Easter Dawn (Jn 20:1–18, 1 Cor 15:1–11)

April, 16, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!



Everyone look at the person on your right. Now, everyone look to the person on your left. They’re alive, right? … Are they alive? … Ok, good. Now, everyone take in a deep breath. Besides that breath, you’re about to go eat breakfast, right? So, you’re alive, too, then. Are you alive? …

That’s how it is with Jesus. He was alive, and then He wasn’t, then He was. At the time of His choosing, He said, “It is finished,” and breathed His last. On the cross His heart stopped. He was dead. Then three days later, He was alive again. Life returned to His lifeless, 3 day dead body. He wasn’t a zombie. His heart beat again.

He’s alive. Just like you are and the people sitting next to you. That’s our Easter joy! In fact, it’s even better than Jesus being alive like us because


((I. Jesus was really dead.))

He’s more alive right now because we’re dying. That’s where we’re all heading. One day your heart’s going to stop—suddenly, not so suddenly, but not unexpectedly. Some day you will breathe your last. You’ll die.

Jesus died. He really was dead. The Romans were good at that sort of thing. Yes, they crucified Him. He died. There was a spear to prove it: “One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”

Everyone knew! How could they not? “It wasn’t done in a corner.” (Acts 26:26) Jesus was put on public display. Many people saw it. Many people knew it.

Stone, cold dead they placed Him in a tomb. They wrapped Him up. His lifeless body was laid behind that very large stone.

((II. Jesus is really alive—more than alive!))

Then the shocker! His body was gone! It had to have been taken. Of course it was! Dead people stay dead, after all. Well, you need someone else to raise you, but there was no one else like Jesus walking around who could do that. So, of course, no Jesus means grave robbers!

But He did come back to life. That’s what was promised. It’s all over the Old Testament, as Paul says, “He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

Lots of people saw Him. Mary Magdalene saw Him. But it wasn’t just her or Salome or the other Mary. “He appeared to [Peter], then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time.” And when Paul wrote, most of them were still alive, “though some have fallen asleep.” “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

He was no ghost. He proved He was alive. He breathed. You could touch Him. He told Thomas to shove His fingers in the nail holes and his hand into His side. He ate! Ghosts don’t eat. His bodily functions were restored and glorified.

Now, He’s “ascended to the Father.” He’s more than alive because He can’t die anymore. He was dead, then He wasn’t anymore, and now He will never die again. “Death no longer has dominion over him.” (Rom 6:9) That’s what He says in Revelation: “I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Rev 1:18)

((III. One day, you will be alive like Him, too!))

That’s what the Christian faith is all about. Jesus lived. Jesus died. He did it for you. To save you from death. Jesus being flatlined and then not anymore means something. It means His claims of being God are true. His being Savior from death are true.

He loves our bodies. He created them. He dignifies them. He has one of them! From zygote to resurrection, He fills all stages of life with dignity by His living it. The light of His Life fills each life. Even our graves and the graves of all believers are filled with hope. Jesus’ grave held His body, and then it didn’t! All He left behind were “the linen cloths, and the face cloth.”

One day, that’ll be you, too. Your heart will stop. You’ll die. Your soul will rest with Him, and then He will raise your body from the dead. You’ll live forever, not as some spirit floating in heaven, not as some angel chilling on a cloud. No, you. As you are sitting there, just glorified. You’ll be alive again.

He unites Himself to you to make it more sure and certain for you. In His Supper, by the eating and drinking of His flesh and blood, Jesus “lives in you and you in Him and He will resurrect you on the Last Day.” That’s the promise of His Supper. He’s the Vine who pours His Life into you so that you may live again on the Last Day. That’s exactly what Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers.” “My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him…and I will resurrect him on the last day.”

Take a deep breath. One day, you’ll do that for the last time. You’ll die. You really will, but His promise in the Supper is that His body and blood will strengthen and keep you both body and soul unto everlasting life. I’m pretty sure He can keep that promise. He was dead. Now He’s not.

So, you’ll breath no more. You’ll die. You’ll be buried. Then the Last Day! Jesus will open your grave. Then … forever. Face to face with Jesus. You’ll be more than alive then. Just like He is right now.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!



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