Sermons

Easter Sunrise (Jn 20:1–18; 1 Cor 15:1–11)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

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

INI + AMEN.

WE LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD. That’s a fact. 2+2=4. What goes up must come down. Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor of Judea. George Washington crossed the Delaware river. And dead people don’t stay dead. That’s the sort of universe you live in. That’s reality, not make-believe. How do I know that we live in that sort of universe? It’s pretty simple. It’s earth shattering. It’s actual, factual, true. Jesus actually came back to life from the dead.

((I. We don’t live in that sort of world.))

Day to day, we live the lie. We live like dead people stay dead. That’s just the world. Right? Human existence is so harsh because of the tragedy of life and death. The reason we’re closed off, cold, harsh, short, rude is because in our heart of hearts we still live as if we’re in a universe where dead people stay dead.

We live like we’ve gotta keep the world and universe at bay. Fight against it, fight against others. The world’s a hard place, after all. There isn’t any true light and meaningful peace. You’ve gotta get what you can get now. You might miss out. We let our daily grind cover the resurrection up for ourselves and for others. Life gets in the way, works it away, relaxes it away, only-day-offs it away. This is what really grinds us down, deadens us to Jesus, deadens us to kindness, mercy, gentleness, and understanding toward the people in our daily lives.

Since Eden, we’re actually more comfortable with dead people staying dead than we are with a living, breathing Jesus. Since we block off the resurrection from our daily life, the coldness, lovelessness, darkness of the world shines through. What we call living isn’t living, and it’s not dying. It’s just existing, which is waking purgatory.

((II. But we really do.))

But we really do LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD. Jesus was dead. Certainly dead. The Romans were good at that sort of thing. Besides that, Mary Magdalene was there—John, the Gospel-writer, too. She saw Him die. She saw Him dead and buried. She knew where He was buried. Then she saw Him, recognized Him, heard Him, touched Him. She wasn’t alone in seeing Him. Cephas (that’s Peter) saw Him too. So did the Twelve. So did 500 people at once. So did James. So did Paul. They all saw Him alive after He was dead. As surely as we know that Julius Caesar was a Roman Emperor who conquered Europe, as surely as we know that George Washington was a General and our first president, as surely as we know that Jesus was crucified—as surely as all those things, we know that Jesus was alive after He was dead. So we really do LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD.

((III. Jesus certainly does.))

Jesus certainly lives IN A WORLD WHERE DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD. Because He’s alive, seen by people alive, talked with people alive, ate some fish alive, breathed on His disciples alive. The sort of world Jesus lives in is more radical than that, though. The universe that Jesus lives in—a universe where dead people don’t stay dead—is a universe where you don’t stay dead.

The universe has been changed. Your universe has been changed. Your eternity has changed. The rule book’s been tossed into Jesus’ grave, all your sins, your living like dead people stay dead, and only He came back out. Death isn’t final. Life is final. That shades and colors everything. That shines the light and love of Jesus into every part of us.

Jesus would claim every part of us and our lives as His own. He claimed the sin: “He died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” He claims you, too. He brought you into His resurrection in Holy Baptism. There He brought His life and His immortality to you. Washed you with it. Clothed you with His eternal righteousness. Through His resurrected body and blood He lives within you and you live in Him. And so you won’t stay dead: He will resurrect you on the Last Day.

These are His promises. Trust them! By Baptism you have been “united with Him” and “will share in a resurrection like His.” As Paul says. Believe what He says, “This is My Body, for you; this cup is My blood shed for you.” “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will resurrect Him on the Last Day.” You can trust those promises because this is a universe where dead people don’t stay dead: Jesus and you, too.

But without the resurrected Jesus, separated from Him, cut off from Him, there’s only the cold hard reality of the world’s lie: dead people stay dead. In that sort of world, there isn’t living; there’s only existing, surviving, getting by. That’s the world of 9 to 5, of overtime, of no breaks, of no mercy, no kindness, no gentleness. We’re used to it. We fight within that system. No wonder we live the way we live, feel the way we feel. But that’s not real. That’s not reality. That’s “a false misleading dream” because of the reality and fact of Jesus’ resurrection.

WE really do LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD! Think about that! That’s the universe you live in! 2+2=4. What goes up must come down. Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor of Judea. George Washington crossed the Delaware river. And dead people don’t stay dead. That’s Jesus. That’s you, too, only in Him, united with Him. That’s the promise of His baptism, His holy Word, His body and blood. Those things change everything: change your life and change your life to be for those around you, change their life, too.

It’s true, actual, factual, real, reality. WE LIVE IN A WORLD—in a universe!—WHERE DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD!

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

INI + AMEN.

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