Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sermon for 3/27/16: Resurrection of Our Lord

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I Know that My Redeemer Lives

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

I know that my Redeemer lives!
What comfort this sweet sentence gives.

He lives! The stone was rolled away from the tomb. Mary and Mary and Salome had come to the tomb with spices to anoint the body of their beloved Lord. For all their worry about who would roll the stone away—remember that Pilate had ordered the tomb to be sealed at the request of the Jews—they arrived to find that the tomb was already open. He who had been crucified was no longer there. Instead of finding Jesus inside, they found a messenger. “He is risen! He is not here!” the messenger proclaimed. Mark tells us that the women fled in fear. They should have known. As the messenger reminded the women, Jesus had already told them what was going to happen. 
He lives! He lives who once was dead!
He lives, my ever-living Head!

He lives! Job knew. He knew it eons before Jesus had even been born. “I know that my Redeemer lives!” he said. Job had lost everything: his oxen and donkeys, along with the servants who tended them; the sheep and their herders; the camels and their tenders; even his sons and daughters. He obviously knew the frightful power of death. But even amidst all this loss, Job knew. Salome and the Marys should have known. 
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives! When Mary Magdalene visits the tomb on her own, she’s in tears. She sees Jesus, and she mistakes Him for the gardener. “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid Him!” And Jesus comforts her just with the sound of her own name. 
He lives to silence all my fears!
He lives to wipe away my tears!

He lives! The disciples should have known it too. But they were afraid. They were hidden in the upper room for fear of the Jews. But Jesus had repeatedly told them of His power over death. Even when their beloved Lord appears among them, they are terrified. Jesus tells them, “Peace be with you.” He forgives them. He restores them. He gives them purpose. He gives them His own Holy Spirit. 
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

He lives! The two disciples on the road to Emmaus should have known. They had left Jerusalem to return to their home. Jesus appeared to them on the road, though they were prevented from recognizing Him as their Lord. He taught them that the events in Jerusalem were prophesied in the Old Testament, that Jesus was the fulfillment of everything that the Old Testament taught. And then He revealed Himself to them as He broke bread.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives! And what about you? Do you know? Do you recognize your Lord when He comes to you? When your body aches and your head won’t be still, do you know that He lives? When the government infringes on your freedom to believe and live according to your faith, do you know that He lives? When death has struck what feels like a fearsome blow in your life, taking someone you love, do you know that He lives? Like the women, like the Twelve, like the disciples, you should know. 
He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He Iives to bring me safely there.

He lives! Just as He appeared to the women; just as He appeared to the Twelve; just as He appeared to the disciples on the road, He comes to you, too. He speaks His Word of peace to you in Holy Absolution. He teaches you about Himself in the pure preaching of faithful pastors, whose mouths He opens to speak in His stead, teaching us that He is the fulfillment of every promise from God. He reveals Himself to you in the breaking of the bread in the Holy Supper of His body and blood. 
He lives, all glory to His name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.

He lives! And not only does He live; He raises you to new life with Him! In the very gifts with which He reveals Himself to you, He gives you life! He washes you in the water and blood that flowed from His side through the waters of Holy Baptism. He drowns the Old Adam within you, and He pulls you out of the water to new life! And it is not just a life for now, though your daily life is a precious gift from Him; He gives you eternal life, so that, even when your sin-riddled body dies, He will raise it pure and incorruptible. He will do this for you and for all you love who have gone before you in the faith. This joyful reunion will have no end, for you and your faithful loved ones will live with Christ forever.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives!

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.

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