Lutheran Worship and Resources

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday, 2011

Easter Sunday: 
The Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord, 2011

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 7 AM Central Time

The Hymn # 191 Christ the Lord 2:97
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #188 Hallelujah 2:20

Resurrection: Destruction of Satan’s Power

The Communion Hymn #206 Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense 2:81
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #212 A Hymn of Glory 2:93

KJV 1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

KJV Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst deliver Thy Son for our offenses, and didst raise Him again for our justification: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that He may rule and govern us according to Thy will; graciously keep us in the true faith; defend us from all sins, and after this life raise us unto eternal life, through the same, Thy beloved Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Resurrection: Destruction of Satan’s Power
Why did they go so early when they had the entire day before them? For the best of reasons even also as all the evangelists record this point. Jesus had been dead since Friday. In that climate dead bodies start to decompose very quickly, wherefore also the dead are buried the same day that they die, or, if it is too late on that day, then on the next. All haste was necessary in the minds of these women, every hour counted if they wanted to find Jesus’ body in a condition still to be handled. That even under these conditions they were determined to anoint it with costly essence speaks volumes for their love and devotion just as does their going alone without a single disciple, without even John. Mark omits the account of the earthquake and of the fact that the stone was rolled away from the door of the tomb. In this section (v. 1–8) as well as in what follows he is exceedingly brief.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 738

In my hometown, Moline, we always had Easter sunrise services, which came from the Swedish tradition. Easter will always be associated with early morning because the women who first walked to the tomb went out quickly, before sunrise, and reached the tomb as the sun began to appear.

The reason for this rush was two-fold. The complete burial preparations had not been made, so they wanted to be finished. Secondly, they wanted to avoid the desert heat and its effects. In Phoenix we had workmen ask if they could please start early, especially if they had to be in the attic. That was also why I got used to early morning walks, around 5 AM, because the 110 degree days were still pleasant at that hour.

The women were purpose-driven, but they had the wrong purpose in mind. They were weak and sorrowing, not knowing they would reach an empty tomb. This is the effect of sin and death, to make us weak and always grieving. Sin and death make us concentrate on the wrong things and miss what God has accomplished.

The women faithfully went out to honor the corpse of Jesus. They went out to labor on His behalf, loaded with the spices they were using. They wondered how they would get into the tomb, because it was sealed with a door that was more like a stone lid, which rolled in a groove. Religious art often shows a large boulder, impossible to move unless a group of men worked very hard at shoving it aside. The last time I moved a boulder, four men helped with a truck. It did not roll and was not large enough to cover the opening of a tomb.

The women did not even think of the problem until they were close to the tomb. The stone lid was too much for them to roll aside in its groove. They wondered who would do this service for them.

Lenski has this detailed information:
Matthew tells us that an angel rolled the stone away and sat on it. It was not rolled aside in its groove in the regular way so as to be rolled back again to shut the entrance. No, it was hurled out of its groove by some tremendous power, thrown flat upon the ground in front of the tomb, thus making a seat for the angel who waited until the women drew near and then went inside the tomb. This stone was not again to be rolled in front of the entrance. It had been laid flat so that the tomb should stand wide open for all men to see that it was emptied of the body of Jesus, the bodiless wrappings lying undisturbed and flat just as they had been wrapped, mute but mighty evidence of the resurrection, John 20:5–10.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 740

The faithful should remember always that the angel did not release Jesus from the tomb, as if stone could enclose Him. The tomb was opened up to show everyone that Jesus was already risen from the dead.

The human nature of Christ did not hamper His divine nature in any fashion. During His public ministry He was surrounded by angry crowds twice, yet passed through them – not a feat anyone else could do. He also entered the locked room after the resurrection. Those three instances are significant because of Calvin’s confusion about the Two Natures of Christ.

