The Resurrection of Our Lord

Readings: Job 19:23-27 | 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 | Mark 16:1-8

Text: Zechariah 6:1-15

Crowned King and Priest

            Alleluia! Christ is risen! When the crowd saw Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, the crowd cheered. The Jews grabbed palm branches and waved them in the air. They threw their coats onto the road. They sang Psalm 118 and cried out, “Hail, Son of David!”

            These Jews were excited, because of Zechariah 9:9, which reads:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

            By riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus made a statement. He is the King of Israel! And since it was Passover, the Jews hoped that this King was coming to rescue them from the Romans. Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and then went straight to the Temple. Why go there?

Zechariah: The Priest-King Comes

            Zechariah was a prophet 500 years before Jesus was born. He was sent by God to encourage the depressed and despondent Jews after the Exile in Babylon. One day, God spoke to Zechariah. “Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah. 11 Take from them silver and gold…” Zechariah found these Jews and they gave Josiah gold and silver. And what did God tell Zechariah to do with these treasures? “Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.”

            Zechariah made an elaborate crown. He brought it to Jesus, the high priest. I know, in your Bibles he is called Joshua. Jesus is just the Greek way of pronouncing the name Joshua (see also Ezra 3:2). Nevertheless, Zechariah put the crown onto the head of the high priest. Then, I imagine that Zechariah put a hand on his shoulder and gestured toward the East. He said, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.’”

            Immediately, Jesus the high priest remembered that Isaiah had once described the dynasty of King David as a mighty tree that would be cut down, and yet Isaiah also said, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isa. 11:1) A King from the line of David was coming. Also, Zechariah had spoken of this Sprout before in chapter 3: “Behold, I will bring my servant the Branch… and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day.” (Zech 3:8-9) The priests of Israel were signs, foreshadowing this coming Man into a greater priesthood.

            Well, Zechariah told the high priest that this Sprout was coming. Just as the Jews were rebuilding the temple, this Man would build a Temple. Also, Zechariah said, 13 It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne.” And then, he said, And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” This Man would be a King and a Priest—the two offices would be combined in this Man. Then, Zechariah told Jesus the high priest to keep the crown in the temple as a sign—that is, as a reminder that the Priest-King was coming to Jerusalem.

Jesus Received a Different Crown

            Back to Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and headed straight to the Temple. You might expect that the scribes and priests were waiting for him, and that they would kiss Jesus and kneel before him. You might expect Caiaphas the high priest to place Zechariah’s crown on Jesus’ head. After all, that’s what the priesthood should have been expecting, as Malachi foretold: “And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple” (Mal. 3:1)

            If this is what you expect, you are quickly disappointed. The scribes and the priests scowled at Jesus. They grumbled about His entrance. They hatched a plan to kill Jesus. They paid Judas thirty silver pieces to betray Jesus. They sent a mob to arrest him. They brought Jesus before the Jewish Council and Caiaphas, the high priest. They condemned him to death.

            When Caiaphas and the council took Jesus to Pilate, the soldiers mocked Him. You think you are a king, do you? Well, every king needs a crown! Instead of giving him a crown of gold and silver, they gave Jesus a crown of thorns. Later, they nailed Jesus to a cross and killed him.

What Does Easter Mean?

            A group of women watched Jesus die. They loved Jesus. They wept for him. Since Jesus was dead, they thought all their hopes were dead too. The visions of Zechariah must be for another time, if ever. Sin and rebellion had won again. After a Pharisee buried Jesus, these women observed the Sabbath Day, although I am sure their spirits did not rest on this particular Sabbath. And then, they went to the tomb the following morning with the remaining spices.

            When they got there, the tomb was opened. They did not see the body of Jesus. Instead, they saw a young man dressed in white. He said, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.”

            Those poor women ran from the tomb. They were trembling with fear. They were completely bewildered. The tomb was opened, the body was gone, and a strange man delivered a strange message. What does this all mean?

Easter: God Makes Jesus King

            Well, the risen Jesus appeared to those women and then he appeared to the disciples. Jesus appeared and he wasn’t merely alive. He was immortal and majestic. And Jesus said to his followers, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” (Matt. 28:18).

            When Peter heard those words, he began to understand. Caiaphas thought that Jesus was not the long awaited King. And so, he condemned Jesus to death. By raising Jesus from the dead, the Father has overturned the verdict of Caiaphas. God has declared, “Jesus is who He says He is!” More than that, when God raised Jesus from the dead, he crowned Jesus King of kings and Lord of lords. Thus, when Peter preached his Pentecost sermon, he said to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem, “[On the third day] God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified,” (Acts 2:36).

Easter: God Makes Jesus Priest

            Jesus was raised from the dead. Forty days later he ascended into heaven. The disciples watched him. They saw his feet leave this earth and his body pass through the clouds. They saw Jesus enter the heavenly Temple—into the immediate presence of the Father. And as he ascended, he raised his hands and blessed them, just as the high priest blesses Israel at the temple in Jerusalem. (cf. Num. 6:24-26)

            And suddenly, they understood. When God raised Jesus from the dead, he appointed Jesus the last High Priest. God accepted our Lord’s sacrifice on Easter Day and has granted this Man access to his presence. And now, Jesus intercedes for us inside the heavenly Temple.

No More Fear or Guilt

            Dear saints in Christ, the disciples did not understand the significance of Easter, until they saw the risen Lord and witnessed his ascension. After Jesus was killed, the disciples were still hiding.

            Can you see them? They were huddled together in a small house with the doors locked. They were paralyzed with fear, unable to do much of anything. And they were crushed by guilt because they abandoned Jesus. Peter is especially crushed. He is in the corner and won’t look anyone in the eye, because he denied his Lord three times.

            And then, the risen Lord appears and everything changes! They see the risen Lord! They see that God has overturned the verdict of Caiaphas. The crown of thorns has been removed from his head and the Father has crowned him with glory. They don’t have to fear the Jews or anyone, because Jesus reigns as King! And their guilt is lifted, because they have a High Priest who has taken away their sins!

            And so, we join the women, and the Apostles, and the whole Church in heaven and on earth to celebrate the coronation of our King and the ordination of our High Priest.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

The Resurrection of Our Lord (Mark 16:1-9)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, OR

The Resurrection of Our Lord – April 21, 2019

Text: Mark 16:1-9

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

As Americans, we are used to having options to choose from.  If you were going to buy a car, you wouldn’t want to be told that there was only one model that ran; the rest will break down in a year.  If you were going out to eat, you wouldn’t want to be told that there was only one restaurant to eat at; the rest will make you violently ill.  If you were going to find a church, you wouldn’t want to be told that salvation was only to be found in one; the rest are leading people to hell.  While the first two examples are not true, the third is.  There is only one church, and one Jesus in whom salvation is found.


