TEXT: MARK 16:1-8; 1 COR. 15:51-57; JOB 19:23-27
I BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

 

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!  This joyful day and the joy of each Lord’s Day is caused by the dead body of one man made alive – Jesus the Christ!  The Messiah!  Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!


The three women had mistakenly bought spices for the One who had marvelously bought redemption for them. After the Sabbath they came as early as possible with the desire to rub myrrh onto the cold corpse of Jesus. They loved Him!    They had observed His burial in this garden tomb!  They wanted to honor Him even in death!  With spices in hand - Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.


They planned to enter that house of death!  They desired to deal with death by covering its stench. They were brave and focused and first to return to the garden tomb where the corpse of Jesus had been placed. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”  It was a rich man’s grave. They knew that couldn’t budge the heavy stone they saw close it on the Friday we call Good. And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back – it was very large.

THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD – MAR. 27, 2016
TEXT: MARK 16:1-8; 1 COR. 15:51-57; JOB 19:23-27
I BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!  This joyful day and the joy of each Lord’s Day is caused by the dead body of one man made alive – Jesus the Christ!  The Messiah!  Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!


The three women had mistakenly bought spices for the One who had marvelously bought redemption for them. After the Sabbath they came as early as possible with the desire to rub myrrh onto the cold corpse of Jesus. They loved Him!    They had observed His burial in this garden tomb!  They wanted to honor Him even in death!  With spices in hand - Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.


They planned to enter that house of death!  They desired to deal with death by covering its stench. They were brave and focused and first to return to the garden tomb where the corpse of Jesus had been placed. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”  It was a rich man’s grave. They knew that couldn’t budge the heavy stone they saw close it on the Friday we call Good. And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back – it was very large.


What had seemed the largest obstacle to their intended kindness was no longer an issue!  God had opened a door for them!  We are not told their thoughts about this happy provision. The text only reveals their continuing strong focus. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. The dead body they sought was not present. God’s angelic messenger is present with words that provide the substance of the church’s life and worship for two millennia.


“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!   This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!  This joyful day is caused by the dead body of one man made alive – Jesus.


This is the Day of Resurrection!  As we sang, it is our triumphant holy day!  The night is over. The seal of the grave is broken!  This is the morning of the new creation!  This is God’s day now given to us!  The trembling fear and astonishment of the women bears witness to its strangeness, its holiness, its wonder. They came to the tomb like we sometimes come to weekly worship – to do their duty – not expecting much of anything from Jesus. They left with His life ringing in their ears and changing their lives forever.


This is the Day of days because of the Day of Sacrifice – the Day of Redemption!  Death has a claim on all mankind because of the sin of all mankind. Death is God’s curse for man’s rebellion. It is appointed for us once to die and then the judgement. Yet in the throes of His death the Son of God claimed victory – “It is finished!”  Because He died for our sins - His victory cry was for us.


Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  The resurrection of Jesus – throws radiant light on His sacrificial death. It really is the victory – for us!  There can be no greater testimony to the fullness and finality of His sacrifice than His bodily resurrection. His sacrifice was once for all – for the forgiveness of all our sins. Jesus spoke of the cross as His hour of glory and to that His open tomb shouts Amen!  What now follows Jesus open tomb is our triumphant holy day!


Notice that our Easter day texts are full of dead bodies made alive. Job said, “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. He was speaking about bodily death and bodily resurrection. St. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. He was speaking about bodily death and bodily resurrection.


Dear Christians, it is no secret that the world argues against the joy of this day and the wondrous truth flowing from the angel’s message. Almost every thought they proclaimed is denied. “You seek Jesus of Nazareth. Did you know that skeptics long doubted the existence of a first century Nazareth until archaeology caught up with Scripture?  “You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. Did you know that some (even the Koran) deny that Jesus was ever put to death under Pontius Pilate despite the grounding of His crucifixion also in the writings of secular historians?  “You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. There is broad awareness that many in the name of objectivity deny any possibility of bodily life beyond death - including Jesus’ bodily resurrection.


