Sermon for the Resurrection of Our Lord, Easter Sunday, AD 2021

Mark 16:1-8

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
           
Hear the words of David from Psalm 30: “Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:4-5). This is most true on this morning, Easter morning.
           
Weeping tarried for the night. The women at the cross wept. The disciples fled. Peter denied Christ three times. In the midst of all this, the Father poured out all of His wrath on Jesus for your guilt, the guilt of sinners. Jesus Christ, our God, died. Joseph of Arimathea took down Our Lord’s corpse from the cross. He and Nicodemus wrapped Jesus in a linen shroud, anointed him with myrrh and aloes, and placed him in a newly-cut tomb. On the seventh day of the week, in a rich man’s tomb, Jesus rested.
           
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. Despite their grief, despite no thought that Jesus would rise, these women loved Christ so much that without thought to fear or risk they went to anoint Jesus’ body. How would they get past the guards at the tomb? They even ponder on the way – how will we remove the stone? Still they pressed on to morning. Already they were fearless as a result of Christ’s resurrection. The devil was defeated and weary, and these believing women were strengthened.
           
There was no need to worry, for the morning had brought incredible signs – the guards were gone, and the stone was rolled away! The night of the seventh day has given away to the morning of a new first day. Christ no longer rested, but was at work. Creation had groaned Friday noon at the creator’s death. The sun was darkened, and the earth shook. But now creation bows to the work of its creator. It celebrates the creator’s victory. The earth quakes and a giant stone rolls away. Death loses its grasp on Jesus’ body.
           
As the sun rises on that first day, the light of Jesus breaks the darkness. Just as on the first day of creation when God said “let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) and the very light of God illuminated creation, so now Christ illumines the world, illumines our hearts of all believers by the Spirit. No darkness can overcome the eternal light of the first morning of the new creation.
           
A new day has begun in Jesus’s resurrection, one in which there will be no more evening. The women saw the young man, an angel, sitting on the right side of the tomb. The day of resurrection is a day of youth, of renewed life. Since death is defeated, it is the beginning of eternal life for all who believe, life without decay. For Christ sits on the right hand, the side of power. In His resurrection, God has approved His payment for our sins. In this redemption, Christ has won victory over sin and death and been given full authority. He has the authority to make things new, to give life and salvation.
           
As we see in the white robe the young man wears, this life and salvation which Christ won has given His purity to us. Through His resurrection, we have forgiveness of sins, innocence, and the righteousness of Christ. Christ the conquering King distributes these fine gifts to all who come into His kingdom.
           
This morning, this greatest of mornings, follow the angel’s direction and do not stare at the empty tomb, but think on Jesus’ work for you. “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.
           
As Abraham rose early in the morning to sacrifice his son, but was pointed by the angel to the ram in the thicket, see that Jesus who has risen is the crucified one. No sacrifice, no payment is needed even for your many sins. Jesus comes as the one who has paid for all of them.
           
As Joseph early in the morning was called out of prison to see the King of Egypt, see that Jesus who has risen has come out of his three-day prison of death. So you too, now in your prison of sin and shame have been called out of the pit into the king’s court. In baptism you have risen with him and been given a new robe and made an heir of His kingdom. All those past sins are forgotten as you rise to a new identity as a child of God in Christ.
           
As Moses went out early in the morning to Pharoah to bring plagues on Egypt to free God’s people, so Jesus has done the mighty work of freeing you from the power of the devil. Every plague, even death, was put on Jesus in His crucifixion so that it may plague you no more. Now he bears you sufferings, strengthens you against the devil’s temptation, and promises an eternal life with Him where suffering will be no more.
           
As the Israelites in the wilderness saw early in the morning the manna provided for them, so Jesus in His resurrection has the authority to provide good things to all people. Jesus who was crucified for you provides for you daily bread, along with all the evil who deserve nothing good. For the lack, the punishment you deserve has been taken by Jesus on the cross. Now in Christ’s resurrection all good things are given to strengthen you in body and soul.
           
Do not linger here at the tomb, But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. As Joshua rose early in the morning to cross the Jordan to cross into the promised land, Jesus has gone before to conquer for you. He has made a place for you. You who are baptized and believe are held in His hand. As the pagan idol of Dagon was crushed before the ark of God, so all fear, love, and trust of anything else has been taken away. You have been made new in Christ’s resurrection. Sin, death, and the devil can haunt you no more. As the Israelites looked out from Jerusalem early in the morning and saw the Assyrian army slain, so see that the devil and all his temptation has been slain for you. Christ is alive, the death is a corpse, and you are alive in Him. Nothing can snatch you out of His mighty hand.
           
As King Darius opened the lions’ den early in the morning and saw Daniel whole, so the empty tomb is a sign to you of Christ’s power. He hears your prayers. He takes all your affliction and all your trouble and is there with you in them. Many times He shuts the mouths of the lions and preserves you. Yet most certainly, as his tomb is empty, yours will also be empty one day. Dying in Christ, your body will rest in the ground, and you will be with Him on that very day. Do not fear, for this is only a little sleep. For on the final day, He returns for all His people. You will join Jesus in the resurrection – your eyes will be opened, your body will rise and be made new, and with all believers you will be brought into the new Heavens and Earth, the full glory of Christ’s kingdom. There all weeping will be gone and it will be the morning of eternal joy.
           
This is a glorious morning for all whole believe in Christ, but especially for Peter. As the angel said, tell Pete– the one who denied Christ three times, who felt no hope of being forgiven. Especially for you who have ignored or turned away from God, you who feel caught in continual sin, you who feel that Christ could never forgive you – Christ died and rose for you especially. See where Christ lay. The tomb is empty. The debt for all the sins you have ever committed has been paid. You are forgiven. The darkness is over. Come out of the night into the dawn of Christ, for he dawns on you like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth (2 Samuel 23:3). Even in the darkness, the sun is shining.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!

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