10 days later on the Jewish Feast of the Harvest. (Exod. 23:16b) When from that moment on thousands upon thousands would be harvested into the Church. into eternal life. For Christ the first fruits from the dead is not the last fruit of eternal life. He is only the beginning. For clinging to Him in faith you also have eternal life. You have His feast, His promise, in the midst of your enemies of sin and death, you have His meal. (Ps. 23:5) A life that starts now. On the day you first believe in His victory for you over your sin and your death. On the day when you believe and know and receive His body and blood for your victory over death. For that is why Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia! So that you too will rise in Him on Last Day.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church