What Has Changed?
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
“Do not be afraid! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here! See the place where they laid Him!” The young man in the white robe is telling them the Good News! Death is defeated. Jesus is alive. Yes, He was crucified for sinners. But it would all have been for nothing if He hadn't risen from the dead! Jesus is alive. His resurrection means that He really did pay for your sins. The wages of sin is death. Jesus dies because He had your sins. Now He is alive. Your sins are gone, left buried in the tomb. Jesus has accomplished your salvation. He paid the price for your sins. He has defeated death. Jesus who was crucified is risen. You won't find Him in the grave. He is alive forevermore.
“Go and tell His disciples and Peter”—Peter, who especially needs to hear this Good News—“that He is going to Galilee and they will see Him there, just as He said.” What about you? Where shall you find Jesus? Look no further. He is right here in His church. Don't go looking in Galilee. Look here at the font where His water and Word washes sinners. Listen for His voice in the absolution and preaching of your pastor. See Him raised from the dead in His own body and blood given and shed for you to eat and drink at His holy altar. Right here, present in His church, Jesus is present. And right here, present in His church, by water and Word, sermon and Supper, He is delivering His forgiveness for all your sins and His victory over sin and death.
So the angel tells the women to go tell the disciples. They run off and do it, right? Not quite. St. Mark says they were frightened and didn't tell anyone because they were afraid. Oh, sure, later it all came out. But right away, they were still overcome by fear. That's us. Today we just heard that Jesus is alive! He was dead and now He's risen. So what? Do we go back to business as usual? Do we go back to arguing with and hating others? Do we go back to lusting and fornication and coveting and stealing? Do we go back to doing the things we do as if Jesus isn't alive at all? The greatest triumph the world has seen, and we will yawn and go our merry way, with the same sins at work in us. Jesus rose from the dead. Does that mean anything? Does it make a difference? Or do we do what we’ve always done? Repent! Repent of living as if the stone was still there and Jesus was still dead!
St. Paul calls us to eat the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. That's why you are here today: to be purged of your old leaven of sin and to have new life. That's exactly what your baptism, absolution, and the Supper gives you. Your baptism has raised you from the death of sin. You are a new creation. The very body and blood of Christ cast out from you all that is sinful and selfish. Christ's body and blood are the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Your sins, whatever they are, are buried in that tomb forever. There is no need to go and drag them back out! Jesus has taken care of them once and for all. The same Good News which eventually overcame the women's fear and sent them shouting what they had heard is the same Good News by which the Spirit works in you to love God and your neighbor. Your sins have been put away by Jesus' death. They were buried with Him. And only Jesus came out of the tomb. Christ is alive. Your sins are done. And Jesus, who has defeated death, promises that you have defeated sin and death forever. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.