Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
The angel said to the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? [Lk 24] You seek Jesus who was crucified. He is risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”
᛭ INI ᛭
Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE! Jesus’ empty tomb changes everything. Now “crucified” doesn’t mean “dead.” Everything’s been over turned. Now, the worst possible thing that can happen to us is gain! “For me to live is Christ to die is gain.” (Phil 4) All because DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE!
((3. God the Son died our death.))
God died. Had to die. Die for us. Suffered for our offenses. Crushed for our iniquities. Died for our sins. Died our death. “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom 3) Not just your death. Christ’s death in your place.
“It’s impossible for God to die.” You might say that. But what’s more impossible? Someone who’s dead coming back to life again. Not on the operating table, not with a defibrillator. Oh, no. Not with God—coming back to life on the third day! Jesus didn’t stay dead, and that means He is who claims to be—the God of the Bible, the Savior of the world, your Savior, too.
Everything’s changed now. Eternity’s changed. No longer eternal wrath. Jesus’ death took care of that. No longer eternal death either. Jesus came back to life. By faith in Jesus, wrath and “displeasure and eternal damnation” aren’t for you. And by faith in Jesus “temporal death” isn’t that much of a problem anymore. It really isn’t! No matter how you die (operating table, hospital, at home, in your sleep, cancer, heart attack, stroke, virus whatever!), it’s “but the gate of life immortal.” DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE!
You won’t stay dead either. When you depart, you’ll be with Christ, (Phil 3) that is far better. But your body won’t stay dead. Christ will send forth the Holy Spirit who “will raise you and all the dead and give eternal life to you and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.” Look at Christ’s empty tomb. His tomb was empty FOR YOU. Just like His cross was full for you. Empty tomb means you’ll rise from the dead.
((2. The Gifts of Jesus deliver what His Word says.))
DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE! Jesus’ empty tomb changes everything, over turns everything. Makes the impossible possible. Not just people coming back to life no matter how long they’ve been dead. No, it’s even more fun than that!
Water and Words make a Baptism, and that Baptism “is a life-giving water rich in grace and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit as St. Paul says in Titus chapter 3. (SC IV)” “Baptism now saves you!” (1 Pet 3)
Three words, “I forgive you” from “a called minister of Christ,” means “your sins are forgiven before God in heaven. (SC V)” Impossible! Just as impossible as the empty tomb! “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.” (Jn 20) Give glory to God! “He has given such authority to men.” (Mt 9)
Verbum accedat ad elementum et fit sacramentum. St. Augustine never said anything else more eloquent. (LC V § 10) Word comes to the Bread and Wine, and then you have the Sacrament. It is what Jesus says it is. “Is” means “Is.” Has to! Empty tomb. “Take eat, take drink; This [bread] is My body, this [cup of wine] is My blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” “The bread we break is a communion of the body of Christ. The cup we bless is a communion of the blood of Christ.” (1 Cor 10) Sound impossible? Not! Empty tomb! Jesus isn’t dead anymore! “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” (Mt 28)
((1. The Scriptures recount the truth.))
DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE! Jesus’ empty tomb changes everything! The unbelievable is now believable! “These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (Jn 21)
Jesus is risen. So many saw Him. No legends now. All captive to Christ and His empty tomb! What Jesus believed we believe, too!
Prophets get thrown into the sea, eaten by fish, and come out live. They get thrown into a furnace and come out alive. They get thrown into a den of hungry lions but come out alive. Talking donkeys! All true. Empty tomb. DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE.
God created the universe from nothing in six days. Man from dust. Woman from a rib. The world got flooded. A bush burned but wasn’t consumed. There were plagues. Red Sea parted. Pillar of cloud by day. Pillar of fire by night. Manna appeared in the wilderness. Rocks gave water. The Jordan parted, too. All true. Empty tomb. DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE.
Water into wine. Walking on water. Calming storms. Healing the sick. Raising the dead. Feeding thousands. Ascending into heaven. Ruling the universe for you. All true. Jesus does them. Have to be true. Empty tomb. DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE.
Easter changes everything. Jesus’ empty tomb does. It means His death counted. Counted for you. Counted for everyone. His blood shed for you. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for everyone.” (Mt 22) “I lay down My life that I may take it up again, this command I have received from My Father.” (Jn 10)
Easter also means His resurrection counts for you, counts for all. You won’t stay dead. No one will. His resurrection means you’re justified—righteous, innocent before God. It means if you have faith in Jesus, then you’ll rise from the dead to eternal life, not eternal shame.
Easter, empty tomb means the impossible happened and happens! God died. God came back to life. Water and Word saves you. Absolution forgives you before God. Bread and wine are Jesus’ body and blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins.
It means that all the stuff in the Bible happened, too. Pick anything you want out of the Bible that doesn’t make sense, that doesn’t fit with our modern sensibilities, or is just plain weird. “Everything captive to Christ.” (1 Cor) It’s all true! Has to be! It all happened, is happening, or will happen—Genesis 1 through Revelation 21. Jesus rose from the dead!
Most comforting of all though for you today—DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE! It’s why I wish you could see out those windows. “Resurrection of the body.” Always try to peek and check at those words of the Creed. Not yet…but it will happen someday. You will rise from the dead to life everlasting. Those you love out there or somewhere else who died in the Lord, faith in Him—they will, too.
Until that day, we wait. There will be “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” “This is most certainly true.” “Life everlasting” there in Jesus’ body and blood. “This is [also] most certainly true.” “It’s the medicine of immortality, the antidote to not die but to live in Jesus Christ forever.” (Ignatius, Ephesians 2:20) “For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.” (SC VI)
Everything I’ve said is true! Has to be true. After all, Jesus rose from the dead. He lives now. Reigns now. Everything else besides His empty tomb is easy. And it means DEAD PEOPLE DON’T STAY DEAD NO MORE! Even you.