Easter Day (1 Cor 15:51–57)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Whenever this corruptible is clothed with incorruption and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the Word that was written will happen: “Death itself has been swallowed up into victory.”

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

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: We don’t like death.))

Death. We don’t like death. We don’t even like the word. We won’t even say it, if we don’t have to. Passed away. Gone. Lost. At peace. All better than “death.” There’s a reality and finality to the word “death.” And so we don’t just don’t like death itself. We don’t even like the word.

Death. We don’t even like talking about it. Rather not think about it either, while we’re at it. We like to think we’re going to live forever. Death is far away. Even as it gets closer for us or those we love, how quickly it moves to the back of our minds. We want to keep it there. As if that will stop it from happening. It usually does stay there, which is why, in some sense, it’s always a surprise, even when it’s inevitable.

Death. We just plain don’t like it. Death itself. It’s just awful. We don’t like death. That’s fine. Death is our enemy. Eventually he’ll come for us or those we love. He’ll strike sometimes with warning, sometimes without. But then there he is—death.

((4. Ugh!: It seems like death wins.))

Death. He’s always waging his war against us. He never stops. Day in and day out he’s working against us. Sickness. Weakness. Pain. Disease. Famine. Hunger. Thirst. These are all signs of his power. All those things tell us the same thing: you’re going to die. From a paper cut to the cancer, death wages his war.

Death. There’s no way to stop his onslaught, and the worst part is that it seems like death wins. There’s always more funerals, more caskets, more graves. Bodies and graves and cemeteries litter the entire world.

Death. It’s not just the accidents or the sickness or the old age that takes its toll. No, death is far worse than all that! Suicides. Homicides. Genocides. Wars. Abortions.

Death. He wins. Always. That’s our experience. Everyone eventually ends with him—death.

((3. Aha!: Death has already lost.))

But death is done. Death has already lost. Death is defeated. That’s what today’s all about. Today means something. It means that. Death doesn’t win. Death loses. We don’t loose to death. Death looses to Jesus. Jesus brings victory in the midst of death because Jesus came back to life from the dead. He was dead. Now, He’s not. Now Jesus “lives and reigns to all eternity.” Because of Jesus’ resurrection death is done, defeated, dead!

((2. Whee!: JESUS SWALLOWS UP DEATH INTO VICTORY.))

Victory. If there’s defeat, there’s also victory. If death’s defeated and Jesus lives, that means Jesus won the victory. Victory. That’s what Jesus does. JESUS SWALLOWS UP DEATH INTO VICTORY.

Victory. JESUS SWALLOWS UP DEATH INTO VICTORY. He swallows up the sting of death, too. He swallows up sin. Your sin. My sin. Not just our being sinners, not just your sinfulness, your selfishness. He takes your sins, my sins. The sins we do “daily and much.” He claims all of it as His own, and He bears all of it into His own body on the tree, bleeds for it, dies for it, buries it in His tomb. He bounds out alive. Victory! No more sin.

Victory. JESUS SWALLOWS UP DEATH INTO VICTORY. He takes on the power of sin, too. He swallows up the Law. He gave it, but now He fulfills it. He sets you free into victory. You’re set free from having to please God. So free that you now go about pleasing those around you. You live for your neighbor. By swallowing up death into victory, by swallowing up sin, by swallowing up the Law, all that’s left is victory!

Victory. JESUS SWALLOWS UP DEATH INTO VICTORY. Yes, death itself is dead. All death dies in Jesus. In His death He swallows up all death. Each and every death is His. That’s just what He’s done. His resurrection proves that. What was once a final moment, isn’t anymore. Death isn’t a dead-end. Death is done. All that’s left is victory and life. JESUS SWALLOWS UP DEATH INTO VICTORY.

((1. Yeah!: That victory is yours “through our Lord Jesus Christ.”))

Victory. Jesus’ victory is your victory. His life is your life. That’s Paul’s joy in our Epistle! “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Death is swallowed up into victory,” Jesus’ victory over sin and death, and that victory—Jesus’ victory—is yours.

Victory. It has to be yours. Just has to be. It’s not just that JESUS SWALLOWS UP DEATH INTO VICTORY. He wants it to be yours. He makes it yours, and so it is yours. Just has to be.

Victory. You’re washed and clothed in Jesus’ victory in Holy Baptism. You have it continually delivered into your ears and heart with the absolution. You have it grafted into your heart, soul, mind, and strength through the preaching, reading, studying of His Word.

Victory. You swallow it, too. Just like JESUS SWALLOWS UP DEATH INTO VICTORY, you also swallow His death and eternal life in the Supper. You eat and drink Jesus’ victory over sin and death in His body and blood.

Now, you will rise again from the dead. Your death is dead in Jesus. He not only died your death, but He made your death His, and He’s made His coming back to life your coming back to life in His Word and Gifts. You will rise from the dead, too.

Victory. His victory! Jesus makes it yours. His victory is your victory. His life is your life. You live only from receiving more and more of His victory. He makes His victory yours now. Will make it yours forever. “You shall not die but live!” You’re baptized. You’re absolved. You’re bodied and blooded. Jesus’ victory is yours only in those Gifts. Has to be! JESUS SWALLOWS UP DEATH INTO VICTORY, which is and shall always be yours, only in Him and His Gifts.

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

INI + AMEN.

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