Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || VIDEO
Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Jubilate. “Shout for joy!” Yes, joy! Yes, even today. What’s the source of our joy? That Jesus lives! Or as the Psalmist puts it: “He is awesome in His doing towards the sons of men.” What’s awesome or wonderful or praiseworthy about His doing? It’s that the Lord has done His promised doing. A promise made is a promise kept with the Lord. With Him it’s almost like He’s kept His promise even before He’s made it! That’s how certain the Lord’s promises are. “I will.” “Will,” He says. It’s gonna happen. The Lord makes sure of that. Nothing can change a promise from the LORD. Nothing can undo His promises. Nothing can take them away.
((3. What promises has the LORD kept?))
If the Lord says He’ll do something, He does it. His promises are rock solid, not like our sandlike promises: shifting, changing, slipping through your fingers. So, what exactly has the Lord done that He promised to do? What promises has the Lord kept? Well, let’s listen in on what Jesus says to His disciples.
“A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me. Calvary and Easter. “A little while…” Three days. That’s what Jesus is talking about here. That’s the sorrow then joy of His disciples. It’s the joy then sorrow of the world.
Calvary and Easter, His dead body on the cross, and His empty tomb on the Third Day, are what Jesus did to fulfill this promise. (He ascended, too. “I am going to the Father.”) But the disciples’ unending joy was that His cross and empty tomb not only happened, but happened for them. He was crucified for their trespasses and raised for their forgiveness. You and me, too.
It’s the promise He made in the Garden of Eden. The promise that He fulfilled on Calvary and in the nearby Garden where His tomb was. Jesus born, died, and raised to crush the serpent’s head, to undo the curse of sin, and to destroy death. Your death, your sin. That’s the benefit for you of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead.
Nothing can change the LORD’s promises. Nothing can take them away. Christ’s empty tomb is the fulfillment of the promises, and it’s the proof that God’s promises to you can’t be taken away from you. Why? Because
NOTHING CAN TAKE JESUS’ RESURRECTION AWAY FROM YOU.
((2. Therefore, nothing can take our joy or freedom away.))
That’s why Jesus says to His disciples, “No one will take your joy from you.” It’s because nothing could take His resurrection away from them. NOTHING CAN TAKE HIS RESURRECTION AWAY FROM YOU, either.
His resurrection is the source of our joy. Jesus came back to life! How can we not rejoice? Even in the face of sin, in the face of difficulty, in the face of temptation, or even in the face of death itself! Jesus came back to life FOR YOU! Eternal joy!
Eternal freedom, too! Not worldly freedom of rights and legal privileges. But freedom from sin! That’s the forgiveness of sins. To have your sins removed from you and placed on Jesus Christ your Savior. He did that at Calvary Delivers it in His Gifts. “He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree. By His wounds you are healed.” His freedom from the grave means you will have freedom from yours one day, too.
It’s not freedom to sin, which is what we actually do daily and much. We use our freedom, our forgiveness, to wink at our sin and not regard as very serious. But sin separates us from Christ. It separates us from each other. Continuing in sin isn’t freedom. It’s slavery. An addict isn’t free within their addiction, are they? Continuing in sin is death, eternal death.
You are freed from your sin. You’re forgiven. We’re set free from trying to make up for our sins. We’re forgiven for that, too. We’re set free from trying to please God. We’re set free to selflessly serve, not trying to earn points, but purely for the benefit of those around you.
Nothing can take Jesus’ forgiveness away from you. NOTHING CAN TAKE JESUS’ RESURRECTION AWAY FROM YOU. Not even the government. Can’t take away His Word. They can try. But can’t. The guard of soldiers couldn’t keep Jesus from rising from the dead. Still won’t work today. Jesus’ tomb was already empty then! Jesus lives now! All for you, for me, even for everyone in the whole world, for everyone you know.
((1. The Lord continues His promise keeping and doing!))
The Lord Jesus continues His promise keeping and doing. “His mercies are new every morning,” as the Prophet Jeremiah preaches to us in Lamentations. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.” “We aren’t consumed!” “His mercies don’t stop.” We aren’t cast off! The Lord would never do that. That’s not who He is! It’s not how He treats those who hope in His mercy.
What does the Lord do for them? What does He do for you? “He gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” “Great is Your faithfulness!” He will not cast off forever. The Father cast off His Son at Calvary so that He would never cast you off as His child. And even more joy! He raised His Son from the dead as the sure promise that He would send the Holy Spirit to raise you from the dead on the Last Day.
Yes, the Father raised Jesus, His Son, for you, and NOTHING CAN TAKE JESUS’ RESURRECTION AWAY FROM YOU. Because nothing can take your Baptism away. You are united to Jesus’ death and resurrection and the forgiveness, the freedom from sin, that His death and resurrection purchased for you. Baptism delivers the whole kit and caboodle of forgiveness, life, and salvation to you.
Nothing can take His Word from you, either. God’s Word delivers His forgiveness to you because it delivers the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection to you. He puts His into your mind and heart through your Scriptures, your devotions, through preaching, through the liturgy, through “psalms, hymns, and Spirit-filled songs”!
“He is awesome in His doing towards the sons of men.” His promised doing! He does what He says He’ll do! Only Jesus does His promised doing. It’s the reason we “shout for joy!” His promised doing was Calvary and Easter. Christ crucified, died, and risen from the dead! That’s what He promised. That’s what He did FOR YOU. And NOTHING CAN TAKE JESUS’ RESURRECTION AWAY FROM YOU.
Not your sins. He died and rose for them! You’re free, forgiven! Not the world. Not the government. Not a virus. Not even death itself. Jesus is raised. He’ll raise you, too! And so none of the sorrows of this world can finally take away our joy either.
NOTHING CAN TAKE JESUS’ RESURRECTION AWAY FROM YOU not only because it happened and you can’t put Jesus back into the tomb. You can’t make Him die again. But NOTHING CAN TAKE JESUS’ RESURRECTION AWAY FROM YOU because it’s been delivered to you. You’re baptized. You’re in on Jesus’ resurrection. His other Gifts deliver it, too: His Word, His preaching, His forgiveness, His Supper.
NOTHING CAN TAKE JESUS’ RESURRECTION AWAY FROM YOU. The tomb’s empty. You’re baptized. Nothing can change any of that. And so Jesus’ promise will come true for each of you, too: “I will see you, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!