Sermon from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California, published via the power of IFTTT.

Easter, (March 27, 2016)

Luke 24:1-12

TITLE: “The Resurrected Body of Jesus”

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

When the women went to the tomb to care for the body of Jesus, they knew what was supposed to be there. Their dead Lord’s body. That is, after all, what happens when you die. Your body goes into the grave. They loved Jesus, but He had died, and there was no doubt where He was.

But when they get there, the stone of the tomb has been rolled away, and when they went in, His body was gone. Our text says that they were perplexed. I bet they were! This wasn’t in the playbook. This isn’t how it is supposed to work. Dead people don’t get up and go. And yet, as the angels asked them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

The heart and soul of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. And on the third day He rose again from the dead. These are not words from a dusty creed centuries old. These words are your very life.

You see, this isn’t a fairy tale. It isn’t a superhero story on Netflix. It isn’t a gossip column. Jesus isn’t a manufactured politician who says one thing and does another. He is not one more in a string of people who break their promises and who never comes through for you.

Nor are we talking about a philosophy or idea about how to live your life. Jesus does not come just to tell you what to do, one more boss and lawgiver to weigh in on how to spend your time. This is not about your best life now, how to be happy, healthy, skinny or beautiful for a moment that passes and is gone with the passage of time.

We can rightly say with St. Paul: “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19 ESV) And that is where the women are the morning of the Resurrection. What could be more lame and absurd that committing your life to a dead God? What would be more tragic than a delusion of that magnitude?

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20–21 ESV) So St. Paul reminds us that Jesus defeats death and hell, and now leads the way for you and me. To where? He leads the way to the Father, and to new beginnings like you cannot even imagine. Do you remember the words of Isaiah?

““For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17 ESV)

Can you imagine a life so new, so good, so right that you will not even remember your sorrow or suffering? That answer is that you cannot. You who have been lost in your sin and shame for so long cannot fully grasp the wonder of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

But you don’t have to dream, or imagine, or wonder. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, and He delivers Himself to you this day in His Sacrament. In Holy Baptism God has brought new life to Ezekiel (Nichols) this morning. God has breathed new life into Him by water and the Spirit, in fulfillment of the words of God in Isaiah,“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24 ESV)

And you, too, have new life by water and the Spirit. Remember that Jesus’ death and resurrection is for you, always and ever for you. He died so that you would live with Him in the bosom of the Father forever. That is who you are in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Great Three Days have come to an end, and yet are really just beginning. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, hell is plundered, Satan has been stomped, and your sins, well, they are gone forever. “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12 ESV) The heart of the Gospel is that Jesus' life and death and life again is now yours, in Word and Meal, Water Spirit. All these gifts, all for you, and all for a new beginning in Christ Jesus, our risen Lord and Savior.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.

Holy Cross Lutheran Church

Rocklin, California

Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn