Dear believers in Christ. Jesus lives. Jesus lives to never die again. Hallelulia. “I know that My Redeemer Lives, What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, He lives, who once was dead; He lives, my ever living Head.” (TLH Hymn 200).
That’s our greatest hope and strength. That’s our life – that’s our everything. Since Jesus lives, we too will live. What in this life compares to that? What does the world have to offer that compares to that? Everything in this life fades away. Yet, Jesus lives forever, and His promise gives eternal life. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
His resurrection is proof that your faith is not in vain. You too will rise, even as Christ is risen. How do we know that? How can we be so sure of that? It doesn’t agree with science. It doesn’t agree with human wisdom, human reasoning. It doesn’t agree with popular opinion, because we can’t prove it in a lab.
So, how do we know? Because God promises it is so. And that’s all that we need. As Jesus says, it is the one thing needful. Those who rely on that one thing needful, God’s Word, will not be let down. And it is the exact same promise, same Word, that God used to strengthen the women and the disciples.
They needed it. They found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it’s not easy to get rid of a body. That’s what His enemies claimed happened. “The disciples stole it away.” The soldiers were paid a lot of money to spread that lie. But even in our advanced age of technology, it’s very difficult to get rid of a body. And to this day, a dead Jesus was never found. But, a living Jesus was. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” But over 500 witnesses saw Jesus alive, at one time. And that was recorded for you, for your assurance, for your faith, to strengthen it, to uphold and sustain you.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves the Father accepted His sacrifice for our sins. We don’t have to be afraid. We don’t have to worry. Our sins are forever forgiven. Your faith in Christ, is not in vain.
But the women were looking for a lifeless body. They’re intentions certainly don’t seem so bad. They loved Christ. He was their hero. Out of Mary Magdalene He drove 7 devils. They just wanted to take care of His body, and annoint it - so they came looking for one that was not alive. But that’s the problem. “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Indeed, why?
That’s why they were afraid. That’s why the disciples trembled behind closed doors. That’s why later, Jesus rebuked them. They were looking for a Savior who was not alive, but that’s not a Savior.
We too, tend to look for answers in the wrong places. We turn to our feelings, like the women and the disciples. We often dwell on how we feel, as if we can find the answer there. At times all we can feel is hurt and let down. “Look at what this person did to me.” Or, “I can’t believe I made that mistake, and how I hurt someone the way I did. I really didn’t mean to, but now I can never take back what I said, or did.” It can be so hard to let go of it. But we’re like Mary, looking for the answer where there is none.
The solution was right in front of them, right under their noses, in the Word of God. He told them He would rise again. They needed to be reminded. They needed to hear God’s Word, again. They, like us, had heard it all before, plenty of times. But it had not sunk in. They needed to hear it again. The Lord invites us too, to hear the angel’s words, and be comforted by them. “He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words.”
The solution is often much simpler than we might think. Just one verse can and does lift our spirit, and brings deep and abiding joy, where there was none, because faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
Jesus lives. Jesus went to the grave not to stay there but to rise, and to overcome it for us all. That means our sins are forgiven. That means we too will rise. And we need to hear that. We need to be reminded. Scripture says, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” The angel’s words: “He is not here, but is risen.”
Jesus does not condemn a weak faith. He comes to strengthen it by His Word. That’s His promise to you, to nourish, to feed the faith He’s given you. He enables us to see, to understand, there is forgiveness even for the greatest of sinners, and for the greatest of sins. He rose above it all. He conquered it all. His victory is ours. “whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.”
We all have a weak faith because we all are daily bombarded by the world, the devil, the sinful flesh. Yet, Christ doesn’t condemn the weak faith. He doesn’t condemn you and me. He strengthens us by His Word. “He lives my hungry soul to feed, He lives to help in time of need. He lives to comfort me when faint, He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.” (TLH Hymn 200).
He will raise us on the last day, and even now, he raises us to new spiritual life. He gives us the gift of His Spirit, and the true saving faith, by his Word and Sacraments. He knows exactly how to keep and sustain us in that true saving faith by His Means of Grace. Even though we are born with the old man, the old life of sin, yet He raises us to new life by His Word and Baptism. Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new.” “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
May everyone have a very happy Easter. Jesus lives. Because He lives, you too will live. Amen.