Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Messiah Lutheran Church
The Resurrection of Our Lord (April 12, 2009)
Job 19:23-27; I Cor. 15:12-25; Mark 16:1-8
For an audio MP3 of this sermon, CLICK HERE.
TITLE: “A Bright Future in Jesus”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is from St. Mark Chapter Sixteen.
The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
“Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” This was the question that the women asked one another that first Easter morn. Their Lord was gone forever. That’s what they thought. All of the talk about Jesus as the Messiah seemed cold and dead on their lips. But they wanted to do what was right. They wanted to bring the spices and anoint His body. If he could not live, at least He should die with honor and respect as a great teacher.
We all fight this battle. This battle with death. Sometimes the battle seems to be going well. We’re healthy, the kids are doing okay, and tax season is almost over. God is gracious, and there is much to rejoice about. Other times, though, it seems as though death and Satan are winning. A loved one dies. There’s a sickness that just won’t go away. The economy. Jobs. School. Divorce. Fighting at home. Sometimes the fight is long and the battle hard. Sometimes this earthly strife which we all undergo never seems to end. It can feel as though there is no future, no hope for things to ever get better.
We, of course, are not the first Christians to ever have this battle with Satan and sin and death. St. Paul writes about it in I Corinthians 15 about those who weren’t certain of the resurrection of the dead. They didn’t know whether the dead would rise. They thought you lived and you died, and that was the end. To that fear and concern he wrote: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV).
How often have you been miserable because you have forgotten the basic, most fundamental core of the Christian faith? How often have you lived as if Jesus’ dead body were still decaying outside of Jerusalem somewhere? When we allow the trials and crosses of this life to define us, it is as if we are asking that question with the women at the tomb. I don’t mean that we should always be happy, or that if we simply have a more positive attitude, that things will automatically get better. Heaven knows that there are times when things are hard. We do suffer in this life. And that suffering is real, it is painful, and it may feel as though it will never end.
But Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. And for poor, weak sinners like you and I, that is good news indeed. No, it is the very best of news. Already with Job we saw that hope. If anyone had reason to complain against God, it was Job. His wife gone, His children gone, his house, his livelihood, his health. His very life was hanging on by a thread. Everything had been taken away from him. Yet even still Job was able to pen those great words of faith,
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25-27 ESV)
Job points us to this great, beautiful reality. No matter what happens, no matter what sin, the devil and the world throw at you, Jesus is risen from the dead. Everything can be taken from you, even life itself, but that will not separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Death has no sting, because Jesus is risen.
Your sins cannot weigh you down, because Jesus is risen.
You have a future that is bright and clear, because Jesus is risen.
What is broken and messed up today will be mended, because Jesus is risen.
You are not in prison, you will be free, because Jesus is risen.
Christ’s blood now marks you as His own, because Jesus is risen.
Rejoice this day and be glad. The things of this life which weigh you down will pass. God is at peace with you, and you do not need to be afraid of anything which comes your way. Jesus is risen, and that is all that really matters in this life. Believe it for the sake of our risen Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith, unto life everlasting. Amen.