Easter — Jesus Christ — The Risen Savior of the World

Preached April 8, 2012

Colossians 3:1–4
St. John 20:1–10

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Christ is risen! Alleluia! He is risen indeed! This is the Good News for today, Easter Sunday, 2012. Christ is risen. Alleluia!

The rising of Jesus from the garden tomb is the most revolutionary news in the history of the world. No one else has ever done such a thing. He said that He would do it, even though His saying was sufficiently veiled that many did not catch it before hand, and when in fact He did it, most did not want to believe it. In fact, most still do not want to believe it today. And yet, His Resurrection, His subsequent Ascension, and the events following were the beginning of Christianity, a faith that has truly changed the world!

Because of the likelihood of the need for two Masses on Easter Day, the Church, through the Book of Common Prayer, has provided two Gospel lessons for us. We have read the first, the account of Mary Magdalene going first to the tomb on Sunday morning as given by St. John. The second lesson is the same story as recorded by St. Mark, 16:1. The two accounts differ in some details, but they certainly agree in all the major points.

There are two critically important verses in St. Mark’s account: Mark 16:5–6: 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.

These are the words of the angel in the tomb, saying that Christ is not there. Christ is not to be found among the dead. The chains of death are not able to hold the risen Lord Jesus Christ, so He does not continue among the dead. He did in fact die on the Cross as the sacrifice for our sins; make no mistake about that. This was a real death, the death of a real Man. But this Man broke the bonds of death, He was not to remain subject to death as ordinary men have been since the beginning of time. Instead, He rose from the dead on the third day, to return to the living. This is the miracle of the Resurrection.

The evidence of the burial was all there to be seen. The grave clothes were there, the cloth napkin that had been about the head was folded separately, but the tomb was empty, save for the angel who greeted the women. And the women ran to tell the disciples, coming first to Peter and John who returned to confirm the report of the women.

Both accounts end rather strangely: According to our lesson, John 20:10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. Speaking of the reaction of the women, the other lesson says, Mark 16:8 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. Both the women and the disciples were afraid to speak out about what they had seen; it was just too much to be believed! Wonderful news though it was, who would believe them? Could they even believe what they had seen and heard?

It must have been hard, at that moment. In the days to come, they would again see Jesus in His upper room appearance and other places which would certainly make it easier to believe. As we look back with the testimony of those who were there at the time, who have left their testimony for us, and the testimony of the many since then who have had their lives completely changed by Jesus, we should have no difficulty at all believing in the Resurrection.

And yet there are still many who deny it. For those who can accept the Resurrection and the full gift of faith in Christ, there are blessings without limit. There is no doubt, however, that it is still a matter of faith. We were not there at the time of the Resurrection as witnesses. Do we believe the testimony of the other witnesses, do we believe the words of Christ Himself, or do we deny Him?

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again! Alleluia!!

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

About Father D

I am a priest of the Continuing Anglican Church, the continuation of orthodox Anglicanism into the present 21st century. My theology is definitely that of a Reformed Catholic point of view, neither Roman nor Calvinist.
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