In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
The 12 disciples and faithful women all believed that Jesus was the Messiah promised by God through the prophets of old. They had longed for this saviour. Prayed for His coming. They saw Him and were glad. But then He kept talking about death. (Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19) He kept talking about Jerusalem. About how the chief priests were going to kill Him. Peter rebuked Him for that. (Matt. 16:22) No one understood it. Then they went to Jerusalem for Passover. The crowds who saw Him raise Lazarus greeted Him on His way into the city. (John 12:17) It was wonderful. They cut down palm branches and waved them. They greeting Him like a conquering king. The disciples were in their glory. Following Him as He rode on the donkey. He went into Jerusalem and cast the money changers out of Temple. (Matt. 21:10-19) He taught all week long. His disciples loved it. But He seemed like there was something weighing on Him all week.
Finally the Passover supper came. That Thursday evening He kept talking all night about His imminent departure. (John 14, 16) But to where? “Where are you going Lord?” “To the Father.” “Well, where is that? How do we get there?” “I am the way to the Father.” (John 14:3-7) He told them again about His death and resurrection. They just didn’t get it. He did something very odd with the Passover meal. He injected His own commandments into it, saying, “Take, eat; this bread, it is My body.” “Take, drink; this cup, it is My blood of the new covenant shed for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Matt. 26:26-28) He commanded them to do this often in remembrance of Him. (1 Cor. 11:25; Luke 22:19) “Remembrance? But you are still right here with us!”
They went out to the Garden. He was troubled. He went over and prayed feverishly. While they slept. (Luke 22:39-46) Suddenly a crowd of soldiers was there. Judas kissed Him. Peter tried to be bold. He struck out with a sword. But Jesus rebuked Peter and healed the man Peter had attacked. And suddenly all 12 were fleeing for their lives. Abandoning their Lord and king. The soldiers took Jesus to the chief priests and gave Him a hasty trial in the middle of the night. By morning their conquering king was being led in another procession—to the place of the skull. Where everyone knew Adam’s skull was buried. He was strung up like a common criminal on that hill. He died a grisly, bloody, torturous death just before sunset on Friday, when the Sabbath began at sundown.
They were at a loss. They didn't know what to do. the women had stayed till He died. They followed a man named Joseph of Arimathea who had hurriedly buried Jesus before the Sabbath began. But now what? They couldn’t even prepare His body for burial. They couldn’t have a funeral. It was the Sabbath. The day of rest. Not only that, it was a high holy Sabbath, during the holy week of Passover. They couldn’t do anything till Sunday. (Mark 16:1)
And so early in the morning on the 1st day of the week the ladies who had followed Joseph went back out to the tomb thinking they could at least say their goodbyes by preparing His body for burial. (Mark 16:1-2)
But lo and behold! He was not there. For Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia! (Mark 16:6)
But they didn’t get it. They were alarmed. (Mark 16:8) An angel? Shining with light? Talking to them! They were in shock. What was he saying? Jesus is alive? No, that can’t be. He’s dead. But where is His body? Did the angel say His body wasn’t here because He is alive? (Mark 16:6) Go tell Peter? (Mark 16:7) What? It was too much. They couldn’t make sense of it. It was overwhelming. We’re grieving. And was that frightening, glorious man, an angel? (Mark 16:5)
They ran out and fled. They didn’t tell anyone right away. For they were afraid. (Mark 16:8)
But we know that they did talk eventually. (John 20:18; Luke 24:8-10, etc.) That they told Peter and the other disciples. That Peter saw Him. (Luke 24:34) That Mary Magdalene saw Him. (John 20:11-17) That later that day on the road to Emmaus two disciples saw Him. (Luke 24:13-32; Mark 16:12) That though their surprise may not have bedded down, that their alarm eventually did. What their common sense told them, was eventually overwhelmed by what their ears from the eyewitnesses’ testimony, their eyes from seeing Him themselves, their hands from touching Him—that eventually the Holy Spirit brought them to the plain fact that Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
And that’s amazing. For it is an age old truth, but it bears repeating that Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia! That means that the world is changed. Death is reversed. Sin no longer has a claim over you. And that you too shall rise in Christ. On the Last Day. For Christ rose in victory over death on that Sunday. Though the Passover festival had just happened, that Sunday was another festival of the Old Testament. It was the Feast of First Fruits. When just as the crops are beginning to grow, you bring some of your first fruits to Jerusalem and present them before the Lord in His Temple. And guess what, Christ our Lord is the first fruits from the dead. (1 Cor. 15:20) But there is more to come. There is a whole harvest at the end of the age. (Matt. 13:39, 49) When you and I, though we may have died by the time Christ comes, will rise!(1 Cor. 15:52) For we are the harvest. We are the point of Christ’s resurrection. He is victorious over death. And that victory is for you. Sin can’t hold on to you. Death won’t defeat you. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia! And you shall rise too.
Just like Job of old. Even though his skin has been destroyed. His body turned to dust. (Job 19:26) He will rise. In a new body. A resurrected body. (1 Cor. 15:52-54) In the harvest at the End of time. Job will see His redeemer with his own eyes. (Job 19:26b-27) for Jesus will stand upon the earth, as will Job. In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, the glorious dead—like Job who died trusting in the Lord—will be raised. And we shall be one flock—living and dead—all resurrected. Changed. Immortal. Sinless. In the resurrection of dead at the end of time.
For Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
In +Jesus’ name, Amen
—Pastor David Haberstock
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church