How can Christ be present in both Natures in the consecrated elements of Holy Communion? That is answered by these examples. He is not confined by His human nature, as we are confined by ours. We cannot be two places at once, so some people confuse our limitations with God’s ability. The two have no parallels. “My ways are not your ways.” Isaiah 55

They entered the tomb and found an angel rather than the body of Jesus, which frightened them. When we dream and suddenly wake up, reality is startling. I used to dream that I never graduated from school. I would be having discussions with faculty about it when I woke up. Then I went over the facts as I was walking. I remember graduation. I do have a diploma. No one has disputed it…

The women would not have been startled by death. They expected that. They were shocked by the empty tomb and the angel, and that frightened them.

The angel spoke to them, and we can see the poetry in his address:

Mark 16.6
And he saith unto them,
Be not affrighted:
Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth,
which was crucified:
he is risen; he is not here:
behold the place where they laid him.

I can imagine people memorizing that as an early catechism of the resurrection. I was writing back and forth with a pastor about Hoenecke, who used similar short phrases in his writings. They are easy to memorize. In fact, it is difficult not to memorize simple, short phrases.

“Do not be afraid,” also means “Have faith in what God has done.” We fear the unknown, which is out of our control. But we trust in God’s revelation.

The great fear that burdens mankind is death. Man fears the unknown and is afraid of passing into nothingness, or eternal torment, or eternal meaninglessness.

The resurrection of Christ reveals that we do know what happens in this life and the next. Any other concept, such as reincarnation, is a dream or a nightmare.

Our lives have meaning, which pass from this short time on earth to eternal life with Christ.

Jesus established His humanity by dying (since there were heretics who denied His human nature) and His divinity by rising from the dead. One speaker in chapel said, “Jesus was the only person to rise from the dead.” We know that was an error, since the young girl, the widow’s son, and Lazarus all rose from death. But no one claimed that these three persons remained alive forever.

The resurrection of Christ is so fixed in human history that any effort to deny it is an obvious rejection of the Christian faith. False teachers prefer to stay hidden and not reveal their antagonism toward the Word of God. They will even say, “That is not an important doctrine,” as one future Disciple of Christ minister claimed. My response was, “What will you say at funerals?” That silenced her.

Mark 16:7 But go your way,
tell his disciples and Peter
that he goeth before you into Galilee:
there shall ye see him,
as he said unto you.

This second statement has the same poetic structure as the first one. Jesus appeared before His disciples, to show them the reality of His resurrection, to teach them, and to build up their faith.

Lenski observed these important details:
It is asked why the Eleven were informed in this way, through the women; why angels did not appear to them, or perhaps Jesus himself. Gerhard has enumerated five reasons: God chooses the weak; overwhelmed most by their sorrow, they are to be first in joy; the presence of the women at the tomb silences the Jewish falsehood that the disciples stole the body; as death came by woman, so salvation and life are to be announced by her; God wanted to reward woman’s active love. But why wander so far afield? The women alone went to the tomb on Sunday morning, the women, none of the men, not even John. Thus they were honored by being made the messengers to the men. If the Eleven had also gone out, the story would have been different. The love of these women receives its fitting reward.
“And to Peter,” which is preserved by Mark alone and is taken from Peter’s own lips by him, deserves special attention. Few attentive readers of what has preceded in this Gospel concerning Peter will agree that Peter is here singled out because he is the first and foremost of the Eleven. If that were the intention of Mark’s record and of the angel’s words, the order should be reversed: “say to Peter and to the disciples.” Peter is mentioned last as though his being a disciple is not definite.
Some have thought that he is mentioned because the Lord intended to appear to him especially (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5); but it is hard to see that the message given to Peter differed in any way from that delivered to the other disciples, and the angel himself states that message. No; Peter is singled out because he denied his Lord on the night of the betrayal. “And Peter” wants him to know that he is still included in the circle of the disciples by Jesus. The word includes absolution for Peter. This has been denied because the absolution is only implied; but the Scriptures are full of such blessed implications.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 746

The women were honored for being there at the tomb, before any of the men. Luther observed that women are more easily moved to sorrow and joy than men. They sorrowed even more than the disciples. They were there at the cross. Their grief moved them to honor Jesus’ body in death, and God turned that pain into joy.

