Easter Day at Hope, Jerseyville
“A New Creation”
Sermon Text: Isaiah 65:17-25
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” That is the first Easter message, the first resurrection proclamation. He is risen. But it is not the first time it had been said. “Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” Jesus had predicted it before His crucifixion that He would die and be raised and it happened.
Jesus died. He was crucified. He endured an excruciating, painful death, suffering at the hands of sinful men, suffering because of sinful men, suffering and dying because of you, because of your sin. You are a sinner, a son of Adam through whom comes sin, disobedience and unfaithfulness, even doubt so that the resurrection of Jesus would seem to you as an idle tale as it had the disciples. What does His resurrection have to do to me? What power or difference does it make to me? These are just words, some story or fairytale, that with them or without them it isn’t going to change my tomorrow.
And while I would certainly argue that they will, putting that aside for a moment, how short-sighted are we if we simply live only for tomorrow? And in every other aspect of our life, we don’t. We buy groceries for more than tomorrow. We save money or at least budget our money assuming we will live longer than just tomorrow. So why do we not think beyond tomorrow, beyond this week, month, or even year when it comes to the things of God and the resurrection of Christ?
Because more certain than even tomorrow is the end. You are a son of Adam and in Adam all die. All. Not even Jesus was able to escape this fate. You will not escape death. You will die. Then what? What happens after death? Heaven or hell? Well even that is a bit short-sighted on the scale of all eternity. What happens after death is resurrection. What happens after Jesus dies for you? Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Death is not the end. Death does not have the final say because Christ has been raised from death which means you and all people, all, will be raised up. And all those in Christ, will be given eternal life. Just as death came through one man, Adam, so through one man, Jesus, all will be raised up and made alive. Jesus takes on death, endures death, to overcome death and bring life. Death has no sting. Sin has no power. They have been defeated. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
And in this resurrection, everything is different. Sin is different. It, you, are forgiven. Death is different. Tomorrow is different. All of time and eternity is different because Christ has been raised. All things are made new. Sin and death no longer rule this life and this earth, but God reigns in power over it, having power over sin and death, forgiving sin, saving and raising from death.
And that changes everything about today and tomorrow. Tomorrow, you are not living in your sin, bearing the burden and guilt of your wrong, waiting for the inevitability of death to strike. You have been set free by the cross and the empty tomb. You are free to live without fear. You are free to rejoice and be glad. You are free to look at a friend or loved one who has passed away and say, “I will see you again,” because it’s not over. You are free to look at your own death, to lay on your own death bed, to be pinned and strangled by death and find comfort, even smile and laugh at death, because as hard as death fights you, as soon is it wins it loses because after death comes resurrection because Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
And in this resurrection, the New Life, New Jerusalem, New Heaven and New Earth, “the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” The pain and suffering, the difficulty and struggle, every hardship you have faced in this life will be gone and done. And what of the future? “Be glad and rejoice forever… for behold I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people.” The future is gladness, rejoicing, and joy forever. “No more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days.” There will be no weeping, no mourning, no distress and no death. The infant shall live. The old man will be alive. There will be no more death, no more expiration, no more end. For all of eternity we will live in our homes and our vineyards, in the Paradise of the New Creation which God has prepared for us to be with Him. God and Man, God dwelling with you, forever.
This account of the resurrection is no idle tale. It is no myth or fairytale that makes no difference. It is the greatest Gospel proclamation that we would run to the empty tomb, run to the resurrected body of Christ, run to His Word and Sacraments and marvel at them and receive them because they change everything, today, tomorrow, and for all eternity because Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.