TEXT: MARK 16:1-8; 1 CORINTHIANS 5:6-8; JOB 19:23-27
JUST AS HE SAID!  JUST AS HE SAYS!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wietin
Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Just as He said!


In Caesarea Philippi – among the pagan idols Jesus began to teach His disciples that He must suffer many things – be rejected and killed and – after three days rise again (Mark 8:31). When passing through Galilee He continued teaching them that when He is killed – after three days He will rise again (Mark 9:31). On the road going up to Jerusalem He was very specific about what was to happen to Him. “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Just as He said!

 

THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD – APRIL 20, 2014
TEXT: MARK 16:1-8; 1 CORINTHIANS 5:6-8; JOB 19:23-27
JUST AS HE SAID!  JUST AS HE SAYS!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Just as He said!


In Caesarea Philippi – among the pagan idols Jesus began to teach His disciples that He must suffer many things – be rejected and killed and – after three days rise again (Mark 8:31). When passing through Galilee He continued teaching them that when He is killed – after three days He will rise again (Mark 9:31). On the road going up to Jerusalem He was very specific about what was to happen to Him. “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Just as He said!


The Son of God purchased our salvation on Good Friday. God judged as completed - our redemption from sin and its curse of death. “It is finished!” That was the cry from Jesus’ lips. It is a cry of total victory!  Peace with God has been purchased – by the blood of the Lamb!  The confusion on earth on that day and on the morning of the third day was not mirrored by any confusion in heaven. God’s supreme gift was taking place according to His design. His gift was not just His Son as our brother – in our flesh and blood. His gift was God the Son incarnate - sacrificed – once for all – bearing all sin and its punishment!  What wondrous love!  What an infinite offering. The blood shed on the cross is the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  He had spoken of the cross as the hour of His glory. To that His open tomb shouts –Amen – Amen - Amen. On the morning of the third day – He rose from death – bodily!  Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Just as He said!

 

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. They mistakenly bought spices for one who had marvelously bought redemption for them. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They came bearing the aroma of death for Him who is the resurrection and the life. They had watched His body wrapped and placed in this tomb. Everything was so bloody and brutal and hurried then. It wasn’t done carefully!  Now they meant to honor Him by cleaning and spicing and wrapping His corpse more thoroughly. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”  Usually a large stone disk several feet in diameter was rolled a few feet down a hewn channel sealing off the mouth of the cave. And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back – it was very large. Their expectation was to anoint a corpse. The last thing they had expected was an open tomb!


And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. They were astonished and filled with fearful amazement. This type of alarm is the eyes-wide-open/muscles-tightened/fight-or-flee alarm. And He said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. The angel – God’s messenger - spoke to them about the right man – Jesus of Nazareth. He also noted the very reason they were at this tomb. Jesus was crucified. And then, Just as He said…You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.


Dear Christians, Easter is caused by the body of one man come alive again – Jesus the Christ – the Messiah!  Great inventors – moral philosophers – financial and political potentates - admired celebrities – these we have in abundance. But men who rise from death never to die again – of these there is only one in human history. He is Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. His body - pierced by spikes and spear - lives!  Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Just as He said!


What medicine and science and human wisdom will never accomplish – Jesus from Nazareth has done. He has conquered the grave!  The Lord is a man of war!  He has triumphed gloriously!  The horse and its rider (death/hell/Satan) He has thrown into the sea. What you cannot do for those you love – Jesus has done! 


His resurrection is not a generic spirit-life kind of thing. The new movie “Heaven is for Real” would have us believe there is life after death from the experiences of a Nebraska boy who had a near-death experience. I have only seen a trailer – which is masterfully done. It grabs emotions. The sweetness of the child actor speaking about family relationships will certainly pull at heart strings. I do not know if the movie centers on Christ and His blood making peace for us sinners with God.   I do not know if it confesses the promised gifts of the risen and Ascended Christ in water and word and bread and wine Just as He said. I do not know if it proclaims the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God that only Jesus brings. I do know that the ending statement on the Trailer is “I see it – therefore I believe it.”  I do know that if that is the effect of this movie on people’s emotions then serious spiritual harm is at work. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith comes through hearing and hearing through the speaking of Christ (Romans 10:17). I do know that if people’s hearts find comfort in the near-death experience of a young boy while refusing the Spirit’s consolation in the actual death and bodily resurrection forgiving gifts of the Son of God - serious spiritual harm is done. I do know that to be in heaven before our bodily resurrection on the Last Day is to be in the presence of the enthroned King of kings interceding for us. As the Psalm says Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire before you (Psalm 73:25). I do know the song that all heaven sings is not “Worthy is a figure in light” whose identity we don’t know - but rather Worthy is the Lamb who was slain – whose identity we do know – Jesus of Nazareth!   If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above…for your life is hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:1-3) 


Dear Christians – heaven is real because the love of God in Christ is real. You have God’s Word on it!  According to His great mercy God the Father has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4). The new birth God gave you in Holy Baptism – covers you with Christ – whose home is heaven!


