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Easter Sunday Full Service 2020

April 12, 2020 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Easter

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Acts 10:34–43; Colossians 3:1–4; Matthew 28:1–10
Date: April 12, 2020; Easter Sunday
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • When Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday - it looked like all was lost.
  • For the disciples who had left their lives behind to follow Jesus - all hope was gone.    
  • It seemed like they were wrong about Jesus of Nazareth being the promised Messiah. 
  • There hung on a cross the world’s great Redeemer—dead, defeated, and humiliated.
  • If the story had ended there - then St. Paul was right in saying that our faith would be futile and in vain. 
  • Everything hinges on our Lord’s resurrection.
  • Without Jesus’ victory over death, two thousand years of Word and Sacrament ministry in the church would be stripped of it’s truth and power.
  • And worst of all - we would all still be dead in our trespasses and sins. 
  • If the story had ended with the lifeless body of Jesus - we would have no hope of eternal life.
  • But today we rejoice and celebrate that this is not where the story ended.
  • Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
  • Yes, death sank its dreadful teeth into the author of life when Jesus gave up his spirit. 
  • But its victory was short-lived.  
  • Death’s victory was brought to an end when early on Easter morning - our Lord Jesus rose from the dead!
  • This is where we find the two Marys in our Holy Gospel reading today. 
  • St. Matthew tells us that these two women had gone to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning to anoint his dead body with spices.
  • He tells us what they encountered when they arrived at Jesus’ tomb: “And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it” (Matthew 28:2).
  • The women, still in shock from the events of Good Friday, are now faced with the sight of a glorious angel, whose appearance was like lightning and whose clothing was white as snow. 
  • The guards were frightened to death, but the angel said to the women: “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified” (Matthew 28:5). 
  • And then come those simple, yet astonishing and life changing words: “He has risen; he is not here.  See the place where they laid him” (Matthew 28:6).
  • With these words, the angel announces that sin and evil and death do not have the last word! Our faith is not in vain! 
  • Our righteousness and love and life are firmly grounded in Christ’s resurrection!
  • The humiliation and death of the Son of God was simply part of his plan to save us. 
  • It was necessary that the Christ should suffer, be crucified, and be raised again on the third day. 
  • Over and over again Jesus told his disciples this truth while he was with them, trying to prepare them for what was coming. 
  • But it wasn’t until he rose from the dead and appeared to them alive that they finally believed in him.  
  • Seeing the risen Lord changed the disciples from being so terrified that they abandoned Jesus when he was arrested - to being so certain of this truth that they were willing to give up their lives! 
  • Good Friday was God’s answer to sin. It was God making atonement for our sins by punishing his Son. 
  • Easter is God’s answer to death.  Easter is about God proving to the world that he has accepted the sacrifice of his Son as the full payment for our sins. 
  • Together, Good Friday and Easter mean that your sins are forgiven in Christ - and that through him - you now have victory over death and the grave!
  • God kept his promises and destroyed our greatest enemy of all in the death and resurrection of his Son!  
  • What glorious comfort there is for God’s people on this day! 
  • Is it any wonder that from the very beginning the Christian Church gathered on Sunday to hear the teaching of the apostles and to break bread? 
  • After all, this is the day that God put the breath of life back into his Son - for us and for our salvation. 
  • This is the day that Christ appeared to Peter and the other disciples who had been chosen by God as witnesses, “who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:41). 
  • One can easily see why Easter is the main festival of the Church Year - and why every Sunday is a celebration of that first Easter. 
  • The Lord is risen - and that validates and gives meaning to everything that our Lord said and did during his earthly ministry! 
  • His Word is true. 
  • He is the Son of God. 
  • All of our sins are forgiven! 
  • Our faith is not in vain. 
  • Baptism truly is a washing away of sins. 
  • The Lord’s Supper truly is a life-giving feast of forgiveness and spiritual nourishment.
  • The words of Absolution spoken in the stead and by the command of Jesus Christ are truly words that forgive and remove our sin. 
  • That is perhaps the best part of Christ’s triumphant resurrection—doubts flee!
  • Uncertainty about God, about his attitude toward us, about the extent of his love, or about the truthfulness of his promises flee. 
  • And for anyone who has carried heavy crosses, for anyone who has thought in moments of difficulty that God had forgotten them, or that their faith was in vain, or that their lives have no meaning - no news is more welcome!
  • For those facing death or severe illness, for those who have lost a spouse, or parents, or children - we do not despair.  There is hope! 
  • Christ is risen and he has given us victory over sin and death! 
  • Dear friends, today we rejoice and celebrate the truth that death did not have the last word for Jesus - and death does not have the last word for us!
  • Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Amen.
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The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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