That categorical denial however, is its own religion. It is a narrow faith in naturalism that presumes to judge God’s power and activity by the limits of one’s own experience. It rules out the possibility of God breaking into the nature He has created with supernatural love and life. And if God is made over into our image than how can disfigured and decomposed bodies possibly rise again?  How can Job see God in the flesh with His own eyes after His skin has been destroyed?  The beautiful witness of our heavenly Father is that our present bodies are His gift out of His free will. The imperishable, incorruptible bodies that St. Paul speaks of are also God’s gift, out of His free will in Jesus Christ. Behold!  I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. Some will be living and others in their graves when Christ returns.


Behold!  I tell you a mystery. A mystery can be known only by divine revelation. A mystery can be given only by God’s choosing. And the mystery of Christ’s resurrection and of your bodily resurrection is not related to ancient mystery religions and mythological tales of gods dying and rising. These tales always revolve around the natural life cycle of death and rebirth – like crops dying in the fall and coming up in the spring. These legends are also depicted as happening “once upon a time.” 


Such legends are in stark contrast with Scriptures witness to Jesus Christ and his decades of earthly life – naming people and identifying places and describing events anchored in concrete history. The resurrection of our Lord has nothing to do with life cycles of the harvest. His rising from death proclaims a new thing – a new day – resurrection from death and life eternal because of reconciliation with God. He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (Rom. 4:24)  This is the Day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed! Alleluia!


God’s clear promise is now this – Your created body, corrupted by sin, will be transformed into conformity with Christ’s glorious body (Phil. 3:20, 21) by the power that enables Him to subdue all things to Himself. Just as surely as our lives here are stamped by frailty and decay, by sickness and struggle and sorrow, so the divine image will be restored eternally through Christ, body and soul.


Here physical strength and the sharpness of our senses follows a downward path. As the years mount the problems multiply. When healing is needed medicine and therapy and time is needed – time that increases with the passing years. But – get ready for a change – a beautiful permanent change!  Beloved of God, get ready for perfect bodily healing in the twinkling of an eye!  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. The Creator of the immense variety of earthly and heavenly bodies is not limited in what He can do with your body for eternity!  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable and this mortal body must put on immortality…then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”  Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!


This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! 


Christianity does not hate the body or condemn the pleasure God intends for it – things that taste good and feel good. When God created man in His image – male and female man – He gave them physical bodies. We can touch one another. We can feel the warm sunshine and the cool breeze and appreciate beauty. We can sing and enjoy music. The physical body is a good and glorious gift of God.


Every false religion of the world teaches that the spirit is good but the body is bad. Greek and Roman pagan religions taught this body-less spirituality and Christians were persecuted for denying it. The Eastern religions specify that the goal of religion is to shed off the body and live as pure spirits. But the separation of soul and body in death is not the eternal gift Christ came to give you. He loves you, body and soul.


Beloved, when the stone was rolled over the entrance of His tomb, there was only death and darkness inside. His corpse wasn’t in that tomb by accident, but by the set purpose and gracious will of our Father in heaven. He was buried for us!  Yet, the reason that we are here this morning is because our Redeemer lives – a true man The reason we are here this morning is because Jesus rose from His tomb bodily.


In this changing and threatening world God give us courage and loving focus on Jesus - like the women had. Focus, however, not to do our duty for a dead Jesus but to receive the gifts of the living Jesus. No stone bars the way to His presence, nor to the Father through Him. God has opened a door for you to approach the throne of grace with confidence – by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us…that is through his flesh…(Heb. 10:19-20.


God help us also to use our bodies now in light of the glorious future Christ has won for us – to honor Him with our body. Your body is washed with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Your body is nourished with the forgiving food of Christ’s holy body and holy blood. You are a member of Christ’s body, His Church, His Bride, which He presents to Himself holy and blameless without spot or blemish.


The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ. You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen. He is here!  Alleluia!  Christ has risen!  He has risen indeed!  Alleluia! 


In His Name, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
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