Easter - St. Mark 16.1-8 - April 5, 2015

Order of Holy Communion (pg.15)
Opening Hymn #200 I Know That My Redeemer Lives
Sermon Hymn #192 Awake, My Heart With Gladness
Closing Hymn #191 Christ the Lord is Risen Today; Alleluia!

OT - Isaiah 52:13-15
Epistle - 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Gospel - St. Mark 16:1-8

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

1)         The women go to the tomb to offer Jesus one final act of love and devotion. But it is not needed. There is no need to anoint Jesus’ body for burial. He is alive. They find the stone rolled away from the tombs entrance. This a sign for them that their Jesus was alive. The resurrected Lord did not need an open door. This afternoon He will appear to disciples on the Emmaus road and then vanish suddenly after the breaking of bread. The evening of his resurrection He will enter the room where His disciples are hiding through a locked door. Jesus has no need for the tomb to be open. Jesus is risen. He is exalted. During the days of His humiliation He refrained from using His divine power. But now, having been exalted by God the Father in His resurrection, Christ Jesus always uses His divine power according to His human nature.  He can pass through that inadequate stone just as He passed through that locked door on John 20.

2)         The stone is rolled away as a sign to the women, inviting them into the tomb, into the grave, to witness something greater. “Entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side.” They expect to find Jesus but they instead find an angel. St. Mark doesn’t call him an angel but that is what He is. He is dressed in white. And their reaction shows this to be true. Sinners, this side of heaven, are always terrified of angels which is why they must always first say, “Do not be afraid.” So this angel, sitting in the tomb, says, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” Jesus is risen and the women are terrified. Mark’s resurrection account ends abruptly. “They went our quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” These women, like the disciples later that morning, did not understand that “the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31)

3)         Jesus is alive. He is risen from the dead because death has no claim on Jesus. Jesus truly died on Friday. The spear and the blood and water erupting from His side confirm that. But death had no claim to Jesus. Jesus was sinless. He was the Lamb of God “without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:19) “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Jesus had no reason die in and of Himself. He died, having been made sin by God the Father, having borne the burden of the sin of the world in His body, so that He could atone for the sin of the entire world. But He Himself had no sin. Therefore death had no claim on Him. Death also had no claim on Him because He is God Himself in human flesh. He is the Only-Begotten Son of God, begotten from all eternity. He is “the Life and Light of Man.” (John 1:4) Yet He assumes human flesh so that He is able to die for our sins. But true Life cannot remain in the grave. So He is raised from the dead and by His resurrection He is “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness.” (Romans 1:4)

4)         In His resurrection we see the contours of the great mystery of the Holy Trinity as well. For “Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father.” (Romans 6:4) Yet, being the second person of the Holy Trinity, of the same substance of the Father, He works with the Father in the resurrection. He says in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” St. John reminds us that “He was speaking of the temple of His body.” (John 2:21) In this resurrection we see the mystery of the ages revealed, that God assume human flesh to be the once-for-all sacrifice that encompasses the sins of the entire world, and that He would be raised to life “for our justification” (Romans 4:25) so that all who believe and are baptized might be forgiven their sins and brought into everlasting life. By His resurrection from the dead He has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10) Death no longer holds Christ and because of the Gospel, death no longer holds those who believe the Gospel and are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection for the remission of all their sins. Baptism is how He incorporates us into His death and how we participate in His resurrection which is why Christ our Lord institutes Holy Baptism in this same chapter of St. Mark’s Gospel, verse 16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Christ is risen from the grave, sin and death have no power over Him, and He bestows that same freedom from sin and death to us in our baptisms, so that everything that is true of Christ is now true of us, and all that He has is ours by faith in His Gospel. We now have everlasting life. And on the day of our deaths we will be with Christ in paradise as we eagerly await our bodily resurrection just as Christ was bodily resurrected.

5)         The women go to the tomb to perform one final act of love and devotion for their Lord Jesus. But it is an unnecessary one, for Jesus lives. Jesus is lives so that He may show them His love by lavishing all the blessings of His death and resurrection on them. Jesus lives so that He may continue to give the benefits of the cross and empty tomb to all who believe. Jesus lives so that though we die, we yet live even as He lives and will be raised from the dead on the Last Day even as He is raised from the dead. Jesus lives. Sin’s power is broken over you because your sin is atoned for. Jesus lives. Death can no longer hold you when you die in faith.  Jesus lives. Satan’s power to accuse is silenced because your sins are washed away in Holy Baptism and cleared away in Holy Absolution. Jesus lives.  Amen.
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

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