Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, OR
The Resurrection of Our Lord + April 16, 2017
Text: Matthew 28:1-10
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Mary and the other Mary were at the tomb first. They saw the angel and heard his words. But the other disciples didn’t. We make a big deal of differences and turn it into division.
This world is full of division right now. Conflict in the Pacific, conflict in the Middle East, conflict in between states and Washington, DC, and conflict between Americans. Political parties, income level, questions of ethics, and even personal preferences have become battle flags to be waved at one another.
The Christian Church is no exception, because it’s also made of people. How long have you been a Christian? What church do you belong to? Traditional or contemporary?
What our human race needs is some unity.
On Good Friday and the Resurrection of Jesus, God brought about a lasting unity. In those events, He showed what our human race really has in common—sin and death. This common disease and enemy afflicts us all. “They are corrupt,” the Lord declares, “They do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:1-3)
So, God, in His mercy and faithfulness sent Jesus to be the Savior for all:
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. (Romans 5:12, 15)
There is one Jesus for all, because all of us have the same ancestry. With that ancestry came sin and death. Something every one of us has known is the effects of sin and death on ourselves and the world—and we cannot free ourselves from its power!
All of the struggles over money and power, the men and women lost in war, property destroyed in a vie for supremacy. This is the work of man, which brings only death and division. But God on the cross made peace.
He doesn’t make one sacrifice for Jews, another for Gentiles; one Savior for men another for women; a black Jesus and a white Jesus. There is Savior for all mankind, for the people of every nation, tribe, and language.
“14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)
So through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has shown His love to all people. As Jesus said beforehand, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)
Now God has made peace and removed the hostility between heaven and earth. Now the only division that is left is between faith and unbelief. Yet by the power of His Holy Spirit, He brings near even those who are far off that they might know salvation and peace in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-39). God give you that peace this Resurrection Day! Amen.