The Sacraments and the Word are in perfect harmony with the death and resurrection of Christ.

We are baptized because we will die. We are mortal because we are sinners, but we live in Christ because of His death and resurrection. When babies are baptized, they are justified by faith. The Word spoken, the Gospel promises, fill their hearts with faith, and this faith receives the Promises of God. The Holy Spirit makes His dwelling in them, and responds to God’s Word from that time on.

Holy Communion is also a sacrament of death and resurrection. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper before His death, because of His upcoming crucifixion. He commanded that we receive this blessing of the visible Word to take away our sins, nurture our faith in Him, and prepare us for eternal life.

When we are older, we are always in mourning. We have lost parents and children, friends, and co-workers. Our good friend from Cleveland said, “I cannot believe that it is 24 years since I lost my husband.” He was a healthy construction worker and suddenly came down with cancer. On a whim we visited him one weekend, without notice, driving almost a day to see him in the hospital. He ordered us not to see him a second time before we left the next day, so we did. I will never forget the look on his face. He beamed. He looked perfectly healthy, ready to jump out of the hospital bed. But he died soon after. I told his widow, “I would not have traded that day for tickets to the Superbowl.” It is one of our best memories. In this way, God unites the Gospel with grief, so the grief is transformed into joy, as it was on Easter morning.

As Paul says, “Purge out the old leaven,” referring to the Jewish practice of eliminating all leaven from the home before Passover. Leaven always grows. One form is false teacher, so the question later is not so much about its abundance, but “Where did all this come from?” It only takes a little leaven (yeast) to leaven an entire denomination, an entire denomination.

Purging the old leaven means to live the Easter reality and see our lives as a brief pause before eternity. God does not tell us that these problems are illusions or something to be conquered with will and determination. Instead, He teaches us to trust in Him and His compassion. He will provide an answer so quickly, so far beyond our control, that the old reality will become a dream that fades at dawn.

Quotations about the Appearance in the Locked Room
"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing. His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith. For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355.

"This is going through closed doors, when He comes into the heart through the Word, not breaking nor displacing anything. For when the Word of God comes, it neither injures the conscience, nor deranges the understanding of the heart and the external senses; as the false teachers do who break all the doors and windows, breaking through like thieves, leaving nothing whole and undamaged, and perverting, falsifying and injuring all life, conscience, reason, and the senses. Christ does not do thus."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 355.

"Hence I send you into the world as my Father hath sent me; namely, that every Christian should instruct and teach his neighbor, that he may also come to Christ. By this, no power is delegated exclusively to popes and bishops, but all Christians are commanded to profess their faith publicly and also to lead others to believe."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.

"The first and highest work of love a Christian ought to do when he has become a believer, is to bring others also to believe in the way he himself came to believe. And here you notice Christ begins and institutes the office of the ministry of the external Word in every Christian; for He Himself came with this office and the external Word."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.

"Now God drives us to this by holding the law before us, in order that through the law we may come to a knowledge of ourselves. For where there is not this knowledge, one can never be saved. He that is well needs no physician; but if a man is sick and desires to become well, he must know that he is weak and sick, otherwise he cannot be helped."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 370.

"For the devil will not allow a Christian to have peace; therefore Christ must bestow it in a manner different from that in which the world has and gives, in that he quiets the heart and removes from within fear and terror, although without there remain contention and misfortune."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 380.

"Reformed theologians, in order to support their denial of the illocalis modus subsistendi of Christ's human nature, have sought, in their exposition of John 20, an opening in the closed doors, or a window, or an aperture in the roof or in the walls, in order to explain the possibility of Christ's appearance in the room where the disciples were assembled."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, II, p. 127.

No comments: