Easter Sunrise (Ex 14:10–15:1)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Yahweh said to Moses, “You, lift up your staff, stretch out your hand over the sea, and split it, then the sons of Israel will go through the middle of the sea on dry ground.”

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

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: Death is your enemy.))

You have an enemy. He’s after you. He’s out to bring you back into his kingdom. He won’t let you go. He wants you enslaved, like Pharaoh enslaved the Israelites. He’s the true pharaoh of all people. Your enemy is the devil.

You have an enemy. Yes, another one. It’s the one Pharaoh Satan wants to enslave you to and keep you enslaved to. Pharaoh Satan wants you chained up in your sins, so that you keep on doing them, enjoy doing them, do them all the more. He also doesn’t want you worshipping Jesus either. He wants you chained in sin so that he can drag you into hell.

You have an enemy. Yes, another one! You know who it is, don’t you? Of course you do. You know the Scripture, don’t you? “The wages of sin is death.”

Death. He’s your enemy. The enemy we’re all afraid of. No one wants to die. We’re not too afraid of the devil, we’re generally not too afraid of our sins either. We should be. But the fact that one second your here and the next your not, well, that’s just terrifying!

((4. Ugh!: Death pursues you.))

Your enemy death is after you, too. Death isn’t just an event, a singular moment in time. No, death is “the veil that’s spread over all people.” It’s a power that works fear. It’s a thing. A thing that doesn’t just creep up on you. Death is hard after you. Like the chariots and horses of Pharaoh.

Death isn’t just a moment because his signs are everywhere. We don’t want to think about it that way because then life could almost be unbearable, but really it’s true. Death is an ever expanding reality. It grows from day to day, year to year.

Every cough is a sign you’ll breath your last. Every time you feel hungry is a sign you’ll waste away into death. Every cut and scrape, bump and bruise, every single cold—they’re all signs that one day death will catch you.

Your years, days, minutes, seconds will run out. They will! No matter how hard you try, no matter how healthy you are, no matter how young or old you are, death won’t just pursue you, he’ll have you. Dead. Buried. Gone.

((3. Aha!: You have a Savior from death.))

Yes, you’ll be dead. Yes, you’ll be buried. But gone? No, not gone. You won’t be gone for the same reason the Israelites weren’t goners at the hands of the Egyptians. They had Moses. They had their savior from the Lord. You, too! You have the Prophet like Moses, you have Jesus Christ. He’s your Savior. Yes, your Savior from sin, your Savior from the devil, and your Savior from death.

As the author of Hebrews says, “Jesus ‘through death destroyed the devil who had the power of death and freed those who were guilty of slavery to the fear of death all their life.’

((2. Whee!: JESUS SPLITS DEATH WIDE OPEN!))

In fact, because Jesus is your Savior from death you won’t just be not gone, you’ll be not buried, you’ll be not dead. You see, your Savior, your JESUS SPLITS DEATH WIDE OPEN!

Just like Moses splits the Red Sea, JESUS SPLITS DEATH WIDE OPEN. He stretches out His hands to do it. He’s crucifed, “stretching out His loving arms to embrace the world in His death.” Jesus Himself is split open in His death (nailed and pierced with a spear), so that He would split death itself open.

He goes through it first. He endures death. And He came out alive on the other side. He was dead, and now He’s not anymore. JESUS SPLITS IT WIDE OPEN from the inside out! His tomb is empty! He came back to life. “Neither could the gates of death Nor the tombs dark portal Nor the watchers nor the seal Hold Him as a mortal.”

People saw Him alive. They saw that death was undone. Split apart. Destroyed. Dead. In the smiling face of Jesus they saw it. They heard Him. They saw Him. Mary Magdalene. The other women. Peter. The other Apostles. James. 500 brothers at one time. Paul, too! They all saw Jesus alive.

He ripped through death like a hot knife through butter. He “walked through on dry ground” as it were. He passed through from death to life. He will never die again. Death has no more power over Him because JESUS SPLIT DEATH WIDE OPEN.

((1. Yeah!: Jesus splits your death, too!))

But it’s not just His own death that He splits open. Jesus splits your death wide open, too! He makes His splitting of death yours. Your baptized into His death and resurrection from the dead! As He passed through death, and as Israel passed through the waters on dry ground, so also you will pass through death and the grave unscathed because of your baptism. You’ve already passed from death to life in the resurrection of Jesus. Your death has already split wide open at the font.

You’ll make it through, you really will. It will be like what Paul says: “some have fallen asleep.” Now that Christ has split death wide open, not only His but yours, too, death is just a nap. A nap Jesus will wake you up from. You will sleep in Jesus, and you’ll wake up to leave your grave clothes behind, just like Jesus. Your grave will be split open and you’ll pass through it alive on the other side. You won’t have walls of water, but you’ll have walls of dirt, but you’ll get up, and walk out. No stench of death. Death will undone and dead forever then, and you’ll be alive.

And you’ll see Jesus, too. Just like Mary, the other women, and all the rest did. You’ll see your Jesus face to face. You’ll see His smiling face. JESUS SPLITS DEATH WIDE OPEN, His and yours, and so you’ll have to see Him alive again, you’ll have to be alive. You just will! Can’t be any other way! How can death hold you? Couldn’t hold Jesus. Can’t hold you either. It’ll hold you as much as a torn grocery bag holds cans of soup.

The Devil is defeated. Sin has been paid for by Jesus. Why live in them anymore? And Death itself is done. Death has enemy. It’s Jesus, your Jesus, your Savior. JESUS SPLITS DEATH WIDE OPEN. In His death and resurrection He did, and in your Baptism He made it yours. One day, your casket, your grave, your death will be split wide open, too! You’ll be alive. With Jesus. Your Savior. Forever and ever.

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

INI + AMEN.

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