The new heavens and the new earth are also real!  According to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13)    Our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself (Philippians 3:20).


Heaven is real for us because Jesus rose in the flesh for us!    Remember His words to His frightened disciples in Jerusalem on Easter evening?  “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39). Your resurrection will also be in the flesh for He is the firstfruits of one harvest!  It has begun in Christ. What has taken place with the head will take place in His members also. Easter is caused by this one man’s flesh and blood resurrection from real death – not a near-death experience. Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Just as He said!


The religious powers and the political powers of the day took action to keep that body in its burial place. A guard was posted and the grave was sealed. The presence of His corpse would have stopped the infant church in its tracks. Millions of Christians through two millennia would have had no foundation for faith. But the only body of Jesus to be seen after Easter morning was living again – teaching His disciples again - breaking bread with them again. The author of time rose from the dead as night was giving way to day. That makes the whole emerging day a festival – brightened by the light of His resurrection. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!


But wait – don’t we have to face our own death?  Won’t there be a day when our flesh and bones corpse will lie in a casket without breath?  If God intends life with Jesus for us – why then is death still in our future?  Why do the years pass so quickly and why have so many who sat in these pews been taken from us?  You know the answer to be sin - for which the wages is death!  That’s not accidental – and death won’t come to you or me accidentally – even in an accident. It will come by God’s appointment - by God’s doing. Yes, death is the wages of sin – but those wages are God’s curse on sinful humanity. Death comes to all who sin – Just as God said! 


But also just as God said – Jesus became sin for us and a curse for us – to destroy death’s power (2 Cor. 3:15; Gal 3:13; Heb. 2:12). Therefore, just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:27-28).


Why aren’t we eagerly and constantly waiting for Him?  Why do we have doubts that Christ has opened God’s eternal presence to us?  Why are we looking to see rather than rejoicing to hear what God says?  Because unbelief clings to us!  We are not different from Jesus’ hiding disciples or the women coming to anoint a dead body. There is no doubt that a major factor in their not believing Jesus would rise – Just as He said – is because they refused to acknowledge His cross and His death – Just as He said. There is also no doubt that a major factor in our not eagerly waiting for Jesus to call us from this earth is that we don’t want to acknowledge our own death. Death is ugly. Death is an enemy. But thanks be to God – it is now a defeated enemy through Christ Jesus our Lord. Certainty of heaven – and of bodily resurrection on the last day cannot be gained from anything near-death. It can be gained from Him who once was dead and now lives – bodily!  Alleluia! Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Just as He said.


You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. God redeemed our bodies in the body of His Son. One could say that the body is what Good Friday and Easter is all about. That includes your body and mine. What happens to your body matters to God!  In context the old leaven Paul speaks of to the church at Corinth includes sexual sins of the body. Based on Christ’s sacrifice we are to cleanse out the old leaven and celebrate the festival – the Sacrament – with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. So that God may have you with Him again – body and soul - forever He will bring your body down to death - to the grave – that the Old Man of sin may be fully done away with. Your death will not be your end, however, for you are baptized into the death of Christ and He lives. Alleluia!  Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Just as He said! 


Just as Jesus rose bodily – He is present bodily among His gathered people. His presence with us today is not visible but His Word is clear, where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. That’s why each Sunday, each weekly Divine Service is a continuation of Easter!  Death is not the champion!  The Lord is a man of war and He has triumphed gloriously – for us! 


Our announcement is therefore a bit different than was heard at the empty tomb. There - He has risen; he is not here. In this house of worship the right word is He has risen and he is here – Just as He says. The risen Christ is not done speaking and serving and forgiving and giving life. No movie can give you what Jesus serves today – His very body – His very blood offered on Calvary – for you to eat and drink – Just as He says. He is not here to pull at your heart strings to make you feel a certain way. He is here to create a new heart in you again and again and again – whether your feelings are dull with grief or sharp with pain or joyful with daily bread or overflowing with thanks for the Bread of Life. He is here to give you peace that the world cannot give – even through the finest actors and music and special effects. He says to you The peace of the Lord be with you always –- and He means always. 


Finally – He speaks not only in your midst – but He also speaks in heaven on your behalf. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). He entered once for all into the holy places…by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). That eternal redemption is what Job trumpeted so many centuries ago. I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.


The Man of war is now the Priest of blood-bought peace. Christ has entered…into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf (Hebrews 9:24). Your certainty of being there with Him rests on His sacrifice and His forgiveness and His intercession for you - His abiding with you with the fruits of His cross – Just as He says.


Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life (John 5:24).


Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise Him up on the last day (John 6:54).


I go to prepare a place for you…that where I am you may be also (John 14:2-3).


Indeed!  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!  Just as He said.   AMEN.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a