He Is Risen!
At the Lamb’s High Feast - Easter-08
There’s just NO One gonna win today but Jesus! No one!
The prophet Job – long before this day unfolded – he confesses by the Holy Spirit: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
He sees it! Like Abraham, who rejoiced to have his son alive again. Job rejoices in this day as surely as did Abraham!
He even sees – better than many Christians – that this day means OUR graves, too, will one day open up and we will go to heaven in THE BODY!
Job saw that: “After my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my FLESH, I shall see God . . . and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”
It’s too much for a man to think about – almost! Too wonderful! “My heart faints within me!”
Oh that his words were written down!
THEY ARE! Thanks be to God!
No one’s gonna win today but Jesus! Not even death and decay, confesses Job! No one gets the better of Jesus!
St. Paul says the same. He has the same faith – the same Jesus – Job was trusting in.
You think Death is gonna get the final say? Paul says, “Death is swallowed up in victory!”
You think the STING of death is gonna win the day? The sting of death is SIN, and the power of sin is the Law.
But thanks be to GOD! No one’s gonna have a say today but . . . JESUS!
The Law that accuses and judges and condemns? Not the final word. THAT belongs to Jesus and His Gospel!
Your sin? Your hatred of God? Your negligence of God’s gifts and lack of love – toward God and one another? The fact that you have little notion what this talk of Job and Abraham and even Paul is all about, and maybe do not care?
Over that, God preaches CHRIST today – crucified and risen. Even the fact that some people come to church and don’t have all that much awareness – don’t know really why they’re here – they just show up, ‘cause Easter is a time to do that. Even THAT’S not gonna have the final say this morning.
Jesus is God’s Final Say! Repent, dear people. Believe the GOSPEL!
Jesus and His Gospel have even the final say over the last words in our Gospel reading for this morning: “And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
Obviously – THAT wasn’t the final word – because YOU’RE hearing it this morning, aren’t you? Clearly, not even fear gets the last word in on Jesus. These women DID tell someone. They told the disciples and Peter: “Jesus is going before you to Galilee.” And not even fear can get a word in edgewise on the glory of Christ’s resurrection. So, you hear today that . . .
Christ is RISEN! (He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!)
Now, all of this is wonderful news, isn’t it? But why is it so? Because the risen One is the Crucified One. Because Christ, Who rose, is the Lamb of God Who died. His getting up again on Easter morning knocks the teeth out of our fear, our death, our grave, our sin – and all the condemnation that God’s Law can bring against us – Christ’s getting up trumps all of that, because He laid His body down in death for us, because He spilled His blood in our behalf, and He has poured that out to us in Holy Baptism – the oil of gladness – and feeds it to us in this Feast of Feasts!
JESUS said, “It’s finished” on the cross. Nothing left except for Him to hand it out, pour it out, feed it into us through bread and wine, His saving Body and His Blood!
Nothing speaks a better word than Jesus and your Baptism – Jesus and the Holy Absolution – Jesus and this Supper. So loud and clear and totally sufficient is the GOSPEL of Our Lord, that one well-known father of the Church, John Chrysostom, can’t say enough of how the ONLY thing that matters for the ones who come together for the Feast today is – Jesus!
Chrysostom doesn’t say there aren’t rewards for having spent so long in preparation as we have. There are. We know about Job and Abraham, while many don’t. But there’s only One Who makes us worthy. His name is Jesus.
Listen to the sermon St. John Chrysostom once preached for Easter. I’ve used it before in my twenty years here. It’s time for you to hear it again, as many Christians will this Day - the Easter of Our Lord.
If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If anyone is a wise servant, let him, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.
If anyone has wearied himself in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.
If anyone has labored from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let him keep the feast. If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; for he shall suffer no loss. If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near without hesitation. If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let him not fear on account of his delay. For the Master is gracious and receives the last, even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious. He both honors the work and praises the intention.
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward. O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy! O you sober and disciplined, and you negligent, celebrate the day! You who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!
Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.
Let no one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this, Isaiah exclaimed, "Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions." It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and, face to face, met God! It took earth and encountered heaven! It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!
"O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?"
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them that slept.
To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen.
And if ANYONE wants to join the Feasters here, just let me know and I will intruct you, absolve you and bring you in. It just can’t be that anyone but JESUS gets the final word on Easter. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN
Call Pastor Sawyer at (601) 992-4752, or email him. He'd be glad to speak with you about the Historic Christian Faith.