He is Risen!

Rev. Brian Henderson, Pastor-Trinity Lutheran Church-San Diego
Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010
Click here for audio of this message

“He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” [Luke 24:6-7]

 He is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  It’s funny, but that phrase is probably the key to most of my meaningful Easter memories!  Oh I remember other things as well.  Things like watching the Easter Parade with my parents, and afterward enjoying a delicious Sunday dinner with many of my family members.  But without at doubt that phrase, “Christ is risen, He is risen indeed” stands out in my mind.  What Easter memories come to mind for you?  For some, maybe your clearest memories aren’t necessarily centered on Christ.  Maybe, you even have unhappy memories?  This morning, our Heavenly Father tells us that through Christ, He has created a new heaven and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind, because “Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!”  [Is. 65:17]

 Over two thousand years ago, on the first day of the week, at early dawn, some of the disciples of Jesus went to His tomb to finish preparing His body for its eternal rest, and they were women!  Even then, women were the practical ones of the church.  They didn’t sit around talking about what must be done… they got up and did it!  So there they were at the tomb and they discovered that the stone had been removed from the opening, and even more surprising was the fact that the body of their Lord was gone!  “Thieves and grave robbers have taken Him” they must have thought! 

 And then in perfect time, God’s time… Jesus sends His Holy messengers with a challenging announcement and a question that puts all things into their proper prospective: “Why are you seeking the living among the dead?  He isn’t here, but He is risen!”  “Wait” they must have thought.  “Did you say He’s risen?  As in risen from the dead?”  “Yes” the angels must have been smiling.  “(Don’t you) remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that (He) must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise?” [Lk. 24:5-6] And then, they remembered!  They remembered that God was indeed faithful, merciful, and abounding in steadfast love.  They remembered that God did promise them that He would never leave nor forsake them! [Josh. 1:5]

 Up until that point their hearts were centered on death.  They were lost within their own grief!  And this is the exact thing that happens to us when we forget the gospel.  When we are so focused on life and it’s pain and suffering, we forget that in Christ we don’t just have a friend and a master we also have a Savior.  When we are focused on death, we forget His promises of life!

Dear friends, when we forget the Easter message, we end up looking for God in all of the wrong places.  While God is certainly there with us in tragedy, pain and suffering, He is also leading us out of these things; away from fear and trembling and into faith and hope.  In the middle of life’s challenges, He challenges us by asking, “Why are you seeking the living among the dead?”

 Many of you know what I’m talking about don’t you?  I’m talking about that perfect peace that comes to you when you know that even in the middle of a tragedy, Jesus… Emmanuel… God is with you!  You can’t explain it, it just is!  Well this morning, God doesn’t want you to be perplexed, He wants you to be amazed.  He doesn’t want you to be frightened with your head down low; He wants you to know that the peace you feel when others are terrified is because you have the living Word of God within you!  You have the very presence of Christ strengthening and leading you!  So get up and go on.  Don’t hang around with the dead!  You’ve got some living to do; you need to live in the victory of the resurrection, not the defeat of the grave!

 But I hear some of you now, “But pastor, it’s hard to live the life of a believer when there are so many doubters out there.  It’s hard to live the resurrection victory when so many of my family members and neighbors think that I’m crazy.”  Friends, I know how it is when people close to you are telling you not to take your Christian faith so seriously.  They say, “Sure Christianity is a good model to follow to help you live a good life, but don’t go overboard.  Live a little; enjoy your life.”  I know what it’s like to share the resurrection story with them, and they ask, “Do you believe in the Easter Bunny too?”  But most importantly, our Lord knows about the doubters, and He talks about it this morning in our gospel reading.  Listen: “Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” [vs. 10-11]  How could the apostles forget all of the promises that Jesus made to them?  How could they forget the joy that being with and listening to Him brought them?  Because friends, they had drifted away from the living Word of God; because they were not walking in the joy of the gospel, but instead they were engulfed by the fears of death!  But when God’s Word becomes central in your life, His miraculous presence takes over and you can’t help but rejoice at the Words, “He is not here, but has risen.”  He is risen.  He is risen indeed!

When we remember these wonderful Easter Words we also remember that Jesus is both the Son of Man and the Son of God.  We remember and we know that the resurrection of Jesus Christ marks a new era. Heaven and earth have been joined, because Christ, our Savior, is risen! Our sins, our doubts and our fears that were once like a mighty wall of separation between us and God have been torn down; God is reconciled to men; the sacrifice of the Son has been accepted by the Father. This is the supreme Easter reality. 

This Easter truth loudly proclaims that Jesus is not the “Great I WAS” but instead He is the “Great I AM!” He is not only a historical figure but also a present-day, living reality. Our wonderful faith rests upon the truth that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and is now seated at the Father’s right hand as our personal advocate.  He is now a God who is for us and not against us!

The thrilling news from the empty tomb is that life has triumphed over death! This is a message that dispels our fears and gives us the sure hope that because Christ lives, we shall live also (John 14:19). Alleluia! He is risen.  He is risen indeed!

 Dear friends, the truth is that our lives can’t help but be changed once we return from the reality of the empty tomb!  Once you see and know that the tomb is empty through God’s most Holy Word, faith begins to change you completely.  Because once “you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” [Rom. 10:9]

 That unconditional word of grace transforms us. It swoops us into Christ’s death, and then it gives us new life with Jesus within His resurrection. Within this relationship of love with God, His re-creating word justifies us and completely destroys our sinful past before God the Father. It sets us completely right and innocent before Him.  Our names have been recorded in the indelible ink of Christ’s blood within God’s book of life’ [Phil. 4:3]  But just like the woman who went so early to the tomb, we who now hear the Word, also remember and we are changed in the here and now; just as they were given heaven on earth, and exchanged their sorrow for joy, our lives also are changed as well.  Through the Word of life God daily leads us to live out our baptismal hope.  We are not among the dead but among the living.  Through Christ, God calls us every day to put to death our old sinful nature and the habits of sin, and work with the Holy Spirit, cultivating the new resurrected nature… a heavenly minded nature.  He is risen!  He is risen indeed!

 What a wonderful message we have been given.  But this message isn’t just for us; it has been given to us so that we will share it with everyone.  You see, neither you nor I could ever know anything about Christ, or believe in him and receive him as Lord, unless this Easter message was first offered to us and made real within our hearts through the preaching of the gospel and the witness of others through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Oh it’s true that all of the work for our salvation is finished and complete; Christ has acquired and won the treasure of salvation for us by his sufferings, death, and resurrection. But if this wonderful work of God had remained hidden, then none of us would have ever known about it; Christ would have died in vain and all would be lost for us. But to ensure that God’s greatest gift to this world would not remain buried and hidden, He has commanded that the Gospel Word be published, proclaimed, and witnessed to!  So always remember the truth of this Easter message and share it with everyone who will hear.  HE IS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Tags: ,

One Response to “He is Risen!”

  1. jesus on the cross says:

    This is a very helpfull website. It helped me solving loads of problem. I can only suggestthis website.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.