Exodus 15: 1-11
Psalm 118: 1-2, 15-24
1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
Luke 24: 1-11
“He is Alive”
Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.
He is Risen! [He is Risen indent!] Yes, He is Risen indeed for though he died on that terrible cross to forgive us of our sins, He who is God, could not be held by death but instead conquered the grave.
He is Risen! [He is Risen indeed!]
Now even though Jesus had warned his disciples and all who followed him, to include his own mother, no one understood what He meant when he said he would die and in three days’ time rise again. He warned them multiple times and each they either disbelieved, was confused, or simply couldn’t comprehend his words. No matter how many times he warned them it never clicked. There was no aha moment, nor eureka, or epiphany. For his message kept on flying over their heads.
Now to us who are privy to ending, such messaging seems easy to understand. But keep in mind, we are like those who reads the final chapter before reading the whole book. We are like those who are privy to how a series ends so when we read the first of many books in a series we pick up on all the foreshadowing. That is as oppose to those who are walking into a book or series blind and have trouble picking up the hints for they know not what to look for.
The disciples do not know the end, thus the reason why the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ caught them all off guard. They all thought he was dead and would never come back. When they were coming to the tomb they were prepared to apply spices and fragrances to what they assumed would be a smelly decomposing corpse. It is the third day, and because they did not understood Jesus warnings, they were still mourning.
But imagine their surprise when they saw the tomb already opened. They expected the tomb to be close and needing to seek help from someone, presumably the strong able-bodies Soldiers on guard, to move the large heavy boulder that sealed the entrance. No Soldiers were present, but the tomb was opened, and Jesus’ body was nowhere to be found. Do you think they were excited? Far from it, because they knew not that Jesus was alive. No, instead I could imagine fear and anxiety weighing down their hearts. The Body of our Rabbi is gone! What happened to it?
Did thieves, grave robbers, come and steal his body? Did those working for the elders had so much corruption in their hearts that they dared desecrate a holy site by going against the commandment, “thou shall not steal”? Did the other disciples come and removed the body for preparation sake and didn’t warn the ladies? Did the zealots comes and steal the body to feign a resurrection? Did the Romans remove the body and thus why the Soldiers originally standing guard are gone? Either way, anxiety is one emotion that would definitely have been present in their hearts. If you have ashes of a loved one, just imagine, you come home and the ashes are gone. They could have stolen anything, but nothing hits harder than home than seeing the ashes of your loved one above all else being the focus of some thief.
Now as for the women, in that moment of fear and confusing, immediately two angels came to bring peace to their aching and fainting hearts. Once again these ladies were reminded of the warning that Jesus has been giving them multiple times, “and on the third day rise.” After that the words clicked, but they still didn’t believe. It can’t be. He can’t be alive, but He is, and swiftly they will believe, for Jesus is about to reveal himself to them.
Now there is one more person that I think is even more perplexed; for whereas this act of resurrection should be a source of joy for us, it is the most elaborate joke that has ever been played, a joke that was played on the Devil. He thought he had Jesus in his grips. Jesus practically gave up and gave himself up to the end. It is true that Satan knows the entirety of Scripture, but that does not mean he understands Scripture. He can twist it as much as he likes, but because he lacks faith in Scripture he is incapable of truly comprehending the depth what they were foreshadowing. Jesus was dying and Lucifer was finally victorious!
[Satan voice] All his subjects are in despair, good, good; check. All who crucified him finally realizing the depth of their evil are also in despair, good, good; check. Jesus’ body is rotting in the earth and his soul is in my clutches, good, good; che… wait, what do you mean you can’t find his soul? Did you check the fiery pits? Well what about the icy caverns? How about the beast’s mouth, he always loves chewing on things he shouldn’t chew on and the holiness of Jesus might give him heartburn? Where is he, where is he… no, wait a second… check the tomb. Ah! His body is gone too! Great, this is already the worst day in my life, what’s going to happen next, ascension into heaven to get seated at the right hand of the father? …He what!
Yes, today we celebrate the most elaborate joke that has ever been played. For Satan thought he won, but Jesus never loses. Jesus was already ten steps in front of Satan, out playing him the entire time. Yes, Jesus suffered, but his it is his suffering that made this joke so grant. For whereas the Devil laughed at the deadly pain of Jesus, it is us who have the final laugh, for through the cross and resurrection not only was Jesus saved from the clutches of Satan, but all who believe in Jesus so too. Satan thought he had the final laugh, but now he weeps in misery as he sees his domain sinful slavery which he won through a tree slipping between his fingers, ever shrinking also because of a tree. Oh the sweet irony! One by one Satan’s domain shrinks as One by one people are set free from their enslavement to sin and into the gracious warm arms of our Lord.
Jesus has won! Jesus is victorious! Death has lost its sting! And it is Jesus who has truly the final laugh. The Joke wasn’t just merely that Jesus escaped the clutches of Hell and is alive, a task that should be impossible from the eyes of Satan. The Joke was that when he descended he paid the debt of sin for all, and then through his glorious resurrection lifts up not just himself but also all who believe in Him. That is the joke. That Satan is no longer king, that he is powerless so long as we accept Jesus as our true king. No longer do we fear the gates of Hell for through Christ we have the gates of Heaven. No longer do we fear death for through Christ we have eternal life. No longer do we fear abandonment, for through Christ we are always in communion. No longer do we fear slavery for through Christ we are set free.
And no longer are we in a season of Lent, mourning our Lord Jesus’ departure, for we are now in the season of Easter proclaiming what? He is Risen! [He is Risen indeed!] And if He is Risen then that he means he is alive, truly alive, now and forever more. With that instead of ending with a prayer, I like to instead end with a brief bible summer camp song that I grew up with. I’ll sing the verses, and you’ll sing with me the easy part, the highly repetitive chorus:
“He is Alive”
He-e He He’s Alive (x4)
1. I can see above the clouds and
I can hear Him call my name out loud.
2. He has come that I might have life
And more life than I have had before.