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.

JESUS OF NAZARETH, WHO WAS CRUCIFIED, IS NOT HERE; HE HAS RISEN.

  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.