  1. Which Jesus are you coming here to find?
    1. “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint [Jesus].” (v. 1)
      1. These women had been with Jesus for much of His ministry.  They heard Him teach.  They saw Him cast out demons, heal the sick, and heard how He had raised the dead.  At the cross, Mark tells us “When Jesus was in Galilee, [these women] followed him and ministered to Him” (Mk. 15:41).  They saw Him die and be placed in the tomb.
      1. But in all of their hearing, seeing, and ministering, what did they perceive?  Did they see the “valiant One whom God Himself elected”? (LSB 656:2)  Did they see “the Son of Man” who “has authority on earth to forgive sins”? (Mk. 2:10)  Did they hear His words when He said, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise”? (Mk. 9:31)  Or was it another Jesus they perceived?
      1. The Jesus they bought anointing spices for was still in the tomb.  He had been overcome, defeated, eliminated.  He wasn’t powerful enough after all to be a savior.  Just like everybody else that they knew, this Jesus had died.  He was just a charismatic guy with long hair, a beard, and a robe—just like they always show him on television—nothing more.
    1. Which Jesus do you think you’ll find?
      1. Now that we’ve gotten up early this morning, perhaps put on something special, eaten some excellent food…which Jesus did we come here to find?
      1. The Jesus of pop culture?  Long hair, beard, white robe, chiseled features…  This is the Jesus who is acceptable to all, even Hindus, but you’re never quite sure what He teaches besides a generic message of love and tolerance.  He gets dragged into attacks against Christians who have biblical convictions.  His Word gets used as a weapon to support your opinion with Scripture taken out of context.  This Jesus came to bring peace, but when men were done with him, they killed him and left him in the tomb.
      1. The Jesus of the Spiritual-but-not religious?  This Jesus is popular with those who want to call themselves a “Jesus follower” or a “Christian” but would rather go their own direction.  They’re upset that the Church of Jesus doesn’t meet their expectations, so they don’t associate with others.  This Jesus doesn’t tell you how to live your life.  Yet, in not warning you to repent, he’s going to let you stand naked before the judgment seat of God.  This Jesus died, and can’t find his way out of hell.
      1. The Jesus of Conservative Values?  This Jesus stands up for what he believes is right.  He campaigns against same-sex marriage, he’s at all the right-to-life rallies, but he also puts up billboards bashing the godless left-wing.  He doesn’t say much besides that.  In this Jesus’ mind, loving your neighbor is fulfilled in telling them that they’re wrong and they should agree with him.  This Jesus is all Law and no Gospel, and unfortunately for him, the law always condemns the sinner.  He’s not getting up after Good Friday.
  2. “And he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.  See the place where they laid him” (v. 6)
    1. Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and Salome did not find the Jesus they were seeking.
      1. It’s a good thing that they were wrong.  They were ready to despair that not even God could save them from the power of sin, death, and Satan.  Mary Magdalene, from whom the evangelist later says Jesus cast out seven demons (v. 9), was ready to have them come back knocking.  But the Jesus they followed was not the limited Jesus of their imagination.
      1. No, the young man clothed in white brought a message that they could never imagine for themselves.  They were lost and couldn’t find themselves.  They were guilty under the Law and couldn’t forgive themselves.  They were dying, and they couldn’t keep themselves alive.  But these are the very things which this Jesus of Nazareth was crucified for!  His being delivered into the hands of men, His painful crown of thorns, His being crucified under Pontius Pilate, His shedding of blood, and His dying—were to bring eternal salvation for all!  His ministry had been about more than cleansing a few lepers, healing a few sick people, and raising a few dead people.  And this is the message which the young man proclaimed to them when He said “He has risen, He is not here.”
    1. The Jesus of our imagination is not what we find here either.
      1. All of the ideas about Jesus that people come up with cannot compare with this Jesus of Nazareth.  If left to our own understanding, we cannot know anything except law and God’s judgment.  We cannot find forgiveness for ourselves, and we are unable to offer it to anyone else.  That’s why Pop Culture Jesus has no true comfort to offer.  Spiritual-but-Not-Religious Jesus never leaves the confines of his own imagination and knows neither his own sin nor the life-giving power of true forgiveness.  And Conservative Values Jesus has forgotten what the name Christian means in his pursuit of a “Christian nation.”  Thankfully, none of these Jesuses is what you will find on Easter.
      1. The proclamation of Easter of Jesus of Nazareth is this: He is not here in the grave where you think He is.  He is risen from the dead, never to see death again.  And that’s where there is true comfort and good news for you, a sinner.
      1. Because He is risen, Your sins cannot stick to you.  You have been crucified with Him, and you died there with Jesus of Nazareth.  And if you are crucified with Him, then you are not dead; you are risen with Him.

The women who ministered to Jesus thought they would find no more than a reason to weep, but they left with astonishment because the Jesus of Nazareth who they knew was their God and Savior.  He had borne their griefs and carried their sorrows; He left them there on the cross and rose to new and eternal life.

No matter which Jesus you may have thought you’d find this morning.  Jesus of Nazareth is the one who is not in the grave.  He is risen from the dead!  He risen for you to rise with Him.  Truly, Christ is risen!  He is risen, indeed!  Alleluia! Amen.

The Resurrection of Our Lord (Matthew 28:1-10)

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.